Around Europe by Train: Part 2 (Munchen, Verona & Trieste)

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After checking out Budapesta and Vienna in the previous article, it’s time to move forward with our 30 days vacation around Europe and our next stops were Munchen, Verona and Trieste. It was actually Munchen that started our entire vacation since a good friend of my wife – a mother she met online – was traveling to Munchen from Australia and they had to meet. It was well worth it, that’s for sure!

But let’s not waste any time – we’re going to cover three cities in this article and I am sure you’re curious to know what were this Romanian’s impressions about Germany and Italy – I visited both countries for the first time, so I was really excited!

Munchen

We arrived here in what I think was the best AirBnb rental in the city if you are a single guy. It was a real man cave: a huge flat screen TV, a set of PlayStation consoles and a ton of games to play and a shelf with enough drinks to get the entire city drunk. I loved it there, even though I didn’t take advantage of any of the goodies. We had some exploring to do!

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Ah, all the goodies waiting for the biggest party ever!
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I did play a bit of PlayStation… to keep Eric entertained.

We first went to the BMW Store/Museum where we dreamed a bit about our next car. We’re driving a Dacia Logan which is probably at least 5-6 times cheaper than the cheapest BMW we saw there… but one can always dream, right?

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I would take this Mini over my Logan any time!
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Our next family car?
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This beast was the main attraction there and for all the right reasons. I would challenge anybody to just try and drive it in Romania – roads are too poor here for such a car!

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After the Visit to the BMW Museum, we explored the nearby Olimpya Park which was absolutely beautiful. Even though I am on a strict diet, I couldn’t stay away from eating a half meter / 20 inch wurst and then chillax a bit right on the grass in the park. It’s really different than Romania where you are still not allowed, in most cities, to even step on the grass in parks. Here, there were tons of people enjoying the great weather, out for a picnic or just drinking a few beers and eating some sandwiches. It was great!

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It was delicious!

We then took Eric to see Aqua World which was really amazing – and one of the few attractions that he really enjoyed. It was my first real aquarium, so I was happy like a kid seeing the sharks swim over me and all the other amazing fish. A must try thing if you get there!

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We walked a lot in Munchen and visited some of the landmarks in the city center as well. I liked everything, especially the size of the square where Hitler was holding his speeches. I saw that on TV, but being there and seeing how humongous it all was… that was impressive!

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This is where the H-man had his speeches. The whole place is humongous!
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I had to try a German pretzel sandwich too: a great experience, I must admit!

We also spent 15 minutes waiting in line to buy ice cream from what’s considered the best ice cream in the city and we absolutely loved it. Of course, we forgot to take a single photo of it, so you have to trust me on this one!

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The line for ice cream
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Remember the name in case you want to taste some delicious ice cream!
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…and that’s the only photo we have of the ice cream (kind of). It was so good that we simply devoured it before I even thought about taking a picture 🙂

Finally, after we met my Wife’s lovely friend and her family, we decided to visit the Nymphemburg Palace. Rookie mistake: I looked on the map and decided it’s an easy walk from home. It wasn’t, so when we finally got close, my little boy Eric was already tired and cranky so we didn’t actually get to see it and the nice gardens behind. But we still saw it from pretty close and left something to do for the next time we visit this great city.

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All in all, Munchen was exactly as I had expected it to be: beautiful, filled with attractions, tourists everywhere as well as locals. Plenty of eating options, from cheaper, student-like pubs that were only open during lunch time to the fancier restaurants (we didn’t get to visit those). The city is spotless clean, it seems that there are more bikes than cars and you easily see that the quality of living there is pretty high. Munchen is considered one of the most expensive cities in Germany, but for what we did there, it was not scary. I loved it and it does fight Budapest for my favorite destination from this trip!

Verona

I was a bit scared about Verona: people had told us that there’s nothing you can do there and it’s a poor choice of a city. We were also somewhat away from the city center, so I had all the reasons to worry. Fortunately, it was all great: we stayed in a huge, bright apartment with a huge balcony where we usually had diner, people watching and enjoying every second of it.

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The balcony was amazing – and it continued all the way to the right.

Indeed, the attractions are limited mostly to the city center where the small, narrow streets and old buildings make you feel like living in the past century (and I don’t say it as a bad thing at all). Brightly colored buildings, flowers everywhere… it was a joy for us to explore all the streets and just admire the buildings and small restaurants.

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We had to be real tourists and we visited Julietta’s balcony which is, obviously, over-hyped. We got there early, so it wasn’t over-crowded as well, but it’s usually packed there and there’s really not much to see. But when in Verona, you have to see Julietta!

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I tried to feed her a strawberry, but it kept falling down the stick…
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I wonder if they remove the locks and how often because that’s such a small place for the ton of tourists there.
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This is the gangway leading to Julietta’s place. So much love here! 🙂

We did miss an important attraction: Castel San Pietro, but it was up some hills and decided it would be too much for our little baby. So we just took some photos from far away and enjoyed the Castelvecchio (old castle) which was closer to the city center.

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Just a bit of Castelvecchio
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And the more impressive Castel San Pietro
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…which was all the way up there

Verona was another pleasant surprise for me. People used to tell us that the Italians are rude, loud and uneducated, but it was not the case. We found them extremely warm and polite, we never had trouble finding somebody who speaks English and they were always willing to help with tips and advice on what to do and where to go next. I loved it!

Trieste

…and we finally got near the sea! We spent 4 nights in Trieste because I thought that, since it was the middle of May, we might get some good weather and beach time. I was wrong, which made our stay in Trieste less exciting. We were also down with a cold for half of our stay which made us hate the windy, cold weather even more and probably find the city less interesting than it actually is.

Pretty poor decision making when we chose this studio for our stay in Trieste, but we made it work!
Pretty poor decision making when we chose this studio for our stay in Trieste, but we made it work!

The truth about Trieste is that it doesn’t have much to offer, unfortunately. Our host, when recommending things to see, was basically: “In Trieste, go here and there. Then you can go to 40 kilometers left to see this, then go to Slovenia to see that.” Of course, we did not.

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The city center was nice, with pubs on both sides and a great view overall
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Big cruise ships like this one are probably the norm here. There were dozens of buses here, taking the tourists from the ship to the airport.
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Sometimes, you just feel like sitting down and enjoying the view

They do have the Miramar Castle which is absolutely beautiful and also has some great, great views – and we were fortunate enough to visit it when the weather was pretty much decent. The castle was actually built by Austrians – and you can see throughout Trieste the influence the Austrians had over the architecture. It’s almost like you’re not in Italy!

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Not our best photo, but the view makes up for it!

We also tried to visit another castle (forgot its name) and climbed endless hills and sets of stairs to finally get there, circle it two times and find out that there’s actually no entrance to it – it was basically just a fortress that wasn’t impressive. But it sure help keep us fit during our journey!

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We had to climb this… and much, much more
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…to get here
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Living here certainly keeps you fit

I was extremely happy to eat some of the best pasta in my life (a delicious salmon/shrimp combination – and this come from somebody who’s not the biggest seafood/fish fan), while my wife was unlucky enough to try the crappiest pizza ever – an Indian pizza recommended by the cook. Curry, a ton of turmeric and cumin… that was strange indeed (but all the other pizzas we had in Italy were great – just to make that clear!)

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My delicious pasta
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And the really strange Indian pizza.

All in all, there is indeed not much to do in Trieste. Even the beaches are outside the city – rocky, narrow beaches, that is – and the city itself doesn’t really feel like Italy thanks to its Austrian history. One or two days are probably enough to see everything it has to offer – and make sure you visit it during the summer, when the weather’s a lot better!

This would be it for Munchen, Verona and Trieste. Stay tuned for the next episode, where I will be covering our stay in Croatia!

4 COMMENTS

  1. What lovely pictures. I love the selfie of the three of you and the one with you and Eric sitting with your back to the camera. Mrs. R has good vision :-). You really can tell the Austrian influence just from looking at that building. I love your description of go here, then 40 kilometers..go here..hah hah! Munchen looks great, l think l would like it. I would have totally had some tequila from the bar. I have not had a good margarita in so long, and l make a great one :-). Great overview of the trip, and l am looking forward to the next installment. Isn’t it great to meet online friends? 🙂

    • Mrs. R managed to take quite a few great photos, but I can’t add too many or I’ll break this blog :)) Munchen is indeed great and I think that we could’ve easily spent 10 more days there to see everything… we barely scratched the surface during our stay which was more of a race to see as much as possible (and now I’m looking at photos and wondering: “now what was that?”)

      Meeting online friends is indeed great. It’s worth taking trips like this one for that reason alone 🙂

  2. Hello Calin:
    I second that–indeed lovely pictures! Yeah, I like the Mini, also. I bet the BMW museum was well worth the visit. Did you buy any toy model cars?
    Your son is quite photogenic and seems most delighted in the adventures. So, you and Wife Romanian shared the harness/carrier to tote Eric when necessary? Any backaches, or does the harness/carrier work well? I cracked up at your dazed and confused picture trying to feed strawberries to “Julietta”–I bet you got some odd stares from passerbys;-)
    It seems Munchen is the best for you tied with Budapesta. When you spoke English in Hungary, in Germany, and in Italy did the locals ask where you were from? I think it’s neat that you’re able to communicate so well wherever you went. It seems once you really meet the people most stereotypes fall by the wayside.
    Were the prices in Italy basically the same as in Germany? (I know prices in Hungary and in your country are a lot cheaper;-)
    I started salivating looking at the pictures of the food. Even the strange Indian pizza looked good;-)
    So, for the most part your AirBnb accomodations worked out well. That was fortunate, as accomodations can sometimes make or break a vacation. Did you ride buses and trams to get from points A to B (intra-country), or did you hire taxis? I am wondering how you rated the various transportation options.
    I too am looking foward to Part 3!
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Teil

    • Hello Teil,

      They had no model cars for sale there – at least none I saw, so we’ll keep the photos 🙂 We did share Eric’s carrier, even though I have to be honest and admit that it was my Wife who carried him most of the time. It’s really difficult and yes, eventually your arms and back will hurt 🙂

      With Julietta – everybody was posing with their hands on her breasts, so I decided to try something else, especially since I was already eating fruits. It was awkward that the strawberry decided to play tricks on me 🙂

      Most people – in all the countries we have visited – didn’t ask where we were from. And those who did, apart from the ones in Italy for obvious reasons, asked if we were Italians. So yeah, it seems that things start to get blurry in terms of guessing who comes from where 🙂 Italy was just as expensive – maybe a bit more expensive in some areas – that Munchen, a bit to my amazement. However, we spent so little time in each city that it’s difficult to say if that was really the case or just a matter of us getting lucky with cheaper stores/restaurants in Munchen and more expensive ones in Italy…

      We only took a taxi twice – both in Belgrade, where it was dirt cheap. Apart from that, we chose to walk where possible or used public transportation (metro mostly in Budapest, Vienna and Munchen ) and bus/tram in the rest of the cities. We had no problem with any of the transportation in all cities – they were all clean and not crowded (buses in Bucharest always seem to be packed). The only thing we didn’t like was Vienna, where it smelled like poop in all their subway trains.

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