Categoryeurope

Paris

The last leg of our trip took us to Paris, and we’d be there on the same day as the Eurocup final between France and Portugal! We were all set to fly there until while having some beer at the Hofbräuhaus in München, I got an e-mail saying our flight was cancelled. Luckily, I knew my way around quite well already, so I booked train tickets right away through Deutsche Bahn. Our route had a transfer at my old stomping grounds – Stuttgart. I barely recognized the place since everything was under construction for Stuttgart 21. When I was there, the main train station hadn’t been renovated and people were protesting all over the place about the whole project. The trains also went a lot faster than I remembered – a whopping 319 km/h.

First order of business after arriving: food. The last two times I was there as a poor student, we never splurged on food, but now as working professionals, I can! Frog legs? Okay.

With the Eurocup games being hosted in France and the terrorist attacks that happened in Paris, there were soldiers on the street in just about every place with crowds. If any terrorist attacks were to happen in Paris, it wouldn’t be during the Eurocup games.

Later that night, we met up with one of our friend’s coworkers for dinner. Time for more food. Escargot? Okay.

Beef tartare? Okay. We all had one for ourselves, and if anything bad were to happen, there was only one washroom in our AirBnB. Would have been game over.

The next day, we went to Versailles. Instead of taking pictures of things, I played Pokemon Go instead. It had just launched in USA, and since I had an account from that launch, I got to play. Everywhere I went, there was Pokemon. Never mind that it was a blazing hot day without much shade in the palace gardens. Gotta catch’em all. It was Pokemon Go everywhere I went – there’s even an arena at the Arc de Triomphe.

Make Napoleon great again!

After all the walking around, it was time for more food. Foie gras this time.

The next day was a trip to the catacombs and saw the skeletal remains of a lot of dead people.

And also visited a famous dead guy: Napoleon.

After that, it was time to go to the fan zone at the Eiffel Tower to watch France VS Portugal. All these people are trying to get in through the many entrances. The police guarding the gate were letting women and children go in without lining out while everyone else had to. Chivalry is alive and well in France.

After a long while of waiting we got in. There were so many people walking on the gravel road that it kicked up so much dust everywhere and it was hard to breathe and I was coughing every few minutes. It wasn’t comfortable at all. There were long lineups everywhere and nowhere to sit. But the atmosphere was really good. Lots of cheering and anticipation for a France win.

A friend of ours, who was coming from another location came too late and couldn’t get into the fan zone to meet up with us. After a grueling ordeal of deciding whether or not to stay or go, we left and watched the game from a small restaurant near our AirBnB.

After Portugal won, people still cheered in the streets and set up firecrackers and stuff. I couldn’t have imagined what it would have been like if France won. All the France fans would have lost their shits and the streets would have been even more rowdy.

The next day, it was time to fly back home, thus ending my 3rd European adventure.

Link to photo album: here

Munich

From Berlin, we made our way to Munich. I didn’t take a lot of pictures here, since I’d been here 3 times before. We did the usual stuff like drinking, eating pork knuckle at the Hofbräuhaus, and visiting Marienplatz.

We also got to check out the Deutsches Museum – it is a museum of all things technology. From stone age technology all the way to current research problems.

While we were in Munich, we watched the game between Germany and France in the Eurocup at a local pub. After Germany lost, everybody was pretty quiet when they left the pub. There was just sadness 🙁

That’s about it for Munich!

Link to photo album: here

Deutsches Panzermuseum

The next excursion from Berlin was the German Panzer Museum. I’ve always wanted to go here ever since I heard about it. It was about a 3-hour drive from Berlin, so this presented a good opportunity for me and my friends to drive on the famous Autobahn. Too bad our rental car was a Volvo and not the Mercedes Benz that we wanted, but we still got to drive really really fast.

The museum focussed on German tank developments since the beginning: World War I. Definitely an awesome museum. I’d recommend it for anyone interested in the subject.

During the interwar period and World War II, the Germans took the tank concept and built it into a very effective war machine. This museum is paradise for tank nerds like me.

This museum is also paradise for mechanical engineers too. Here is an interactive exhibit on the tank’s transmission. Yanking on the lever let you shift gears and one can see how the gears move around through the clear covering. Definitely real cool for people who are into that sort of stuff.

There are lots of tanks here. This is only one of the many rooms.

There’s also an exhibit showing how kids learn how to play war at a young age and it questions the morality whether or not this is okay. Ironically, when we were there, a group of children were going through the whole museum screaming about how the stuff in the museum was the coolest stuff ever.

Right behind that, was an exhibit of guns and how humans engineered death.

The exhibit on how armour piercing rounds work was especially cool.

And also the cool cross-sections.

What’s a tank musum if you can’t actually go inside one?

And of course, one can’t look at tanks without thinking of margaritas and Katy Perry…

After visiting the museum, we stopped in Hamburg to grab a bite to eat. We ate at this restaurant with a mysterious set menu where we knew neither the price nor what we would be served. We ended up eating different kinds of seafood over a few courses (swordfish, among them!), and it was ~40 euros!

Link to photo album: here

Leipzig

While in Berlin, I took the Deutsche Bahn and made a day-trip to Leipzig, where Robocup 2016 was happening. Three years ago, I had visited Eindhoven for the same Robocup competition, so it was pretty cool to go there and check it out again.

The ICE is amazing, but it’s pretty expensive. It costs around ~120 euro to go across the country.

Back at Robocup, I got to see the robots in action once again! I also got to reconnect with a few of the people I used to know at Robocup too.

I also got a bit of time to walk around the city center. Downtown Leipzig isn’t very big, and since I went there on a Sunday, everything was closed and there was almost no one on the streets.

I spent about half a day there, and after that I went back to Berlin.

Link to photo album: here

Berlin

The next destination after Krakow was Berlin (this would be my second time here). First step: go to the Sony Center and have a Bananenweizen because I just can’t get that anywhere else.

There is a Uniqlo here! I wish I got paid to say this, but it’s the greatest clothing chain in existence.

Gotta love these Bierbikes rolling down the street.

Our main reason to come here was join in on the party that is the Eurocup. A giant screen was set up at the Brandenburg Gate just to show the games. The weirdest part, that before the game started, they did Kiss Cams, which was fine, but they did this with straight men too… shudder

We stuck around to watch Poland play against Portugal!

These people know how to chill.

We met some of my friend’s German friends and they took us to a warehouse that was converted into a bar with a giant screen just to watch Germany VS Italy. According to them, going to that place to watch the game has brought them “good luck” when they went to see Germany VS Brazil in 2014. Definitely one of the greatest games of Football I’ve seen – what a close game between Germany and Italy with a 6-5 Germany win after a penalty shootout.

And of course, when in Germany…

Link to photo album: here

© 2017 Henry Poon's Blog

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑