During my Eurotrip 2019 we spent our time time around the south and west of Germany, visiting not only German cities and towns, but ducking over the border to various places in neighbouring countries. All up we visited ten countries in almost six week. This summary will tell you what I enjoyed the most.
Here’s where we went (all towns listed are where we slept):
- Dubai, UAE
- Brussels, Belgium
- Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
- Mainz, Germany
- Karlsbad, Germany
- Riquewihr, France
- Lucerne, Switzerland
- Interlaken, Switzerland
- Triesenberg, Liechtenstein
- Füssen, Germany
- Munich, Germany
- Salzburg, Austria
- Bled, Slovenia
- Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria
- Hallbergmoos, Germany
Overall my trip to Europe this year will be memorable for the rain. Out of five weeks in Europe, we only had five days where we did not get rained on. This was very different to the last four springs we spent in Europe. Sure, we had rain on previous trips before too, but nothing like this constant cold, rain, and even snow in Switzerland. I mean, how often does it snow in May?
My Favourite Cities/Towns
- Munich – Oh how I wish it was not cold and raining the whole time we were in Munich! I really enjoyed this city and I will definitely be back. I am not a beer drinker, but I would like to go to Oktoberfest and experience Munich’s amazing festival.
- Riquwihr – part of Riquwihr’s appeal was the beautiful sunny day we got to experience while we were here. But let that not take away from the colourful traditional German half timbered buildings (yes, I know Riquewihr is in France, but the Alsace area is quite German).
- Saalbach-Hinterglemm – I’ve been here before when it has not been so wet and things are actually open, but I loved having some down time here and just enjoying the surroundings and peacefulness.
- Füssen – I think I liked that we were staying outside of Füssen in a little country inn by a lake. The town also has that German beauty to it, and who can go past Neuschwanstein Castle as an absolutely world class attraction.
- Dubai – on the way to Europe we spent three days in Dubai. I’ve been here a few times now and love finding different sides to the city as it evolves and grows. This time we visited some of the desert towns and archeological sites, as well as new city attractions like The Frame and the Etihad Museum.
My Favourite Experiences
- Hiking – we did quite a few hikes that I enjoyed, most memorably ones in Hallstatt, Füssen and Saalbach-Hinterglemm.
- Free walking tours – we always do these tours if we can, and almost universally really enjoy them. On this trip we did them in Brussels, Lucerne, Interlaken, & Munich. We also did a walking tour of Mainz that was part of an event we attended.
- BMW Museum – The favourite museum of our trip was this one. I am far from a car fanatic, but I still enjoyed seeing and learning the history of BMW as a company and the cars that they made.
- Road tripping – I have always been a big advocate of train travel in Europe. It’s easy and relatively cheap to get around. But for part of this trip we hired a car, and I really enjoyed the freedom that gave us. It was also surprisingly cost effective too given the locations we were going to.
- Wine tasting – I love wine tasting where ever we go, and again we did this a few times during our trip. My favourite tasting was in Riquewihr, where I found the wines from the Alsace region particularly to my liking.
My Favourite Foods
- Chocolate – this should not be a surprise, after all, we were in Brussels. We went to s few of the different chocolate shops and bought one or two pieces of chocolate to try. It was, of course, all delicious.
- Wurst – off all kinds! I don’t know what it is about sausages in this region of the world, but they taste so different to the ones at home.
- Glühwein – not technically a food, it’s German spiced wine. Normally it’s not the season for glühwein (it’s a winter thing), but the cold weather meant that we could occasionally find it still available.
- Apfelschmarrn – oh my goodness, this is delicious! We found it in Munich, but I have no idea if it can be found in other parts of Germany. It’s basically pancake, chopped into squares, served sprinkled with sugar, apple and sultanas and an apple sauce. Yum!
- Spargel – this is white asparagus. It’s only available in spring, and is particularly popular in the regions we were travelling in, with stalls selling it in all the markets and special menu items at the restaurants. It’s softer and milder in flavour than the green asparagus we are used to, and delicious in all sorts of recipes.
My Not-So-Favourite Things
- The weather – no surprises here, and this was a big one. We were really affected by the rain this trip. I can handle a few rainy days, and we are talking about Europe in spring, but this trip it was a little bit difficult.
- SIM card issues – we had no luck this trip with organising a local SIM. Normally this is an easy process, but this time it all seemed to go wrong, from the cards being out of stock to someone not entering the information correctly into the system. About ten days after I wanted to have it, we finally got set up, only minutes before we picked up our rental car. Our main reason for getting a SIM was for navigation while driving.
- Sound of Music Tour – this one might be a little controversial, because our experience was really marred by the weather, and I am not exactly a huge fan, but I found the tour to be lacking something. Maybe our tour group wasn’t into it enough to give a good atmosphere. But still, I think you should do the tour if you are in Salzburg
- Comic Book Museum – I am struggling to find things I didn’t like about our trip so this may also be stretching it a little. Our visit to this museum in Brussels was disappointing because – and I almost can’t believe I am going to say this – it was very hot and stuffy inside! To the point where we left before we had see all we wanted to see because it was so uncomfortable.
- Jetlag – I have no idea why this trip I was affected really badly by Jetlag. It took me close to two weeks to get my sleeping pattern back to something reasonable. I am lucky to have a flexible work schedule that allows me to work at 2am if I am awake, then sleep at 2pm!
Overall, I just love Europe. Each trip I make feels more comfortable and fun. I am really enjoying seeing a few more of the smaller towns, even if they are still quite touristy sometimes. I am just completely enthralled by the colourful, half-timbered and decorated buildings that are so unlike anything we have here in Australia. I also love getting out in the wilderness and hiking. Many of the streams have this amazing blue/green water that is just lovely. And the mountains! What can I say? They are just breathtaking.
I don’t have any concrete plans to get back to Europe this year or in 2020, but who knows, maybe things will change. Then it will be a hard decision – which part of Europe to go to? I’ve been to more than half the countries, but all I’ve learned about each one is that there is more to see and I need to go back! And you know what? I can’t wait!
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Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.