A Travellerspoint blog

Comparing Coffee In Europe

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As I trekked through Italy I found the espresso to be fine. I loved lingering at cafes in Paris. I remember fondly sitting outside and people watching in Rome or Florence. The espresso was strong and good. But in all of Europe I found the Coffee in Vienna to be the very best. The Grosser Brauner, is a large coffee with milk. The first one I had, sitting at the Kandinsky Cafe, on my very first day in Europe changed me forever. I will never forget that moment.

Posted by wubybm 18:38 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Schnitzel Sandwich.

Not in Germany.

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One of my favorite things to order at a pup at home is a Schnitzel sandwich. With crispy, crackling bread, and mustard. Yet, usually the description is better that the real thing. So as I departed for Germany, Bavaria in particular, I could not wait to sink my teeth into one, sure it would be the best on I have ever had. Now the schnitzel was everything I dreamed of. We had both pork and veal varieties. Although veal is the only "real" schnitzel according to the locals I met. We had some the size of a medium pizza at Pizza Hut. We had some stuffed with sausage an liver. We found good ones at famous places like Augstiner (pictured) and tiny places in Shwabing. What we did not find was a sandwich. Not on the menu. I even asked at one place and I believe I offended the waiter. But we really did not see sandwiches of any kind on the lunch menus. People came in sat down and had a full meal complete with beer. Not just tourists but locals. I kind of liked this. They lingered and ate and drank beer at reserved tables. And we did the same. We did find one on a menu at the bar in the airport hotel in Frankfurt. It was just like the pathetic schnitzel sandwiches back home. I had the hamburger.

Posted by wubybm 11:36 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

The Dollar Is Low, Therfore am I.

My plans to head to Italy this year has been nixed. It is just too expensive. I am bitter about this. Sure we are heading Cozumel, Mexico in a month, but that does not come close to quenching my thirst for traveling and seeing what's out there. I have never understood the attraction of traveling to an all-inclusive resort and never leaving the grounds. I plan to sneak away a bit between relaxing and family duties. I plan on seeing the ruins (and a ton of cruse ship people, no doubt). And I do have a tip on a restaurant, an Italian ex-pat who married a Mexican woman and opened an Italian restaurant on a small side street off of 5th avenue in Playa de Carmen. I hope it is good because this is as close to Italy as I am going to get with a sinking dollar.

Posted by wubybm 11:20 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

I know Prague Is Great But...

My best friend first visited Prague in 2001. "It was so cheap and untouched and non-touristy", he said. Another friend recently toured Europe and she said it was her favorite city. Another friend has gone back time and again. Everything you read says it is THE city to go to in Europe. I didn't find it as such and I don't quite understand why. I did not find it all that cheap. And the tourists. The fucking tourists! I know the Charles Bridge is the most touristy part of the city, but my God I could barley get across.

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And it wasn't just the tourists, it was the cab driver and the waitress who ripped me off, the guy who tried to pick pocket my father. Now I am not one of those people who want everything to be like home. When I go somewhere I want to experience the culture. I think that was my issue with it. It was SO overtly and shamelessly touristy. Paris is filled with tourists but I did not feel it so crushingly as I did here. My thought was Prague has not been doing long enough. Capitalism has only been here for 20 years or so. They are not as good at it as Paris. I had the same gripe with Venice but I got swept up in the romance of Venice and was not able to do that here. Maybe it is because of the cold history of the Communist, I don't know. Our hotel was a recommended "Rick Steve's" special with a South American theme. That did not help me find that uniquely Czech experience.

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The buildings were beautiful. The castle was amazing but I could not get past the hordes of people. I was struck by how beautiful this city was at night. Our walk to the castle at 10:30 at night was the best time we spent there. The reduction of people (although there were a lot) and a bottle of Czech wine didn't hurt either. We found a great bar on a dead side street right off of one of the main streets. It was in a vaulted cellar. We had some nice Czech beer and enjoyed the unique setting. All in all a good night.

That was the thing about my time there. It seemed to be full of contradictions. On one hand, we seemed to be targets of scams or pick pockets at every turn. However, the nicest people we met in either Germany or Czech Republic were the staff at our hotel and restaurant. While the buildings were preserved from war they were over-run with graffiti and tourist traps. There was a lot I was liked but I was not enjoying myself. I guess that is how it goes sometimes.

Our driver (another really outstanding person), told us on the way to the train station (that is a whole other topic for a post) that the end of September is the high tourist season and it is over run. That got me to thinking. Should I judge this place, who many people I relate to love, on this one experience? I think not. I like to travel in off-season, so during November it may be a totally different experience. Also, it was at the end of my trip and we had done big cities. They are beautiful, but you start to become used to it. Sad, maybe, but true. I was with my father and Prague seems to be a great time for younger people. And we were not there long enough to really get to know it.

But more than anything else, I wonder if I was looking for something that doesn't exist. Maybe I wanted the local culture to be something it is not. I was looking for an old world experience that may not exist. Sure, the buildings are hundreds of years old, but what about the culture. The people we spoke to don't usually go to traditional Czech restaurants. There are a lot of hip young beautiful people who like to go out and a lot of the get their income from serving the tourists who flock. They seem to be looking to the future, not the past.

Will I go back? Hopefully, although it is not at the top of my list. Upon returning to Germany I blamed all those who told me how great Prague was and how that was where I had to go over any where else. But now I think I didn't really know enough about the Czech culture, history and people. For that I have only myself to blame.

Posted by wubybm 11:09 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

One More Food Photo From Munich

HofbrÀuhaus

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. I know it is touristy. I know it is across from a Hard Rock. But there is a reason tourists go there. It is historic (Hitler spoke there), it is the largest beer hall in the world and there is this:

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Posted by wubybm 11:01 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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