eurotrip recap part 2: munich snaps + schloss neuschwanstein
hopefully you have had a chance to read my first eurotrip recap post [and if you haven’t, go check it out!] where i gave a rundown of my experience at oktoberfest, a.k.a. one of the most fun weekends of my life, and while oktoberfest was what brought us to Munich, we did have some time to explore the city beyond the festival grounds. below are a few pictures i took [not the best quality due to the high volumes of beer i was drinking] throughout the weekend while strolling around, taking it all in!
[augustiner biergarten, where we ate/drank one evening]
now onto day 4: after what was basically one of the craziest days of my life [see eurotrip recap part 1, day 3], we decided to take a day trip to schloss neuschwanstein, a castle in the mountains outside of munich that i have dreamed about visiting since i first saw pictures of it many, many years ago. i couldn’t wait to check this one off of the bucket list! i mean, it inspired cinderella’s castle, so like, what girl wouldn’t want to visit this place?! we booked a day trip through mike’s bike tours and had a great experience… the bikes were such a great addition [and a great way to get some exercise in on vacation]! the castle is absolutely beautiful and the history behind it is so fascinating.
to get to the castle we walked about 20 minutes up a hill from the village of schwangau, which is home to a smaller castle where king ludwig II [the king who built neuschwanstein] grew up and dreamed about the castle he would one day build in the gorge near his childhood home. honestly, the pictures don’t even come close to doing this place justice.
[biking in the countryside below neuschwanstein… felt like a fairytale!]
[my mom, my brother + myself with a castle just casually in the background. nbd.]
[how perfect is this view?!]
the last picture is the view of the castle from marienbrücke, a bridge that spans the gorge where neuschwanstein is built. directly behind me was a beautiful waterfall that feeds into the small creek below the castle. the bridge is not very big and was packed full of other people trying to take pictures and due to my extreme fear of heights [have i mentioned that before?] i couldn’t bring myself to hang around long enough to get a picture of that.
we did take a tour of the inside of the castle, which i definitely recommend doing. the interior of the castle was only partially completed because ludwig died mysteriously while it was being constructed, and the 14 rooms [of the total 200] that they take you through on the tour are the only ones that were completed before his death. it definitely left me with a little bit of an eerie feeling, walking through this gorgeous castle that was left unfinished under mysterious circumstances that are still debated to this day.
after our day at neuschwanstein, we arrived back in munich and headed to the train station to catch the night train to my new favorite european city [and topic of the next eurotrip recap post]… budapest!
eurotrip recap part 1: oktoberfest 2014!
happy friday, guys! i hope you had a great week and have lots to look forward to this weekend. rather than doing another recipe or post about “try this to be healthier!” today, i thought i would close off the week with a recap of the first leg of my recent trip to europe, which was spent in munich, germany at oktoberfest!
oktoberfest was the entire reason this trip even happened. one sunday funday last summer, a group of friends and i somehow ended up on the topic… and a few weeks later we had hotel rooms booked. no other plans, no flights, just a hotel in munich for the first weekend of oktoberfest. hotels and hostels book up fairly early since it’s such a huge event that attracts binge drinkers from all over the world, so having this locked down early is something you need to do if you don’t want to sleep in a public park all weekend [yes, i know people who have done this].
day 1: we arrived in munich on the friday before oktoberfest began, so we had some time to explore the city before the madness started. we grabbed a few beers and walked through the city, eventually over to the oktoberfest grounds to scope everything out and then made our way to the englischer garten, a beautiful park located outside of the city center. the seehaus beirgarten sits on the park’s small lake, which is where we decided to have our first steins, brezn [pretzels!!!] and other traditional german fare.
[enjoying our first steins of the weekend at the seehaus biergarten.]
day 2: saturday, september 20th. the first day of oktoberfest 2014. the day we had all been anticipating for months was finally here! we woke up early, like… 5:00am early… and made our way to the schottenhamel tent, where the mayor of munich taps the honorary oktoberfest kegs every year. obviously, when checking something like oktoberfest off of your bucket list, it’s really necessary to go big or go home. the doors would open at 9:00am and the first steins would be served at 12:00pm, but getting there early was the only way to have a chance at getting a seat inside the tent. unfortunately, arriving at 6:00am was still not enough time to guarantee us a seat. by the time we made it into the tent, all of the tables were taken and we had no choice but to sit outside, still at schottenhamel tables, but away from all of the official keg tapping festivities. so, if you ever plan on going to the first weekend of oktoberfest and want to see the tapping of the kegs, get on line like, four or five hours early.
as always, we made the best of a not-so-ideal situation and as soon as the beer started flowing, it didn’t matter that we were outside… we were in munich at oktoberfest drinking beer by the stein. i mean, how bad could life really be at that point?
[our first official oktoberfest steins at the schottenhamel tent… prost!]
we eventually wandered out of the tent and explored the rest of the festival a little bit. oktoberfest isn’t only about drinking [although this is certainly the primary focus] and there are other things to do, like eat german style food [pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, apfelstrudel, etc.], play games and win tacky prizes and ride the carnival rides. it was also fun to see all of the people dressed in trachten [traditional bavarian dress] and to walk around and take in the ridiculousness of seeing drunk people just passed out all over the place… ahhhh, oktoberfest.
[girls dressed in dirndls… next time i will get one of my own!]
[do not be fooled, this ride was not scary…. at all.]
[just a couple of people that i don’t know taking a midday nap in the middle of the street!]
day 3: so, this day…. this day… was really, really something. we got ourselves to the hofbräu tent around 10:30am [sundays at oktoberfest are typically a little quieter than saturdays], waited only 15 minutes before securing a table and got down to business. we quickly made friends with our neighbors [some guys from norway, a few from canada, a very drunk german kid who loved how i met your mother], attempted to learn a german drinking song or two and before i knew it, I had lost track of how many steins i had finished. the rest of the day was all a blur if you know what i mean, but one of the highlights was riding the swing ride towards the end of the day [disclaimer: i do not recommend doing this at the end of the day, but you know, just do you]. here are a few gems from the day.
[hofbräu tent… aka heaven]
[the quality isn’t great, but you can get a feel for the inside of the hofbräu tent.]
[the gang with our new friends from norway!]
[the swing ride… try to get this out of the way before you start drinking.]
[this is what pure happiness looks like, everyone.]
i have to say, this was literally one of the best days of my entire life. there was so much beer, i was with some of my best friends, i got to see an old friend and made some new ones and just thrived off of the happy, care-free atmosphere. oktoberfest, i’m kinda obsessed with you.
needless to say, we have already booked hotel rooms for oktoberfest 2015. yea, it was that fun and i can’t wait to do it again, this time, as an old pro.
has anyone else ever been to oktoberfest? what was your favorite tent? would you go back again or was once enough? share your experiences in the comments section below!
what i ate wednesday: eurotrip edition
if you follow me on instagram [and if you don’t, what are you actually doing?], you probably already have a little bit of insight into what my diet looked like while i was in europe. basically, for 10 days straight, my diet consisted primarily of beer, some type of carbohydrates, heavy cream, and cakes or pastries. i was able to sneak in a few salads here and there and yogurt with muesli is pretty much everywhere for breakfast, but fresh fruits and veggies are few and far between. i wasn’t even in countries that really understand the concept of vegetarianism, but thankfully, most restaurants had at least one vegetarian option on the menu. i want to recap all of my european adventures here on the blog, so i thought i would start off with some of the most epic things i ate while in germany, hungary and austria and do a what i ate wednesday post. and please don’t judge me based on what you are about to see! it’s all about balance and enjoying life, not perfection, remember?!
münich: bier, brezn, repeat
i’m not sure if any of you have ever been to oktoberfest before, but woah. what a crazy couple of days. i don’t think i have ever consumed as much beer in one weekend as i did at oktoberfest. the picture below pretty much sums up what i ate/drank all day, e’ry day while we were in münich celebrating oktoberfest. the beer [served only by the liter] is so good, and a little stronger than American beer, which can definitely be a recipe for disaster, and the pretzels or “brezn” are just out of this world. crispy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside with just the right amount of salt. they really put those sh*tty new york city street pretzels to shame.
there is one traditional german dish, spätzl, that is not only vegetarian friendly, but just so happens to be smothered in cheese, so this clearly has “kelsey” written all over it. spätzl is basically a small dumpling-like egg noodle that is extremely hard to describe, but so, so good. if you’re ever in a country where this is a specialty, you absolutely have to try it.
budapest: desserts, desserts, + sugar soaked cucumbers
budapest is easily one of the most beautiful cities i have ever been to. the views, the architecture, the river… everything is so picture perfect. throw in some seriously epic desserts and i’ve found one of my favorite european cities yet. below is a plum pie served with a side of vanilla ice cream and yes! a fruit garnish! the crust of this pie was unlike anything i have ever had and the plum filling… just, wow.
another highlight of my dessert tour of budapest was this hungarian specialty, a nut pastry with sabayon, a very light, whipped custard.
on the non-dessert side of the spectrum, nearly every restaurant we ate at served some variation of a traditional hungarian cucumber salad… cucumbers soaked in vinegar and sugar, and then covered in sour cream and paprika… and i ordered this at almost every meal. i plan on playing around with this and giving it a healthy spin, so keep an eye out for a recipe soon!
vienna: carbs + cakes
we were only in vienna for a day and a half, so we just had time for one truly traditional viennese meal. for our last meal of vacation, we went to café central based on a recommendation from a friend and really just went h.a.m. café central is famous for their desserts [with very good reason], but their dinner menu was fantastic, as well. we had a few bottles of wine with dinner [note the wine stained tablecloth below… oops!] and i had a salad [small victory!] with traditional square viennese noodles.
for dessert, we all had something different so that we could all try a little bit of each other’s selection for the full experience. i ordered a raspberry-yogurt-poppy seed cake which was very unique… i don’t think i’ve see a cake like this anywhere else… and it was awesome. i also sampled two different chocolate cakes and a mousse-filled chocolate dome. let’s just say that café central lived up to their reputation.
as fun as it is to try new foods and indulge in the local cuisine in new places, by the end of the trip i was dying to just eat a salad and drink a green juice. you better believe that i have done both of these things every day since i’ve been home. i’m definitely feeling the side effects of all of the alcohol, sugar, and white carbohydrates, but it was so worth it and i’m confident that i’ll be back to feeling normal within the next day or so… it’s only wednesday and i already notice a difference!
what are some of your favorite food-centric cities? have you found an international dish that you just can’t get enough of? i would love any recommendations… i never know when my travels will be taking me next!
healthy travel: what’s in my carry-on?
ahhh!! the day has arrived! in just a few hours, i will be in the sky, somewhere over the ocean, bound for europe, baby! the first stop on the trip is munich for OKTOBERFEST. this is a major bucket list item for me and i could not be any more excited to spend the next four days drinking beer by the stein and eating every pretzel i get within a ten foot radius of. from munich, we’re headed to budapest for a few days before spending the final leg of the trip in vienna. did i mention that i’m excited? because i am.
as much as i love traveling [i have a pretty serious case of wanderlust], figuring out how to stay healthy while on vacation can give me a lot of anxiety. obviously, vacation is about relaxing, letting loose and immersing yourself in a new place, but i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again… it’s still gotta be about balance. an easy way to start your trip off on a healthy note is all in what you pack in your carry-on. airports and airplanes are full of absolute garbage for food options, getting comfortable and, god forbid, sleeping, are nearly impossible and planes are crawling with germs.
i like to make sure that my carry-on is packed full of healthy snacks, a few things to help me relax and plenty of distractions. here’s a peak into what i’m throwing in my carry-on as i’m headed to the airport today.
1. a book, magazines, headphones + a phone loaded with music. between waiting to board, the flight itself and layovers, there is typically a lot of downtime that needs to be filled. headphones and music are a no-brainer a few magazines and a book can go a long way.
2. hand sanitizer + echinacea. planes = petri dishes. seriously, they are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs. hand sanitizer is absolutely necessary and i like to pop a few echinacea tablets before, during and after my flight to give my immune system a boost.
3. chamomile tea, magnesium + lavender essential oil. chamomile tea is known for is relaxing properties and i love having a cup after take off… bring your own and just ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water. i’ll also take a magnesium supplement or two to help balance my melatonin and serotonin levels and a dab of lavender oil on the inside of each wrist helps me to really relax and [hopefully] drift off to sleep.
4. snacks. healthy ones. lot’s of ’em. plane. food. is. gross. even calling it food is a stretch and there is absolutely no way any of it is good for you, so i always make a run to whole foods before any trip. there are so many healthy snack options out there now which are easy to toss into your bag and i always grab a bar of dark chocolate because… why not? this is vacation.
also, i cannot recommend staying hydrated while flying enough. the stale air in the cabin can really dry you out and arriving at your destination dehydrated is never fun. if you have room, throw a small water bottle in your bag and have the flight attendants refill it for you… oh, and asking for an aisle seat is probably a good idea, if you catch my drift. i also carry kiehl’s lip balm #1 and some hand lotion with me to keep my skin and lips from drying out as well.
i have some posts scheduled to go up next week while i’m away, so keep checking back and head over to instagram to follow along with my european adventures. how do you guys survive a long flight? do you have any exciting trips planned for the fall? would love to hear all about them!
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