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Ten Days in Europe (Eurotrip!)

March 28, 2007

Day 1-2: Frankfurt/Mannheim, Germany

  • After an interesting cab ride to the airport (Cabby: some of my best times have been with ugly girls) I met up with Justin, Goose, Tom, and Dustin at a DTW airport bar where we had the worst waitress evar and (per usual) just made the flight (final boarding call).
  • The plane ride from DTW to FRA only took six hours owing to a strong jet stream and I watched Casino Royale, Stranger than Fiction, and took a six minute nap.
  • We took an ICE 3 train from FRA to Dustin’s sister’s house (Dani) in Mannheim where we each had like four beers at noon with her mom (awesome!) and then fell asleep until 9pm.
  • Went to a random bar in Mannheim with some of Dani’s friends which featured a stock market on drinks. There was a big board and the beer/liquor prices changed depending on demand. Dustin ended up drinking five cappachinos and not being able to fall asleep until 7am. I tried a bier-mix (Coke and beer) and was disgusted. Goose had a headache. Tom tried to buy an kunstliche vagina for Dustin.
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Day 2-6: Munich, Germany

  • Took the train from Mannheim to Munchen (Munich) where we had a room booked at the awesome Wombat’s hostel.
  • We met some friendly Americans who were studying in Italy (Mona, Brooke, Corey) and named them the “Fauxtalians.” As it was Saint Patrick’s day the first night, we decided some heavy drinking was in order, so we went to the Hofbrauhaus and another random Munich bar. The Hofbrauhaus was a very good time: the beers were huge and delicious, our waiter was awesomely terrible, Justin was drinking liter’s of beer at once, and Mona had her spirits taken away (that I gave to her as a symbol of my undying love). The night ended with Justin wandering off from the second bar, Dustin passing out on the sidewalk, and me getting spilled on by creepy Italians.
  • Justin bought this Devil Rabbit Rotwein (Red Wine) Liquor which ended up being not-horrible and was actually a lot of fun to drink.
  • The second day, we went to the Deutsches Museum right before it closed, which was a really neat collection of all things technical through Germany’s past.
  • The third day, I went to Aviation Museum at the Schleißheim airfield. I actually got off at the wrong S-Bahn stop, so I got to spend about two hours wandering through a random German suburb which was kinda neat. The Schleißheim airfield was an important base for the Luftwaffe in World War II, and it was unfortunate to find that the museum mentioned very little about that.
  • The fourth day, we went to Newschwanstein Castle, which is in the running for one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Seeing this gigantic castle sitting atop a hill which almost bankrupted the Bavarian state was an incredible sight, especially as it was framed by falling snow.
  • The fifth day we went to the Dachau concentration camp outside of Munich. I thought they’ve done a very good job of preserving the camp and offering a ton of information on its role during the war (in English).
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Day 7-8: Vienna, Austria

  • Within a few hours of arriving at our hostel (Wombat’s again), we realized that we were right in the middle of the Red Light District. We even saw a deal go down, signaled by a hooker running down the street in six-inch heels and getting into a car which promptly peeled off.
  • We spent our first morning in downtown Vienna, checking out old buildings (awesome architecture!) and visiting a museum for medievil weaponry. Dustin’s shoes were bothering him, so he replaced his socks with toilet paper, we were called “American Tourists” for sneaking into Austria’s National Library for free internet, and we saw 87 dogs (Hunds).
  • We thought we could sneak in a trip to Bratislava (Slovakia) in the morning, but were thwarted by the infrequent and untimely bus/water taxi schedule to get there. Instead, we went to the Hapsburg Palace in Vienna, which was the center of Austrian power for 600 years. It ended up being this humongous estate with a maze, miles of paths, amazing views of the city, and a castle. For some reason, Nordic Walking was huge at the Palace, and we saw many people nordic skiing, only without skis and snow and gear.
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Day 9-10: Heidelberg Mannheim Frankfurt, Germany

  • We decided at the last minute to spend our second to last night in Heidelberg, Germany instead of Frankfurt, which ended up being the gem of the trip. Heidelberg is an old-school German town, complete with cobblestone streets and a castle, all of which largely escape Allied bombing in World War II.
  • Our hostel experience in Heidelberg started off pretty bad — the “inkeeper” was fairly incompetent and had Tom and I go on a wild goose chase through Heidelbergto find our room, while the others got put into a hallway room with a 50yr old couple from Tennessee. After an hour of confusion, the owner met up with us and we got everything cleared up.
  • The nightlife in Heidelberg was pretty insane — packed bars, gigantic drinks, undercover pimps/prostitutes (haha), and other craziness.
  • Our final night we spent at Dani’s house in Mannheim, watching Harry Potter and having some brew. It was nice to have a “night off” after going out every night.
  • The flight home was fairly uneventful, save the guy sitting ahead of Tom and I feeling “lightheaded” on the descent in a veiled attempt to get the hot German girl sitting next to him to take care of him. I took second place in an all-plane trivia game, and watched The Incredibles, Young Frankenstein and took a 37 minute nap.
  • It was our pilot’s final flight after 30 years of service and we were treated with a near three point landing upon arriving at DTW.
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Other Thoughts

  • We were 3 for 3 on the stereotype that all Italians are creepy, 2 for 2 on the stereotype that all Brazilians are creepy, and 1 for 1 that all Finns puke loudly in the morning
  • Dogs in Europe are like well-behaved human babies — people take them everywhere, often without a leash, and its no big deal
  • Shouting Off and Night Terrors are so in right now (COBRAS!)
  • The Germans know what Slange Saft is, haha
  • I must have thought the Centigrade->Fahrenheit conversion was 9/5+64 because I packed really poorly on the trip and was cold the whole time, and now I’m sick 🙁
  • Dani (Dustin’s sister) and her family in Mannheim were great to us. Thanks a ton!
  • Hostels are a great way to meet people. We met a lot of really cool people including a fun Australian (Bronwyn), the Fauxtalians, et al.
  • Having not met Justin before, spending ten days in Europe with a stranger could have gone very bad (think: Fratastic Phil) but he ended up being very cool and we all had an awesome time.
  • All in all, the trip went really really well (no fights, arrests, lost passports, anything).
  • Smoking is huge in Europe — it’s hard to go out anywhere in public without coming back smelling like cigarettes.
  • Germans don’t drink tap water, so it’s either bier, carbonated water (ugh), or Coke
  • Crouton is Croo-toe in German
  • Justin is secretly Harry Potter
  • My German, which I hadn’t had since 2001, improved a ton. I’m probably a 4 out of 10 at speaking it now. It was actually hard to practice because a) people would only respond to you in English if they could tell you weren’t a native speaker and b) some people couldn’t tell what you were saying, or chose not to, if it wasn’t pefect.
  • Creepy is unheimlich in German
  • I highly recommend Wombat’s Hostels when staying in Berlin, Munich, or Vienna.
  • Dustin’s blog from Munich here
  • Gallery of pictures from the trip here
  • It does feel good to be back in the states where I can go out without smelling like smoke, I can get more than 3 hours of sleep/night, and I can get water ohne gas for zero dollars.
  • Next trip: South America, Berlin, or Reykjavik

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4 Comments

  • 1. crouton  |  March 28, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Nice recap Pete! I’m still trying to catch up on lost sleep.

  • 2. anonymous  |  March 28, 2007 at 10:54 am

    I’m in for sure if you go to South America!

  • 3. TJ2000  |  March 28, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    You forgot about 1/1 for all Finn’s wearing tight red underpants

  • 4. Christ Scientist  |  March 29, 2007 at 5:48 am

    Also 4/4 that all Brittish girls are cute and don’t like us.


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