Back!

… actually I’ve been back for a while, but too lazy to blog. Where have I been, you ask? Leuven, Karlsruhe, Paris, Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Würzburg, Rothenburg, Nürnberg, Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, and a few other places besides.


more photos elsewhere, and to appear in coming weeks.


Random memories:

  • Bizarre Belgians and their camping party: “We don’t normally dress like this.”
  • …worrying about the sirens that kept stopping right near our Paris hotel, before discovering the police station around the corner.
  • …trying every one of Munich’s six breweries.
  • …playing the Sound of Music drinking game in a Salzburg hostel (it definitely made the movie more watchable).
  • …taking the train from Vienna to Venice: perfectly on-time until it reached the Italian border, and then 1 hour late by the time we reached Venice.
  • …queueing for hours at the Uffizi in Florence, which later paled in comparison with a queue for the Vatican Museum.
  • …being locked out of the Roman system subway that stopped before 10pm on a weeknight, and having to nightride it home (actually working out where the nightride buses stop is most of the challenge).

Random observations:

  • Germans crossing the road will wait for the lights to change, regardless of the traffic or time of day.
  • Italians crossing the road walk boldly in front of oncoming traffic (you need to anyway, since lights or pedestrian crossings make little difference).
  • While on the subject of traffic, lanes are clearly optional in Paris and Rome.
  • Coffee is passable in France, crap in Germany, overpriced in Vienna, and great (and cheap) in Italy.
  • Not much comes close to Belgian beer, French cheese, German beer, sausage and bread (the complete meal!), or Italian coffee and gelato.
  • While American tourists are everywhere (and many are obnoxious), Australians seem mostly confined to the southern countries (and especially Italy). Canadians are desperate not to be confused with Americans, and there are surprisingly few Poms.