Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rothenburg and Frankfurt

May 16th- Rothenburg
     We woke up in Rothenburg this morning around 9:30am excited to explore the city! Rothenburg is a small town in the district of Ansbach known for its well-preserved medieval old town. We stayed in a small hotel inside the walls of the city right on the main street so we were able to wake up and immediately start shopping (which is all there is to do in Rothenburg). First, we had some breakfast. Walking into the city the day before, we noticed almost every bakery had these "snowballs", which looked like a string of pastry rolled into a loose ball (imagine of ball of yarn) covered in chocolate, cinnamon, etc. We decided to try some for breakfast and had a white chocolate snowball and a cinnamon snowball, both delicious! After that, we walked around the small city and shopped for souvenirs. My favorite store was a figurine store with 1/3 of it covered with OWLS! I bought 2 so I can add it to my around the world owl collection :) We also bought a really cool hollow santa with a hole where his mouth is and when you put incense in him, smoke comes out like he's smoking his pipe (our first house purchase together)! After shopping, we climbed up into the walls where the soldiers used to walk around the city to keep watch. It was unreal trying to imagine life back then in this medieval city! Around noon, we had lunch in an authentic Greek food restaurant and each had a euro and a coke. Afterwards, we went to a bakery down the street and split a piece of chocolate cake because one of us was craving it (guess who). Finally, we went back to the hostel, put all our purchases in our backpacks (which still have room surprisingly), and headed to the train station! At the train station, we met a military woman recently stationed in Germany who talked to us for awhile about being stationed in Korea. I cant imagine having to move around to foreign countries like that every 1-2 years! We also met someone who saw Blake's seminole shirt and came up and said she was a Nole fan! SO cool to have fans across the world :) Granted, she was from South Florida but now lives here  in Germany! 
     It took us 4 hours and 4 different trains to get to Frankfurt but we finally made it! Our hostel is a 5 minute walk to the main train station, right in the middle of the red light district! We are across from a hotel called the Sex Inn (lol) as well as a bunch of strip clubs, casinos, and bars but we haven't come across any trouble! Walking up to the hostel, the first thing we saw  were two men dressed as women with fake boobs and everything, quite hilarious. After checking in, we walked around the city for a couple hours exploring. There was nothing that really caught out interest (Frankfurt is pretty boring and not so beautiful) so we decided to go to an 8 oclock movie. Around 7, we sat down for dinner at a restaurant but they were busy and never greeted us and we were running out of time so we went to subway for dinner! We then walked across the street to the movie theater... it did not look so big on the outside, but once inside it was GIANT! It was cold and rainy outside  so EVERYONE decided to go to the movie that night. We waited in line for 15 min. before finally getting our tickets to see Great Gatsby! We surprisingly got great seats right in the middle and both loved the movie! After the movie, we walked home and read some before passing out in our bunk beds! 

May 17th
     We woke up around 9 am to catch a bus to Mainz for a boat ride on the Rhine river. There was free breakfast at our hostel consisting of bread, meat, cheese, yogurt, nutella, and other spreads. The garlic spread was delicious! After breakfast we headed to the train station and caught a train to Mainz. We got to Mainz kastle around 11 and walked across the bridge in the cold and rain to the main station to get some more information about the boat ride. When we got there, we found out the boat only left early in the morning so we had missed it :/ We ate lunch ate an all-you- can-eat asian buffet near the train station and didn't really like it! I tried a piece of meat thinking it was beef and thought the place was awful! I shortly came to find out it was liver and I wanted to throw up... Never again! After lunch, we took a train back to Frankfurt and walked to the Eintracht Frankfurt football (soccer) store to inquire about the game! We found out it was sold out and people would probably not be scalping tickets before the game so we decided we'd just watch it all a pub. Afterwards, we went to starbucks and got a coffee and piece of chocolate cake and then went back to the hostel. We were both exhausted from going nonstop the past week and a half so we decided to have a chill day at the hostel! We read some and then went downstairs for a german BBQ at 7:30! I got a burger and a glass of wine, Blake got a sausage and a pitcher of beer, and we both got a pork skewer. We ate, drank, facebooked, and played cards for an hour or so, then went downstairs to play pool! Blake won the first game and then I won the second so we decided to call it quits at a tie so neither of us would be cranky. It was around 11 oclock by this point so we called it a night and we went to bed. Overall, it was a semi boring day but we enjoyed relaxing and hanging out at the hostel! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Canyoning and Fussen

Guten tag! Tuesday morning, Jen and I both woke up feeling AWFUL. Turns out Jen had a little too much beer, and I had waay too much beer the night before. That paired with a hot room and waking up at 6 am did not make for an excellent morning. We got to the train station around 7:30 and found our train we were supposed to take at 7:50. Jen went to grab some fruit/bread, and I just sat there trying not to throw up since the bathroom was a euro to use! We made it on to our train, and it tooke a total of 3 connections to get to Sontholfen 2 hours away. By the time we got there, Jen felt fine, but I was still feeling nasty. Our guide, Robby, met us at the train station to take us to the canyon. His English was good enough to communicate with, but there were times you could tell he had no clue what we were saying. It only took about 10 minutes of him driving us to get to the start of the tour. We changed into 3 layers of neoprene and started walking up hill/river. It was an amazingly beautiful city, canyon, and just day in general. That being said, I was sweating bullets in all this neoprene, walking uphill, hungover like a college freshman. We finally made it around a corner and saw this ~70ft waterfall-waterslide feature. We had been joking with the guide on the way up about how this course was supposed to be easier and all of the big jumps were only in canyons in places like switzerland. So this being right after that conversation, I joked that at least we wouldnt have to be jumping off of that, and he responded "of course not, we slide that!" That made Jen and I a lot more excited than we had been, since we were nervous it would be an easy kiddie course. At the same time, it made us a little more nervous in general!. We probably walked another 1/4 to 1/2 a mile up canyon before he picked the spot to repel down. Jen and I both had no problem belaying our selves down, though nowhere near as fast the the guide who seemed to just jump straight down. We finally slid into the water, and SCHEISSE it was cold! The water this time of year in the canyon just consists of snow melt, so it was quiet literally freezing. Thanks to the neoprene we got over it after a few, but our hands were pretty frozen the whole time. We had a great time navigating the canyon, sliding down smaller sections, jumping in times we couldnt slide or walk, and repeling areas that were too rough for jumping or sliding! We finally got to the end around 2 hours later, controlled our slide with a rope down about a quarter of the giant slide, and then just let go for the final 50 feet. He said if we just slid from the top, we would be going so fast we would more than likely hit ground when we reached the bottom! All said and done, canyoning was an AMAZING experience, and we would both love to do it again if we ever have the chance! Robby brought us back to the train station, and Jen snapped a picture of how beautiful Sontholfen was (but on her camera, not phone, so we cant upload it yet). We hopped on a train to Fussen to see the Neuschwaunstien (sp, I'm too tired to look it up) Castle. Supposedly this is the castle the infamous Disney World castle is modelled after. We arrived at around 5 o clock, and realized all the castle activities were done for the day so we had a decision: is it worth staying the night and seeing it in the morning, or should we get back on the train and head to Rothenburg. We checked how long it would take to get to Rothenburg from Fussen, saw it was 6 hours, and our decision was made for us! We walked right across the street and stayed at the hostel right next to the station. The guy was really cool, married to an American woman and about to take a trip to the keys! We threw our stuff in the room, and went to get some food (really the first thing I had eaten that day, and the first thing for Jen other than fruit!). We found some chinese-thai restaurant, which Jen has been craving lately, and had some curry. I thought it was good, Jen loved it! We walked farther down into the little town of Fussen and admired all the mountains, quaint buildings and churches, and the amazingly light blue water. We found this man made waterfall a little up the road, and there was a bridge that crossed about 100ft above it. There were people who would hook up their ropes to the bridge, and then jump off the side and swing under it! I'll be sure to upload the video, it was pretty crazy! At this point we were kind of tired from our day, so we went back to the hostel and hung out with a couple of Americans we met in the lounge area. They were all 3 guys who had also just graduated and were doing pretty much the same thing as us so it was nice getting to talk to them. But we still ended up passing out around 10:30. This morning we "slept in" until 9:30, and got up to go see the castle. We caught a bus for the trip to the base of the mountain it was on, but then we walked up the trail to the top (after a quick currywurst for brunch). We were huffing and puffing by the time we reached the top, but we always like to hike/climb when we have the option, it is just more satisfying. We didnt actually pay to go INSIDE the castle, so I cant tell you anything about that, but the views of it from the outside, and the views of the surrounding area, were quite unreal. We made our way around the castle to a bridge that overlooked it from a distance and got some really great pictures. We were getting kind of hungry though so we finally took off back down the mountain, which took a lot less time! We had jagerschnitzel and spaghetti (guess who had which lol) at the bottom, and went to the bus stop to wait for our ride back to Fussen. I happened to look up, and said to Jen "Is that Grace?!" Sure enough we ran into Grace Chong and her mother in this tiny little town of Fussen! WQe walked back to their bed and breakfast and caught  up with each other on how our trips were going! Their B&B was amazing, and they drove us back to our hostel so we wouldnt have to take the bus. We grabbed our bags, checked out, and went to the train station across the street to see if a train was coming soon, or if we could walk around with them some more. Turns out, one was leaving in 15 minutes, and we got it WAY cheaper than we thought we would because we asked the ticket lady what our best option was. So we said goodbye to Grace and her mom, and got on the now-5-hour train ride to Rothenburg. Trainride = uneventful, cool scenery, read kindles. When we finally got to Rothenburg, we walked towards the city center. The best way to describe it is to say it is like a real lifeHarry Potter world from universal, but bigger, with no snow, and in German. It seriously looked like it was put together like an amusement park attraction! We walked around for a while trying to find somewhere MODERATELY affordable (and barely did). We went to get something small to eat since all the shops and most restaurants were closing, and truned in for the night. We will explore more of it tomorrow, then head on to Frankfurt! Goodnight! Prost!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Sunday, May 12
 We woke up around 9-9:15 this morning and leisurely got our stuff organized and repacked before heading to the train station to go to Munich! We had granola bars for breakfast and got to the train station right on time to board the train and leave. We got to Munich around lunchtime and went in search (carrying our heavy backpacks) for a place to stay! We wanted to stay close to the Hofbrauhaus (famous beer garden) so we took a tram to the city center to begin our search! After about 30 min of walking and getting a quote from "the cheapest hotel in the area" for 160 euro/night, we decided to take a tram back to the main train station and find a cheaper place to stay there! We succeeded and found a youth hostel for 13 euro per person/night! The hostel was fairly nice but sharing a room with 10 other people is not easy and neither of us slept very well. However, it was cheap and near the tram so we were happy! After locking all our stuff up, we went to a thai restaurant nearby for lunch. IT WAS SOOOO GOOD! We had sweet and soup soup, mini spring rolls, and thai curry chicken. After lunch, we found an internet cafe to wish our wonderful mothers who we love SOO much a Happy Mothers Day, then walked to the Hofbrauhaus! We were there a loooong time... Around 5 hours! We originally sat next to a man from Romania and a women from Norway (in their late twenties) who met in the middle to catch up, and made friends with them! After about an hour, a big group of people from a month long tour came in and 4 of them asked to sit at our table so we made room for them. There were two couples, one married and one in a long term relationship, all from Australia. We made friends with them fast and learned that their tour consisted of 12 countries in 28 days so they only had a day or two in each country! They were very interesting and we learned a lot about the cost of houses in Australia, the differences in education for teachers, dogs, and much more! For example, a teacher in Australia is required to have a bachelors degree in the subject they want to teach and have a starting salary of 50K (big difference). On our right, there was a couple from Texas that said "we kept getting all the good people" and wanted to join in on the conversation so we made friends with them as well! When they couple from Texas left, we moved tables to sit with the rest of the people from the tour. There were 45 of them (all best friends since it was at the end of their tour) and they quickly welcomed us into their group! 4 hours had passed by this point and the amount of beers and in my case, pretzels with beer cheese, was getting large. The group we were sitting with was also getting rowdy so the waitress cut us off from beer (which i found strange being that it was the famous Hofbrauhaus and IIII had only had two half liters) but we were about ready to leave anyways! We got back to the hostel around 10pm, read some, and went to sleep!

Monday,  May 13
Neither of us slept very well in the hostel so we woke up around 7:45 am when everyone else was getting up! We quickly got ready and left for the center center to rent bikes for the day since it wasn't raining for the first time in days. On the way to the train station, we stopped for hot chocolate, a muffin for me, and a pretzel with cheese and bacon for Blake (very average breakfast). We got to the bike rental place around 9:45 (right when they opened) and rented bikes. The owner of the shop was from Hawaii and was very cool! He recommended we go to the English Park Gardens first followed by Olympic park! It took us about 20 minutes to get to the English Park Gardens and by the time we got there we were freezing. The park was beautiful though! It was a nice change riding bikes in the beautiful park as opposed to walking around the city center. At the beginning of the park there was an artificial wave in the river where people could surf! It looked very hard to do but the people we were watching were good at it and made it look pretty easy (Blake got a video so we will show you later). We went further into the park and came across a pond FULL of ducks and swans! There were cute little baby ducks i followed around for a while to take pictures...  until the mama duck started hissing at me. Thennn it started raining. Cold and wet are not a good combination so we decided to eat at a relatively close by mexican restaurant for lunch. We definitely need to teach Germans how to make mexican food because it was pretty bad! After lunch, we ventured out into the cold long enough to return the bikes, shop for a stein, and then head back to the hostel to do laundry! A couple hours later, we headed to the train station to meet up for the Beer Challenge tour, which was supposed to take us to a few different bars, tell us the history of the bier garden, and buy us a few beers. However, Blake and I were the only two who signed up for the tour and there was a five person minimum so it was canceled :/ the tour guide was really nice though (he played football at UGA and got a coaching job in Germany) and gave us a free beer anyway and told us a few non-touristy bier gardens to go to! We met up with one of Blakes fraternity brothers and his girlfriend we ran into and decided to go on our own beer crawl! We went to four different bier gardens and drank way too much beer for having to wake up before 7 (Blake especially). The first beir garden we went to, the Augustiner, was recommended by the tour guide so we decided to give it a try! The second bier garden was built in 1455 and  all their beers were still brewed at the monastery! The third bier garden was all wheat beers and Blake got a half liter of beer that was 12% alcohol! Aside from hofbrauhaus, that was my favorite bier garden of the night because I got wheat beer mixed with lemonade and it was delicious! We ended the night at hofbrauhaus and somehow still made it home safe!! Overall, great night :) 

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Hallo everybody! I doubt many people other than family are even reading this, so we are probably going to switch over to posting every 2 days or so. The ipad wont let us type these on it so we either have to find a computer or do it on my phone! Anyways, yesterday we caught a train to Salzburg out of Vienna. We got there early, but after sitting for a while, we didnt see anything about our train on any of the information boards. We finally asked someone, and they said that it left from a train station on the other side of Vienna. So we ran to the metro line, got to the other side of town, and literally ran onto our train as it was starting to move! One cool thing on all of our trains so far is we have sat in places that seem way to nice for our second class pass, but no one has said anything to us, so I guess we'll just keep doing it until we cant! It was a beautifully green ride the closer we got to Salzburg, and when we got off, we found out our hotel was just down the road from the station. The signage wasnt the best, but we found it eventually, and it is even nicer than the place in Vienna! In contrast to our Malaysia trip, we feel like kings thus  far on this one! Apparently there aren't really hostels here in Salzburg. We walked about 20 minutes down to the river and crossed it into what we have been calling "city center". I'm not sure thats the best name for it, but its a quaint little section of town with tons of shopping and very old-world. It was a little rainy and overcast ever since we got off of the train, but it sort of fit the area. We walked around the alleys (seeing a trend here?), shared a kaseweiner, and made our way back to where our hotel was. We were tired of doing NOTHING with our nights though, and as no one seemed to be able to help us find any type of nightlife here in Salzburg outside of some bars with 3 old dudes watching miscellaneous sports, we decided to catch a movie. It just so happened that 1 of only 2 movies they were showing in English that day was starting 2 minutes from when we got there, so we watched Star Trek last night in 3D! Im sure the Great Gadsby is excellent, but Star Trek was amazing also! Highly recommend it! After it got out, we were pretty hungry, so we found some little diner/restaurant/indoor food stand to grab a bite at. I ordered a Doner Kebab, and Jen had a Diavolo pizza. They were the same price so we figured the pizza was a littler personal pan one, but when the food came out, my Doner was as big as my head and Jen's pizza was barely smaller than a medium Hungry Howies! Needless to say, we had leftovers, and that was our breakfast today. We woke up around 9, walked down to the train station, and caught a train to Werfen about 25 miles south of Salzburg. Once again, we misread the ticket, finally asked for help, and ended up running on to our train. After about an hour, we arrived in Werfen and were JUST in time to catch the bus up the mountain to the reason we went to Werfen: the ice caves. Little did we know that once the bus dropped us off at the "top" it was a 20 minute steep walk to a cable car that dropped us off even higher, followed by ANOTHER 20 minute steep walk to the entrance to the cave. We were out of breath. We arrived just in time to catch a tour guide taking a group in, so we hopped in with them. It was cool, they gave every couple people this homemade lantern that consisted of a kerosene tin with a little flame coming out of the front with a metal plate behind the flame to direct the light! Anyways, we were worried the caves would be underwhelming, but they were the exact opposite. We walked up at least 500 meters and 1km deep into this cave, the whole time surrounded by gigantic ice features! We didnt understand a word the tour guide said, so we didn't learn too much about them, but it was definitely an amazing experience. By the time we made it back down the 2 climbs, we were just in time for the bus that took us back down the rest of the mountain. The recurring theme of yesterday and today has been "just in time". It is insane how well timing has worked out for us these past two days! Once at the bottom, we were still freezing from the caves so we grabbed some hot chocolate and talked to an English couple for about an hour. They were a really neat couple who own a bed and breakfast in the countryside of England! We could have talked for longer, but we still had not eaten so we said goodbye and found a restaurant down the street. We each had pasta, Jen had wine, and I had beer. We had an hour and a half until our train back so Jen had a lot of wine and I had a lot of beer. The trip back to Salzburg did not seem quite as long! Once back though we settled down for a while, glad to not be climbing any more mountains for the day, and eventually made it back out for a Doner that we split since we ate such a late lunch. Tomorrow we head to Munich, not sure what we are doing or where we are staying, but we will let you know when we find out! Love you guys! Prost!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


The train ride to Austria was roughly 5 hours and went by very fast! Blake had never been on a train so it was extra exciting! He thought it was better than a plane and very relaxing despite the fact that all he could do was sit by the window and look out since he gets sick reading in moving objects. When we got to Vienna, we left the train station to head to our hotel before realizing we had no idea where we were going and couldn't read any of the street names. I'd say it was "all Greek to me" but I've been there, done that, and it definitely wasn't greek! We decided the best plan would be to go back to the train station and ask someone who spoke english. The hotel was a couple miles away so we took a bus closer and then spent another 20 minutes figuring out the address system before finally finding it. We were pleasanly surprised by the hotel though! It is 4 star and very nice for costing less than any of the hostels in town... guess a little research pays off! When we checked in, the receptionist was very friendly and gave us a city map with some recommendations of things to do/see/eat. By the time we put all our stuff in the room, it was around 9pm and most of the restaurants in our part of town had closed (apparently there is an Austrian holiday this weekend so everything is closed). We settled on a place called Schnitzel King and ended up being pretty happy. We both had schnityel with fries, it was like Austrian fast food!! The next morning we woke up and started walking around the city. The first place we went was to the Natural History museum, which had the Bodies exhibit. It was sooo cool/weird and disgusting but fun! We then walked around the museum for another hour or so before realizing we didnt eat breakfast and were staring so we left and went in search of food. We found a cute little restaurant in the middle of Graben Street and ate there, nothing special. We spent the rest of the day walking around the city seeing old things and new things but nothing particularly memorable. Our favorite thing was a GIANT park, probably 3 miles long with literally everything in it. There were soccer fields, skate parks, volleyball courts, tight ropes to walk on, amusement park rides, and tons of open space to name a few. The weather was beautiful so we enjoyed just walking around and taking it all in. Around 7 we got hungry and Blake found this AMAZING Indian restaurant for dinner. Dad, you would have LOVED it... be jealous! We got two different kinds of chicken curry and beef curry with roti and rice. After dinner, we decided to walk back to the hotel instead of take the train (another 2.5- 3 mile walk). Tomorrow we plan on heading to Salzburg and either renting bikes or going to the ice caves in Werfen. We also think we found a companty to go canyoning with on Saturday! Love you all! Prost!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Good morning everyone! Yesterday was a FULL one spent exploring Prague! We woke up around 7:30 and were out the door by 8. It was a stereotypically Eastern European rainy morning, but more like a sprinkle. Our place is in what is called "Prague 3", while the attractions of Prague are in Prague 1. Not sure about the number system, but what it pretty much meant is we had a 20-30 minute walk to the touristy area. We didnt exactly know where we were going but we just followed some tram tracks until we saw a bunch of people, and those people eventually lead us to our destination. First thing we did was buy a map, and right as we rounded a corner to head down the main road to Old Town, we see firefighters putting out a car that had been on fire! At the same time, police had cordoned off an area where a helicopter was landing farther down the road. Needless to say, our first experience in Prague was not typical/boring! We spent the morning walking around old town where there are tons of historic sites like the astronomical clock tower, St Nicholas Church, and just old timey buildings. Everything in this area was older than our country. After popping into a few places, we crossed the famous Charles bridge into New Town. At the very top of New Town is the Prague castle, so about 30 flights of stairs later we were there. We happened to be just in time for the changing of the guard, and then we continued into the castle. The St Vincent Cathedral right at the front of the castle was amazingly huge and ornate, something we thought to see in Vatican City more than in Prague! We took our time going back down the stairs, and made our way back to Old Town. We split a chicken gyro from a food stall for late lunch, and toured the Jewish section of town. It was pretty creepy seeing the Jewish cemetery and how many tombstones they had crammed in such a small area from the ghettos of old. By this point we had been walking for 8 hours, so we climbed back uphill to our place for a nap. We left again around 8 for dinner, which was very traditional Czech cuisine in Old Town. Jen had steak in garlic sauce and I had a roast pork knee. We walked around for a little in the lights of old town after to settle our food, then made our way back to turn in for the night. We had planned on doing a bar crawl but we were so full and tired we decided we will just do one in Germany. Today we hop on a train to Vienna where we will be for a day or two, so be sure to Facebook us anything you think we should "Czech out" (couldn't resist). We hope to go canyoning/paragliding/whitewater rafting while there, but we'll be sure to keep y'all up to date! Prost!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Hey everyone, were safe! We landed around 1pm Monday (6am Panama City time). We got to the guesthouse around 3pm and decided to take a little nap before exploring. Ended up passing out until 4 in the morning! The flight from Miami to London was exhausting! Heathrow was really cool, they were handing out free scotch/bourbon shots at duty free so Blake was having a good time. It was kind of rainy when we got to Prague, but we paid 32 crowns (around $2) to take a bus and tram to where we are staying. The place is great, the staff was very sweet, and a 6 or 7 year old girl was who showed us to our room. She said "you can just pay whenever!" They also never checked our bus tickets so they must go by the honor code...they sure are trusting here! We don't have wifi at the guesthouse so we will update whenever we can! No set plans today except walk around, explore, and sight see (Blake says drink too)! Prost!