A Travellerspoint blog

Getting down with the Sickness

St Margen and the Black Forest

View the big trip on jamienrach's travel map.

We arrived to Freiberg after leaving Constance that morning (train then bus then train again) with nowhere to stay. So off to the tourist information we hopped to find a bed in the city. After not to much convincing the lady at the information got us to go to a B&B in St Margen, (train and bus) a tiny town deep in the Black Forest. Dinner was traditional Black forests fare, Rachel with the cheesiest macaroni/pasta stuff ever and me with sausage spinach stuffed pasta balls mm mmmm.

We’d been lacking in any real planning for the next stage of the trip and being that no one in St Margen even knows that the internet exists we went back into Freiberg to find some wifi and book some accommodation for the next few weeks in Germany and the Netherlands.


We did get to have a look round the city which has the standard old town with big church and guild halls. I make it sound dull but it was very nice and good weather to boot.



The next day neither of us was feeling very good but damit we were in the Black Forest and we were goon go hiking flu or no flu, our excuse being “I’m sure it’s one of those ones you just have to blow out”.


Loving the German barn house. Family upstairs cows downstairs.

Half way and Rach is starting to feel it

Yes yes I know It’s a weird photo

The trail we took was only 15kms long so we thought 3 or 4 hours max. But 5 hours later and Rach was dreaming up ways to break her legs and get air lifted back home. We did eventually get back to the BnB but went straight to bed.


We were freezing but sweating, shivering but with high fevers. Who knew a 15k walk in cold weather was bad for a chest cold? Luckily we had the foresight to book an extra 2 nights in the room and proceeded to spend the next few days in bed.

St Margen in the distance, so close yet so far.

The next stop after the black forest was in Cochem. This place had a lot of potential for touristing, good wine area with nice castles and scenery. But we ended up in bed nursing lemon and honey drinks.


Bring on Amsterdam and some good health.

Posted by jamienrach 10:56 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

I’m in Germany – I’m in Switzerland - I’m in Germany........

Lake Constance

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So we’d ticked the Oktoberfest box in our things to do and see list and it was time to start acting like backpacker tourists that we are. So onto the train from Munich to Constance we hopped (loving the regional public transport tickets by the way).
Well technically we did get on the right train except that the carriage we were on split off half way and we ended up somewhere near the Austrian border. It wasn’t really that bad just a 2 hour delay from when we were really supposed to arrive.

From the first train we had another local one where a cute wee German boy had a hard time grasping the concept that another person didn’t speak the same language as him, he just kept speaking to Rach in German with a confused look on his face.

Ooo Rach nice photo.

While waiting for a ferry over to Dingelsdorf (where our campground was) Rach went for some food and I sat mesmerized by a humming bird for 15 min (signs of the sickness from Oktoberfest settling in).

Rach on fire with the camera right now

The next day we caught the bus into Constance, a border town with Switzerland and yes we walked over the border a few times (Hence the title I’m in Germany – I’m in Switzerland - I’m in Germany – I’m in Switzerland…. and so on)

Nice clean place on the lake, had a weird semi sexual statue out on the pier which I didn’t really get, probably something about fertility.



Now a quick promo (doesn’t happen very often) to the place we went for dinner. The Pelican, right near the Swiss border kind out of the main town area but really good food.
The chef cam out and talked us through the menu (we both ended up getting the specials) it was a wee bit hard to take him seriously as I thought he looked a bit to much like Manual from Faulty Towers. Any ways, food was awesome, cheapy cheap price and just a cool place.


Not one to be held down by a small chest infection, Rach and I hired bikes the next day and went for a ride around the lake. Not the whole lake mind (that’s 270 km are you crazy I’m sick here), just 40 odd km from Constance up to a small town where we got a ferry over to Ublinger and then biked to Meersburg.



Both of those 2 places over the lake are pretty cool and in hindsight we probably should have stayed there. Although Dingles (as it came to be known) had it’s charm too.



Self walking tours around Ublinger and Meersburg, a must.


So that was our Lake Constance / Bodeness experience. Now we are off to Freiberg and the Black Forest. I’m sure this cold will pass soon.

Posted by jamienrach 23:48 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

A tale of 2 Oktoberfest's

No harm, no foul…………. (deep breath this is a long-un)

View the big trip on jamienrach's travel map.

So we’ve finally started our big trip and the first stop is Munich. This isn’t exactly the typical start to one of our travels as after the first day we split up. Rach with a group of girls in her place of a hostel and me with a group of mates to a bitterly cold campground with a few thousand other revelers.

Before the split we did get to spend a night in Munich, walking round the main squares and orientating ourselves, although you may notice a distinct lack of pictures. This was due to a lack of lens protrusion upon our first attempt to turn our camera on, a lens error message and general grinding from the camera. This led to many camera hitting, bashing and shaking attempts to ‘fix’ said camera culminating in me ripping the lens cover off. Luckily being from the technology savvy generation we were able use the powers of the internet (laptop check, free wifi at hostel check) to locate the Nikon repair centre in Munich and go there the next day. It was going to cost 80 euro to fix but Andreas at the repair centre ‘broke’ the main board whilst fixing it and gave it to us all on warranty (which we didn’t even have on us). “We have rules for everything in Germany” says Andreas “even a tax for coffee”

This also leads me to a wee story which if I left out Rach would never forgive me. Straight after landing and while trying to get a train ticket to central Munich, I misplaced my wallet on the airport floor (which contained a few hundred euro). But not to worry as helpful German information guy found it and handed it into lost property and two police officers guided us to it. No harm, no foul.

So finally we get onto the real action, euros in pocket and camera on the mend. I’ll leave you here for a bit and let Rach go over her beerfest experience.

The 1st day was a bit of a flop for me. We stood in a sea of smelly people for 3 hours and then sat outside in the freezing cold for 4 hours drinking beer. I don’t even like beer!




Anyway………. by the 2nd day we had it sussed and got up super early (alittle too early) and got a great table in a fun tent and the games had begun.


So back to me and my cold, cold tent. Which if I didn’t mention before was cold.
First night after leaving Rach and meeting up with the boys was a real hit in the face. Turning up to the campground (after running into / throwing my sleeping bag at Ruben Prier) with thousands of people all amping up for the opening day in the morning, there was not amount of earplugs able to drown out bad renditions of ‘wonder wall’ and ‘living on a prayer’ but ah well better have just gotten used to it as this was a recurring theme for the next 4 nights.


Again if I haven’t said it already, it was freezing. Which made the whole getting up at 7 for breakfast and an early bus to the opening day of the festival a bit harder. I’ve gotta give a big ups to the Top Deck staff who if sometime a bit enthusiastic for dawn, (I’m sure one guys job description was to stand in the middle of the breakfast tent and play air guitar) always made the mornings a bit more sunny.

Besides the whole waiting to get in on the first day all subsequent Oktoberfest stories follow a similar pattern,

a) get to the grounds,

b) get a table,

c) pay ridiculous amount of money for ludicrously sized beers,

d) eat sausage and

e) play on the dodgems.

There are a few deviations from this though ie, on the first night I chivalrously took a broken stein to the hand to save a frauline, resulting in a trip to the police tent to get stitched (super glued) up. On the second day me and the boys took a wee morning off to take in some munichy tourist stuff and one night me and McFly (random friend) got chanting to some old Bavarian dudes (kein anglish), but he was able to eek out that one of them trained homing pigeons.

Eventually I was finding it hard to keep up the lifestyle so dipped out one day to catch back up with Rach.


The 4th and 5th days of the fest me and rach took a leave of absence form the groups and did our own thing. Intentions on being tourists took a dive right away when we ended up laxing in a coffee shop and having lunch at a Maggi café (oh yes in Munich they have their own cafe).

The next day was a bit more productive as we went out to the dachau concentration camp, a massive place which was the first and model camp for the 3rd Reich. Very, very somber place especially the cremation ovens used to ‘clean up’ the dead and gas rooms (apparently not used in dachau).




Nice to see zero spin on the place, just the facts and loads of people paying respects those victims of an atrocity.



All of this was very educational but we did need a bit of cheering up so went back to the new and youthful face of Germany, Oktoberfest. We managed to find Rach’s group (mined had already ‘checked out’) surprising as everyone of them seemed to have lost either phones, money or their way home during the last few days. We spent our final night in a beer tent singing away to random German drinking songs (swim, swim, swim) and a few English ones, country road anyone.



And just so I didn’t get to comfortable I retreated that night to the coldest night so far at the campground. I’m pretty sure I’m coming down with something.

Beerfest done!

Posted by jamienrach 12:24 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

The end of the begining

sort of

all seasons in one day -17 °C

We are currently sitting in our hostel in Munich, just off the flight that will see us start our 7 month odyssey through Europe, Egypt and the USA. And now we can finally take a deep breath from the insane last month we've had in the UK.

Rewind 3 weeks and we went down to Horton-on-Ribblesdale to tackle the 3 Peaks of Yorkshire. We were there with Rach’s cousin Carrie who is doing the 3 peaks of Britain and wanted a training run and some company.

The hike was 26 miles including 3 peaks, all around 700 m high each.

There was fog

There was bog

The challenge is to complete the route in under 12 hours but being the finely tuned athletes (FTA’s) that we are we got it done in 10hr 40min, stoked.






There were a few hiccups along the way, not to metion the fact that we had no accommodation when we got back from the hike as the hostel ‘misplaced’ our 2nd nights booking. Ah well Carrie laid down the law and got us a tent from one of the bar staff (which was much preferable to the plastic sheeted, snore city of a 16 bed dorm).

Rachel (small bladder shots)



The weekend that followed the Yorkshire 3 peaks and we had booked in a weekend of mountain biking with Mark and Sylvia (kiwi FTA’s from Edinburgh). So we packed up there car and went to the Scottish Borders to tackle 2 of the 7 Stanes mountain bike parks.

The trip was pretty cool, no major injuries (surprising since mark took a wee detour off the track in the Forest of Ae).




Come on Rach, Sylvia can do it, so can you.

It’s not what it looks like.

Finally on our last weekend before our big trip we took a mini break down to London as our first trip was not nearly long enough.

We visited the Natural History Museum,



Got lost on our way to the Design Museum


Saw a boat go under Tower Bridge, (note the ‘gherkin’ on the right)


Caught the Lion King on stage, which was AWESOME!!! (sorry no photos of the performance allowed), and yes Pam I knew all the words


Took in a street act, which was also awesome (but not capital letters awesome)


The audience member holding his arms out was freaked. He also jumped over 5 kids standing in a row but was too quick for me to get a good shot.


Rachel being arty


Between all this Rachel turned 26, and we had a leaving (but maybe coming back) party.

Birthday girl



Who said we had no friends.


Ps. Yes Rachel only owns one party dress.

Posted by jamienrach 10:25 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)


Ireland and Northern Ireland

all seasons in one day
View Ireland and Northern Ireland on jamienrach's travel map.

Up for an early morning flight to Ireland and our super quick trip was underway. We had a few hours in Belfast before picking up our car and so we went for a walk around the city center.

Greeted straight away by the murals of loyalist’s



We needed some food and happened to stumble across St Georges market, really really nice food and produce

After picking up the car we headed around the Antrim coast stopping at the carrick-a-rede rope bridge and Giant’s Causeway.




A tad windy





The fist night was spent in the middle of nowhere (sorry Mary) 30 miles out of Sligo. After getting lost on some windy country lanes and asking some local farmers where our accommodation was we arrived at the best self catering hostel ever. Big ups Benwiskin Centre.

Went out to Mullaghmore, nice picturesque fishing village but alas we forgot the camera.

Next day was a drive down to Galway stopping at Carrick on Shannon for lunch and a vist to the Craft and Design Museum. We didn’t actually make it into Galway as our accommodation was about 20 miles further from the city than we thought, just past Spiddle. Still an ok hostel and more importantly just down the road from a proper pub and pint of Guinness.

A quick walk down to the coast and we were followed buy a very inquisitive pony, allo darling.

Still wondering what direction the prevailing wind blows?

Still don’t know if this is the correct way to operate this swing

Day 3 saw us up early and driving from Galway to Kilkenny via the Cliffs of Mohair. I wasn’t to sure if the Cliff’s were going to be worth the detour but they are pretty damn impressive.





It had become a trend that we stayed at least ½ hour out of the nearest city but at least we’d saved out best accommodation until last with a B&B 20 min out of Kilkenny. For a small place Kilkenny has more than it’s fair share of medieval buildings including the castle and grounds as well as numerous churches but more importantly another place where I could pick up a good Guinness.



Our last day started with an awesome breakfast at the B&B and the last 2hr drive to Dublin. Once in the city me and rach only had 8 hours before getting our flight back to Edinburgh. So to maximize the stay we got on the touist open top bus to get to all the sites we could.

Our pick of the bunch was easily the Kilmainham Gaol where the leaders of the Easter rising were kept and eventually executed. And not because it was only 5 euros to get in (althought it helped) but just a really interesting place.




Anyway that was our Ireland in 4 days, tons of driving and lots of looking.
Well recommended

Posted by jamienrach 12:57 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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