Our First Europe Trip: The Route Overview and Sneaky Tips Part 2

Planning a Europe Trip? Unsure whether you should buy a Eurail pass or use EasyJet as much as you can? Well, you have come to the right place. I am a self-admitted travel-rookie who is just trying to learn about travel, take cool photos and then write about it. I have learnt A LOT by making a tonne of mistakes. But hey, I get to share what I learnt with you so I can make your trip easier! Bonus for you. Before continuing on, please read Part 1 of our trip overview so this post makes sense to you. This is the second piece in my mini-series (series I guess, why do I keep calling it “mini”?) of travel tips and tricks in Europe. Without further ado, continuing on from our last stop in Vienna, now we are off to Munich, Germany.

From Vienna, Austria to Munich, Germany

4 hour train trip with DB (main railway company in Germany), spent a total of 3 days

 

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Everyday Munich

 

Germany really does have everything sorted out in terms of their public transport system. We didn’t experience a single delay and arrived in Munich safely. I would highly recommend this particular train route.

Travel “disclaimer”

So, we were really looking forward to Munich as you hear so many great things about South Germany and the wonderful wonderland of Bavaria. However, I must warn you: if you are coming from Vienna, Munich can be quite anti-climactic. Why? Well, Vienna was lucky enough not to suffer any noticeable damage in World War 2 but Munich, unfortunately did. This is not to say we didn’t enjoy Munich. In fact, it was our favourite city in Germany. The way they have rebuilt is a testament to their strength to overcome their past. After some exploring, we did discover a more picturesque, really German feeling side to Munich, of which I will talk about bellow.

 

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The beautiful canal that runs through Englischer Garten

 

Accommodation Tip:

If you want to find quaint German buildings, beautiful canals and parklands, stay near the Englischer Garten. If you are visiting Munich in winter, walk through the park until you find the Chinese Beer Garden. Here you will find the most adorable and perhaps the best Christmas markets in Munich. This seems to be a market only the locals know about as it isn’t as accessible as other markets so narky tourists seem to stay away. Trust me, you will be able to bear the cold for the beautiful walk.

 

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Christmas Markets found in the Englischer Garten

 

From Munich to Prague, Czech Republic

5 hour Bus trip with DB, 3 days spent

 

 

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Prague through the bushes

 

 

We had the absolute pleasure of spending Christmas in Prague. We rented the most amazing AirBnB and cooked up our own little feast. We ventured out to the Christmas Markets on Christmas day and of course, spent hours walking around the beautiful city.

 

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On a cloudy winter day, the city is still beautiful.

 

Travel Tip: Use Czech Currency and always carry cash

While Euros are sometimes accepted, usually retailers mark up the price when you pay in Euros. Why? Because they know the conversion to Czech currency is confusing and they tend to take advantage of tourists because of this. Also, the Czech Republic is a very cash-based society and ticket machines for transport tend to  require exact change. We got caught out a few times for not having enough coins for our tickets.

Travel Tip: Use the trams

In Prague, when you purchase a public transport ticket, it will allow you to use all metro trains, trams and busses within the city. Coming from Melbourne where we have the second slowest tram system in the world, I wanted to avoid the trams like the plague. However, there were no metro stations near where our apartment was located so we had to use the dreaded tram. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised and we used trams throughout our entire stay. They are fast, rarely get stuck in traffic and easy to navigate.

From Prague back to Berlin, Germany

5 hour bus trip with Student Agency, 6 days spent

This is the part of the post that I have been dreading to write all week. Why? Well, I will be honest- I have very few pleasant things to say about Berlin. But, I take solace in my European friends that too affirm how I feel about my experience in Berlin and mu opinion is not unjust. For any Berliners reading this, I apologise. Please know, I come from a different walk of life and Berlin is just not my cup of tea. Since I will not likely be writing a piece, down the track, about Berlin, I have incorporated a few highlights below.

 

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The sun shining on a Berlin Wall sculpture memorial

 

Berlin Highlights:

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you will have an absolute ball in Berlin. In particular, there is a very culturally strong population of Vietnamese expats living in Berlin and vegan Vietnamese food appears to be trending. Need a food-guide? Check it out here!

 

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Find out more in my Berlin Food Guide!

 

If you are a bit of a nerd (like me), you absolutely must visit the Berlin Natural History Museum. My home country, Australia, is not a big fan of natural history museums and tends to amalgamate mini-displays into their state museums and it really doesn’t give natural history in Australia any justice. Hence, I adore going to places where I can find a natural history of science museum. Rest assured, there are English signs, guides and displays everywhere. It is a lot of fun on a cloudy, rainy Berlin day!

 

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I love museums. Sorry not sorry. 

 

Travel Tip: Do not go to Berlin on New Years

We were too scared to leave our apartment over New Years and so we spent our the night watching Spirited Away and eating chocolate. Why? Because fireworks that would typically be illegal in many countries are legal in Germany. People throw fireworks out of buildings, out of cars and it is not fun. Having a firework go off, without any warning, a few centimetres away from you is bloody frightening.

Berlin to Frankfurt: A Must Read!

An absolute mess of a journey…

First things first- I would like to raise a few points. These points are what I learnt from the many mistakes I made in planning the leg of this journey.

  • There are two airports in Berlin. Berlin Tegal Airport and Berlin Schoenefeld Airport.
  • Use FlixBus bus lines when in Germany or DB busses, not City Bus Express.
  • If you need to get from Berlin to Frankfurt, just fly. Don’t bother with bus or train- trust me.

Addressing the first point- we flew from Berlin-Tegal airport to Dusseldorf because for some strange reason (well, my own error actually), I could not find any cheap direct flights to Frankfurt from Berlin. The few flights I did find were with Lufthansa, and being a university student, I was not willing to fork out a few hundred for this flight. In hind sight, I really should have just paid for that flight due to what unravels next. But rest assured, I have an even better solution to this problem later on.

From Dusseldorf, we were to get a bus with City Bus Express. However, the unfriendly bus terminal staff had not heard or ever seen any of these busses. And, it simply just did not show up in the bus terminal. So, we paid a bit extra to get on the next FlixBus bus and after a horrid day, we eventually got to Frankfurt.

The solution? EasyJet! They now have flights from Berlin-Tegal Airport and the ticket prices usually range from $60-90 AUD. This is the most cost-effective means and the most efficient way. Busses and trains are much too expensive and time consuming to outweigh flying to Frankfurt from Berlin. Save yourself the heartache, trust me.

Frankfurt back to Melbourne, Australia- Home

23 hour flight journey with Qatar.

Frankfurt is one of the cheapest places to fly out of back to Australia. But, that is if your journey makes sense and has a clear, cost-effective route. From the blunders we made, we have learnt to be much more flexible with our travels and have many tips and tricks to try next time we go to Europe. This is something I will be talking about down the track.

Please stay tuned for more to come with my series of posts about Our First Europe Trip. I am here to both inspire your travels, and make them easier!

 

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Melbourne, I love you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Munich Vegan Food Guide

Vegan food in Munich? German vegan food in Munich? You have come to the right place. You can be an independent vegan or vegetarian here, trust me. Munich is a global city with an abundance of Turkish food –  falafel kebabs are on nearly every street corner. You will also find a range of other cuisines here, which is beautifully refreshing if you have just come from Italy and have been eating pasta for every meal for two weeks straight! However, in terms of German food (Bavarian food specifically), that is vegan or vegetarian-friendly, it can be a little bit harder to find. With that being said, there are options out there. As such, I will present to you my fool-proof list of delicious vegan German food that will not disappoint!

German Food and Beer Halls

Max Pett

Pettenkoferstraße 8, 80336 München, Germany

As we stumbled off the bullet train, famished and sleep deprived, we ditched our bags at the hotel and found the nearest vegan restaurant. This restaurant is entirely alcohol-free (an unusual sight in Munich), in tribute to the original founder Max Pett himself. So, if you are in the mood for a drink with your meal, look elsewhere. We had quite a late lunch, so we missed out on the Bavarian daily specials that come at a great price (10-12 euros) but nonetheless, I had my eye on the Wiener Schnitzel. Yes, I know, not technically Bavarian/German, but Viennese cuisine can be equally hard to come by in vegan/vegetarian form. I would have to say, this was the best vegan schnitzel I have ever had. They mastered the crumb style that typical Wiener schnitzels have, and the texture of the mock meat was perfectly chewy but soft. We also had the eggplant mozzarella rolls and they were to die for. Vegan cheese does not get better than this!

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Oeey gooey cheesy Eggplant Rolls

 

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The wonderful Wiener Schnitzel

 

Prinz Myshkin

Hackenstraße 2, 80331 München, Germany

This is an entirely vegetarian restaurant, and the majority of their dishes are also vegan or can be made vegan. This was one of my favourite meals of the entire trip. Depending on the day, they will have a Bavarian-style lunch special or something internationally inspired. They are a great price (7-9 euros). Here we have mock steak and veggies. The sauce unified the dish perfectly. For more German classics and other unique international dishes, enjoy the food here by night or order the lovely Polish beet soup entree.

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The lunch special

Augustiner Bräustuben

Vegetarians who love cream, you will be satisfied with the Cream of Mushroom Sauce with the Bread Roll Dumpling. Vegans, I apologise in advance, you will not be able to get a full dinner plate here, but you can still enjoy a bucket of pretzels and some great beer.

Löwenbräukeller

Nymphenburger Str. 2, 80335 München, Germany

This is the one beer hall in Munich with a fully vegan main dish and it was awesome. It was hearty but surprisingly healthy – it was made entirely from vegetables. Ask for an English Menu, and you will see a section that literally says ‘keeping the vegans happy’. I didn’t note down the name of my dish, but the menu is seasonal here, so there will always be something new and delicious on the menu.367536432_IMG_1675

Bellevue di Monaco

Müllerstraße 2, 80469 München, Germany

This cafe may not have German food, however, the quaint, modern style cafe has more than what meets the eye with its cute aesthetic. This cafe supports the Youth Refugee Centre in Munich and offers delightful vegan desserts, middle eastern lunches and tapas. What counts is this place is German at heart; always welcoming of those from around the world, just what you will feel as you eat vegan cheesecake and sip lovely coffee.

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Oh that lighting, oh that cheesecake.

Wurst and Burgers

Gute Nacht Wurst

Klenzestr. 3280469 Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Currywurst may not be Bavarian, but it is a Berliner speciality, and that is close enough for the vegan or vegetarian who does not want to miss out on experiencing German cuisine. They also have cheap mulled wine – 2 euros in wintertime!

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Bergwolf

Fraunhoferstr. 1780469 Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Another delightful place for vegan currywurst – just hold the mayo!367536432_IMG_1800

Hans Im Gluck Burgers

Multiple locations all over Germany

So after a while, we got a hankering for some burgers. Burgers are the main food we go out for in Melbourne, and we had not had one in 5 weeks. I hang my head as I recall just how amazing this vegan burger was and how, if I ever want one again, I will have to travel 24 hours by plane to Europe. Not only do they have several vegetarian burgers available, they also have a list of vegan burgers. I almost had a heart attack when I first bit into the burger, as the patty is deceptively meaty. Rest assured, they have all of the fully vegetarian and vegan options you could ever want in a burger.EF21AF6E-A0C9-4788-BF40-0EB9B8778552

Markets and Stores

Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt 3, 80331 München, Germany

This is Munich’s most famous open-air market and you could probably spend an entire day walking around here. I know, it isn’t a specific restaurant, but there are all kinds of fresh juices, pretzels, bread, olives and pickles everywhere. Even at the Bratwurst stands, you will find a tasty selection of pretzels, mustard and sourkrout.IMG_1015

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Vitalia Healthfood Stores

Multiple Locations, Rosental 7, 80331 München, Germany (near Viktualienmarkt)

I was extremely sad to find out that Munich’s chain of vegan supermarkets shut down in 2017 but I was relieved to stumble upon this amazing health food store. Nearly everything inside is vegan and every single product is clearly labelled with its price tag. If you have access to a kitchen, stock up on all the veggie sausages Vitalia has to offer. I made a Christmas breakfast with meat-free vegetable Weisswurst (Munich breakfast sausage) and it was the best vegetarian sausage I have ever had! While you’re at it, if you are running out of your cruelty-free lip balms, make-up and shampoo, treat yourself at Vitalia as they have an amazing selection of organic and cruelty-free beauty products.

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Vegan Weisswurst for breakfast !

 

Christmas Bonus: Munich Christmas Markets

Multiple locations around Munich. May vary year to year 

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Schupfnudein mit Sauerkraut. I forgot to get the cheese taken off here, sorry vegans!

I absolutely loved Munich’s Christmas markets and they had some the best mulled wine on offer. You pay a small deposit for a lovely mug as shown below and it is a wonderful way to enjoy a hot beverage without using plastic or paper cups. Munich is quite waste conscious, so be sure to be on board with that as you explore the city.

Anyhow, onto food.

Munich’s Christmas markets will always have something on offer for vegans and vegetarians. For vegetarians, there is meat-free Käsespätzle, a cheese and potato dumpling dish and if you are lucky enough, vegans, you will stumble upon the unnamed stall featured bellow with fully vegan options. However, if you cannot find it, look for a stall that has Schupfnudein mit Sauerkraut. It is sourkrout and oval-shaped potato dumplings- just ask to hold the cheese and you will have a very tasty, hearty street food to eat throughout Munich. Also, a given, there are pretzels everywhere. And mulled wine, glorious mulled wine.

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Käsespätzle on the top left

 

Enjoy your time in Munich and I challenge you to find Vegan German or Bavarian food.

Much Love,

Little Dove Travels and Food