First Time On Surviving In Italy?

Your First Time Here? STOP. This is not a traditional travel blog. If you’re offended easily or struggle with sarcasm or irony you should skip my website and watch this instead. Also, I swear ALL THE TIME and ramble on about the capybara. You still there? Winning! I’ve Put Together Some Of My Most Popular Posts For You To Start With:

LIFE IN ITALY

21 Ways To Survive Being An Expat 

Why Everyone Should Live In Italy At Least Once In Their Lives

Christmas In Italy 2013: The Time The Blowdryer Ate My Mother-In-Law’s Head

13 Things That I’ve Learned From Marrying An Italian Man

17 Signs That Italy Might Make You Crazy Or Homicidal

Italian The Hard Way

10 Reasons That I’m Surprised That Someone Married M.E.

In My Husband’s Family, Leaving The Table Is Like Announcing You’ve Eaten A Child 

TRAVEL ITALY

7 Best Things To Prepare You For Italy

Dining In Italy: How To Avoid Making An Ass Of Yourself

Rome With Rick Zullo

Travel Bologna With Sarah Dowling

5 Steps To A Non-Conventional Night In Florence

A Weekend In Chianti

Vacation Apartments In Florence: How To Overcome Writer’s Block (Or Just Hang Out).

MOVING TO ITALY

Moving To Italy: Studying And Living 

Frequently Asked Questions: Jobs, Immigration, Circumcision, Love

31 Reasons You Would Be Better Off In Italy

How To Move To Italy

 

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My Awesome Weekend In Prague

I’ve wanted to visit Prague for over a decade, ever since I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being in my early twenties. The book also has significance in my relationship with my husband, too. On our first date I asked him his favorite book and he said, “Unbearable Lightness of Being,” and I was like, “HOLY SHIT ME TOO!” Then I practically forced him to marry me. And LOOK! I bought the book in it’s original Czech while in Prague. Isn’t it beautiful? Can’t read it but it totally looks badass on my bookshelf. Aren’t books sexy?

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being in Czech. Yes, please. #Prague #travel

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I’ve stalked blogs, read travel guides, and spent a weird amount of hours googling photos of the city so it’s weird that it took me so long to get there. Life sometimes gets in the way of travel. However, the wait was totally worth it because this city, folks, is the stuff dreams are made of. If Dracula and Hemingway made a baby, the baby would be Prague and it would  be gloriously handsome and smart. Honestly, even our drive through the Czech Republic was stunning. The landscape is just so green, speckled with wildflowers and there’s so much space. And little forests, there were a lot of really vibrant patches of trees. This was right outside of a truck stop where people were peeing outside a lot.

Outside of #Prague in Czech Republic

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As soon as we arrived to our apartment, that we booked on FlipKey,  I was in love. Our apartment was right in Old Town Square in the city center of old town and awesome! Tip for parking in Prague if you drive: You cannot park on the street, ever, not even for five minutes. Park in a private garage, and they will make you pay up front in cash. Also, if you plan to drive throughout Europe, don’t rent a car in Amsterdam through Europcar, they won’t allow you to take their cars into eastern Europe.

This is right outside the apartment. Can I get an amen? Can I also add that I love using Flipkey because sometimes it’s just awesome to have an apartment when traveling and they are amazing to work with.  flipkey rentals

The beautiful architecture of #Prague is a constant surprise.

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TO DO IN PRAGUE:

As per usual, Francesco and I mostly just wandered around looking for fun things to do and it wasn’t difficult to stumble upon things. I had a lot of help from some really great locals, too, you guys gave me great recommendations. We both love different things about the city, Francesco is really into architecture and I like to stalk people. I love people watching and Prague was definitely the place to do it. The interactions between the little shops and the massive groups of tourists were fun. The shop workers would just start laughing really hard when things got weird which I liked. Nobody was mean, just bemused by it all. We found this place that makes homemade cookies with Maka (poppy seeds). I went everyday because it was delicious. The women didn’t speak any English but they were kind enough to try and teach us some Czech and one of them giggled with delight every time we repeated the Czech word back to her. She loved her language, but not in a “Asshole tourist learn my language or die,” way, she just thought we might want to know and she was thrilled to teach us. MAKA!

Maca (poppy seed) cookies in #Prague. We ate three billion cookies from here.

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Old Town Prague is incredibly walkable. We walked from one end of town to the other multiples times over and saw really cool stuff without even trying. Aside from the architecture, there are wonderful statues and massive art instillations all around. Markets with the brightest fruits and little trinkets. And weird posters.

Pretty in #Prague

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Franz Kafka #Prague at first I thought he had a huge vagina.

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Penis. In #Prague

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I have to admit that there were more tourists than I expected but most of them were clustered together in the Old Town Square watching all of the street performers do really cool things like play music, blow bubbles for children, or do theatrical performances.

On our second day walking around we also found this sex machine museum that also looked kind of like a torture chamber depending on your flexibility.

#Prague sex machine museum. Ooh la la.

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Sex Machine Museum because #Prague. It wasn't amazing but it was an interesting (weird) 15 minutes.

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We went to the castle, which is the largest castle in the world (18 acres!) and wandered around for a few hours. It’s easily within walking distance from the city center and the walk was actually nice and I felt really safe in Prague (with the one exception being near the train station, that area felt crazy sketchy). The architecture is absolutely breathtaking. The only thing I didn’t like about the castle is that you need to have cash, and everything costs money (like seeing different sections of the castle). But honestly, it’s worth it. And the views from the castle are spectacular. Tip: Don’t pay to eat in the cafes etc with a “scenic view.” When you’re headed out of the castle and walking down you’ll come across a little off side area that sales food and there’s a vineyard. Absolutely stunning. Also, I bought little wooden hand carved egg cups. You know, those super weird mini cups that you put a hard-boiled egg in to eat it with a spoon? No, I don’t know how to do it but after watching everyone do it in Munich I’m determined to become a professional. Francesco was not very excited about my purchase and kept groaning because he clearly hates fun. Or he’s jealous because I’m going to seem super refined, like a Queen and he’s intimidated by all the egg cup parties I’ll have. This reminds me that I need to find YouTube videos for How To Use Egg Cups.

#Prague

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Cathedral at the castle in #Prague

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#Prague today is overcast. The architecture seems to be only highlighted by it.

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This was me in Prague, so excited to finally be there, photobombing Francesco because I was telling him a story and he wasn’t listening. BAM. I’m all up in the camera.

Francesco wasn't paying attention to me. So i photobombed his castle pics. #Prague castle

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And, of course, there’s this guy who I saw EVERYWHERE in Prague when he wasn’t performing.

Sing it, buddy. #Prague

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We found two exceptionally cool bars in Prague and I’d recommend going if you get a chance. We went to Hemingway’s where I tried ABSINTH for the first time. I felt like a proper writer, very fancy, and also unstable. Hemingway’s is like being in a scene from Mad Men, it’s organized debauchery, and has a hilarious list of rules that made me giggle, for example, “No talking with people you don’t know, no swearing, etc.,” in a bar that serves a fair amount of crack liquor. Also? I don’t think they enforced the rules or my ass would have been tossed after my first few sentences. They played jazz and international music, the bar was dim lit, charming, and elegant. And LOOK AT MY ABSINTH! It tasted like Fernett. Like licorice. That big glass decanter thing is full of purified ice water. They put the absinth in the glass and drip the cold water into it slowly until the liquor swirls a little cloudy. If you like it sweet they put a slitted spoon with a sugar cube over the glass to sweeten it up. Or, if you want to be like the actual Hemingway, you can order your asbinth with prosecco or champagne.

Absinth kind of night in #Prague at Hemingway

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Drinking Absinth at the Hemingway bar in #Prague

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For a really artistic cocktail and gourmet tapas, head over to Bonvivants. I’ve never been to a place that was more magical and weird. I felt like we stepped back in time to the twenties. The owners, servers, bartenders, chefs trio do it all and they’re bloody good at it. And they serve really artistic cocktails like this delicious smoky thing served in a tin can with a spaghetti noodle straw. They also refer to everyone as “madam” and “sir,” and the tapas were delicious. Tip: Order everything on the menu. Portions are tiny but delicious.

Cocktail in a bag. Classy hobo (because the bartender gets me). Bonvivant #Prague

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Something that I really loved about Prague was the really interesting mix of old and new. The old wood and decor of a lot of the restaurants, bars, even bookstore felt like being tossed back in time. The locals seemed friendly but not overly cheerful like some cultures. I definitely noticed a lot of alternative types, rock and roll guys, men in leather pants, and all that fun stuff. Overall the energy was calm but also kind of dark in a romantic kind of way. The city at night is very romantic. The gold highlights on the buildings glimmer in the moonlight but a lot of the buildings in general are darker so it’s a bit eery too. It reminded me of a vampire film in a good way.

PLACES TO EAT IN PRAGUE:

The food in Prague was diverse and delicious which shouldn’t be a surprise since it was the first country in the post communist eastern bloc to get a Michelin Star. Go Prague!. You’ll find everything from typical Czech food to Italian and Japanese. We were warned about the Czech restaurants in any touristy locations with the exception of one because the touristy czech food is often “terrible,” and “expensive.”

Someone recommended Mincovna which IS in a touristy location but it’s new and most of the people inside eating were speaking Czech. The menu is traditional with a bit of a twist and the food was good.

Last day in #Prague. Having lunch at Mincovna and heading back to #Munich to fly home.

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A few of you badass readers  also recommended some great places like Lokal which we tried and really liked mostly because it was so lively. I felt like I was eating in the mess hall in Harry Potter. It was a bit touristy but there were also Czech people inside having a beer. It’s communal seating and the waitresses do not fuck around. Ours told us, “No, you can’t have that,” when I ordered something off of the menu that she deemed “not as good today as usual.” It was hilarious.

Mistral Cafe was a great place for lunch. It wasn’t typical Czech but the food was delicious and they had great coffee.

Great place for lunch in #Prague. I had the tomato soup aaaaand salad. So good.

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Grab a Plzen beer from Tankovna for “unpasteurized, unfiltered, all yummy goodness.” Thanks again for the suggestion Paul! You’re the best!

La Bottega Bistroteka on Dlouha 39. Great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Had the conssume and it was badass.

Palffy Palac located at 14 Valdstejnska street for modern Czech cuisine (a top restaurant in the city).

DISH Rimska 29, according to the Wall Street Journal one of the best lunch places in Europe.

CLUBS FOR DANCING AND SHAKING THAT ASS

Magnum: New with diverse music. Stefanikova 25

YES Club: French managed, electronic music. Skretova 1

Club 80’s: An 80’s club covered in glitter and awesome. V Kolkovne 6

Mecca: Prague’s largest nightclub, often has big name DJ’s. U Pruhonu 6

U Maleho Glena: Cafe and restaurant upstairs, tiny live music downstairs. Karmelitska 23

All in all, Prague was an beautiful city with so much to see and do. I’d definitely recommend going if you get the chance, and spending at least four days exploring the city. Do the tours, see the castle, dine, and try some absinth at Hemingway’s.  And, if you’re feeling really bold you can buy some too. We bought ours from the Absintherie. Wander the streets, a little buzzed, absorbing the moonlight and the taking in the romance of a country with so much history and a city that’s seen it all from monarchy to totalitarianism. Hold someone’s hand and stuff your face with some Maka.

Travel To Vienna And Bratislava

We spent most of May 2015 in Europe traveling around by car that we rented from Europcar. We flew into Munich, drove to Salzburg, Wolfgang, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague. It was an epic vacation and so, so beautiful. The drives were fairly short. I’ve broken up the trip into multiple blog posts because there was simply too much to put into one large one. So, viola! Here is Vienna and Bratislava.

VIENNA (or WIEN ).

WHAT TO DO IN VIENNA:

In Vienna, Francesco had to work so I spent most of my days exploring the city and doing touristy things. It was the first time I’ve ever done the whole “Hop On, Hop Off,” bus thing and as much as I feel ancient in admitting it, it was awesome! For those of you who have never done it, you basically buy a ticket from some little kiosk around the city or in participating stores, hop on the bus (ideally sit on top because down below sucks) and learn via headphones about the city. You can get off the bus at any of their many stops to walk around and hop back on whenever you want. I learned all kinds of crazy things about Vienna that I would have NEVER learned without the tour.  Like that Maximillian I from Vienna was the emperor of Mexico. WTF!? Also, when Germany annexed Austria the loudest protest against the annexation came from Mexico. Who knew? Probably everyone, except for me. The bus went all over Vienna and through the Jewish Quarter where I got off to eat some delicious food. Definitely do the bus!

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#Vienna Austria. Parliament building.

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#Vienna inner city center near the Spanish Riding School.

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After the bus I headed to the Belvedere Museum to see some Klimpt work. He’s one of my favorite artists so it was important that I stand in front of The Kiss and drool while a group of 17,000 Chinese tourists poked me with their selfie sticks.

Vienna

Vienna Museum

The Kiss by Klimpt

I strolled around the first district, as recommended by my super cool friend and reader Scott!

Among Scott’s recommendations:

Visit Prater, a huge park with a carnival. This was fun! It would have been great for a picnic but it was cold.

Yppenplatz area and Brunnenmarkt for a huge a huge outdoor food market (as Scott pointed out, lots of Yugoslavian and Turkish stuff). Outdoor dining was pretty cute except it was freezing while we were there.

Naschmarkt on a Saturday. There were tons of places to eat. I was told to sit outside and “drink sparkling wine and eat oysters in the morning” but I didn’t get a chance to do that. Next time! There was also a flea market at the end but I didn’t get a chance to go that far.

PLACES TO EAT IN VIENNA:

I am lucky enough to have readers with endless recommendations to get me through my trips. Scott P., you were basically my Vienna tour guide so I can’t thank you enough! Here are some of his excellent local recommendations along with some places that I found and loved.

  • Grab a Frankfurter at this little stand on Graben street across from the Stefanel store. I was weirdly into the metal dong that they stab the bread with to make a hole for the hot dogs. I probably seemed like a giant perv just standing there staring at it.

Vienna Street Food

The best food I ate in #Vienna. Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Oper. I could live on the asparagus soup.

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#Vienna lunch at the Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Oper.

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Coffee suggestions from Scott included: Kaffeemodul, kaffeefabrik, Balthasar Kaffee Bar, POC “People On Caffeine”, Caffe Couture, Kaffee Von Sascha.

BRATISLAVA

In Vienna we were staying with some friends. One of them owns the company EAT (if you’re into luxury audio, check it out. Her turntables are the jam, and so are her husband’s at PROJECT) and is originally from Slovakia so she recommended we spend a day in Bratislava. Post-communist architecture and adventure? Fuck yes! I prepared for our day trip in the car via my IPhone.

Bratislava Vocab

I had never read anything about the city (or the country) so I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet locals, the modern architecture alongside remnants of the Soviet Union. Old town was really charming and full of British tourists who were having a glorious time. And of course, there’s this place, the most sexist place in Bratislava.

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We ate at the Slovak Hause which I would not consider to be fine dining or even good but it was affordable and they had a nice outdoor area in the Old Town. And who could turn down a restaurant with a menu like this? Nobody, that’s who.

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I tried Poppy gelato because the girl working at this particular gelateria, Koun, said that her people “absolutely adore Poppy seeds!” It tasted like cold. But it was a cute place and the locals seemed to love it.

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This is me at the castle with a panoramic view of Bratislava. If you look in the distance you’ll see the former Soviet architecture. Really interesting place!

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My day in #Slovakia #Bratislava

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And? The nightlife is insane! The city seemed mostly empty until after dinner where people flooded the streets. By midnight the dance clubs swell, the restaurants dim their lights and turn on the strobes (no kidding) and normal looking cafe’s suddenly have strippers on the bars. It didn’t take long to figure out what the british guys were so excited about. We went dancing at a few different places and I noticed that the guys were very respectful. They’d saunter up and as soon as you shook your head “no,” they’d back away and not bother you again. Aces.

I also did some fun shopping and bought a ton of stuff from this store, In Vivo, that I’m obsessed with. The owners make everything by hand and their shit is weird and cool and sooooo affordable.

Bratislava VIVO

Something else that I found really surprising was the coffee. The coffee was amazing! Top five coffees I’ve ever had in my life. And the cafe’s have this sort of old world, depressed but ambitious writerly feeling to them. My kind of place.

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For videos of my journeys you can check out my Youtube page. Slowly but surely I’m getting the videos uploaded for little pieces of these awesome place. Also, while you’re there, check out the new COSI video we just did on How To Be A Good Tourist In Italy!

Travel Munich with ME

Two weeks ago my husband and I flew to Munich to kick off a work-ation, where I basically vacationed while he spent his days at a luxury trade show with his co-workers. I lazily had breakfast alone in our hotel, Hotel AM Markt (awesome location!), like the sad, solitary creature I am. Then I’d wander out to see the market, exploring the amazing produce, and local products while talking with myself as per usual. White asparagus seems to be all the rage in Germany these days along with wieners, sauerkraut, potato salad (made with vinegar) and giant pretzels. I have yet to eat a vegetable in many days but I think that’s only because I’m eating out constantly. I’m sure at home the locals put their fresh produce to use. But I’m definitely going to get scurvy.

After a few days our friends from Italy and Greece joined us in Munich so I hung out with them. We walked around all day, visited various sites (many that you badass readers recommended ) like the Haus Der Kunst, a modern art museum that is one of the last remaining places in Munich with swastika designs in the tiles above the entrance.


Near the museum we found a river where insane people were surfing, in 50 degree weather in the rain. Impressive to watch but I felt for them and their deep purple, frozen feet.


We followed the trail near the river that led into an enormous park, green grass that sprawled out for miles. It featured ponds, ducks, and middle-aged naked men. It’s legal to be nude in the park so dozens of (mostly) men take full advantage of it. I’ve never cared about nudity and I think the fear that Americans have of naked bodies is comical. But I couldn’t help but giggle at the sheer pride those men took in displaying their anteaters. Most of them layed down facing the walkway, propped on one elbow, one knee bent, their penis’, limp, and listless, against their pale thigh. A triumphant display of ego and foreskin.

Things I Saw (thank IIona and everyone who gave awesome tips): 

  • HB brewery: A super touristy place but also a historical one.  Everyone told me to skip it and I get why, BUT Hitler delivered his 25 point plan at this brewery, and the terrifying nazi party (“workers party”) was essentially born here among the beer. I had to see it because so much had happened here.  The 500 year old brewery was also a favorite place of Vladimir Lenin and Mozart.

  • English Garden: Gorgeous break from the city. If weather permits have a picnic! Or, just stand on a rock near the surfers and be in nature that way.

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  • Vktualien Markt farmers market: Awesome place to buy fresh produce and little deli gifts for family back home (like hot dogs!).

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  • Ice cream at True & 12 (excellent recommendation): Fresh, delicious, and the perfect way to spike your sugar after walking the city.
  • Chinesischer Beer Garden

Where we stayed: Hotel AM Markt. It was cute and a perfect location to do all of the super fun things you guys suggested. It was affordable and breakfast was cheap. Most importantly they give you boiled eggs and the little boiled egg stand so you can eat your egg with a spoon. I like to use a fake accent while doing so and bossing around my imaginary butler. “No William, I haven’t the time today. Have to get through these two boiled eggs and my morning coffee.”

Recommended Itinerary By my new friend Honourable Husband (check him out on his blog http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com). I based a lot of my trip around the advice he shared in my blog comments that I’ve shared below because it’s great stuff:

  • “Spend the afternoon on Prinzregentenstrasse. Catch the number 100 bus toward the Ostbahnhof, hopping on and off.
  • Start at the Odeonsplatz. Seek out the subtle but chilling memorial to Shirker’s Alley, behind the Feldernhalle—the big raised stage. (http://www.yelp.com.au/biz/shirkers-alley-m%C3%BCnchen-2) While you’re at it, rub the Lions’ noses outside the Residenz for good luck.
  • Hop on the #100 toward the Ostbahnhof (careful—not toward the Hauptbahnhof) and get off at the Haus der Kunst. There, you’ll encounter the preposterous sight of the Eisbach surfers.
  • Next door, the Haus der Kunst was one of the first galleries built by Hitler and cronies to house proper, conservative representational German art—the gallery now hosts travelling exhibitions which celebrate precisely the opposite. After WWII, authorities rid the city of every visible swastika; the ceiling of the portico is one of two remaining spots where they simply couldn’t easily remove them from the tiled pattern.
  • Further down Prinzregentenstrasse, you’ll see an imposing structure that houses the Bavarian Ministry for Infrastructure, Technology, International Trade, Bombast, Hauteur and Self-Importance. The original HQ for the Luftwaffe, it contains the other remaining swastikas, in the iron grillework in the fence down the side street to the left.
  • Hop off the bus again at the Villa Stuck. (http://www.villastuck.de/http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com/blog/2008/03/chance-encounter-with-an-old-friend.html) Franz Stuck was a professor of art in Munich in the late 1800s, who taught both Kandinsky and Klee, which earned him a knighthood (he became the freshly-minted Count von Stuck) and the hand of a rich American widow. The latter let him build the imposing villa, which is a stunning example of the Art Noveau style (“Jugendstil”) which the neighbourhood is famous for. If you don’t fancy taking in the rotating exhibitions, you can buy a cut price ticket for just the historic rooms, and it’s worth it.
  • Nearby in the neighbourhood is the Friedensengel (Angel of Peace) (http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com/blog/2013/03/the-angel-of-piste-.html ), the Russian consulate (that explains the protest display mounted by the resident of a nearby apartment building) and the Käfer food hall. The last is a must if you’re a foodie seeking a crash course in German smallgoods. Nice cafe there, too, if you’re in the mood. On the other hand, if you and your husband are jonesing for an Italian coffee, the Trogerstrasse holds a microscopic establishment called the Extrabar, run by an elderly Italian lady whose daughter and son-in-law have installed a 1950s espresso machine for her that seems to perplex her a tad. On the other side of PRstrasse, opposite the Palace hotel at Trogerstrasse 44, is a nondescript building that housed one of Munich’s few Jewish safe houses in the thirties and forties.
  • Last stop is the Prinzregentenplatz. Biggest and most prominent building is the Prinzregententheater, built expressly for Wagner operas in the early 1900s. Sweet talk your way into the auditorium, conservatory and restaurant for a look. The frescoes are quite cool.
  • Nearby, in the police station at number 16, is another chilling spot. On the second floor was Hitler’s private apartment from 1929 to his death in 1945. It was here that Neville Chamberlain signed the ill-fated Munich Agreement in 1938. From time to time, Hitler would use the balcony to address supporters who would gather outside.
  •  (It you’re interested to learn more about Munich’s sad and prominent role in the events that led up to WWII, you can drop in at the just opened NS-Dokumentationszentrum in the Königsplatz, not far from the Lenbachhaus gallery which Harvey wisely recommended. BTW, hi Harvey!)
  • And on that note, it’s time to catch bus #54 toward Münchener Freiheit. It will drop you at the door of the famous Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden, where all the naked sunbathers repair after working up a thirst.”

I had a really great time in Munich. It was a fun city with a lot to do, it was so beautiful and livable. Also, the city is insanely clean (like eat off the floor clean). I used Duolingo to learn about 10 words in German and two sentences. So, that was fun but everyone speaks English (though to be polite I try to do my best when visiting another country so I don’t sound like an asshole (better to sound touched in the head than like an entitled twat, I always say). 

And? Lederhosen. Awesome. But I couldn’t find any doggy-hosen for Oliver or Capybara-hosen for Dwayne and that was sad. BUT, I did find baby-hosen. I think that Francesco wanted me to buy Derndl for some German role-playing because he kept telling me I should buy it and he NEVER tells me to buy stuff. Anyway, you cannot desecrate the dirndle or the hosen! Get it together, Francesco.  Overall? Loved Munich. 

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Munich And The Human Condition 

 
What I find fascinating about Munich is that it’s a place with conflicting layers, the days of yesterday, horror stories of. Munich was home to the epitomy of human cruelty ( and proof that all we need is a bit of fear and pride to support the most evil of evil) and yet today it’s a beautiful city full of well-dressed young professionals and charming outdoor farmers markets. There’s also an impressive variety of hot dogs. I’ve eaten hot dogs for dinner two nights in a row and it’s about time I start translating the menu. 

  
Yesterday I had a beer at Staatliches Hofbrauhaus in Munich, a 500 year old pub that has been a favorite hangout spot of Mozart, Vladimir Lenin, and it’s also where Hitler gave many of his political speeches. On Feb 24th 1920, he proclaimed the 25 point program of the Nazi party (at the time it was still the “workers party”) at that very pub. And I sat there with my husband drinking beer and talking nonsense. Every once in a while I’d remember that Hitler used to hang out there. I’d feel all icky with Hitler cooties, and then a moment later I’d be talking about something totally unrelated. It’s fascinated how our brains can touch on something terrible then bounce back almost instantly as if nothing completely horrifying had ever happened. I assume it’s our coping mechanism that allows us to exist because, my friends, throw a bit of pride and fear in the mix and we can be monsters, or worse, we can allow monsters to become dictators. 

  
People don’t really change much, only time changes. Yesterday afternoon I had a coffee where the barista, a charming, sweet man, handed me my cappuccino with a wink and “a beautiful coffee for a beautiful woman.” A man of about ten thousand years old sat at a table behind me, clearly old enough to have witnessed Hitler’s speeches, or even old enough to have served as one of Hitler’s Youth (possibly old enough to see Jesus walk on water). It was a strange thought to have in a sweet cafe with the sunlight and the families having lunch and that cute old man having a beer with his friends, reminiscing about dinosaurs or whatever the ancients chat about. It makes us feel safer to think that people were really different back then, they weren’t “like us,” but I don’t think that’s true. People are the same, only the rhetoric changes. It was a stark reminder of what blind nationalism and the fear of “the other,” can do. 

How fucking depressing. And so? Drink more beer and then hide from the world behind it. 

  
What I like about Munich is the beauty and simplicity of the food markets, the men in their lederhosen, having a beer with their friends, laughing boisterously in the cold and rainy street (with apparently no ability to experience the cold…Germans are clearly weather-proof). 

  
These wonderful things float between the complexity and darkness of the past like the cream center of an Oreo cookie. On these same streets that are now full of tourists, drunk Englishmen,  were the same streets where sixty-plus years ago Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, black people, were being dragged from their homes and sent to internment camps. It’s one of the most powerful illustrations of the dichotomy of the human condition, our ability to be both lovely and horrific. 

Also, is it just me or does this look like Hitler playing a harp? It probably isn’t because that would just be insane, right? But it totally looks like it. 

  

Munich, A Super Cute City 

So, I’ve been in Munich for about 24 hours and I have to say that so far, this is one of the cutest cities I’ve been in a long time. The architecture is beautiful, the people are well dressed in their business casual attire as they go to and from work, and the food is obviously awesome. Our hotel is an awesome location, city center, Hotel Am Markt.  I had sauerkraut and spatzle for lunch. Francesco had beer and weiners. Seeing “wiener,” on a menu makes me giggle because I’m a twelve year old on the inside. 

   
 

Munich is super orderly and clean. So much so that a waitress at a cafe nearly punched me in the face for moving a chair at an adjacent table to get to my seat, then doing it again to run to the bathroom. “Ma’am, what do you need?!” She grabbed me. “A bathroom?” I responded. She sighed, pointed to the bathroom, then walked to the chair I moved and put it back one inch to the left. First lesson, do not move the fucking chairs. I’m now studying the Germans to see how they get into the tables without moving anything because I’m obviously a moron and don’t know how sitting works. I will break this code. 

Francesco is at work so I’m just bumbling around by myself this week. It’s going to be pretty awesome. Yesterday I saw a man yodeling for tourists in a plaza. He was wearing lederhosen. My life is complete. 

I’ve been uploading tons of video and pics to Instagram (M_E_Evans) and Francesco has barely been judgy about my stalking strangers. So far, I’m winning. Well, except for the chair thing. 

Munich, I Am Coming!

Munich Germany Travel

In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be on a plane for Munich. I’m excited. I’ve never been there and it kicks off a three week vacation of epic awesomeness where I’ll get to see Munich, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest and holy shit it’s awesome. And? There’s a lot to do. There’s packing, remembering underwear, and the seven-thousand creams that stop my face from falling off. Makeup, tampons, a hairbrush (which I almost always forget somehow), and my phone charger. I watch youtube videos on packing to help like this one on Packing Light For Travel (minus the taking photos of my outfits. Who has time for that shit?).

And? And I’m fucking stressed out. Excited and stressed is a weird combination.

I never used to stress about travel until I had Oliver. Oliver, you’re awesome, but you make life stressful as fuck. Thanks for that. I have to find him a sitter, make sure they understand the full extent of his insanity, prepare for every possible bad scenario, and then some which is terrible for me because I have OCD and “bad scenario,” for me is probably not bad scenario for other people who are less crazy. My brain goes worst scenario, then to a dark place that is traumatic like, “What if someone forgets to lock the back door and there is an alien invasion and the aliens exclusively eat Poodles?” My “what if’s” are terrifying and weird. So, I’ve spent all week thinking about scary things WHILE trying to learn German, and study the history of the fun places I’m going.

Speaking of German, I’m pretty much fluent at this point. And by fluent I mean I can speak two sentences that are probably all I’ll ever need if I’m trapped in the movie Legend and/or feeling confused about my vagina.

“Where are the unicorns?”

“I am a woman?”

Thank you, Duolingo, and my friend Thomas for helping me master this whole language thing. I give it two days before the staff of our hotel begin avoiding me. Oh jesus, there’s that woman that aggressively declares her gender. And? Everyone knows unicorns are SCOTTISH. Asshole. 

In preparation for my trip I’ve been reading blogs about living in Munich. I’ve found some really fun ones with some great info like wahlmuenchnerin. I have no idea what that means, actually, but she’s an American who writes about living in Munich. Pretty fun. I’ve also been slowly putting together of things to do and things to see. Anyone from Munich that has some fun tips for me? Put it in the comments below! I asked for some ideas on Facebook and you guys had awesome advice.

THINGS TO DO IN MUNICH: 

1. Englischer Garten with Biergarten with Chinesischem Turm and watch the surfers on Eisbach. If the weather is fine you will find a couple of nude people on the great lawn taking a sunbath.

2. Deutsches Museum

3.Augustiner Keller – original tradtional brewery with restaurant. Better skip Hofbräu Haus

4. Vktualien Markt – fantastic farmers market.

5.Marienplatz with Rathaus and close by one of Germany’s finest department stores : Ludwig Beck.

6. BMW Museum

7. Asamkirche

8. Neue und Alte Pinakothek

What would you guys add? Put it in the comments below? Any of you currently living in Munich? Share your blogs with us below! I’d love to read them! Packing tips? German phrases? Help a ME out!

7 Things I Love About Italy That Might Surprise You

1. Italy is a visual paradise in most places. Sure, some of the newer cities are kind of ghetto with lackluster architecture, but for the most part the cities are absolutely stunning. Old cement buildings with charming flower beds in windows, the cobblestone, the massive churches with well-preserved Fresco paintings, and greener than Crayola-green hills. If Italy was a person it would be a Victoria’s Secret model. Probably one of the transgender ones because their bodies are the most toned.

Florence Italy

2. The dramatic graffiti. There’s nothing like teenage angst and love to make walking the dog a poetic experience. There’s a freakish amount of graffiti in Italy which seems ghetto and sketchy until you can read it and it’s all, “Dear Maria, you’re an angel sent from God. I love you, for now, for always, your love, Giorgio.” I also love how they will have love letter battles, like one person will write his girlfriend something, then a few days later a different guy will write his girlfriend a poem directly over it. Ah, those teens in Italy, such rascals. And also? Didn’t their parents teach them anything about pens or paper or the beauty of a simple email (or a mixed tape….)?

3. There is never an impending feeling of doom, or the need to be productive whatsoever. People seem to do everything in slow motion, even at the emergency room. It’s like nothing matters, the world stands still, and we’re all just hanging out. Italy is possibly the most relaxing place I’ve ever been simply because the general demeanor of its inhabitants seem not at all concerned with anything. In public. This doesn’t extend to when you actually know people or see them in their homes. That’s when the crazy comes out.

4. Clothing. It’s the best place to shop on the planet if you’re into monochromatic color schemes, neutrals, black outfits, warm grays, and a look that screams, “Serious on the outside, fun on the inside!” Naturally.

Florence Italy Fashion

5. A different kind of “manly.” There is definitely a lot of sexism in Italy (let’s just call a spade, a spade, eh?) but the idea of “manliness,” is different. Guys have no shame when it comes to dressing well, taking incredible care of their bodies or clothing, and will give zero second-thoughts to cruising around in a suit on a bicycle of any color. Sometimes with a poodle in the basket and a baby strapped to their back. Men often carry their female partner’s purses around, and are not concerned with small banners of manhood. For example, Francesco had a work trip in the US with all Americans and during dinner one of the American guys actually said, “White wine is a woman’s drink.” And Francesco nearly lost his shit. He tried to correct him and say that white wine pairs better with different types of food but the men at the table stood firm that “red wine is for men.” Weird.

Man on bike in Florence Italy

6. Speedos and naked boobs. Look, yes, it can be a bit traumatic to witness two overweight Italian men with gorillia-like body hair wrestling on the beach in Gaeta. But, I love that there is a different relationship with the body in Italy. Women will occasionally pop their tops off at certain beaches, they don’t put swimming-suit tops on 4 year old girls (and seriously why would you? What are we covering?), and the guys proudly display their banana packages with no remorse whatsoever. I kind of like that. Not that I love to go to the beach to stare at semi-naked dudes…but, I like the confidence. Look, here’s my penis and all of my man-hair and potbelly for all to see, displayed triumphantly on the sand.

7. An extreme attention to detail. I don’t know if you’ve ever went into a chocolate shop in Italy to buy a gift for a friend but if you haven’t, do it. Even if you purchase four pieces, at any given store, they’ll spend 15 minutes making it cute for you. Paper, tags, ribbons, all of it. If you’re in a hurry it can also make you crazy but if you have time go check it out. They have an acute, almost manic, attention to detail that is probably unrivaled by anyone ever.