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From Venice, we headed north on a day train to Munich. The ride through the Alps was quite spectacular. All hostels in Munich were sold out because of the Oktoberfest, and as such we settled in the luxurious Le Meridien. The hotel was conveniently located right across from the train station. We dropped off our bags in the $420 a night room, and proceeded down a few blocks to the Oktoberfest.
We took a day train through the alps to Munich.
The Oktoberfest turned out to be a big bust, since all the tents were already full. As we got there at 5pm on a weekend, this was sort of expected. We thus spent our money on the giant meter-long brats and other snacks. That night we walked around the main square, the Marienplatz, and visited various pubs. I thought of going back to the Oktoberbest the next morning but neither Alex nor Mike were all that into the liquid breakfast. The three of us (Carrie left the previous night for Frankfurt) thus walked to the Deutsches Museum. This must be one of the greatest museums ever built. It consists of 6 floors of just about anything having to do with technology. There was the standard stuff: airplanes, boats, power generation and so on. However, the museum is also full of various other interesting exhibits: food processing, chemistry, mining, beer brewing, textiles, printing, cryptography, glass making and so on.
There is more to the Oktoberfest than the beer tents.
The downtown had an area with bunch of cool toys laying around that were suitable for busting one's chin. Here is Alex on some board-with-wheels. I tried unicycling but it turned out to be quite challenging.
The crypt in a church we visited.
This is one of the exhibits in the Deutsches Museum and a view of Munich from the museum's top floor.
The Old Town square with the Orloj astronomical clock.
A street vendor on the Charles Bridge.
We visited the Church of Saint Nicholas. It contains many elaborate religiously themed statues, such as this one of a pope killing a demon with his pope stick.
View from the second floor terrace. The railing was covered with engravings dating back to the 1800s.
View towards the Charles bridge and the old town from the stairs leading to the Prague Castle. We also climbed the tower of the St. Wenceslaw cathedral.
Here we are the oldest pub in Prague. The rain did not subside, and so we headed to the nearest metro station. On the way we passed by the Kafka museum, with its interesting actuated statue.
Later that night we stopped at a jazz club, where Mike had his first-ever long island ice tea.
We stayed in Prague for 4 nights, with the first two spent in the Sokolska hostel and the second two at the Elf. The first hostel was closer to the center, but we wanted to check out the Elf due to many raving reviews. It was worth the visit. All this hosteling made me regret not going on a Europe backpacking trip after finishing high school. Maybe back then I wouldn't feel so old compared to the majority of hostel guests!
Then on Wednesday, we met up with my family and went on a train ride to the castle Karstejn.
On Thursday, I went to see the Bodies exhibit at the Lucerne theater with my sister, Petra.
Both Alex and Mike were departed by Friday morning, and I left with my dad for a visit of my grand-uncle and my aunt. Both of them are now living in small towns near Prague.
We spent the night at my aunt's house. Petra, my cousin Honzo, and I went out to a village disco. I don't know if Honzo had anything to do with this, but the special guest for the event was a trio of transvestite singers. Although a bit disturbing, they were quite hilarious. Then the next day, we took off on the drive back to my home town in Slovakia, Banska Bystrica. I was quite surprised how many new buildings were built since my last visit 2 years ago. The main new addition was a new 3 floor shopping mall built near the lower end of the historical center.
The central square in the town where I spent most of my childhood - Banska Bystrica.
My grandmother with her friend Paul.
And my other grandma Pavka. From here we headed to Kosice, where I ran in the Kosice Peace Marathon.
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