I got home Monday night (October 10th) from a nice 14 hours of flying back from Europe (actually is was cramped at tiring, but part of traveling) where I spent two weeks traveling with a good friend from high school, Janel, and had an amazing adventure.
Rather than splitting up my trip into three parts; one for Munich, one for Paris, and one for South Ireland, or writing a bunch of daily posts on how it all went, I’ve decided to just give a summary of my trip and allow for people to ask questions. The pictures included in the post will be more useful than anything else. Hopefully you can find the info if not enjoyable, perhaps useful!
Now to start talking about my trip…
Getting to Munich was the first part. We left at Portland, had a layover in Amsterdam, and arrived Munich on the 28th around 2pm. We settled into our host’s place (a coworker’s brother’s place) and went out to explore the town.
Munich was an awesome place with a lot to offer. Though bustling with people, it never really felt too busy unless we were trying to get in/out of Oktoberfest; which meant I saw a lot of people since I went to Oktoberfest three of the four nights I was in Munich. Not all my time was spent at Oktoberfest, most of it was spent in the city and around the area. Just the evenings were mostly spent there enjoying this worldly popular German drinking festival. Though most people know of it as a drinking festival, there are also a lot of rides and other carnival type events at the fest; however most of my time was spent partaking in the popular event – drinking. We wandered into some of the huge Bulvarian tents, but sadly never found seating so we made our way into the “garden” (seating around the tent for those slackers who didn’t reserve a table early – like me). This was an exceptional place to enjoy the fest since the weather was wonderful. We met a number of locals and had a killer time – fining around 10 liters of beer over the three evenings at the fest – good times!
Other than Oktoberfest, we enjoyed BMW World, the center of the city around the town hall, went to Olympic Park and made it up the tower overlooking most all of Munich, and three castles/palaces!
The castles were probably my favorite part of my trip. In order of my least favorite to most:
- Nymphenburg Palace – Huge palace very close to Munich
- Linderhof Palace – Beautiful palace where Ludwig II spent most of his time living. Note: There is over 5Kg of gold leafed throughout this palace.
- Neuschwanstein Castle – One of the most amazing sites I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. This place is beautiful. It was remarkable walking up the path to this castle and seeing how big it truly is; completely breathtaking!
These castles were intense! Things I’ve always dreamed of seeing I was able to see and enjoy by walking around and hearing the history of these places. Definitely a part of my trip I would like to do again!
Most of the rest of time spent at Munich was hanging out with my host and getting to know him. He was awesome! Thanks so much Hoang and his step-dad for hosting us!!!
After departing Munich by train we ended up in Paris, France. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. This popular city, though I really enjoyed it, was pretty overrated. So many people say how poetic Paris is, and it has its high points (like seeing Paris when it is dark out is so beautiful), but during the day however it was just a busy tourist trap. Perhaps that was my view of the place because most of our time was spent going to the common touristy spots. Guess I’ll have to go back and spend my time doing other things before I can really say one way or the other.
Our host in Paris, an awesome guy I met off CouchSurfing.org named Faou, was great. He gave us so many useful bits of information and a great way to tour the city. He also was a lot of fun as we went out with him most every night we were there. My favorite part of Paris was the first night and the last. The first night Faou took us out, had us pick up some wine and bread, and we went to a Park near where we were staying which was full of hundreds of people just hang out enjoying the day. No event was going on, just people taking in the sun and other comforts. We ended up spending the evening drinking wine, eating bread and cheese, and just enjoying the music dancing in the park. It was fantastic! The last night was spent on the steps of Montmartre looking over the city enjoying the music of a brass instrument band. These are what gave me the best view of what Paris has to offer and I loved it for that.
On top of picnicking around Paris we saw so much:
- Montmartre – huge church built due to a terrible war – people have been praying 24hrs a day for 125 years+
- Moulin Rouge – Didn’t see a show (100+ Euro) – but did see the windmill
- Trocadéro – beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower
- Eiffel Tower – got to cut through the lines to the top thanks to a newly-wed couple from Germany/Italy.
- Musée de l’Armée – War Museum – bunch of stuff of Napoleon’s
- The Lions – Paris bar where we had the weekly meetup – played my first experience of French billiards/pool
- Notre Dame – old church with huge bells!
- St. Michel Fountain – awesome!
- Luxembourg Gardens – beautiful park full of relaxation
- Canal tour of Paris sites – great tour of the city at night
- Catacombs of Paris – tons and tons and tons of bones!
So many sites in such a short amount of time in the area. So many amazing people met along the way!
Next destination – Ireland!
We took a flight over from Paris to Dublin which didn’t cause many issues at all – thankfully! Getting into Dublin itself from the airport was quite a pretty site. The grass in Ireland is so green and lush – reminded me of home more than any of the other locations. Unlike our time in Munich and Paris – where most of the time was spent in each city, our time in Dublin on the other hand was pretty short. Most of our time was roaming the south part of the island on a tour with a bunch of Australians, Americans, and Canadians. Most of them were Australian which was A-okay with me since they were a ton of fun and can hold their liquor! (I even got them to try a beer made in Oregon by Rogue Brewery – Dead Guy (a favorite of mine) Their accents were also pretty awesome (probably my next big trip will be there). Though Dublin had a lot to offer (Guinness, Jameson, etc., etc.) it wasn’t the highlight of what I wanted to see in Ireland.
Ireland is quite spread out and to see everything takes driving. Since we didn’t want to spend a ton on renting a car, learning to drive on the wrong side of the car/road, we decided we just go on a bus tour. It was a ton of fun though felt kinda rushed at times. Saw a lot along the way though:
- Rock of Cashel – cool castle with a cross that was struck by lightning.
- Golden Vale
- Blarney Castle – yeah, I kissed the Blarney Stone!
- Killarney – great Irish city with a fun comedy show, live Irish musicians, and a night club – awesome times.
- Dingle Peninsula – they have a cool dolphin named Fungi
- Coumeennole Beach – left part of my soul here which I have to return and get before 20 years are up.
- County Clare
- Ennis – another fun city full of Irish pubs with local musicians
- Cliffs of Moher (Cliffs of Insanity from Princess Bride) – the one place I REALLY wanted to see in Ireland – it was one of the foggiest days ever – couldn’t see jack!
- Galway – fun city before we headed back to Dublin
Ireland was beautiful. So many places to get lost in and see. Sadly, the last part of our trip kept me from seeing some things I really wanted to see (Cliffs of Moher), but that just means I’ll have to go back.
My trip was a blast; not much could have made it a ton better. There are just a few things I would have changed, but overall – it was an awesome experience. If you would like to know more, then please write me in the comment section or get a hold of me some other way!
Here’s to my next adventure!