What is home to you? This is a question posed to the public, and you might get tons of responses. A Danish energy company might just have the answer for you, in Mad-Lib style, insert what you think a home is for you and you will get a personalised video in return.
Tucked away in a corner around Boulevard de Grancy, lies Brasserie Les Trois Rois. The area around Grancy is mostly residential from the looks of it. We were there around 730pm in the late evening. The place? It was half full and we didn’t have any reservations, but the maitre d’ ushered us in and sat us down on a table for six. That was a plus point in my eyes.
Then came the clanger, but it was more on our part rather than the establishment. Having only had a passing notion of French, we were stumped by the French-exclusive menu. They didn’t even have an English translation, which could be either good or bad depending on the situation. The good? This is definitely a locals-only place and you can be sure of the originality of the food. The bad? You wouldn’t have an inkling of what to order. But since I have read the review on Wikitravel, I knew this place was famous for its steak. So that was what we were aiming for.
We were no connoisseurs of wine ourselves so we settled with the Swiss favourite — Rivella. For those who are in the dark, this is a Swiss-made non-alcoholic soft drink made from whey. They come in a few flavours but we settled for the original (Rot), while the parents went with the low-calorie version (Blau).
“They should have this in Malaysia,” quipped GC.
“I don’t think they can fight the market share of Coca-cola and Pepsi.”
“True. The taste is a little different from the sugary soft drinks back home. Tangy taste but quite palatable,” I said.
“That must be the thirst talking,” joked Mom.
“Enough of this, fire up the translator app, we have some work to do,” I said.
Having learnt the lesson from last year’s European tour without a smartphone, we were better prepared this time around. Kudos to the people behind Pingguo Youxi and their Bon Appétit app. They had it down pat for just $1.99 but I got it for free during one of their promotional specials.
You would have probably heard about Monopoly, Cluedo, Risk or Scrabble. The traditional boardgames that most of us grew up with back before the days of the Apple product invasion. Even way before computer games were that much fun to play with.
What about Settlers of Catan? Ticket to Ride? Le Havre? These were the few boardgames that I started playing when I was in the late 20s. Lately, my family have been bitten by the Settlers of Catan bug, we have been having weekly sessions ever since. This is a game published by Klaus Teuber back in 1995. Although it isn’t as old as Monopoly, it has sold almost 15 million copies. Sad to say, there isn’t a shop here that sells Catan, I had to travel 450km to the capital to get my hands on it. But boy, it was worth it.
Having left Schloss Linderhof behind us, we made our way to Oberammergau. Was it because of the car or the quality of the road we drove on, the journey was very pleasant.
“German precision and quality,” came the reply from GC (brother-in-law). He is into cars and all that, so I think his opinion is better than mine. There were only a few cars on the road and even fewer when we left the main road to enter the town of Oberammergau.
It was a Saturday, the town was very quiet. Almost all of the shops were closed, we were probably the only visitors around. The GPS took us on a wrong turn but it wasn’t too hard to find our way around. We parked at the Sankt Peter und Paul church and proceed to explore the town on foot.
Lüftlmalerei. Which came out sounding like a common tropical infection from where I come from
“What is the town famous for?” my mom asked.
“Well, basically for the Lüftlmalerei,” which came out more like a common tropical infection from where we came from. What I meant was the frescoes on the wall among some of the houses and business establishments throughout the town.
“We are off on a road trip! Woohoo!”
“Pack your bags and let’s go!”
Imagining conversations aside, the whole family got into the car for a road trip back to Munich from Neuschwanstein, with a few stops along the way. You might be wondering — where in the world did that car came from? To cut a long story short, my family did their shortened version of the Romantic Road from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Neuschwanstein the day before.
Read below for 5 tips before your road trips
Breaking out our lunch of sandwiches in the car, we came prepared. But before that, I think I need to put a few things straight in preparation for this road trip.
Going through the maps before hand is a good idea before the trip, especially when noting landmarks and highlights along the way. Plan it beforehand on Google Maps to make sure you cover what you wanted to see along the way.
2) Licence & Registration
Make sure your driving licence is up to date and to get yourself a reliable rental car. Where I come from, we need to obtain an International Driving Visa before being allowed to drive on foreign soil.
If you are still following the old fashioned way, then by all means, get yourself a road map. Especially the detailed ones. If not, any GPS will do, either a standalone or the one in your phone.
No road trip is complete without food/drinks and if it is your preference, some good music to listen to while driving.
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a couple of friends, or in my case, my family and go!
We were waiting for my family (Mum, Dad, QS and GC) at Marienbrücke. What made it more interesting was that they had spent the night here at one of the hotels in Hohenschwangau. So by theory, they were supposed to be waiting for us instead of vice-versa.
Please bear in mind that the tickets are time-based
As the crowd was picking up, we finally saw a glimpse of them. A bit of frantic waving and the whole family was gathered on the Marienbrücke. We have half an hour before our first stop – Schloss Neuschwanstein. Please bear in mind that the tickets for the castles are time-based and they are also language-based. Do check their website for details. You need to time them perfectly, taking into account the photo-taking, the journey and the queue.
The distance between Marienbrücke and Schloss Neuschwanstein is a 15-minute brisk walk, most of it downhill. Halfway through the route, there is a lookout area in which you can get a nice panoramic view of Hohenschwangau below and Füssen some distance away.
Although this post was titled as Day 2 in Munich, we didn’t spend that much time here at all. Today we are about to embark on a round trip and also meeting up with the rest of my family who are also doing their own version of the Europe trip.
We had to wake up early this time around to catch the regional train to Füssen. It is a small town at the edge of the Germany-Austria border. Travelling by train takes about 2 hours to reach, same goes if you are travelling by car, so why do all the work?
Get the Bayern Ticket. €29 per ticket, valid for 5 adults
Tip: There is this ticket combo thingy known as the Bayern Ticket. Only applicable to Bavarian local transport. So no ICE or any transport outside Bavaria. One ticket is good enough for 5 adults and it is only €29 per ticket. I think it lasts for 24 hours. But a few trips to and fro for 5 would most likely cover the price of the ticket nicely.
At the unholy hour of 530am in the morning, there is not much of activity at the Munich Hauptbahnhof, so make sure you know where you are heading to. Get on the train, free seating, any side of the train would do. Both will give you good views.
The train left right on time and soon we were rolling through the countryside. I feel that most Germans are environmentally friendly, because we saw quite a number of farmhouses or even houses in the countryside that have solar panels installed on their roofs! Compared to my country where we basically have sunshine all year round, there is no such initiative. It is even prohibitive to have them, at most, only to heat up the shower.