London adventuring

Just more pictures of London adventuring…
When it rains but you want to sit outside at the pub.

Stormy Camden 

Lamps and friends

Camden catch ups

Clapham at sunset

St Dunstans in the East

St Dunstans in the East

Leadenhall Market

Summer festivals in London

The London Eye

The Thames, so clear and clean


My wifey came to visit

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PROST!!!!!

As I sit down to write this blog I can’t help but ask myself, how do I write a blog about a weekend were I spent the majority of it intoxicated? Oh well, will have to do my best!

Oktoberfest is probably the European experience most recommended to me by friends, colleagues and anyone else who’s been. With big expectations I boarded my flight to Munich, pretty damn excited for the weekend ahead.

After checking into the hostel and a delicious meal of wiener schnitzel and beer, it was time to meet up with the whole tour group and have a chat/drink and get to know each other. After we had a briefing from our tour leader, Timmy from Wellington, we were off into the central city for a walking tour. Now really it should be ‘walking tour’. After getting off the S Bahn, we walked to Maria Platz where the beautiful town hall is, and stopped for a bit of a history lesson on the city of Munich, Oktoberfest, and a bit of pointing at some of the buildings and architecture. After that, we were done with the walking tour and off to the original Haufbrau beer hall!

The beer hall was beautiful and a lot of fun, with the oompa band, steins, sculling and general tomfoolery and laughter. I’m going to be honest, I was coming to the conclusion that we had a pretty awesome tour group. We made sure to try some pork knuckle and potato dumpling which was delicious, and still no green vegetables in sight!

After a reasonably early night, it was up early to get into the beer hall on Saturday morning, the busiest day of the whole Oktoberfest. Everyone looked fantastic in their Dirndls and Lederhosen, it really was great. We managed to get in and find some tables together and it wasn’t long until we were all very merry and happy. One thing that I still can’t get over, is how the frauline’s managed to carry 8 or 10 HEAVY steins over to the table. It really was amazing! I have sore hands today just from holding 1 at a time over the weekend!! Drinking with all our Aussie Topdeck buddies was great fun, but after several hours Tim and I decided to go and catch up with our kiwi friends in another tent. I’m gona be honest, I’m not quite sure how we made it there, or what time it was, but I know we had fun which included dancing on chairs/tables, more steins and lots of laughter and drun photos. We did unfortunately get kicked out by security after somehow enraging the frauline. I’m not quite sure what we did but I think the Americans sitting at our table may have had something to do with it and we were just guilty by association. After some general mischief out in the ground, some snacks and a few attempts to get into other packed tents, we ended up making our way to a beer hall near the Oktoberfest grounds for a night cap stein before heading back to the hostel. 

Sunday dawned cool and sunny in Munich, and instead of donning my dirndl it was into a much more normal outfit to visit Dachau concentration camp. Although Dachau is a small camp compared to others, it is well known as being the first Nazi concentration camp. It was not an extermination camp as such, however there were executions carried out here, including with the famous ovens. A lot of cruel and torturous medical experiments were conducted here too, killing hundreds of prisoners. The conditions of the camp, like others, were appalling, especially in the final months of the war when other camps were evacuated as the allies advanced closer. Like a lot of sites of this nature around the world, the grounds now serve as a tranquil and peaceful memorial, and a place to educate future generations of the atrocities that took place there, so as to prevent it from happening again. Visiting the camp was a very moving experience, and one I will always be grateful for. 

Sunday afternoon and it was back to Oktoberfest. Luckily it wasn’t as busy as Saturday, and we very quickly found ourselves in the heart of the famous Hofbrau tent, several steins in, dancing, singing and having a fantastic time. The Topdeck team really excelled this evening, and I’m sure everyone was having a fantastic time. Unfortunately Tim was the casualty of an over exuberant prost! Given he was cared for by some lovely ladies from Canada and Australia, I think he was alright… although those stiches need to stay in for a few weeks. After Tim was taken back to the hostel, we decided in our intoxicated state that it would be a great idea to go and try out the rides. At this stage I really was having the time of my life, and the rides were super fun! However it was now late, and I had to be up early for the trip home.

Overall, I can’t recommend Oktoberfest enough, it really was one of the best, most fun and enjoyable times of my life. I might even consider going again, but I need to recover first.

Munich Town Hall

Hofbrau Beerhall


Beforehand!

Oktoberfest day 1

Prost!

Paulaner beer hall


Westpac Technology takes Oktoberfest!

Dachau Concentration Camp

Back to Oktoberfest

Day 2!

Hurricanes Lederhosen!


Hofbrau beer tent, absolute chaos


Time for the rides!

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley in France is famous for it’s many Chateaus, supposedly built by wealthy families attempting to one up each other on the house stakes. This has resulted in hundreds of beautiful castles, the most spectacular of which are open to the public

We arrived one afternoon in Amboise, a beautiful little French village in the heart of the valley, where we stayed in an 18th century building, converted into modern apartments. Our first night was a slow one, with some sunbathing and bike riding followed b a relaxing ice cream and dinner in the main square looking up at the Amboise Chateau.

Our only full day we booked onto a wine and chateau tour, so we were up early and off to meet our guide. After picking up the rest of our group we were off to Château de Chenonceau. The Chateau and grounds were beautiful and it had an amazing history of kings and queens and war survival. After Chenonceau we were off wine and cheese tasting with the group, before lunch in a cave. Lunch was a lot more glamourous than it sounds, as we had a traditional Loire Valley lunch complete with wine. Only the French would eat in a cave when it was such a beautiful day outside. After lunch, all feeling quite merry, we made our way Chateau de Amboise, in the town of Amboise where we were staying. A lot of the original structure has been destroyed, however perched on a small hill the Chateau is still rather beautiful. After Amboise, we finished our tour at Chateau, a very modest Chateau, or otherwise known as the grand house where Leonardo di Vinci lived his final days. With that, we ended our tour, and our time in France. The next day we made our way home via Train, Eurostar and Tube.

Amboise with the Chateau on the hill

Amboise old street

Blogging in Amboise 

Sunset

Enroute to the Chateau

Château de Chenonceau

Leonardo di Vinci’s last house