Tag Archives: Autobahn

Road Trip: From Schechen to Salzburg

With the Germans on the road in their camper vans or off stealing sunbeds in Mallorca, there’s nobody left in Berlin for me to teach so it seemed like as good a time as any to take a holiday myself.

Our first main destination was to be Salzburg but that’s a bit of a monster drive from Berlin so we decided to overnight in a pretty little Bavarian village called Schechen.

Our little Gasthaus :)
Our little Gasthaus 🙂

You knew you were in Bavaria the moment you walked into the bedroom…

God is watching you, you unmarried sinners...
God is watching you, you unmarried sinners…

Still, as much as they like a good pray, the Bavarians are also rather partial to a good party, which is why you shouldn’t be overly surprised when you come across something like this:

Chuckle. Bavarians.

Anyway, after a walk around the town centre (approximately 2.5 minutes), we headed back to our Gasthaus which also had rather a nice beer garden. It seemed to be a pretty popular spot with the locals – it turned out to be the only spot – so we sipped our drinks and tried to understand what in the hell the other guests were saying. Bavarian, if you didn’t know, is not at all like “normal German” so it was a total mystery to both of us.

I ordered a Schnitzel which turned out to be the best one I’ve ever had. But still, I’m no match for German portions and the Schnitzel won, as bloody usual. It was while I was trying to wash it down with wine that I was attacked by the most vicious mosquitoes I’ve ever come across. Maybe they couldn’t understand me telling them to “Fuck Off!” in normal German and English so I ended up being bitten 10 times in under 10 minutes. We retreated to our room and hoped God would protect us as we slept…

The next morning, after a gigantic German breakfast, we were on the road again. With the sun shining and the temperature around 30 degrees, we decided to stop off at Lake Chiemsee, which was absolutely lovely and jam-packed with frolicking Germans. Clearly this is what they’re up to when they’re supposed to be at English lessons…

After almost burning my arse off on a seat and almost freezing my feet off in the water, we set off for Salzburg. This is where the Bavarian countryside starts to get really pretty and I was ooh-ing, aah-ing and singing the whole way. Lucky Manfredas…

DSC01515
Ooh…aah…

Just before the border crossing, we pulled over to buy the sticker you need to have on display if you want to drive on the Austrian Autobahn. Manfredas also pulled two hi-vis vests out of the boot – seemingly you need to have them in the car to drive in Austria. (And that’s it for “Linda’s Random Facts You Probably Aren’t Interested In” – for now anyway.)

We arrived at our AirBnB apartment at around 2pm and met with the cute Polish-Russian host couple, who gave us a little guided tour, handed over the keys and then headed off to Italy for a couple of days. After a quick freshen-up, we hit the streets. The flat was in a great location so after around five minutes, we were in the centre of the Old City.

Cute idea!
Cute idea!

Salzburg has to be one of the most dreamily-located cities in Europe – it lies on the River Salzach, is renowned for its Baroque architecture and is surrounded by the Alps on all sides. Some guy called Mozart was also born here…

DSC01520The city is known for being incredibly rainy but we were in luck and it was blue skies all the way. After lunch at the perfectly named “Wein & Co”, we caught the bus to Hellbrunn, home to a palace, a park and trick fountains. I’d read about the trick fountains online and was intrigued so we bought tour tickets (you can only see them on a guided tour) and prepared to be amazed…

What I wasn’t prepared for was how wet I would get. While you’re admiring the fountains, the tour guide sneaks over and switches on jets of water that hit you from all sides. You never know where they’re coming from next so it’s either a laugh or a squeal a minute. The best you can try to do is find a dry spot to stand in but there’s really no way to avoid getting wet – which is a bit scary when you’ve got a nice camera or phone in your hand. One Chinese girl screamed her way through the entire tour, which was massively entertaining.

We didn't volunteer but also didn't escape...
We didn’t volunteer but also didn’t escape…

Thankfully not a trick fountain.
Thankfully not a trick fountain.

After drying off a bit in the park, we caught the bus back into town for some dinner and to find somewhere to watch the opening match of the Bundesliga. We settled upon my favourite kind of bar – dodgy – at the end of our street. There was no football, only some local characters and a semi-toothless Indian owner.

We chatted a bit with the locals who weren’t asleep and despite me calling one man’s tattoo a “tramp stamp”, we were invited back the next evening for a drink and a tour of where the locals go on a Saturday night. On a trip to the unlockable ladies’ loo, I came across something you probably don’t find in the guidebooks…

A SEX GAG MACHINE!
A SEX GAG MACHINE!

Of course, I couldn’t resist. I’m not sure when the last time it was used was but Manfredas told me every eyebrow in the bar raised when they heard the “clunk, clunk” of the coin dial. Still, I wasn’t disappointed:

Clearly enchanted by my cackling, the owner gave me a quite nice beaded necklace he found in a drawer.

Dodgy bars are always the most fun.

 

 

 

We did the MĂĽnster mash… (Part One)

I’m determined to see as much of Germany as possible so when my good friend, Manfredas, invited me along on a trip to MĂĽnster, I jumped at the chance.

Road trip!
Road trip!

We set off at around 2pm on Friday afternoon. No, I tell a lie – we set off at EXACTLY 2pm on Friday afternoon. Once we hit the Autobahn, I did what any self-respecting woman would do – lifted up my top and yelled, “ROAD TRIP!!!” at the top of my voice. Don’t worry, I was wearing a t-shirt underneath it – I didn’t want to cause a pile-up.

This was to set the tone for what were probably the longest five hours of Manfredas’ life. If I wasn’t chuckling at “Ausfahrt” and “Gute Fahrt!” signs, I was targeting place names that started with “Bad”, shouting things like “BAD Nenndorf” in a strict voice while wagging my finger.

After a couple of hours, we pulled into a truck stop for food and drinks. For some reason, I chose the stickiest-looking Danish they had so the shop assistant, obviously suspecting my mental age, took no chances when handing it over.

Nice...
Nice…

Amazingly, Manfredas didn’t abandon me there and, a few hours later, we arrived safely at “Barbaras Bed and Breakfast” in MĂĽnster. The key had been left in a little safe for us, so we let ourselves in and went to our room. We were staying in “Cloud 4” which was a bit disappointing as I’d rather be on cloud nine, but ho hum…

I soon cheered up when I saw that the MĂĽnsteraner also favour the two-duvet approach to bedding.

I ate my sweet before taking the picture.
I ate my sweet before taking the picture – oops.

The room was lovely – light, clean and airy. A little too airy actually as ze Germans tend to go a bit nuts when it comes to lĂĽften (airing), even in the depths of winter. One surprise feature of this property is the punching bag and boxing gloves on the second floor. Gropers of MĂĽnster beware…

I boxed for a little while, we freshened up a bit and got ready to hit the town. On our way out the door, Barbara showed up and immediately offered us a lift.

Barbara: So, where are you from?

Me: Ireland. 

Barbara: No way! I lived in Ireland for a few years! In Dublin.

Me: No way! I’m from Dublin! 

And so on and so forth. We were practically best friends by the time we got out of the car a few minutes later. I certainly couldn’t fault the MĂĽnsteraner on their friendliness and helpfulness so far. After taking a photo for the file I like to call “Random stuff that tickles me”,

Effing studio...
Effing Studio…

we found a lovely restaurant called Cult Eck and ordered. I had the chicken with tomato and mozzarella, fresh vegetables and fried potatoes. You’ll have to take my word for it that it was amazing – I ate it before I could take a photo.

After we’d finished, we walked down the street to a party being thrown by some of Manfredas’ friends. It was in a bar with the rather amusing name of “Nippes”. You paid €25 at the door and your drinks were free for the whole night. With an Irish woman and a bunch of Germans, this could have led to disaster, but it was a great night. Manfredas’ friends were really welcoming and more than happy to be tortured by my ScheiĂźGerman for the evening.

The next morning, I bumped into Barbara on my way back from the loo so she made me a cup of tea, and we settled in for a natter about life, love and the universe. Shortly afterwards, Manfredas appeared.

Manfredas: Is there a flower shop around here? (We were going to visit his sister.)

Barbara: Yes. There is one a seven-minute walk from here. 

Manfredas: Not five, not ten, but seven…

Barbara: Yes, seven.

Me: Germans.

But, you know, if you can’t beat them, join them.

Me: OK, so if it takes you seven minutes to walk there and seven minutes to walk back, that’s fourteen. Let’s say that you’re in the shop for three minutes choosing and paying, so that’s a total of seventeen minutes. I’ll be out of the shower by then and able to let you back into the room. 

Manfredas and Barbara: (collective jaw drop)

With alles in Ordnung, we set off for Manfredas’ sister’s place.

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The day was a bit gloomy but it was a pretty walk through leafy streets and along the canal. When we arrived, we were brought into the kitchen where more food than I could eat in a year was laid out. Three or four types of meat and cheese, around eight different types of bread, two baskets of fruit, butter, jam, Nutella, juice, water, tea and coffee. The woman had had her appendix out a few days earlier and she was still a thousand times better Hausfrau than I would ever be.

Me: Jesus. She really pulled out the stops for us…

Manfredas: No, this is just a typical Saturday morning for them. 

Me: Jesus.

Manfredas’ sister and brother-in-law were probably wondering why he’d chosen to bring a mute person to breakfast, but I was too busy eating to mind much.

Stay tuned for Part Two – coming soon!