I was so amazed by Leipzig (see my previous post) that I was over half a day late travelling to Berlin.
After arriving and checking into my hotel I went and explored the city during the early evening. In my travel notes I have written that I found Berlin “interesting” – in fact I have so many photos and places I visited that I am going to do three posts about Berlin.
I stayed in a small hotel in Mitte which is right in the heart of the former Soviet controlled area. The hotel building I stayed in was over 100 years old and the hotel itself was run by the local church city mission.
The first place I visited in Berlin was the Berlin Wall Memorial. The remains of the wall are both impressive and sad. I simply don’t understand who decides to build a wall through the middle of a city, especially a city like Berlin that suffered so much through the Second World War.
After spending the first four days of my trip around Bavaria I caught a train from Munich to Leipzig.
There is a large difference in culture between Bavaria and Leipzig that is noticeable from the moment you step off the train. Architecture is different, but also people’s mannerisms are different. It really felt like a different country.
Despite not being in Germany I’ve wanted to visit Salzburg for a long time. Salzburg is just under two hours by train from Munich and made for a great day trip.
After getting off the train, I found the tourist office to get a map and directions to the key things I wanted to see: Mozart’s Birthplace, the Cathedral and the Fortress.
The tourist office provided me with a suggested path I walk through the city to get to the Altstadt (old town) where most of the tourist attractions are. This path was meant to take me through a beautiful park, but unfortunately, many of the gates and sections of the park were closed due to snow.
Eventually I found my way into part of the park which was rather pretty in the snow, and then crossed a bridge into the Altstadt.
The third part of my adventure in Germany was a day trip from Munich to Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany.
I began the day just before 6am putting on many thermal layers and then looking like a bit of a fool catching the U-Bahn to the München Hauptbahnhof. From München you catch a train for about an hour and a half to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where you switch to the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn (cogwheel/rack railway) to get to the mountain.
Halfway along the railway you can switch to the Eibsee Cable Car that takes you directly to the top of Zugspitze. This is what I did as it was the fastest and most spectacular way to get to the top of the mountain.
As I have visited Munich before, my friends who I was staying with decided that they would show me more of Bavaria instead. So early on Saturday morning we hit the autobahn and traveled up to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Everything along the autobahn was covered in snow which was spectacularly picturesque (although my photos don’t really do a good job of showing this). Along the way we stopped at a rest area so I could make a snowman.
In early February I decided to take a last minute trip to Germany to visit some good friends who I have not seen in a number of years.
Booking a major trip five days before leaving is completely opposite to my usual modus operandi, but things fell into place really well and I saw myself flying from Sydney to Munich via Abu Dhabi on a Thursday afternoon in early February.
I was last in Germany a little under two years ago and I have such great friends there that I simply had to go back. It’s a long way from Sydney and there are no “easy” ways to get there. On my last trip I flew with Etihad and had a good trip up, but a bad trip back. While there were other airlines who offered trips with similar flight lengths and prices I ended up flying on Etihad again as they had the best arrival time into Munich (mid-afternoon).
The first flight, 14.5 hours from Sydney to Abu Dhabi went well. It is a very very very long flight, and despite having done a few of these ultra long-haul flights now one still gets restless over the final few hours. I had been dreading spending the layover in Abu Dhabi after a bad experience there two years ago, but this time we arrived at a different terminal which was super clean and the three hour layover went relatively quickly.