Mr. Selfish and I spent two days in Zurich, Switzerland. As soon as we arrived in Zurich, we noted the beautiful Zurich Lake that was within walking distance of our hotel. The sun was starting to set, and the Lake was absolutely lovely. I saw that there were boat cruises that seemed reasonably priced and figured that we would try it.
On our last day in Munich, Mr. Selfish and I went to the BMW Welt and Olympic Park, both of which are in the northern part of the city. Although both were interesting, we wished that we had spent another day at Oktoberfest.
The Olympic Park was the site of the 1972 summer Olympics. Despite being over 40 years old, it looks quite modern. Apparently, they still hold events at the Olympic Park (i.e., Nickelback concert). Also at Olympic Park is the BMW Welt, which is an exhibition hall for BMW. You can even pick up your brand new BMW from the Welt. It was a nice exhibition hall but neither Mr. Selfish or I are that interested in cars. (My dad would’ve loved it though.)
Mr. Selfish and I made plans to be in Munich during Oktoberfest. We didn’t really know much about Oktoberfest – other than that there was lots of beer drinking.
We learned that Oktoberfest originally celebrated the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, which was on October 12, 1810. Today, Oktoberfest continues as an annual 16-day Bavarian festival beginning in late September through early October.
Oktoberfest is celebrated on Theresa’s meadows, which is about a 20 minute subway ride away from city center. I didn’t realize that there would be roller coaster rides, a ferris wheel, and tons of other rides. However, the most festive aspect of Oktoberfest is that about half of the population is dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing.
In May 2012, Mr. Selfish and I took a trip to Cancun, Mexico. Through a Groupon deal, we stayed at an all-inclusive resort for three nights. This was mine and Mr. Selfish’s first trip to Mexico. We therefore crammed in as many ruins as possible and a scuba diving trip.
First, we went to Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. Although you can no longer climb up the pyramid, it was still a sight to behold.
Mr. Selfish and I took in the beautiful sights at Vienna. The weather was forecast to be rainy and dreary, but lo and behold, the sun came out. We lucked out again. I think we’re experiencing weather karma now because it’s been rainy almost every single day we’ve been in Paris., but more on that later.
We visited the Belvedere in Vienna. The Belvedere consists of two palaces – the Upper and Lower Belvedere. The Upper Belvedere contains the largest collection of Gustav Klimt in the world. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take photos of those beautiful paintings. Nevertheless, we took plenty of photos of the outside of the two palaces.
Mr. Selfish and I visited Vienna, Austria for two days. The first thing we did was go to the Naschmarkt, which is Vienna’s largest outdoor market. The market had a great deal of fresh veggies, dried fruits, and spices. Mr. Selfish and I bought some dried erdbeere (strawberries) to munch on. There was also a lot of falafel and doner kebab stands.
As we were leaving Keswick in the Lake District, we made a brief stop at the Castlerigg stone circle. It was constructed as a part of a megalithic tradition from between 3,300 to 900 BCE. There are approximately 40 stones, but the number of stones keeps changing due to erosion.
Both Mr. Selfish and I have been to Stonehenge, but we found Castlerigg to be much more beautiful since it is surrounded by mountains. You can walk right up to the stones, and when we were there, it was nearly empty. Plus, it’s absolutely free!
At first, storms were threatening, but then, the sun came out. Castlerigg was certainly well-placed.
On our final day in Keswick, we decided to take a stroll around Lake Derwent. It is an 8-mile walk but there are launches (aka ferries) along the way that can take you back to the beginning if you get tired. So, I figured that we could make it.
Unfortunately, it was a dreary and rainy day. The views were nice but I imagine that a sunny day would have been ideal. We started at the Theatre on the Lake in Keswick and immediately arrived at Friar’s Crag.
After staying in Windermere for one night, Mr. Selfish and I went to Keswick, which is deep within the Lake District.
We decided to climb the Catbells, which is a 1,480 feet tall fell. From the top, you can get a wonderful view of Derwent Lake. It is a rather steep and sometimes slippery climb, but definitely worth hiking.
I had always regretted not visiting the Lake District in the U.K. during the summer of my study abroad at Cambridge. Mr. Selfish and I accordingly spent three lovely nights in the Lake District. We stayed at Windermere for a night and then spent two evenings in Keswick. The Lakes were definitely everything that I thought they would be – absolutely beautiful.
As soon as we arrived in Windermere, we made our way to the Orrest Head in order to enjoy the sunset. It was only 423 feet up and very easy to climb. We saw lots of sheep and cows on the way up happily grazing about.
On our honeymoon in 2009, Mr. Selfish and I went to Hanoi, Hue, and Saigon in Vietnam. Vietnam is a land of motorcycles. The roads are full of them, and there is a constant honking sound at all times. We quickly learned that honking is not to indicate that something has gone wrong but rather it is to indicate one’s presence. In other words, a honk is equivalent to “hello, I’m riding here.” It was definitely something we had to get used to.
In any case, one of our favorite past times was finding interesting items being hauled on motorcycles. We saw whole families, kegs, ducks, and chickens. We also found a huge live pig on its back, but we didn’t get the camera out in time to capture it.
Mr. Selfish and I are currently loving our little apartment in Paris. But as is our nature, we want to do a few day trips from Paris while we are here. Do you have any suggestions for us? We’re currently looking at the following possibilities:
1. Versailles – In 1682, Louis XIV moved from Paris to the Palace at Versailles. It is opulent and beautiful. The last time I went, it was the middle of winter, so none of the fountains were turned on and the gardens were mostly brown. I want to experience Versailles in the autumn.
2. Giverny is where Monet painted his water lillies. Monet moved to Giverny in 1883 with his family, including his second wife and 8 children, living and painting there until his death in 1926.
Mr. Selfish and I had heard horror stories about haggis, so we knew that we had to try it. Haggis is the national dish of Scotland. It is prepared from sheep’s parts (heart, liver and lungs) and minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt. Although traditionally it is encased in the animal’s stomach, it is now typically encased in sausage casing.
We first tried Haggis at Nicholson’s, a traditional Scottish pub, located in Haymarket. It was served traditionally here – with neeps and tatties (mashed turnip and potatoes). It was quite yummy. We also got the sausage and mash in case we didn’t like the haggis. Fortunately, we enjoyed both.
Mr. Selfish and I did a self-guided walking tour of Edinburgh. We started at the Royal Mile, which is a picturesque shopping street. Then, we visited St. Giles Cathedral and walked toward the Greyfriars Kirkyard, which is an old graveyard. We also passed the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, which is a loyal dog who famously guarded his master’s grave for 13 years.