If you don't remember, last year in July and August, my best friend, April, and I travelled around Europe for six weeks. Since my unexpected blog hiatus, I never got to finish my Europe Photo Diary, so I thought I'd finish off the last legs of my European adventure now. If you'd like, you catch up by reading where I've been here.
Before heading to Lucerne, Switzerland, we spent a night in Munich, which was a lot of fun! We visited Marienplatz - the heart of the city - and got to see the gorgeous Glockenspiel in all its gothic glory. April and I stopped in at a few shops where I bought some Essie nail polish and a Chanel lipgloss. April bought a traditional German dress, though I wasn't too keen on spending €50 on something I'd never wear again! When the sun started setting, we made our way to Hofbräuhaus am Platzl for an amazing German dinner consisting of pork knuckle and a big potato dumpling. We also ate pretzels and as you do in a Hofbräuhaus, drank beer! I could barely hold my humongous glass up and I chose to drink shandy instead. Ha, I'm such a girl. After dinner in the Hofbräuhaus, we made our way to the night spot of Munich, Kultfabrik. We had vodka shots with sherbet, got drunk, celebrated a Contiki-er's birthday and danced like crazy. It was such a fun night and I wish we had spent more time in Germany.
The next day, we travelled to Liechtenstein for the afternoon on our way to Lucerne. We grabbed some burgers and ice cream for lunch in Liechtenstein's capital city of Vaduz, which overlooked the Royal Family's 12th century castle up high in the cliffs. I can't remember how much exactly I paid, but it must've been around 3 Swiss Francs to get my passport stamped! Is that insane? Maybe it's just me, but I love having lots of stamps in my passport. Since Australia is an island, sometimes it's hard to get my head around that when travelling in Europe, you can just casually pass through countries for an afternoon! Sometimes I'm a little envious since Australia is so isolated.
When we arrived in Lucerne, we visited Mt. Pilatus where we got to see incredible views of the Swiss mountain ranges. April and I got to enjoy a cable car ride with fellow Contiki friends and I remember looking out into the amazing scenery with them, all agreeing that our family back home would be so jealous of this experience! After the cable car ride, we did a lot of walking up a mountain for toboggan riding. I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to these kinds of things (I only would've ridden it extremely slow and annoy other people!), so I decided to sit this one out, while I just watched my friends and ate more ice cream. You can't get Ben & Jerry's where I live, okay? Please don't judge.
Our last adventure for the day was riding the world's steepest cog railway. Although it may sound and it even looked scary, it wasn't bad at all and the scenery was breathtaking. After that, we made our way to the hotel, which was a jail hotel! Yes, a building once a jail, now turned into a hotel is where we stayed for two nights. It was a little eery at first staying in a former prison cell and it was no luxury five star resort (the food was pretty bland too), but makes for an interesting experience and story to tell. It was around a 15-20 minute walk from the Contiki coach to the hotel and since we were in the final days of our tour, our luggage was heavier and I have to say, it wasn't fun. After settling in, we went out to explore the city of Lucerne. It was a lovely little town with cobble stone roads and wooden bridges, which gives the city that unique old style character. One of the bridges was lined with gorgeous different coloured flowers, though the crazy amount of spiders and mosquitos living under the roof didn't make for a pleasant stroll along it! Before heading home for dinner, we stopped in at Starbucks for a drink and some wifi. We were planning to go out that night, but since it started raining, we decided to stay in.
The next day, we had the option of going on a Swiss army knife and watches tour, which we decided not to go on, as it didn't really interest us. Later that morning, we did stop buy a few shops and Starbucks again before meeting back up at the hotel to go to a Swiss fondue lunch and folklore show. I had never tried savoury fondue before and I was so excited to try it! I absolutely love my cheese, though I have to say, it wasn't as nice as I thought it'd be. There's some sort of alcohol they add to the bread and cheese, which gives it a funny after taste that I did not particularly like. Nevertheless, I'm glad I tried it and the Bratwurst sausages and potato dish we also had was the opposite and absolutely delicious. I don't think I could ever eat a regular sausage again. From yodelling to making music with a saw to dancing with the national flag and playing an alphorn, the folklore show was really different and nothing I've seen before. It was very entertaining watching fellow Contiki-ers participate in yodelling, playing the alphorn and even beer skulling!
Once lunch was over, we enjoyed a cruise along Lake Lucerne, but I have to admit, by this time, I had been on so many cruises, it was nothing new now. We once again strolled the city before heading to the hotel for dinner and another night in as we had to be up early for 'bags to coach' and to our next destination. A night in Rhine Valley before Amsterdam!