After Shaun hogging the blog duties so far, I have been given the responsibility and creative freedom on updating you on the latest leg of our journey...
So after our first experience of a large dorm room (10 bed) in the 4you hostel in Munich, I think setting a upper limit of 6 beds per room is in order! I had the worst night sleep of my life on Tuesday, our first night (or so I thought). Being the only girl in the room and the general smell of sweaty balls wasn't my idea of a nice place to rest after an 8 hour journey. Shaun seemed right at home though. The location of the hostel was great, 2 min from the central train station and the free breakfast was awesome so that made up the unfortunate sleeping arrangements.
Our first full day in Munich was great and the city seemed a lot more welcoming than on our night of arrival. In fact it is a lovely, big city full of amazing architecture, culture and spectacular scenery. Shaun was (and has been since Bruges) a little gutted about missing the Christmas Markets, which in every city so far have only appeared to be setting up, and only opening after we have left. Nonetheless, after walking around for the morning and early afternoon, we stumbled upon a gorgeous smelling food market which offered some form of consolation.
After deliberating whether or not to buy food, we decided that the best form of contemplation is over a cold beer, so we headed to search for another one of Dom Joly's European drinking establishments (is there a pattern forming here?). After being pointed to the right direction by a helpful local lady, we entered the famous Hofbrauhaus in sheer amazement. Apparently this was the first staging point for the Nazi party rallies, but I'm happy to confirm those dark shadows were replaced with jolly Bavarian waitresses and Leder-hosen sporting locals. In fact, we were that impressed with the Hofbrauhaus that later that night we returned for a Bratwurst and Sauerkraut dinner accompanied by a few litres (literally 1 litre tankards, that's almost 2 pints to you Brits). Whilst in the beer-hall, we befriended Ben and Dirk (two friends from Australia and Germany respectively) as well as Paul, a 60 year old beer and football enthusiast who pretty much brought us all together and made the night what it was. Paul has lived in Munich all his life and told us that his dad and his granddad had both frequented the Hofbrauhaus, which proves it's popularity through the ages!
Day 7 almost started with me being escorted to a high-security prison as I felt like murdering a snoring Polish guy who slept in the bottom bunk next to mine... Thankfully after breakfast I managed to catch a couple of hours of better quality sleep, so you'll be glad to know there is no blood on my hands. I NEED my sleep, and while I sleep, Shaun reads. We've joked about how by the end of this Shaun is going to be amazingly educated and well-read (he's already 3/4 of the way through his 3rd book; I'm not even half-way through my first), and myself, ummm, well-slept?
After my kip, we ventured out and visited the Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich, obviously more for Shaun's benefit... :) Afterwards we had a lovely stroll through the English Gardens, which is a massive park in the middle of the city, similar to Central Park of New York. The sunny day was perfect for taking in a bit of greenery, litte lakes and cute rivers. At this point we'd noticed that a singular crow that appeared to be following us the last few days (pictures of proof to follow). Some might say there is more than one crow in Munich; these people are just bang wrong.
On our return to the hostel, to my delight we were graced by the presence of two more females in our room; really personable Australian ladies called Phoebe and Mel. After our get-to-know-you chat, they headed out for beers whilst we had the intentions of sitting in our dorm playing hangman for the evening, as our train left early the next morning towards Prague. This lasted for 45 minutes. We ventured down to the hostel bar and got chatting to some great people; Dave from Canada, Scott from Liverpool/Birmingham and Tom and Leona from our own back yard - Stretford! The free shots with every pint did enough to damage our inhibitions and so, once again, we were blind drunk only hours before our rather large train journey. Will we ever learn??
Waking up to cold sweats (of my own this time), we found the Prague-bound train surprisingly easily and got a 6-seat compartment to ourselves for most of the 6 hour journey. Funny thought, we're still to have our passports checked since arriving in Belgium, guess this really is an open Europe. It was immediately evident once we had entered the Czech Republic as the buildings and the scenery still appeared hungover from the Russian ruling. Walls were crumbling and decayed buildings were left to rot on road sides. Cars seemed to be running on the sheer willpower of the hardworking Czechs, such was their age. It was by all means very intriguing; We were definitely heading East now.
We arrived late afternoon at our hostel, Prague's Heaven, located a little outside of the city centre. After being greeted by the sweetest lady called Ann and being immediately impressed by her hospitality, the homely feel of the place (seriously this is more like a guest house) and the private double room, we decided to extend our stay by a further night to ensure that batteries were fully recharged. That evening, we dined in an authentic Czech restaurant in the local vicinity, which seemingly allowed indoor smoking and despite a language barrier issue causing a mix up with our food, we still very much enjoyed the meal and actually feeling out of our comfort zone. I (silly me) decided that we should ask the waitress how to say thank you in Czech. As she didn't understand the question, this escalated into a massive ordeal where she initially thought that we wanted the 'cheque'. Then she thought we wanted a coke. Then she thought we wanted to thank the chef for the meal. Fortunately, he eventually understood our question. Thank you = děkuji (pronounced dick-ooh-wee). This all was at least great amusement for the chain-smoking locals.
We ended our night early and got some well needed rest. We'll 'Czech' back in to update you on the rest of our adventures in Prague and beyond. Oh, and Shaun didn't give me all the creative freedom he initially promised... the s*** (<- he even made me write this!) :)