Eastern Europe Road Trip

August 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm (Travel)

In true Kate travelling style I arrived home from Corsica on Sunday and then on Monday afternoon left with Martin to begin our Eastern Europe road trip.  It was stressful to say the least and I left my bedroom looking like a bomb had exploded in it but it was not to be helped.

DSC_0713Our trip started in Nürnberg.  We stayed with an old school friend of Martin’s father and were treated to an amazing tour of the city.  Friedrich was enthusiastic and very knowledgeable and the tour was definitely a highlight.  It was very interesting to hear about the different aspects of the city as it is often associated with gingerbread, the Christmas market and Nürnberg trials.  I didn’t realise, for example, how important the city was in the industrialisation of Germany or how many big German industrial companies had their main quarters in the town.  The next day we visited the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, which was simply mind blowing.  I don’t think we managed to get even a quarter of a way through the displays!  We did see the oldest globe in the world and have decided we will simply need to come back to Nürnberg to explore the museum more thoroughly.

On our way to Český Krumlov we made a pit stop at the Nazi party rally grounds.  Martin remembered visiting there as a child and being awe struck by the area so he was keen to show me it and visit again.  The grounds are really eeire and the stand in quite a lot of disrepair.  It’s a lot bigger than it looks in real life and it was kind of creepy standing on the platform knowing the kind of people that had stood there before hand.

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 Český Krumlov is situated in the Czech Republic and is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen here in Europe.  The town is situated around the horse shoe bends of the  Vltava River and is a mixture of Baroque and Renaissance buildings behind the backdrop of a spectacular castle.  We hired audio guides from the tourist information center and enjoyed wandering the streets learning more about the magnificent buildings.  We also went on a tour of the castle and had some amazing meals.  My favourite part was going on a half day canoe trip that began in the middle of the city.  After walking all around the city it was really cool being able to see it from the water and an absolutely beautiful way to to see the countryside and soak up some sun.

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DSC_1139Next stop was Vienna for Martin’s birthday and his sister’s wedding.  Our time spent in the city did not involve any sightseeing but rather centered around family.  It was a lovely, although at times tiring (especially due to the heat), four days.  The wedding was small but absolutely beautiful and truly enjoyed by all.  I felt very privileged to be there and especially to take part in the wedding ‘news’ that was put together by Martin and his sister.  I was quite nervous about speaking before everybody in German but I’m glad I went through with it and had the opportunity to take part.

After Vienna we continued south into Croatia staying two nights in Zagreb before hitting the ocean.  Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, was a surprisingly metropolitan city.  There were restaurants and cafés everywhere and at night these were buzzing with activity.  The city was a mix of old and the communist influence.  We made our own tour of the city and enjoyed visiting the ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’.  This museum is full of items from old relationships and each item has a personalised message that goes with it.  Some of the stories were really interesting and it was refreshing to visit a ‘different’ type of museum.

Finally we made it to the ocean and spent four nights relaxing in a disgustingly expensive hotel in Opatijia.  The beach was different to anything I have experienced before.  I was expecting rocky outcrops but not concrete slabs right to the edge of the water.  We didn’t do anything special apart from a boat day tour.  The tour was supposed to take us to four beautiful and less accessible beaches, hence the name ‘Lonely Beaches’.  The first beach did live up to the name but unfortunately the others were less than spectacular.  It was pretty disappointing but still a lovely boat trip.

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DSC_0574On our way back to Darmstadt we stopped in Slovenia for two nights.  We camped in Korabid on the banks of the Soča River.  The scenery was absolutely stunning and we enjoyed a walk to the waterfall as well as a rafting trip.  Due to the lack of water in the river the rafting trip didn’t really get our hearts racing but we are inspired to visit again in high water season.  Before leaving Slovenia we made a detour over the Vršič Pass which was dramatic to say the least.  It was a fantastic end to an amazing trip.

Now we’re back in Darmstadt and I have already survived the first week back at school.  Hockey is back in full swing and we have our first game next week.  I have also started training for my half marathon in October.  Back to reality here but of course I am always planning the next adventure.  🙂

xoxo

P.s  More photos?  Check out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151772130220589.1073741831.509745588&type=1&l=963d0d3658

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