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Croatia – Slovenia – Munich – Zurich (Days 51-57)

October 5, 2010

Day 51 (9/20/2010):

It has been 10 days since we have been in Croatia. According to our calculation, today would be the correct day for us to leave Croatia and cross back into the Schengen region. We picked to go to the capital of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

As we got passed the border crossing between Croatia and Slovenia, we successfully received our exit and entrance stamps for the respective countries. SUCCESS!

Ljubljana is a quaint, small city with the feel of a city without the rush hour traffic and congestion. It seemed that everything to see around the city was based on some sort of a bridge. We saw the dragon bridge, the 3 bridges, and their castle.

After dropping off our bags at our hosts, Igor and Irena’s, flat, we took off to eat at a recommended venue, horse burger. That’s right, you are reading it correctly, a burger made from the meat of a horse.

The burger itself tasted a little strange. It was not gamey, it was just…strange. In addition, they put in ketchup, mayo, mustard, nacho cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on top of the burger. I couldn’t finish it. At one point, I almost went to hang out with Ralph. Wagner saved me from doing that and finished my burger for me.

Day 52 (9/21/2010):

Our host recommended us to leave the city and check out the countryside. We went to the Skocjan caves. It is a system of caves, passageways, natural bridges, and all sorts of natural rock “art”. It was a definite change in activities and felt really good and refreshing. I highly recommend seeing these UNESCO protected caves.

Day 53 (9/22/2010):

Ah, what can I say about Munich? We reached Munich around 3:30 – 4. We were at the Oktoberfest Tents with our host and other bunch of people by 5:00. It was probably one of the best times of the trip. People were up on the benches, singing songs. If and when, one would bump into each other, we would say ‘Prost’ to each other and go on our merry way. If this were America, there would have been so many fights, violence, and lawsuits.

Random moment:

Jay is taking a picture of a guy that is totally passed out.

The cops come around and ask, ‘Do you think this is funny?’
Jay: No, I do not think this is funny.
Cops: This man is sick. What are you doing here?
Jay: I am a journalist taking pictures of the countryside.
Other cop: This isn’t the countryside.
Jay: Well, I’m a journalist taking pictures of the culture of Oktoberfest.

Before the cops can respond, I come over and grab him and tell the cops, ‘don’t worry about this guy. He’s drunk.’

Day 54 (9/23/2010):

After a hard night of drinking and singing, Wagner and I woke up and went to Dachau Concentration Camp. It was the first concentration camp for Nazi Germany and all the other camps were based on it. What else is there to say? It was an awful time and I hope humans have learned from the mistake so nothing like that can ever happen again.

Being depressed from the sadness, we did a small tour of Berlin, which for some reason ended back to the Oktoberfest tents. Boy, does the place look different when you are sober.

Day 55 (9/24/2010):

The next day, we were able to meet up with Peer and Jessica across the big pond in Munich. We ended up getting into the Spaten tent, which was interesting as it was not as crazy as the night before. Whenever anyone got up to sing, they were asked to come down by the ‘polizia’. Spaten tent’s band played more traditional Bavarian music and less English music.

When we were kicked out of the tent, we walked around a bit. Next to the Bavarian Statue of the Lady, there were so many people sleeping (passed out) on the grass so peacefully. I totally envied them at that point.

We went back home to go get Tom, our host, to go to Oktoberfest. At this point, it started raining cats and dogs (does anyone still use that expression?). We were desperately trying to get into the tents to no avail. We ended up drinking a stein outside in the pouring rain, and then headed back to drink more. Epic Fail!

Random comment:

Our host, Tom: I know what suck is, I know what fat is, I know what mule and dick is, but what is the meaning behind it?

Day 56 (9/25/2010):

After a long night of drinking with Tom and the other couchsurfers, we woke up at 5:30 AM to get our train to Zurich. The train ride to Zurich was a blur as I was dozing in and out of consciousness from either the lack of sleep, the alcohol, or maybe Wagner poisoned me.

We arrived in Zurich to no other than the pouring rain. Of course, we did not expect anything less.

This was a day of discovery. We walked around to get food and we found out how expensive food was in Switzerland. For a Whopper value meal, the price was approximately $15. A pound of chicken breast was $18.

It was a day of recovery, so we really did not do much that day.

Our host, Tom and us, made an amazing dinner. Veal shank, ribs, pasta, salad, wine, and great conversation; I could not ask for any more.

Day 57 (9/26/2010):

As I have mentioned many times, we are both a little tired of museums and religious sites. Therefore, we went to Lucern and hiked up Mt. Pilatus (2400 meters/7000 feet). According to some people we spoke with, it should be called Hill Pilatus. It took us about 4 hours to get to about 1400 meters, and then we were forced to take an exhilarating gondola ride up to the top. At the top of the snow-capped mountain, we just made it to catch a view of the area before the fog rolled in. As we were ill prepared to be up in such a cold environment, we took the world’s steepest cogway back down towards Lucern.

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home,” said the popular American Author, James Michener.

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