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Strasblog Part Fifteen: InterRail Part Two

Published by Peter Gilbert — 6 years ago

Blog: Peter's Strasblog
Tags: General

Before I begin, it has come to my attention that I forgot to add a story to my previous blog, one which my twitter followers would have perhaps noticed (because I promised it in the preview). Basically, I was crossing one of the most beautiful, interesting and popular bridges in Prague called Charles Bridge. In front of many a tourist a pigeon, my sworn enemy, decided to relieve itself on my shoulder. This kind act has convinced me of one simple fact, and that is that the feeling of hatred I have for these birds is actually mutual. 

Anyway, onto Part Two!

Nuremberg was in our sights on the 18th, but to get there we needed an early start. Precisely, a six in the morning start. Now this would have been fine, except for one woman who will now be referred to as Rogue Chinese Woman (or RCW…whatever suits you guys). Sleeping in a dorm of twelve people, it may be understandable to expect loud noises throughout the night, and this is something that didn’t bother me. However what did irritate me was that, after arriving at half one in the morning, Rogue Chinese Woman decided to bang and crash around the room rather than go straight to sleep. She zipped and unzipped her rucksack perhaps over a hundred times, she unbelievably used her hair-dryer (without going in the shower…don’t ask) and then decided to keep her light on and write a postcard (a postcard?!?!) at HALF PAST TWO IN THE BLOODY MORNING!!!!!

It got even worse, for the snow that had been promising to come finally did come on the morning of the 18th. Of course, with just my Vans on, this fresh snow immediately seeped into my socks and left them feeling similar to a lake. Needing to be in the best of moods for an early start, I started the trip to Nuremberg feeling tired, cold and hungry (here’s your chance for another belly-laugh)…

NUREMBERG

You can probably guess, by the fact that I’ve rambled on about RCW and being cold and hungry, that I wasn’t all that impressed by Nuremberg. In my eyes, it was an old city curtained away by a new (and thriving it has to be said) shopping and cosmopolitan centre. It may be very nice to live in Nuremberg, but for a tourist I think a day is about as much you could spend there because there isn’t that much to do…

The first thing I would advise you see is the Castle, situated high above the city centre and interlocked within the famous city walls. As a building, it’s a very pretty and impressive feat of construction. Nonetheless its main selling point is the spectacular view of the city below. To enjoy the view at its best go in the summer, when the scene is not spoilt by low-hanging cloud and snow that uniforms the surroundings…

The second thing I would advise is the museum situated within the old Nazi rally ground. Being something that I’ve wanted to see ever since I discovered my love of history, the rally ground itself is quite a disappointment (a massive empty space surrounded by metal fences). The museum however, is one of the best I’ve ever been to and is well worth a visit. The information isn’t too detailed, and considering what the subject of the museum is the general aura of the building isn’t too depressing either…

MUNICH

My terrible mood in Nuremberg very quickly changed when we hit Munich, for two main reasons. Firstly, I had an enormous Burger King that filled a black-hole sized gap in my stomach. Secondly, I drank some beer. Lots and lots of beer in fact…

It was agreed that, to make the most of just ten days on the InterRail, Phil (my co-railer) and I wouldn’t drink too much so as to feel awake every morning. However, that plan (for me anyway) was soon out of the window when we arrived at the world capital of beer. If you need an excuse to drink lots in Munich, think of it this way: beer IS the main tourist attraction of the Bavarian capital, so you might as well get your fill of it and truly experience local culture!

The beer hall we chose to grace was named the ‘Hofbrauhaus’, perhaps the most famous of all the halls. It was truly an amazing place filled with traditional Bavarian um-pah-pah music, rows upon rows of drunk Germans and incredible beers served in litres. I WILL be going again; it’s an environment that is hard to explain but is still something EVERYONE should experience at some point…

As a tourist destination for pleasures other than beer, Munich is once again somewhere I think you could see mostly in one day. Once again I will stress here how good the Sandemans tour is, and to see everything you need to see in Munich then these guys are a decent bet!

LUCERNE

I unfortunately don’t have a lot to say about Lucerne. The actual town is quite small and lacking on the touristy things to do, not that that really bothered me. I actually quite liked the town for its suave shopping streets that were mixed with medieval throwbacks and an insanely calm character. The main tourist attraction at Lucerne is of course the spectacular lake, but in winter this is all but impossible to see. I think I’ll head back in the spring…try and get a real sense of this place…

The final statement concerning Lucerne is a good way of summing up I think. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% glad I went on this trip, and I am 100% amazed/happy/in awe of all the things I have seen in some of the most incredible places in the world. But going to see these places in the winter has obvious drawbacks:

1) Snow has an irritating habit of making all it touches uniform, spoiling natural and indeed man-made beauty.

2) The cold (and believe me, Eastern Europe is very cold) encourages all those weird and wonderful sideshows nearby main tourist sites to hide away. It also encourages any sane human to want to stay in bed all day…

So my advice is this: Go InterRailing, but go in the late spring or early summer time. It’s a fantastic (and actually relatively cheap) way of seeing Europe. Going when the days are long, the temperature is comfortable and the locals aren’t hiding at home means that you’ll hopefully get to experience the city when it’s truly alive. I know I’ll be going again…see you in the train coach?

Strasblog will be returning to its usual self next week, until then mes copains!

 


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