Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Europe Fall 2013 - Off to Prague! (Day 5)

We didn't have hotel breakfast today as we thought of getting a real Bavarian breakfast! Yup, xxxx-wurst! Didn't do enough research on Munich since this city was chosen because it's convenient, very good as an interchange :x

After that we realized that this place has lot's dessert, pastries... should have spent more effort on looking for a good dining place! After comparing among the 4 countries, this city is good for shopping too!

Designs are pretty up to date, price is slightly cheaper than Prague and Salzburg. Weather's getting colder day by day so I bought my wife a Hilfiger windbreaker at €200 and almost slapped myself silly when I checked out their outlet at 1 Utama... RM1499 for an older design! (-_-)"

Retook some morning shots when there isn't much crowd... Marienplatz... love the architecture here!
Had weisswurst (traditional Bavarian white sausages) and pretzels for breakfast at Weisses Brauhaus. Like I said, not enough research because we were expecting grilled ones instead :P
And they only have 1 kind of sausages in the morning... this is 2 sets (4 sausages). We loved the taste (initially), very good combination of spices and meat! But started feeling it was too much when we reached the second sausage, I ended up having 3 since my wife couldn't handle them any more :x
 Freshly baked!
Had a walk at Viktualienmarkt after breakfast, most of the stalls were just preparing for business:
 
We went back to the hotel to check out and head for the bus stop just outside the main train station. Just next to this stations is the bus stop for Munich Airport.

Sky got a little gloomy with thick clouds forming and after 15 mins or so.... It started raining! Eventually became hailstones size of raisin! Great thing it... there's no shelter! Everyone was rushing and squeezing towards the airport's bus stop, the nearest shelter around...

There are a few bus companies from Munich to Prague. We booked ours via Bahn (you may refer to the costing and planning page for the website). Print out the e-ticket and bring it along as it will be validated by the conductor.

Why bus? Its faster than the train! Though its a whooping 5+ hours ride... You'll be able to see Prague around 4.5 hours, going into the city will take some time depending on traffic conditions. Some shots:
 
 
The bus stop is... like an abandoned building... most of the travelers on the bus was pretty much surprised upon arrival... But underneath these ruins is a modern main station, and its pretty huge. Didn't manage to take any shots as ours hands were full and it was pretty hard looking for the ticket counter and exits.

Here's the 24-hour ticket bought at the counter. Please keep this ticket with you as there are officers randomly checking passengers at each station. For more info, checkout this webpage:
We stayed at the funky, ultra modern Fusion Hotel, which is within walking distance. Its located few streets after the park from the Main Station.
 The bathroom
It comes with Apple TV :D
That pipe is actually the ventilation or air conditioning... The only complaint (yeah, brought it up with the reception when we checked out) that we have is if you close the windows, its quite stuffy... but when you open the windows, you can smell cigarette smoke from the lobby... we stayed on the 4th floor.

But, this hotel's location is super convenient! Breakfast is free and its not bad :)
Some shots on the way to Můstek Station:
 
This one of the easiest public trains to take on this trip, there are only a few lines. Worst was Amsterdam (we will come to that later)
One stop away is Old Town Square (Staroměstská Station), some beautiful evening shots... the weather is colder compared to the previous 2 cities:
 
We had a fantastic dinner at Pasta Fresca, highly recommended Italian restaurant located within walking distance on Old Town Square!
There's a monthly recommendation on the menu:
 
 
Fresh bread (soft on the inside, crispy on the outside) with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Shared a refreshing lime drink
Roasted calamari (This is perfectly grilled! You get that smoked taste and upon chewing, you get the calamari juices gushing out) and Tomato soup as appetizer
Tuna pasta and Seafood pasta as mains, you'll be asked if you want freshly grated Parmesan on your pasta! This is the first time we tasted fresh paste. Its different from the ones you get at the supermarket, its thicker, more chewy and tasted better, fresh is always better :P

 
Finishing with an awesome dessert! I didn't snapped the menu (you can check it at their website), its a fascinating combination of pineapple and whipped mascarpone topped with grated coconut and drizzled with caramel, must try!
Bill came to around €33? Its cheaper eating in Prague :)
Some night shots, surprisingly lots of people and there are some performances here...
 
Head back to the hotel for a good night's rest! Photo of the station:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Europe Fall 2013 - Back to Munich (Day 4)

We got up early this morning so that we can make a trip to Europark (you might need to translate this site since its not in English). We reconfirmed with the reception after breakfast on which bus to take. Bus 1 stops exactly at Europark makes a u-turn and heads back to the city. There is an Ikea there too :P

Europark is huge, initially we though it was like an outlet store but turns out that its just a mall. There's variety but price wise is not that cheap.
 Had coffee there at Cafe Bazar since most shops are not opened yet... no comment, just average coffee:
 
Here's a tip... if you are looking to buy those famous Mirabell chocolates (Echte Salzburger Mozartkugel), please get it at the Interspar Hypermarket on the ground floor... its soooooo much cheaper! Its selling a bag of 9 balls for €3.90 around the Old Town area... slightly cheaper if you go further away... but this hypermarket is selling a bag of 23 for €6.90!

There are variations of this candy sold at other places, Munich has a different package... this brand is only sold in Austria (not sure if its only limited to Salzburg?)

We had to move quickly since time is short... we took the same bus (no. 1) back to the city and had lunch at Cafe Sacher in Hotel Sacher, well known for its original Torte! Very classy 5* hotel in the city just beside River Salzach.
 
The menu, food:
 Drinks/Coffee:
One thing to note is this place is packed and understaffed, we waited really long to be served and even for that kind of service, the waitress was actually expecting a tip... she kept clearing her throat when she give us back our change :x

The food was great, worth the wait! We ordered the same fried chicken and this one wins hands down over the one we had yesterday night! The chicken was tender and juicy (3rd item on the Viennese Classic section)!
Salad was better also...
Also order a potato soup (2nd item on the Soup section), tasted like homecook ABC soup :)
And spaghetti (1st item on the Sacher Delicacies section). Its a very simple dish. Just fresh pasta on tomato puree, don't know why but its fantastic!
And I have no idea what coffee this is, couldn't find it on the menu... must have missed out a page...
 Bill is on the high side, but its a hotel... most important is the great food, we think its worth it!
 
Well... time to checkout and head back to Munich... Salzburg train station:
Checked-in another hotel which is also nearby the main train station, slightly further than the first one. King's Hotel Center.
Kinda old, smallish room but clean :)
The sky was dark and the dinner place we've initially planned wasn't that near... plus we were pretty tired...
Took a short walk to Karlsplatz and went for McD's instead... wasn't easy ordering because they didn't state pork/beef on the menu... just ribs :x
Just pointed at the picture and fortunately we got pork ribs :P

Its was raining after dinner so we couldn't explore more of it... Some night shots...
 
Took a hot bath and slept like a log! Noon bus to Prague, another big day tomorrow!