I just want to start off by saying how sad the news of the London bombings was. We were still at the house in Austria when we heard, and we sat in front of the TV for hours as news came through. Jenny’s family is in London, and it turned out that her brother was on the tube going through each of the stations that were bombed just 20 minutes before the fact. Thankfully, he was fine, and I talked to Jim Bollocks and his family is okay, so that was good to hear. I hope everyone reading this who may know people in the area heard similar good news.
The last time I posted we were in Munich. We didn’t really do that much while we were there, but we did think it would be fun to check out the park, which is really big and even has a part of a river/stream thing where people surf. So we went, saw the surfing, and saw lots of people swimming in the streams that run through the park. Of course, as our luck goes, it started to rain at about the time we wanted to get in. We decided to go for a swim anyway. We were taking turns going in so that two of us could sit with the bags while the other two went in. Kerry and I jumped in first, and it was absolutely freezing! It was really cold outside though, so it wasn’t as big of a shock as it otherwise would have been. The current was really quick, and we were moving really fast through the water. We went under a few bridges where there were a few rapids, and it was so much fun. We swam along, laughing all the way as our bodies grew numb. Then, up ahead we saw boys jumping in off the side of the cement wall that lined the channel. I told Kerry we should stop at the bank so we could get out and jump in. Well, what looked like a bank was really just another channel, but much narrower than the one we were in. There were huge rapids ahead, and by the time we saw them there was nowhere to get out. We made for a bit of wall between the two channels and clung to them, trying to figure out what to do. I finally let go and decided to go through the rapids. That turned out to not be a very good idea at all. I went under, came up, went under again, and stayed under. I could see daylight above me, but the current was so strong I couldn’t swim to the surface. I honestly thought I had taken my last breath. When I came up I tried to swim, but I was stuck where water was flowing upstream and downstream, so I wasn’t moving. The current released me and I carried on downstream. I managed to grab a rope that spanned the width of the channel, and I had to motion for one of the boys to help me climb out onto the cement wall. I was so unnerved. Kerry was still at the wall, but then she let go and made it through without any problems. It was so scary. Later on, when we came back to the wall, we saw a sign in German and Kelly took a picture. We had someone translate it for us yesterday, and it said: “Swimming forbidden. Your life is in danger.” That would have been nice to know beforehand! But we made it, and I have no plans of going in fast-moving water for a while.
We went to the Haufbrauhaus on our last night in Munich, which is a big, famous beer hall that I had heard was really great. Well, the liter beers were good, and the oompa band was sort of fun, but the authentic Bavarian beer hall of my imagination was not what we found. The place was certainly packed, but it was full of drunk Asian tourists instead of Germans. The food was fantastic though.
From Munich we rented a car and drove to Freiburg in the Black Forest. The drive was beautiful. Freiburg itself was nice as well. We stayed only one night, and the day we wanted to go hiking it decided to rain. So, that plan sort of went bust, and we headed out for Austria. I had only been driving for about 20 minutes when I felt the car go a bit funny. It felt like the engine was struggling; the car would lurch forward, then slow, then lurch, then slow. I pulled off at a rest stop and sure enough, the car cut off. We called Europcar (the rental place) and they said they would send someone out to help. We were all pissed off, thinking they had given us a lemon, until Kelly finally asked, “Do you think it has to do with the gas we put in?” We checked the label on the gas cap–diesel. We had filled it up with unleaded. Oops.
Help finally came and we were towed to a nearby town where very friendly people fixed our car in under 2 hours. Plus, we got free Cokes, so we weren’t too put out. I was amazed we were able to go from broken down to back on the road in under 3 hours. Amazing.
When we made it to the house in Kirchbirg, Austria, we were so happy to see big, nice, comfy beds–and a huge bath tub! It was like heaven while we were there. We cooked our own food, watched TV (well, CNN World at least), and relaxed a bit. It was great. We even bought bubble bath and a pumice stone to treat our tired feet.
While in Kirchbirg Kerry and I hiked a mountain (in Reef flip-flops no less…the official best shoes ever), we took a day trip to Neuschwanstein (the castle that Cinderella’s castle in Disneyworld was modelled after), we went to a salt mine near Salzburg and slid down mining slides, and we did other random stuff like going into Innsbruck to shop and we had a day of just washing our clothes by hand. It was a good few days. Kerry and I enjoyed driving our little Skoda, which turned out to be a good little car once we figured out which type of gas it takes.
We got to Vienna the day before yesterday. It is a pretty nice place, but nothing too spectacular. I am ready to move on, which we’ll be doing in a few hours’ time. Next up is Bratislava in the Slovak Republic. It’s really not that far away at all, so it will be a short train ride.
I know I’m probably leaving out a lot of stuff, but I can’t remember anything else too memorable at the moment and my time on the Internet is rapidly expiring. For the record, I don’t know how available Internet access is in eastern Europe, so if I don’t post for a week, don’t assume that I am dead (MOM). I’m not, I promise. And if I am, you have that wonderful 10,000 life insurance policy courtesy of UCF to look forward to. (That thought did flash through my mind as I nearly drowned…hehe.) I really am being safe, I swear!
Tags: Austria, England, Germany, London, Munich, Travel