Bavarian Beauty!

I was fortunate enough to experience a road trip through the picturesque side of Germany. After visiting Heidelberg in August 2015(read my last post) we set off for Bavaria. We had plans to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle in the region. On our way there we realised it has way more to offer than we imagined.

Bavaria is a state in south eastern Germany and it borders Austria. It consists of some of the most scenic medieval towns. We drove through blissful natural landscapes like this..P1010177.JPG

..and entered a small village called Oberammergau. There might be other villages similar to this in Bavaria – this one caught our attention. We found some amazing visuals.


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Just look how beautiful these houses look with all that art on them. I think its quite unique to this region where people are very proud of their culture, food, drink – proud of Bavaria! Sometimes while travelling you come across these gems which completely take you by surprise – If time permitted we would have loved to spend more time here. Maybe we will come back to Germany to experience more of this. We had some lunch at Oberammergau and prepared to push off to Schloss Neuschwanstein!


Situated on a hill on top of the Hohenschwangau village near Fussen valley, the Neuschwanstein castle was intended to be a personal retreat for the then reclusive king, Ludwig 2. This gorgeous architecture has been shown in several movies and is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty Castle”.

Walking up the mini hiking trail to the castle we came across some tourists who were on their way down. They asked me “where do you come from”, I answered “India” and they had a good laugh as they meant “which way did we hike up from”. They can laugh all they want but I reserve my opinion that they framed the question wrong. Nevertheless – it made our fun day funnier! What a comic thing to happen while visiting the inspiration to Walt Disney! Ironic?



This gigantic castle is best viewed from a small bridge nearby but we could not access it as it was under maintenance. When we finally got up there, not only were we impressed by this beauty but we also got some outstanding views!


Hohenschwangau palace


The king took special interest in the design of the castle and that is very evident as it oozes style and elegance. Unfortunately though the castle was not fully complete when he died. He is believed to have slept only a few nights in the castle but on the positive side today we experience this classy architecture only due to his initiative. Thank you King! 🙂




Is it a coincidence that both my trips to Europe happened in August? I don’t really care as long as I get to travel 🙂 During my vacation in August 2015, my friend Henning, my wife Shoma and me started upon a road trip from Aachen. We had already visited Cologne and Aachen(check my previous posts). It was time to travel further. 30 km from Aachen lies a quaint little town called Monschau. It falls in the Eifel region of west Germany.


It didn’t take us long to get there thus giving us plenty of time to walk around this scenic, blissful place. Monschau’s charming old town enchanted me. Most half timbered gorgeous houses here have remained unchanged for hundreds of years!



I keep mentioning my love for cobblestone alleys of altstadts but I cannot stress enough on the beauty of this one! Soaking it all in, we packed some food from one of the many bakeries in town and walked right up to the tower. There we had lunch while enjoying this view!


This town oozes peace and quiet – kind of looks like a resort town where people retire! Quite a contrast from its history when it used to be strategic and tactically important during the world war.

Thoroughly enjoying this calm and beautiful town it was time for us to move on – our next stop Heideberg! 100 km from Monschau, this is town is home to a very good university.


Even though there are several cities and towns in Germany that have been restored, it is believed that this town escaped heavy bombing during the war as it was not considered an industrial hub. Lucky for us tourists right?


Heideberg, situated in south west Germany has a striking old town with vivid architecture. There is a beautiful castle built of red sandstone – you cannot miss it while in town – and will definitely miss it when you leave town 🙂


Walking around we got to the bridge crossing the river Neckar if I remember correctly. It gives wonderful views of both sides of the town. I found the gate quite cool!


Later we walked up to the castle. Great architecture inside out!




And finally a seriously cool view of the town and the bridge from up there!


Being a university town it has energy that you feel while exploring every corner. While having dinner we read about the university library area. We decided to walk to the campus where we came to know they sell beer in the cafeteria! Definitely a good university – I wish I studied there 🙂 Content with a good day of sightseeing we enjoyed quite a few beers there before getting back to our hostel quite late. Heideberg definitely is my favourite town in Germany – will always have these beautiful images in mind!

Cloudy Cologne!

Having one extra day at Aachen we planned before hand. Cologne – the fourth largest city in Germany – lies just a small train ride away. My friend was working that day and hence couldn’t join in – he did however drop us at the Duren train station and promised to join us at Cologne after work.

Situated on both sides of the Rhine river, this city is gorgeous! Once the train arrived at the Hauptbahnof we could easily see the massive Kolner Dom – The Cologne cathedral. What architecture! The details of sculptures inside out the cathedral makes it even more imposing.



Even though I am not much of an architecture buff we kept staring at this brilliant structure in awe. We just couldn’t stop clicking pictures. Spending quite a while at the cathedral we finally decided to walk around the old town. Heavily bombed during the war, it has been rebuilt and re-structured into a picturesque city.



Passing by the numerous galleries,museums, cute cafes and old architecture we felt the historic and traditional aspect of Cologne. We regret missing the Eau de cologne museum as it was closed but my friend assured us there was more to this city that we could still see – The Hohenzollern bridge!




This bridge is a short walk from the cathedral and provides nice views once you’re on it. When Allied troops attacked, the German military blew up this bridge. That was then – now people have placed love padlocks and turned it into a sign of love.

The weather played spoilsport the whole day as you can imagine from the pictures but that would only make us distinctly remember that cloudy day in Cologne. Content with our sightseeing it was time for some Kolsch! We were told as long as we were drinking we couldn’t cover the glass with the coster. We didn’t – but we stuck to our limits and avoided the fate my friend endured when he got so drunk he passed out at the Mc Donald’s ! Yeah – definitely not forgetting Cologne 🙂

Birthday in Aachen

Aachen, the westernmost city of Germany, shares its borders with Netherlands and Belgium. This city has traditionally been an attractive place for inhabitants due to its mineral springs. During the world war this was the first city to be captured by the Allies. Even though a lot of buildings were heavily damaged, the Aachen cathedral somehow survived. “Bad Aachen”(as it is also known as) has one of the best universities for engineering studies. This is where a friend of mine, Henning, had studied. He now works in Aachen itself.

Our train from Berlin to Aachen started 5 minutes late – much to the disappointment of the people at the station. Back in India, we are used to more than that so we didn’t understand what the fuss was all about 🙂 But I guess this just proves the high level of efficiency and discipline expected in Germany. Respect!

We reached Aachen early evening when Henning picked us up. It was great seeing him after nearly 2 years when he had come down to India to attend our wedding. He was renting a cosy little place on Blutcherplatz. This was quite an old building-partly restructred. The flat also had an upward area which had a triangular ceiling as it was the topmost part of the building. It was quite cool how we were accessing this area :


As you can also see on the wall there he stuck a poster of a bollywood movie- he got that in India 🙂


..and that was going to be our bedroom for the next 2 days. Even though I banged my head a couple of times on that bulky wooden beam – I was liking every bit of it.

Aachen has a gorgeous old town. Beautiful cobblestone streets- lovely to walk around.






We spotted a hall where a particular day of the week couples just go to dance. Just an open space in the old town area- they go – they dance-they leave-Cool!

I wonder if the evening setting in was making Aachen look even more charming. It was time to get some dinner as later we were heading to Henning’s friend’s place for some drinks. They meet, drink and play cards every monday – to beat the monday morning blues maybe? The card game was complicated but the ultimate prize money was anyway used for the pizza and drinks they get the next monday- Fun!

It happened to be my birthday and later I found out that my wife, Shoma had passingly mentioned that to Henning, who secretly planned with his friends to surprise me at 12! Those friends were so welcoming and warm – one of them worked as a taster in the Lindt factory in Aachen. Such an awesome job right? We visited the factory the next day-photography was prohibited. Never had we seen such a vast collection of Lindt chocolates. We bought loads of them(at half the price than supermarkets) for home – but ended up eating quite a few that very day!


This beautiful gem of a town is hard to forget. I will always cherish walking around the altstadt. Summing up – one of the coolest birthdays I have ever had. Thank you Aachen, Thank you Henning 🙂

The German Wedding!

The day we went sightseeing in Berlin, August 2015, ended with a roof top pre wedding party at our hotel on Augustrasse. Last time I was in Europe in 2009, I had met a lot of cool people – all friends/relatives of my friend(who’s wedding we were here to attend). It was great seeing them after nearly six years. Fun people that we all are, it wasn’t long before we got down to drinking. Please note : There should always be time allotted for quick selfies with my wife 😉 We made sure we got them before sunset.


It was amazing hanging out with old friends and new. This is the part of travel that I really enjoy- interacting with the people! I value their feedback on everything way more than websites,travel channels,guidebooks etc. Not only do I want to know what they feel is the best food to have , the best place to get a drink or their favourite parts of the city but also their perspective on life.

Later that night a very drunk me, my wife and a friend went out for what was one of the best Doner Kebabs I have ever had.. on top of that it was for just 3 euros – Gotta love Berlin! We wanted the night to go forward with more drinking but had to get up early for the wedding ceremony which was going to be held in Potsdam. Now, I admit due to time constraints , visiting Potsdam was not in our plan – but we are really thankful to have been there.

We got up on the bus taking us there around 8:30 am. We dare not be late- Germans are always on time – one of the many things I admire about them! On the way one friend was acting the guide for the rest of the guests on our bus. Some of the spots he showed were already seen by us the day before but it was still nice.

The ceremony was quite different from what we are used to in India. We had never attended a wedding inside a church before. The groom waiting for the bride who was being escorted by her father – the cards given to us to read – the booklet given to us to sing along – the kids doing some cool stuff with flowers- the bride and groom walking out waving at us all – the newly married driving away in a fancy car – just like in the movies ! 🙂

The newly married couple actually drove to the spot of town where we met them later. It was a beautiful villa probably owned by a very rich man who probably had his yacht parked along the river bank along many other yachts! This place was gorgeous. There was a lot of dessert, yummy bites and coffee arranged for us and we tried them all. Our conversations with people from the night before continued – some of them were very curious to know about the wedding ceremonies in India. Everyone was so nice and even though it was a very personal occasion where only the closest people were invited – we felt completely relaxed and at home.


My friend gave some beautiful speeches thanking us all for being there on his special day. It was that kind of moment which no picture can capture!

The food was delicious – I wish I remember the names of all the stuff. I do recall bratkartoffein, sauerkrat , botchen and wurst . There was an excellent preparation for which apparently the fish was caught fresh from the local river. German food is amazing.

After Lunch, some guests were going for a walk and we joined them – apparently there is a historic bridge nearby:




Some of the people walking with us were nice enough to enlighten us. This bridge was damaged during the world war and was used to exchange captured spies. Recently I saw a movie on it too – Bridge of Spies. Apparently a lot of people were shot trying to swim and sneak into the other side by guards on duty. Walking around this place we realised how lucky we are to have visited this historic site.

The sun went down and we walked back to the villa. It was time to show videos everyone sent for the newly married along with loads of good wishes. Some funny moments  and hilarious videos definitely set the mood for some drinks and dancing 🙂 No one wanted the celebration to end!





In December 2014 , my German friend informed me that he was getting married in August 2015 and I better book my tickets ASAP! By February 2015 I was done finalising my travel plan which of course would start with attending my first german wedding in Berlin!

Berlin, the capital of Germany, has always been one of my favourite cities. I have been there once before and this time I took my wife with me. Visiting this city always reminds you the role it had to play in history. Being devastated by bombing raids and battles, many buildings were either reconstructed or demolished post war.

My wife and I landed on 7th August 2015, the day before the wedding, early in the morning. Having the whole day to see Berlin we wasted no time. The receptionist at our hotel in Augustrasse was sweet enough to give us city maps and some basic info. Thanking her we left – our eurotrip had begun!

One day in Berlin is a ridiculously short time to see everything. For example, we didn’t have time to visit the Berlin cathedral! – I know !  but one day is all we had and this is what we saw!

First stop, Brandenburg gate. While walking up the stairs out of the metro stop, we saw this:


Maybe just a regular picture for many of you, but we were excited as it was the first sight we visited – some pictures just attach to your memory. An iconic landmark, this gate is a massive symbol of European history.

We strolled around here for a while spotting this:



Next we visited the Reichstag building which is very close by. This is the German parliament building where some areas are accessible for the public. Very impressive architecture – we walked around it for a while clicking loads of pictures.



There is the Biergarten close by – this is a very nice, calm and green area to walk around. You get to see a lot of artists presenting their skills and tricks around this area. We personally loved one guy playing the violin so well.



Next stop- the holocaust memorial – a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.



While a part of me thinks that this memorial reflects the horrors and the shame of the past, it can also give us a constant reminder on the right direction we should keep walking in. We have come a long way from that and should never turn back.

Moving on, our next stop was Checkpoint Charlie. Being around this area definitely makes you picture a precarious situation waiting for one small thing to happen to blow things out of proportion. Looking at the light hearted atmosphere – tourists clicking pictures and selfies with the men in uniform – its gratifying to know that its not as tense as it used to be then 😉



There were some nice cafes around this area. We decided we should get some food and drinks before visiting my friend (who became a mother just a few months ago!)

Our final stop was the Berlin wall memorial. Walking along the wall can definitely make you feel different inside- that awkward reminder that not so long ago people were zoned out like that.


Berlin gives you a lot to think about – a clear example of how we can forget the past and move on to better things in life.

Finally it was time for us to head back to our hotel where we had to attend the pre wedding party which of course involved beer and MORE BEER!

A special mention about 1) the local transport in Berlin- one word – Superb! So convenient and so well connected. 2) Recommended foods you must try  – Currywurst , Berliner and the Doner kebab – which was invented here !

** all photos are mine**