Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In Europe with friends




This morning S rang me on the phone with a tantalizing suggestion: "Why don't we fly to Europe earlier so we can extend our driving trip?" We're a party of three good friends going to the Czech Republic next month, you see, but before landing in Prague, we'd decided to do a side trip somewhere.

Initially it was to be Istanbul or else a driving trip to the Black Sea area of Turkey or to Greece -- at least that's what we discussed over dinner last Saturday night.

One of the best ways from Asia to many smaller European cities, by the way, is via Turkish Airlines from Hong Kong to almost everywhere in Europe via Istanbul, or KLM from via Amsterdam. These two airlines have extensive networks all over Europe.




But by the end of the evening, we'd decided on Vienna and we three were pretty happy about this. I hadn't been back to Austria in at least five years, so I was very happy to get any excuse to return and eat at my favorite places in Vienna.

But this morning, S had a new idea. "Why don't we go to Germany as well since we're there already?" There meant Europe, of course.

THE BEST CATCHPHRASE 
IN THE WORLD

This "since we're there already" line of reasoning is very dangerous, by the way. Just think of the million ways it can fit in nicely with anyone's schedules and plans, and especially into mine:

PARIS
Since we're there already
we might as well drop by Paris for a day or two 
and go to the summer sales.


VENICE
Since we're there already
we can fly to Venice 
for a fish dinner on one of the outlying islands.


AMALFI COAST
Since we're there already
we may as well head for the Amalfi Coast 
for an early summer break.


BUDAPEST
Since we're there already
we can drive all the way to Budapest 
for authentic goulash.

LONDON
Since we're there already
we can hop over to London
and catch a couple of West End shows.


And so on, in a never-ending TRAVELIFE wishlist. You get the picture.

MUNICH ON A WHIM



Anyway, S's "since we're there already" reasoning was: Since we're there already and planning to rent a fancy sports car, we may as well drive to Munich, Germany to visit this famous automobile plant in the area. The automobile plant is actually near Munich rather than in it, but Munich is the place to stay in, of course.

"Munich?" I said, more to myself. This was one beautiful city that been so out of my line of vision for a long time. I hadn't been to Germany in over three years -- the last time was when I boarded a river boat in Basel and sailed the entire length of the Rhine River (and Germany) and then finally ended up in Amsterdam.



IT'S THE SAUSAGES

I couldn't care less about the cars, but Munich certainly has good sausages so it's one place I'll happily visit again.. So I said: "We can have some really good sausages there." Trust me to think of a destination in terms of food.

Then I said: "Gosh, thinking about Munich, Vienna and the Czech Republic, and my heart's pounding already."



S said: "Relax. You've been under too much stress lately. This is going to be a relaxing trip."

I laughed. "My heart's pounding with excitement. I can't wait, actually."

And with that, we ended our phone call and I got on another phone to try and rebook us for a flight two days earlier. On second thought, maybe I should just make that two weeks earlier...or even two months earlier...since we're there already, that is.

APRIL - MAY 2012

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