Sweet Home Adelaide

Well at approximately 10:45am yesterday I stepped back onto Australian after 192 days abroad in Europe and North America. Last night we lit up the BBQ and had juicy steak for dinner while watching the Australian cricket team dismember India with a Coopers Pale Ale in hand. This morning I woke up at 6:30 (still on Auckland time) to the sound of kookaburras laughing in the nearby gum trees. Right now I’m chilling out at my family home under the veranda and listening to Triple J pump out a play list of music with which I am hopelessly unfamiliar. If your not from Australia a lot of this may not make sense to you, but let me assure you that my first 24 hours back home have been blissful.

Now to take a step back, you may realise that I have been neglecting this blog for the past three months so here goes a quick update. After my last post about Helsinki I resided in London for two months and put my visa to good use by picking up some temporary work ranging from landscaping to moving furniture to Christmas card folding. Yes you read that correctly. During this two-month period I also managed a quick trip to Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh. After London I flew to Montreal and met up with my mate Jason. While in town we drove to nearby Ottawa to watch an Ice Hockey game and partied with the exchange students. From here we made our way to New York City for a busy week which included Central Park, the Rockefeller Centre, Brooklyn, Staten Island Ferry, Wall Street and Christmas. Next on the itinerary was Las Vegas where we stayed for New Years and in-between occupying the $10 blackjack table managed a day trip to Hoover Dam and the breathtaking Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. Bank balance slightly depleted another flight took us to San Francisco, California where we hired bikes, rode over the Golden Gate bridge, caught the ferry to Alcatraz and took the cable car downtown. Final stop was Los Angles where we spent most our time visiting the beaches, avoiding Compton and managed to check out a Los Angles Clippers game at the Staples Centre. Now, seeing as the overview itself was decidedly brief I’ve got a few of my favourite photos of the final leg of my journey. Enjoy and I shall be back with Jerry’s final thought.

Loch Ness, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

 

Snow, Montreal, Canada

NHL Game, Ottawa, Canada

Times Square, New York, USA

View From Rockefeller, New York, USA

View From Brooklyn, USA

Blackjack Table New Years Eve, Las Vegas, USA

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, USA

Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, USA

Grand Canyon South Rim, USA

New Port Beach, California, USA

Venice Beach Sunset, California, USA


Well seeing as I’m back home again, for the meantime at least this blog will remain dormant, but before that I’d like to take one last chance to write some dribble on my travelling experience. 192 days ago I set off on a trip which had been my sole obsession for a good two years. Today I sit here reflecting on my experience which by the numbers included 39 cities, 28 airports, 25 plane trips, 22 countries, 3 overnight buses and one Top deck tour with the fondest of memories. While I did count on seeing a lot of amazing sights I didn’t count on meeting so many cool people to share the experiences. Thanks to travelling I now have a collection of new friends from around Australia and the world. Germany, England, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Canada, Denmark and the international list goes on. In my opinion this has by far been my greatest and most unexpected single highlight from touring around Europe and North America. Furthermore it has made me realise that while there may be a few downsides to living in Australia (tax on beer and cars is ludicrous compared to the States) the quality of life that we enjoy is in my opinion second to none. There really is no place like the home soil of Australia.

Peace,

Kristofer

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#23 Helsinki – Architecture In

The sound of the boat’s motor whisked in my ears as I sat on the deck and watched the sun start to set over the horizon. It made for tranquil viewing as the sunlight glistened off the semi-submerged icebergs floating past. Meanwhile, a swarm of penguins could be seen re-enacting a scene off ‘Happy Feet’ as they took turns sliding down the ice-cold glaciers. Then out of the corner of my eye I could have sworn I saw a Polar Bear give me a friendly wave.

As you have guessed the above paragraph is not an entirely accurate description of my arrival in Helsinki. The snippets of truth are as follows, I did catch a ferry from Helsinki city to nearby Suomenlinna Island during sunset and that the weather conditions were Antarctic. Thus my arrival to the island, check in to my largely deserted hostel and much needed hot shower was something of a relief. Anyone who has travelled knows all too well the joy of getting through the dreaded ‘transit’ day, which seems to take more out of you than a big night on the spirits.

Now, as I mentioned before my hostel was located on Suomenlinna which is essentially a sea fortress built on six interconnected islands. It was originally constructed by the Swedish during their rule in 1748 and subsequently occupied by Russia until their revolution in 1917 when it became part of an independent Finland. In 1991 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and to this day is an incredibly popular tourist attraction and home to a number of Finnish families. Unfortunately my arrival during the offseason meant that 90% of the museums, cafes and other attractions were shut. Still, I did manage to get up early for an 8:30am sunrise and check out the ruins from the fortress.

The only downside, or upside as you may choose to look at it is that only way to get to the mainland and see Helsinki is by a ferry. Conveniently this left every 15-20mins and was in operation from 7am until 2am, leaving plenty of time to make it back after a night on the town. The short cruise also went past numerous little islands and with one of the most intense skylines of cloud I’ve ever seen presented endless photographic possibilities.

As you might have expected Helsinki is a relatively small city. By this I mean that all the main sights are within walking distance which is always handy for a traveller on a budget. Crucially it eliminates the need for precious coin spent on public transport while also providing some calorie crunching exercise. After doing a bit of research I made a list of things to check out and started off my exploration of Helsinki with a visit to the Uspenki Orthodox Church. Its location right next to the ferry drop off at the harbour made it a logical first choice. Despite seeing so many churches and cathedrals I was surprised at how much the building, perched up high on a rock face and made of plain red bricks impressed me.

A similar experience awaited me after a short walk took me to the Lutheran ‘White’ Cathedral known as Tuomiokirkko. Its neoclassical style, large staircase and profoundly white appearance made it an impressive landmark and strongly reminded me of the Whitehouse. Entrance inside the cathedral is free and while not anywhere near as extravagantly decorated as other cathedrals I’ve visited the minimalistic interior reflects the exterior and most importantly provides a strong sense of solitude.

With two things crossed off the list and a good nights sleep my next destination was the Temppeliaukio ‘Rock’ Church. As you might have guessed the church is in fact carved out of stone, covered with a copper ceiling and exquisitely complimented with timber furnishings. Architecturally the place easy ranks as one of the most beautiful churches that I have visited and with free entry is well worth checking out.

A short walk down the road took me to the Sibelius Monument. Constructed to honour national composer Jean Sibelius the form of the monument is apparently supposed to be an abstraction of the pipe organ. Although not the most exhilarating piece of public art I’ve come across its surrounding parklands full of trees with the changing shades of autumn made the trip worthwhile.

Now, as some of you may know last year I finally competed five years at the University of Adelaide and came out with a Bachelor of Design Studies and a Masters of Architecture. Feel free to clap your hands in approval. During, this time I discovered the genius of Finland’s own Alvar Aalto, who after a research project immediately cemented himself as my favourite architect. Therefore you can imagine my excitement when I was able to check out Finlandia Concert Hall, one of his most publicised and well-known pieces of work. After learning so much about his design style it was awesome to explore his building and experience his legacy.

As you would expect a visit to a new place would not be complete without a night out on the town. In this case I have Jenni and Tiago, two locals to thank for taking me out to a collection of cool city bars including the ‘Aussie Bar’ where I was able to enjoy my first VB of the trip. They also introduced me to a traditional Finnish shot called  ‘Fishu’ which tasted suspiciously like a Fisherman’s Friend lozenge. They even escorted me back to my ferry stop so I could make it back to the island. Huge props to you both.

Helsinki, definitely a city worth checking out for more than a day if you find yourself up Scandinavia way.

Peace

#22 Stockholm – Syndrome

My arrival in Stockholm marked the commencement of my solo trip through Northern Scandinavia. Now as exciting as this many sound, to be honest at the time I was suffering from what can best be described as acute travel exhaustion. Three months of living out of a backpack was starting to wear me down and as a result I was seriously contemplating bailing back to my base in London. Thankfully I decided to stick it out, I guess my fascination with the region, probably due to my Mum’s four year residence in Sweden which I now have to thank for my eternally mispelt name got the better of me.

Thinking back, I actually spent the vast majority of the time making the most of my newfound liberation by moving at my own pace. With no travel companion I was able to work off my own timeline, I would get up when I wanted; wander around exploring the city and generally retreat for an early night reading my Jeffrey Archer book. In a sense it was like a holiday within a holiday.

Now, there are definitely some cool things to see in a city made up by a number of interconnected islands. For those big kids who grew up dreaming of scaling the seven seas there is the Vasa museum. This houses the Vasa, a warship from 1628 which upon completion sank less than a kilometer from its launch in Stockholm harbour. There is lay until 1961 when it was salvaged and reconstructed for the museum.

Wandering aimlessly around the intertwining stone laneways of ‘Gamla Stan’ otherwise known as the old town also featured heavily on my daily schedule. Here I was able to check out the exterior of the Royal Palace which for those of you playing at home is apparently the biggest palace in the world still used by the head of state. In fariness it was pretty huge.

A short wander from the island also took me to City Hall where I found the famous Stockholm Horse and realized the significance of the miniature wooden horse that has been sitting in our living room display cabinet for as long as I can remember.

To be honest my favourite time of each day was the evening when I would inevitably retreat with my seafood dinner to the harbour. Here I would sit down rugged up in my recently purchased jacket, woolen jumper and beanie and watch the boats move in and out of the harbour as the sunset.  Pure bliss.

Stockholm and I’m guessing Sweden in general is a very clean, well-designed city where everything seems to work. Just one example I noticed is that from an architecture point of view every buildings has ultilised the roof space by converting it into another living area. In fact that room I stayed in at the hostel was the loft area of the building. I guess this shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering all the space saving innovative furniture items that you can purchase in any IKEA store, but still I found it very impressive trait of the city.

Now this is going to be a short post because as I mentioned earlier my time spent in Stockholm was largely spent wandering around, resting up and chilling out. In hindsight I probably didn’t need six days to explore the city on my own, but if you had the choice to chill out somewhere in the world Stockholm would have to be high on the list.

Peace

#21 Copenhagen – Chilling With Locals

Well, now that I have my precious Macbook Pro back from the Apple Store it is finally time to write a post about the five days I spent in one of my favourite cities so far, the home of Carlsberg, and gateway to Scandinavia, Copenhagen.

Now without a doubt the great time I had in Copenhagen was largely due to the hospitality of local guru Jakob and his collection of mates. I should mention that way back at the start of the trip I met Jakob and his mate Anders at our hostel in Barcelona and after a few beers was convinced that I had to check out Denmark. So, while in Copenhagen I was luckily enough to crash on their couch and have them show me around the city.

Similar to Amsterdam, Copenhagen is a bicycle friendly city, meaning that they are the predominant and most practical form of transport. It is also home to the Freight Tricycle which is what I had the pleasure of sitting in while being chauffeured around the city for the first couple of days. After this I felt bad and rode it around myself moving at a pace slightly faster than that of a turtle suffering from advanced arthritis.

Not surprisingly like everywhere in Europe, football is massive in Denmark and this was confirmed upon my arrival when I found myself joining Jakob in his teams practise scratch match. To say that I struggled with my fitness level is a slight understatement as three months with minimal exercise, a lot of drinking and a diet lacking basic nutrients caught up with me. Still, I did manage to pull off a couple of deftly touches reminiscent of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, no word a lie.

      

While being chauffeured around town one place worth mentioning is the Church of Our Saviour golden spiral tower. Upon reaching the peak I was able to observe a 360-degree view of the city including the neighbouring landmass of Sweden and the bridge connecting it to the Danish mainland. As I told Jakob numerous times, it was a foreign concept to view another country from such a close proximity.

Something that I probably haven’t addressed enough in previous posts is the experience I’ve had sampling local cuisine and drinks of the regions. In this case I was particularly fond of the traditional lunch combination of black bread with Mackerel soaked in Tomato sauce. I was also stoked to come across Cocio, which was and to this day remains the best-flavoured milk I have come across during my travels.

For any royalists out there like my Nanna I should also mention that I did check out the Royal Palace and residence of Prince Fredrick, our very own Princess Mary and however many children they have procreated. While not a terribly exciting landmark I was told that a friend of friend hung out with Prince Fredrick for a smoke and that his preferred cancer stick of choice is a brand called Prince. Ironic isn’t it?

Bad puns aside, for anyone with knowledge about fine dining I also stood out the front of Noma and watched much wealthier people then myself walk into the world’s best restaurant for 2010 and 2011. It was from this upper class establishment that I was taken to a tiny bar in the alternative suburb known as Christianshavns to check out a local act described by the Danish boys as something in between Amy Winehouse and Cee Loo Green. As it turns out they were kind of right as this guy called ‘Lukas Graham’ and his band absolutely blew everyone in the place away with a soulful sound strikingly similar to British artist Plan B. It would not surprise me if they blew up and were played on the Triple J airwaves in the near future. So if this is the case just remember you heard it here first. I’ll also attach a link so you check it out for yourself.

This pretty much covers my time spent in Copenhagen and I’d again like to thank Jakob and all his mates for showing me around their hometown. It was a great experience and easily ranks as one of my favourite cities so far on the trip.

Next up posts on Stockholm and Helsinki.

Peace

#20 Walk of Life

Well, unfortunately its been awhile inbetween drinks since my last post about Turkey almost a month ago. Since then quite abit has happened including my Macbook breaking down, being fixed and breaking down again. Thus this has been the main reason that I have been unable to write posts on Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and my most recent trip to Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh. So, while I have access to a computer I figured I would write a quick update on my whereabouts, thoughts on life and anything else that comes to mind.

I guess I should start by letting you know that for the past month (sans the ten day trip to Ireland and Scotland) I’ve been residing in merry old London town. Luckily I’ve been able to move into a nice loft apartment with two mates from Adelaide and as you would expect there is very rarely a dull moment. The thing about London is that there is always something going on, either a gig, someone visiting, a birthday or of course the weekend which itself is always worthy of a few celebratory drinks.

In other news this Monday will mark a milestone as I will undertake my first temporary job in London, moving furniture around in a showroom. Although this may seem like trivial news, I can assure you that it is significant to someone who hasn’t even considered the foreign concept of work for almost five months.

Now, I should probably generate some relevance to the title of this post. As many of you would know I love music, therefore it would not surprise you to hear that the title has been inspired by Dire Strait’s 1980’s hit song ‘Walk of Life’. While listening to this song on the bus today it got me thinking about what I’m going to do with myself for the next few years. The problem or perhaps blessing is that there are so many viable options to consider. Living in London for the remainder of my two year working visa, saving and traveling to South America or, to a lesser extent remain in the homeland and relocate to Melbourne. To settle down and work? To save and travel? To live abroad? At the moment I have no answer, but as I’m beginning to near the end of my trip I’m starting to consider exactly where the ‘Walk of Life’ will take me next…But in the meantime I’m going to continue to enjoy life abroad and look forward to returning back home to Adelaide for some summer sun, a BBQ and of course the hottest 100.

Peace

#19 Turkey – Eleven days in

Foreword

As I sit in the common lounge of my hostel in Helsinki, it only takes a short walk outside to find myself a world away from the warmth of Turkey. So, lets hope that for my sake writing this post will, at least for the meantime take me back to a much warmer place.

Prologue

So, lets start at the beginning, initially Turkey definitely wasn’t high on my radar for potential travel destinations. Sure, like most Australians my age I’d always thought that it would be an amazing experience to make the pilgrimage to Gallipoli and gain a true appreciation for our diggers sacrifice in World War I, but besides that to be blatantly honest I didn’t really know much about the country or what it had to offer. This began to change after meeting two friends from back home who told me about the amazing time they had staying in caves, tree houses and sailing the ocean. Already sounding like a winning combination, the fact that they did it ridiculously cheap further enticed my appetite for a Turkish adventure.

Introduction

Initially I had planned to head over to Istanbul at the end of my Top Deck tour and commence my first solo voyage overseas, which to be honest did scare me a tad. However, as is always the way when travelling everything changed on the last night of my Top Deck tour when, over a few beers two of my new best mates decided that they would be more than willing to tag along. So, it was settled, Hamish, Matt and Kristofer, otherwise known as the three musketeers would regroup after Oktoberfest and set sail for the land of the Turkish delight.

This agreement didn’t last long as a few days later another fellow Top Decker, for the sake of this post lets call him Tom, decided that he couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to join such an amazing team. Thus we soon became the fantastic four. Now, one thing you should know is that the only restriction on the trip to Turkey was that the boys had already locked in a flight to Spain, thus giving us exactly 11 days to explore 783,562km2.

Chapter 1: Istanbul

To say that our first day, well technically it was night time when we arrived, in Istanbul was a disaster would be a slight understatement. After sitting through the plane ride from Munich we arrived at the second tier airport which meant that it took approximately two hours by bus to reach the main square from which our hostel directions began. By this time we were rather tired and just wanted to reach our hostel and crash. Unfortunately this would not occur for a further three hours. In the meantime we walked around in circles trying to follow shithouse directions, got refused service by about ten non-English speaking cab drivers, walked down some of the dodgiest alleyways I’ve come across and to Hamish’s sheer disgust dodged a number of stray disease carrying cats and dogs. At this point I could tell that the boys were doubting their decision to follow me to what seemed like a third world country and in all honesty I was wondering what I had gotten us in. However like a good sergeant I did my best to show no signs of panic. In the end we did reach our hostel, which was in fairness situated in-between so many back streets that the cab drivers probably didn’t even know where it was. Things didn’t get much better that night/morning when I was woken up to what sounded like the rapture outside our window as the Muslim chanting took place for what seemed like an eternity. It won’t surprise you to hear that despite paying the deposit and pre booking for an extra two nights, our stay in this particular hostel was limited to one night only.

Luckily a new day brought about new hope and this was quickly realised when on our third attempt we finally found a cab driver willing to take us to the old side of town. Here we found the surroundings much more pleasant and after a few enquires found ourselves a reasonably priced hotel room. Here the staff assisted us with booking a Gallipoli tour for the following day and put us in contact with a fast talking Turkish travel agent who would go on to book our seven day extravaganza trip. Things soon got even better, when after a few well-earned afternoon rooftop beers we were joined by our final partner in crime who had just arrived from a five-day bender in the Greek Islands. In true Topdeck style the reunion of the fantastic four was marked by what was initially intended to be a light drinking session with an impending 6am wakeup for the Gallipoli tour bus the following morning. In my mind things were doomed from the moment we discovered the 2.5 litre beer pourer and free sheesha. At some point in the early morning we slowly made our way back to the hotel room and I checked my phone, it was 2am.

      

Chapter 2: Gallipoli

It was exactly 5:45am when I heard what was close to the most unwelcome wakeup alarm of my trip to date. However, channelling the true Anzac spirit we somehow managed to drag ourselves down two floors of stairs and board the bus. Our state upon boarding was much to the delight and amusement of our fellow travellers who all appeared to be over the age of 65. To be honest I don’t remember much of the morning as I, along with three of the others slept almost the entire four-hour journey to our lunch stop. After lunch we entered the Anzac museum and were treated to a vast collection of memorabilia, ranging from soldiers boots to grenades and much more. From here we moved onto the more historic sites including Anzac Cove, various memorial sites and the trenches where the fighting took place. It was particularly interesting to find that the two enemy trenches were literally situated by a stones throw from each other. The tour ended fittingly with a magnificent view across the vast coastline of the various places that we had visited during the day. Looking back, despite everyone sporting a solid hangover it really was a great experience to understand the history behind the area and pay some respect to the diggers who gave themselves for our country. It goes without saying that, if as an Australian you find yourself in Turkey you must find your way to Gallipoli.

      

Chapter 3: Istanbul

As I mentioned earlier on our second day in Istanbul we had signed up for a seven-day trip taking us from the north to south of Turkey. This left up with a morning in Istanbul before boarding our first flight to Cappadocia. During this time to my delight we managed to check out the Hagia Sophia which, for those of you who are not familiar is close to if not the most famous mosque on the face of the planet dating back over 500 years. Not surprisingly the interior was really cool, as you can hopefully gather from the photos. This ended our sightseeing time in Istanbul.

      

Chapter 4: Cappadocia

The first leg of our seven-day journey was the region of Cappadocia, well known for its rock formations, valleys and caves. Yes you heard me correctly, caves and this is exactly what we would be staying in for our only night in the region. However, our arrival would not be before a two-hour shuttle bus ride where on substandard road surfaces our lead foot driver didn’t let the speedometer drop below 130kmph. I think I can speak for the entire group when I say that our eventual arrival at the cave accommodation in the town of Goreme couldn’t have come soon enough. After a short night time stroll around the town for dinner we had become utterly fascinated by the various rock formations. However, this would be nothing compared to what we would see on our tour the following day.

Now lets be honest, anytime you wake up in a cave you automatically know its going to be a good day right? Yes, is the correct answer. Accordingly this was exactly the way our day panned out as we were taken on a tour throughout Cappadocia. This included some spectacular views of rock formations, a walk through an underground city of caves, a walk through Rose Valley and my personal favourite a rock formation of caves that we could climb and explore. Again similar to Gallipoli it was a long day which as you can see from the amount of photos was jam-packed with a lot of amazing experiences. Once back in Gerome we passed the time drinking beers and playing pool until boarding our overnight bus to Olympos.

Chapter 5: Olympos

There are certain situations you find yourself in when you are overseas which you would never experience back home in Australia. The overcrowded shuttle bus from Olympos bus station to our tree house accommodation was definitely one of these situations. Similar to peak hour on the tube we were squished in with no room to move, but unlike the tube there was luggage lying everywhere and no railing to prevent you falling into other people during the trip along the consistently windy road. Still, as usual we made it to our destination safely and I was able to relive another childhood memory of sleeping in a tree house. After settling in we immediately made a unanimous group decision and headed straight to the pebble beach for some much needed exercise with a game of world series beach cricket. Later in the evening we were in for a treat with an amazing buffet dinner consisting of fresh fish, rice filled capsicum and soup which left everyone well and truly satisfied. After such a great amazing the only thing left to do was share a few evening beers before retreating to bed and resting up for what would be a morning of epic proportions.

Now, I can’t speak for everyone in the group but I’m pretty sure that we all awoke at 7am with a spring in our step ready for one of the most important events of the calendar year, the AFL Grand Final. Of course television coverage was never a realistic option when you are in a valley on the south coast of Turkey.  So our next best option was to stream the game live over the net. In line was a grand final day party back home we decided that it would be a great idea to each have four players who would become our drinking buddies. By the final siren and announcement of the Norm Smith Medal it was clear that this was perhaps not the brightest idea of the trip. Still with Geelong beating Collingwood the day was off to a scintillating start. This was further evident when we headed down the beach for a lie down and woke up four hours later with minor heatstroke. Still after a refreshing shower we had another amazing dinner, a few more beers, a couple of vodkas, witnessed a random Turkish wedding reception and went to bed.

Chapter 6: Blue Cruise

The following day we jumped on yet another bus and ended up at a regional port ready to board the Yacht which would be our home for next four days and three nights. More importantly, it also gave Matt and I just the excuse that we needed to pull out the sailor hats we had purchased in Venice.  Now, each day spent on this yacht pretty much included the following activities, eating, swimming, eating, drinking, eating, card games, drinking and sleeping. Which when your sailing around on crystal clear water with blue skies is not a bad way to spend four days of your life. Without a doubt the highlight of the yacht trip was when under the cover of darkness myself, Tom and two other fellow sailors swam across murky waters with a mission to ‘borrow’ an inflatable dolphin tied to the keel of a nearby tourist vessel. In case your wandering, the mission had to be aborted after we were caught untying the dolphin and angrily ordered off the boat by a livid Turkish skipper. Mooring into our final destination Fethiye and stepping back onto solid land was definitely a relief for some more than others with Matt clearly not qualified to be a crew member on Pirates of the Caribbean anytime soon. With the cruise completed the fantastic four wearily boarded a flight back to Istanbul and shared a final beer before bedtime.

Final Word

In hindsight eleven days in Turkey could have easily been outstretched to three weeks with the amount things there are to check out. However, given the time restraint I think the entire group was pretty stoked with the amount of stuff that we got to get done. So thanks boys, it was a great trip but I for one will be looking forward to a Carlton Draught instead of an Efes next time the fantastic four are reunited!

Peace

#18 Munich – Oktoberfest

Now, for a post that I have been looking forward to writing for a while, an overview of my four-day experience at Oktoberfest…

      

Day one:

Our story begins at 6am on a frosty Bavarian morning when our two travellers arrive at Munich international bus station. Within seconds of stepping off the bus and barely functioning off five hours of scattered sleep they immediately regret wearing shorts. Still with Oktoberfest well and truly within their sights they jump aboard the train bound for the village of Geltendorf. Upon arrival they are again forced to brave what can only be described as Antarctic conditions, before being picked up by Tschey, their local tour guide and all round boss for the next four days. With no time to waste the supplies for a traditional Bavarian breakfast are purchased and whisked back to base camp. (Tschey’s family house) After a much-needed warm shower and feeling slightly more refreshed they enter the kitchen and are greeted by a table full of wheat beer, bread pretzels and white sausage with sweet mustard.  With a stomach full of carbs, meat and beer our two travellers are met by two more locals and with an all-important roadie catch the train back to Munich for their first ever crack at Oktoberfest. Upon arrival they are greeted by a sea of lederhosen, dirndl and of course lots and lots of beer tents. Entry into the chosen beer tent occurs at approximately 10:30am. Four one litre steins of beer, two large bread pretzels and various German drinking songs later the tent is exited at approximately 2pm. Not surprisingly the walk back to the train stop takes significantly longer the second time around, 30 mins for some and 2 hours for others with one of our travellers getting his leg momentarily wedged in gap between the train and the platform. Still after what can only be described as a colossal day everyone ends up safely tucked into bed by 8:30pm.

Day two:

Day two starts off considerably slower than day one with a group brunch to discuss the events of the previous day. These talks lead to one conclusion, that our two travellers must purchase an authentic lederhosen outfit for the final trip to Oktoberfest. So, with no time to waste they head off to the neighbouring city of Landsberg where a lederhosen fitting and purchase is successfully conducted. Eager to soak up the local cuisine, dinner is a Bavarian specialty, braised pork leg with gravy and potato dumplings accompanied by a one-litre stein of radler. With stomachs fuller than (insert pun here) the next destination is the picturesque lake followed by the local pub. Still feeling the effects of the previous day after a few beers the local bar staff introduce our travellers to liquid cocaine, a combination of an espresso shot, vodka and sugar.

Day three:

The day begins with a healthy sleep in and continues with a pre-Oktoberfest feast of epic proportions with freshly cooked chicken schnitzels and potato salad. After a quick change into the traditional lederhosen outfit and with a beer in hand our two travellers are looking the part and could easily pass as village locals. From here the three-man wolf pack grows significantly to double digits and the crew leaves Geltendorf on the train bound for yet another crack at Oktoberfest Glory. They arrive in the early afternoon and with all the beer tents already shut, set up base camp at two tables in the nearby beer garden. After a number of steins, a few experienced locals decide that riding the rollercoaster is a great idea, others including our travellers remain at base camp to protect the tables. Later in the night after some quality bratwurst and a few more steins the crew leaves the bright lights of Oktoberfest for the last time. Back on the train home the decision is that made that much like, ‘The Hangover 2’ the Oktoberfest sequel was not quite as good as the original, but was still well worth the $15 movie ticket.

       

Day four:

Our final day brings with it a train ride back into Munich and a visit to one of the more interesting buildings in recent architectural history. This is of the course the BWW Headquarters, which is eagerly explored, admired and adored by our two recently graduated architects. After yet another train ride back to Geltendorf the rush is on to catch the last half of the Bayern Munich football match with the rest of the local crew. With seconds to spare they arrive in time to watch the last half as Bayern waltz to an easy hometown victory, much to the delights of the locals. Running off fumes our three musketeers return home and reflect over the past few days with a last supper of pizza, beer and fifa. The end.

Notes:

My experience at Oktoberfest has easily been one of the highlights of my trip so far and I’d like to thank Tschey and the Loy family for their hospitality. It’s not everyday you get to live with a local family and experience the true Bavarian culture. So once again, on behalf of Tom and myself thanks guys, it was truly an amazing experience which I hope to return when you come to Australia, Prost!