I’d heard about GRÜNAU’s beauty and Gerhard’s caring manner (and excellent cooking) skills from a few people, so I had high expectations!
The bus ride there was easy, and we were welcomed by a delicious smelling lasagna (which I had not ordered because I had finally finished the Nutella on two rolls I packed). I was lucky enough that our guide was too full to finish it and gave the rest to me. Legend!
After those who weren’t staying left, Gerhard went through everyone’s dietary needs so he could make sure we could eat what was cooked; and we got our rooms (and showed how to dodgy door worked, by Sebastian, Gerhard’s son).
A and I went for a walk (in the constant rain) to the fairytale forest. Someone had built houses and fairytale characters in the real forest. Everyone who went said it was creepy but I thought it was pretty cool!
That night, we had our first taste of Gerhard’s rad cooking: chicken with a creamy sauce, a rice cup and carrots, peas and corn. It was so nice to have a homely meal cooked for me!
Dessert was a sour cherry cake.
A and I spent the evening/night playing cards and chatting with a couple from the bus – Ally and Sam. I learnt two new card games: presidents and assholes and a variation on that.
Day #2, we all ate (included) breakfast together. There was Marmite, which was super exciting for me!
With a group of 5 other people – A, Hannah, Alex, Jaime and Adele, we cycled the 21km to Almsee Lake. Most of it was flat, but there were a few bad hills!
We ate lunch at the restaurant by the lake – I had beef soup with chopped up bits of crepe in it; and A and I shared a cream cheese strudel.
We then walked to an area of the lake we could put our feet into (we were potentially going to swim but the air was cold and the water was bloody freezing!)
We cycled the 21km back and it was a major struggle!
A, Hannah and I got separated from the other three; and then A and I got separated from Hannah, as we took forever getting back. After way too many stops, we eventually made it!
Dinner that night was beef and gravy with pasta and herbs. Dessert was a chcolate cream sponge with a solid chocolate layer on top and cherries inside.
Played Trivial Pursuit (but it was going for forever so we gave up an hour and a half in). Hung out with Zyna and Hannah and A at one stage and then Hannah and Kell later on; and one of the girls went skinny dipping because she lost odds.
Day #3, I read My Sister Rosa and had the lasagna lunch with the new Busabouts.
The new Busabouts (Libby, Amy, Jason and Molly) and us walked to a waterfall. It was mostly easy, except for the last couple of minutes where there were slippery logs and rocks.
On the way there, I had taken off my shoes and waded across, but on the way back I was too lazy, so I clambered across the slippery rocks like the others. I don’t have great balance and ended up soaking my right shoe and sock (the left one only got a lil wet).
Listened and jammed to HSM tunes on the way back from Molly’s phone.
Shared chips with Asher, finished My Sister Rosa (excellent read) and had the vegetarian option for dinner (they were serving pork which I don’t eat). It was pumpkin ravioli with potatoes, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. Dessert was a custard and blackcurrent jam strudel – so good!
We played some more card games – Drunk Driver and ***** The Bus. I also tried Sturm for the first time: Austrian ‘wine’ (it’s 2%), that tastes like Ribena/grape juice (red) and Apple juice (white). Hung out with Libby and Z and Molly and Brittani and Jason, downstairs in the pool room.
Day #4, I ate lots of breakfast (preparing for Yom Kippur), used the internet, chatted with people and said goodbye to Jaime and Adele who left on the train.
I watched the Amanda Knox doco on Netflix – very interesting!
Hot chips with mayo for lunch, and Asher and I played Uno (with points) for a little (he crushed me).
By then, the others had returned from the lake, so we played standard Uno with them (no points); and Presidents and Assholes and then we showed them the variation we had learnt.
A and I had our last supper (for 25 hours): chicken pizza (I wanted veggie but there was none left). I ate dessert 5 minutes late (because I didn’t realise I had to get it – usually he brings it after diner but we ate early) – so I decided I wanted and I’d just finish 5 minutes later. Dessert was vanilla and chocolate sponge with cherries.
After everyone had finished their dinner, we played cheat; and then pool (my second time ever). I sunk one ball (definitely a fluke, because I 100% suck).
Chatted and hung out with Libby and Kell and Asher.
Day #5, we woke up to it snowing!!! This was very exciting, as I’d seen snow before, but I’d never seen it snowing. Everyone, including myself, rushed outside in their pajaymas (I shoved trackies and a jacket on top) to frolick and dance and take so many photos of the snow(ing).
Packed etc., played more card games and looked at the yummy lasagna when everyone ate lunch.
Saying goodbye to Gerhard and Seb was a lil sad and no-one wanted to leave The Tree house because it had become a home away from home.
I 100% recommend it to everyone, and I can’t wait to go back!
Bus ride was short, and once in SALZBURG, A and I just hung in the hostel (energyless from not eating and drinking). I started Narcos, and at around 4, we went to buy food for our breaking of the fast feast!
I watched more Narcos when we came back and then it was time to eat!!
I broke it (5 minutes past 7), on schnitzel. I also had Toffifee, dates and a strawberry Magnum which I bought at the corner store.
Our hostel plays Sound of Music every night at 8pm, so the four of us – A, Amy, Hannah and I, watched it.
On day #2, the three of them went to Eagle’s Nest and I went for an early morning run. I don’t actually run, but I was feeling gross and it was the most efficient excercise I could think of. It ended up being 25 minutes of (mostly) running – longer than I’d imagined because I got a little lost at the end.
Showered, breakfasted (waffles with honey and dates), dressed and walked to the farmer’s market around the corner.
Lots of fruits and veg and meat and cheese, and I ended up buying 2 slices of cheese (2 different types) to put on my already buttered sandwich for lunch.
The night before Hannah had mentioned a fortress she went to but didn’t know the name so I just typed fortress into Google Maps and started walking. It was a very long walk (in Converse because I didn’t realise it would be so long) – 5km from where I was to the Hohensalzburg. It was a pretty walk – through leafy paths, but I was very exhausted by the time I got there.
I hiked up the very steep hill and ate lunch (leftover Toffifees and the roll with the two cheeses) at the top.
Decided not to go in because I wasn’t super interested (despite the long ass hike). Instead I limped/dragged my feet around the old town.
I went into the cemetery that had bend the inspiration for the cemetery/shooting scene in Sound of Music. I went into souvenir stores and bought a giant bread pretzel for lunch the next day.
I walked to an information store to ask for a train station (because there was no way I was walking back) and she informed me there was none, but there were buses. Found the bus easily enough (across Mozart Bridge – where they sing Do Re Mi in the film) and took it to the main train station because that was near our hostel.
Apparently not though. I wandered around, lost for about 40 minutes – and after asking two people, I finally found the hostel. My phone was on 1% (so no GPS for me), and my theory was that I’d arrived at the main station on a completely different side to where our hostel was near.
Chilled the rest of the afternoon (watched Narcos) and then the four of us went out for dinner to an Italian restaurant (after veteoing a dodgy burger place and an expensive Korean restaurant).
I had a MASSIVE pizza!! It was a four cheese pizza: mozzarella, cheddar and two others I didn’t know.
I had a cloudy apple spritzer which was basically fizzy apple juice. I didn’t finish the pizza and brought home leftovers.
Day #3, we said goodbye to Hannah (we’d planned dinner with Amy in Munich), and took a bus to the salt mines.
We had to put on freaky looking, bell-bottomed overalls (not sure why), and straddle a train that would take us 650m into the mountain.
The tour lasted an hour and involved walking through the salt caves, learning how the salt was extracted, sliding down a wooden ‘slide’, taking a boat across a mirror lake and hopping in a funicular to go back up again.
– salt in the mines
We learnt the information from an English audio guide because the tour was in German.
After our tour, I bought a mini salt shaker at the shop, we ate lunch (I had my cheese and olive bread pretzel) and went for a walk, trying to get a good view of the mountains (to no avail). We walked back, took the bus and walked back to the hostel.
Had leftover pizza for dinner.
Day #4, I woke up early, got picked up from the hostel and driven to Mirabell Platz (via a hotel to pick up a couple), to get the bus: I had booked the Eagle’s Nest tour!!! After seeing the photos and with recommendations from A, Amy and Hannah I decided to go.
We took the bus (with our tour guide giving information along the way), and once arriving at the base, changed to a narrow bus (for the skinny roads). Drove up, walked through a tunnel, went up Hitler’s Elevator, pass some windows and we were outside!
The view was incredible!! Some snow, but it was actually quite warm up there and super clear skies (I was lucky with the weather because it had been cancelled the day before).
After an hour, we drove to Berschgaden for lunch. I had packed lunch: rice cakes with egg dip, but I bought myself a cake (I think it was Apple with chopped almonds on top).
Bussed back to Salzburg, and I went for a quick visit to Mirabell Platz gardens (and finished my cake whilst walking around). Walked back to the hostel, chatted to Molly, did more of this blog and surfed the internet.
For dinner, we ate at the hostel: I had chips with chicken wings (was good) and a blackberry cider (to celebrate/be sad about our second late mainland Europe night).
The three of us went for a walk to Mirabell Platz and had our second cider when we came back. Chatted for a bit.
Day #5 started with me stripping my bed because I couldn’t find my key. Looked everywhere, and eventually just asked for a new one. He didn’t blink an eyelid.
Had (Hannah’s) left(over) pizza for breakfast, packed and chilled out in the common room with Molly and Asher.
Went for a walk to Mirabell Platz and gardens and then back via a housewares store (that was sadly closed, but we started through the window).
I had lunch: rice cakes with butter I had bought but semi forgot about, my leftover slice of cheese and a little sachet of Nutella. I used the leftover Nutella for one more and buttered the rest and put them away for snacks.
The bus ride back to MUNICH was short, and our guide (Sarah), was pretty good! Informative and bubbly and interesting.
Goodbye Busabout! For now, but definitely not forever.
Checked in, sorted through bag 1 (my attached bag); did a wash and put our clothes in the drier before we gathered downstairs for a lil tour by Sarah and Megan (another guide – we had her going into Grunau!)
We walked to Haubrauhaus (oldest beer house in Germany), via Marienplatz, the Victoria market stalls, the old and new square buildings and a statue of Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet) with one golden boob because apparently rubbing it means good luck for the rest of your life.
We were going to have kebabs for Dinner, but on the way back from getting cash we went past a Mexican place and chose there instead. We shared two dishes:
Came back, sorted/stressed about our flight info (we had conflicting information); but I think it’s sorted now. We will confirm in the morning.
I can’t believe this is basically the end of our mainland Europe trip!! Over three months down, and less than one to go!!!
WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE??
Today, we packed, ate the breakfast buffet (I had a toasted roll with pb+j, a v mini bowl of cereal and yoghurt and 2 hot chocolates!), and checked out.
We walked along the main street for a bit, and then back to the hostel.
Bought sushi (!!!) for later, and had my packet of Uncle Ben’s rice for lunch.
We will be leaving for the airport later (via public transport); where we will wait for way too long and then catch a (short) flight to London.
Until the end of our UK leg!!