Saturday, May 27, 2017

Central European Road Trip 2017: Day 1 of 13


Sometime last year Amy (wife) and I entertained the idea of doing a vacation in Germany. In May '16 we spent 2 weeks driving around the UK and thought we'd do a similar thing in Central Europe. Except this time we wanted to bring along her parents, Mike and Terri. They had never been abroad and her dad is especially keen on Bavarian architecture so it would be enjoyable for them too. I did some quick searching a found round trip tickets to Munich for only $500/person!!! Uh, yes, please :) Only downside was the flights were out of O'Hare/Chicago. Comparable tickets out of Indy were over $1,300/person! I'll happily drive to Chicago to save $800/person :)


And with that our european trip was formed. We found a two week period in early May with $500 airline tickets and started scheduling our road trip. I used Furkot to plan each day. It's a great tool for laying out timelines. After much deliberation we decided on the following route (see map figure). Some of the stops were selected for a particular point of interest and others were selected to keep us from spending too much time on the road during one day.


Our trip concluded last Wednesday, 5/17/2017, and it was incredible! Wow. We saw so much of central Europe. From Prague to the Bavarian Alps to unplanned small towns and monasteries we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves while seeing a diverse mixture of nature, tourist spots, and local, real-life towns.

The next several blog posts will walk you through the daily adventures we encountered while on our trip. There will be a mixture of images from my BIG camera and our smart phones.

Day 1 of 13
Our plane landed in Munich, Germany around 9:00am local time. After grabbing our luggage and rental car we headed off to our first stop, Prague, CZ. The Alamo rental car dude was fabulous. Super helpful. Glad we ran into him :)


As we drove down A99 we were constantly craning our necks at the cute little German towns that dotted the countryside. We hopped off the interstate a couple of times to explore them.





A few more kilometers down the road and we were to the Germany/Czech Republic border. We stopped and purchased a pass for our vehicle and witnessed the first sighting of a man peeing in plain sight. He made no attempt to cover up or turn the other cheek. Just stood there peeing as we drove by in the parking lot. As fate would have it, this would be one of many sightings during our trip :)

Shortly after crossing the Czech border I saw what looked to be a large castle ruin on top of a hill. Curiosity got the best of me so we turned of the highway and set out to find this castle on the hill. A few turns and an "ostrich" sighting later we found our way to the trailhead which led to the castle ruins (Amy and I strongly doubt Mike saw an ostrich, but you can't argue with him). The hike up the hill was nothing to joke about, but it was well worth it. The name is Přimda Castle.










Once we got back on the road it didn't take long for us to get distracted again. A large monastery, Klášter Benediktinů Kladruby, caught our attention and so we decided to check it out. It was well worth the delay in getting to Prague. There were only a couple other people on the grounds. A light drizzle was coming down and everything was calm and quiet. 













We hadn't eaten since our meal on the plane a few hours earlier so the little restaurant on the grounds caught our belly's attention. It smelled of freshly-fried schnitzel. Yum! English wasn't the language of the day :) so through a series of grunts, finger-pointing, and slow, emphasized English, we managed to order a proper meal for all four of us. We inhaled our meals and ordered two pieces of apple strudel and quickly found the purpose for our trip: Find the best apple strudel in all Central Europe! Or at least: eat apple strudel once or twice a day!




Bellies full and energy renewed, we closed the remaining distance between us and Prague. Well, I closed the distance. My 3 travel partners decided to snooze. Thanks people.

Soon enough we were winding our way through the outskirts of Prague and deep into the heart of the beautiful city. If there was ever a time when I was "in awe" then it was certainly when the city of Prague came into view. Words don't do it justice. We checked into our lodging and hit the streets with an hour or so of sunlight left in the evening.

Fun fact: Prague consists of several smaller Prague's. Our Airbnb (check out the link) was located in Prague 1 - the original Prague.












 


Our evening concluded with us attempting to withdraw cash from several ATMs. For some strange reason neither of our debit cards worked. This was the scene :) We finally got some cash set off to find some grub and landed at an Italian joint just off the Old Town Square. G'night!

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