Is July really over? Really? Back home in Canada, July’s ending marks the half-way point of summer. As a kid, I dreaded the day my Mom would flip her country-themed calendar to “AUGUST”, revealing an Amish person sweltering in the heat with a cart of veggies, or something like that. Summer’s almost over, guys. WHY.
On the bright side, you’re now reading this on a much better version of our site. A version that took months worth of blood, sweat, and tears (okay, maybe just tears). Amidst the revisions I’ve also switched up our monthly reviews. “Our month in photos” as it’s now called, will better showcase our snaps from the month, while taking a more chronological approach. Basically, (a bit) less talk, a lot more photos. Here’s our wanderbouts from July!
- 9 days Hungary
- 5 days Austria
- 17 days Germany
We moved around less this month compared to last (thank goodness – fast-paced travel and working remotely is the recipe for burnout). Budapest continued to be a cheap hub for us to work, while still offering Europe’s loveable charms on a dime. Ted & I had our own entire apartment in Budapest city for $21 USD/night, and meals out ranged from $1 USD kebabs to $4 sit-down meals. Basically, if you like cheap travel, add Eastern Europe to your budget bucket list STAT!
Our best awkward moment this month was around 2AM at a kebab shop in Budapest (in other words, where all good things happen). A big burly dude weighing at least 300 lbs turned around and muttered to us in Hungarian. In an inebriated haze we responded we only speak English to which he replied slowly, “ok, no problem. Infinity big love” he made a fist with his thick fingers to give us props. We clinked knuckles to props back. “Infinity big love, Jesus forever” he said, his eyes gazing upward. This Jesus big love chant and repeated props went on for the full 15 minutes in line. Imagine 5 foot me giving props to this burly dude over a foot taller than me, having Jesus while waiting for a kebab. Time #1001 when I wish I had a paparazzi following!
With our proximity to Austria and plans to move onward to Germany, we rented a car for 10 days to drive through the alps and back to Germany. On pick-up in Munich, we had our first taste of the German humour I so adore. Typing from her computer, the sales woman told us, “Remember to bring it back with a full tank of diesel. It’s 4 euro, so it’s very expensive… Unless you like having an extra charge. Hahaha, JUST kidding.” in the kind of flat humour you only hear from a German. God I love the Germans!
Our decision to rent a car turned out to be a very good one because Austria is phenomenal for road tripping! Its Grossglockner highway is both fun to say (especially in an exagerrated German accent out loud – just try it) and is exhilarating to drive. Its roads wind directly beside mountain peaks – as in, you’re driving side by side to the snow patched teeth of enormous mountains. Ridiculous, right?!
The last part of our road trip was spent zig zagging Germany’s Black Forests and Romantic Road. On paper, the words “Black Forest” painted images of villain-filled forests or the setting of eerie scenes from the Blair Witch Project. But can I be honest here? That’s not what they look like. At all. They aren’t black, and they definitely aren’t scary. The Black Forest is essentially a region of Western Germany sprinkled with patchy bits of forest. Those mini forests appear dark from a distance due to the denseness of trees, hence the name. So it’s less dark and scary and mostly just plain cute – but hey, I’m not complaining.
The final leg of our drive was through Germany’s Romantic Road, so-named for its charming roads which wind through medieval villages stuck in their adorable poise of centuries ago. Amidst our bickering over which of the infinite adorable towns to stop in, it was indeed quite romantic. Walt Disney thought so too, and many of his famous movies were directly inspired by these real-life German villages and castles (see below).
Probably our fondest memories from Germany were spent with locals during our AirBNB stays.We had too many laughs and quotable moments with our quirky hosts than we could possibly count. In Heidelburg we stayed in a private room in a student apartment where we joined our hosts and their friends for beers. A few 1 litre beers in, “teabagging” somehow came up in the conversation. Our host turned to her friend who didn’t understand. In her German accent she repeated to her friend, “TEA-BAGGEEEEN? You don’t know?”. I asked what the German word for it was, but like most German translations for English words, there isn’t just one – there’s twenty. She explained it to her friend in a stumble of sentences, and it was priceless seeing the look of horror take over her face midway through the explanation of one simple word!
After plentiful warm and humorous German hospitality, the next post-road trip highlight was landing our first housesit in one of Germany’s most expensive cities, Munich. Free accommodation (that *wasn’t* my parent’s basement!) helped balance out the prior costs of our car rental. We had an awesome first experience housesitting with friendly hosts and a cute cat to care for. Does it get better than that? Oh wait, add beer. There. That’s better.
Needless to say, we’re officially hooked on housesitting and I’ll be writing a how-to post on that soon. After our 11 cost-free days in prim and proper Munich, we moved on to colourfully grungy Berlin. And dare I say it, we wondered just what all the hype was about for this highly acclaimed city (*bracing the oncoming backlash for that statement*).
Are we not hipster enough? Did we miss a monumental site? I’m still not sure. There’s no arguing that Berlin’s powerful history is dark, depressing, and irresistibly captivating. We explored its main sites, met up with some awesome fellow bloggers we love (AngloItalian), and sipped beers in the park while listening to massive live outdoor karaoke. Good vibes indeed, but we still left feeling like it was a city that just didn’t click for us, despite expecting to fall in love with it. It’s funny how some places just grab some you, while others slide right off you like oil on a pan.
Now, if you follow us on Instagram, you probably now know our current whereabouts since we’re nearly mid-way through August. We’ve left Germany and continued onward to unexpected places – but more on that next month (hint: pricing errors are AWESOME!). Till then, thanks for reading!