Technical Difficulties

We leave Atlanta to head to a more wintery location and back home gets covered in a foot of snow. Go figure. Anyways back home was without power for the majority of yesterday so our server for the blog was also down. It was a travel day in any event, so there isn’t much to report. We had a final tour of Munich, a few last goodbye sausages, and caught a train to Austria where we promptly went to bed.

Good morning, Vienna.

Have Plug, Will Travel

There’s little variation to the walking around in Munich. Mulled wine, sausage, pork knuckle, venison, repeat. We loved every step, every brew house, every decision, and every time we needed to determine if a new sausage was warranted.

Traveling with a toddler is a new thing, at least for us. We are used to the pub crawl, to the timeless movement from place to place that has momentum based on hedonism. Between now, and that, we alter our movement to our girl and her timelines. She has nap times that have three hour alarms; each go off, and she goes out. Its pretty amazing to watch her fade to sleep mid walk or to bring her to the hotel room and watch her fade to black against her will to keep going.

Each brew-haus has the very same food: goulash, potato dumpling, venison, pork, beer. We’ve loved every second of every place we’ve been. They’ve had a few variations on each, save for location, view, decoration, and lighting. From there, we we’ve looked at each other and decided we needed to keep walking around. Thankfully there was plenty to see as we walked around. Gulwein means mulled wine. So many other words mean so many other types of sausage. Who knew there were so many types of bread to put around so many other types of sausage and sauerkraut. We had every amounts of each.

Beer comes in half and full of liters, depending upon of type, and we have had and portions of each in each type of haus (house). Ada has fallen asleep atwitter, amidships, aboard, afield, and amovie. This girl, and this family, will learn to fall asleep no matter what, no matter where.

Munich, and My Love For Beer

Today was a great day. We all slept in until 10am. We got up, had coffee, walked through the Marienplatz (center of Munich) through all of the Christmas markets.

Had some sausage and mulled wine. Walked until we ended up in Eataly. Had some more wine.

Walked back to the hotel and put Ada down for her nap. She slept for a full two hours and we did two loads of laundry.

Then we walked until we got to the Schneider Bräuhaus where we had dinner.

I was able to enjoy one of my all-time favorite beers straight from the source: Schneider Aventinus. It was the best dinner so far on the trip. We ate offal, duck, pig, sausage, dumplings, strudel and lots and lots of beer.

Ada had a party foul but other than that everything was as smooth as can be. I feel she is getting the hang of this travel stuff. And her parents alcoholism.

We walked a bit on our way home and there was a Christmas festival happening where we drank some more mulled wine and there was a big crowd.

Later we ducked into a church where there was a live concert. The church was old and the music was classical and it made me think about time and how here it may be night with classical music playing in an old cathedral with people drinking outside and laughing, while in that same moment back home everyone we know is at work in the middle of the day. Time is a funny thing.

I’ve had approximately 3 mulled wines since then, a double Jameson, not to mention the beer with dinner, so I’m going to end this blogpost here.

Visit Munich. For no other reason then the beer and sausages are fantastic.

 

Pivo, Castles, and Dumplings…Oh My!

I had a number of beers and some mulled wine last night, so forgive the day late posting. Yesterday started out the worst of the lot. The night before last `was another horrible night of sleep for all three of us, and our neighbors in the room next to us were what you might consider…”lively”. The baby jet lag experience has not been fun, and what we have been doing (the pacifier soothing game until 2am) is not working. Still, we managed to get up and get out the door at a respectable hour (noon) and head out to find food in our neighborhood. The place we found was a legit Czech restaurant, as we are outside the general tourist center of the city, and some of their staff didn’t even speak English. Everyone was pleasant, we got some help ordering off of the Czech menu, and the meal ended in a pastry stuffed with cheese and raspberries. I keep forgetting to take pictures of the food but it was all heavy and delicious.

Across the street was a park with a jungle gym so Ada was able to run around a little and play. It was cold, but not bitter, and she seemed to enjoy waddling around and is a big fan of pigeons.

After that it was her usual “nap hour” so we all went back to the room to lay down. By the time we woke up it was getting dark, so we bundled up and went out to explore Prague for the last time. We wandered through the Old Market, Old Town, New Town, Old Jewish Quarter, the Charles Bridge, Lesser Town, saw the Clock Show, the John Lennon Wall and a Christmas choir event, and spent some time in Prague Castle where Ada ran around in her slippers. The evening ended with dinner in a Czech pub, a few dark lagers, some mulled wine, aTrdelník, and a last turn around the Christmas markets in Old Town Square.

 

See all the photos from our trip so far here.

Today was spent in route to Munich. We arrived, we ate, we got into bed. Exploring will happen tomorrow.

The Highs and Lows of Traveling with Baby

Last night was another rocky night of sleep thanks to the after effects of our friend jet lag. Ada wasn’t asleep until about 2am, and it resulted in another late start this morning. We are doing our best to create a day-to-day routine, while inching the schedule to a more normal one. A change in accommodation will likely help, since a lot of the places we are staying in other cities are apartments through Airbnb and not hotel rooms, and will allow us the space to put her to bed in a separate room. I had read good reviews about the hotel we are in, but in hindsight I should have booked an Airbnb in the center of the city right off the bat. It would have helped us ease into our new rhythm. As I write this I am sitting across the room from the beds, in the dark, drinking red wine at 8pm. These are the sacrifices.

Though sleep was scarce, Ada had a great morning and woke up in good spirits. It was starting to snow/rain so we dressed in our warmest gear, loaded her in the Ergo carrier, and headed into the city.

We found a hole in the wall Czech restaurant that was dirt cheap and seemed authentic and the food was a satisfying blend of beef goulash, potato dumplings, and beer. Ada is actually loving the food over here, though I worry that she’s not getting enough fruits and vegetables. Another benefit to getting into an apartment for lodging will be the use of an actual kitchen. But for now, she’s at least not in any danger of starving.

Though the sun would occasionally peek its head out, the majority of the day was overcast and mixed with rain. It was slightly warmer than yesterday, but even still it was the sort of day, that had it just been Sal and I, we would have spent bar hopping around the city and reading. Since that was out, for obvious reasons, we decided to brave the weather and give the Sandemans’ walking tour another try.

While we waited for that to begin we walked around the Christmas markets, bought Ada a vintage-looking puppet, and enjoyed some Svařák (Czech mulled wine). 

We actually made it through the three-hour tour, though the second half was fairly unpleasant. Ada napped in the carrier for the first half and when she woke she had it with being held, she was bored, and she was all done. I will say, if you are ever in Europe definitely check out the Sandeman tours. They have them all over in most of the major cities, and they always have a free one which is comprehensive, interactive, and the tour guides seem to genuinely like their jobs. They also work for tips (thus, the “free”), which means they are incentivized to do a good job. The tour brought us through the Old Jewish Quarter, the Old Town Square, and ended with a view of Prague Castle, which we will see closer up tomorrow.

The rest of the night included take-out from a nearby restaurant which we ate in the room, a little Sesame Street, and some baby book reading. Tomorrow our hope is that it’s nice enough out to find a park for Ada to play in a bit, explore the castle, and continue to eat our weight in dumplings and pastries.

 

 

Prague On Foot

The first night was rough.

After crashing at 10pm local time, Ada was awake and crying at 12:30am. There was some reading, some singing, a little Sesame Street, and finally by 4am everyone was asleep again.

By 9am Sarah was awake, and at 11:30am Sal and Ada finally manage to clear their jet lag and wake up.

Our hotel is a few miles outside of the city, which means we need to take advantage of the numerous trams that spiderweb Prague’s streets. Tram tickets are usually available via automated kiosks near each stop, but they mostly only take coins. None of the signage is in English, but its easy enough to match up a sign at the stop with the list of stops each tram makes.

Now that we know where we are, and where we’d like to be, we brave a tram and ride into downtown Prague. We are assaulted by shops, pedestrians, restaurants, accents of every kind, and absolutely no idea where to go or how to start. We’re all hungry, so where do we land? RESTAURANT CAFÉ SAINT WENCESLAS. Of course we only chose this place because we were hungry, lost in Prague for the first time, and the sign read ‘authentic Czech restaurant’. Believers in European advertising, in we went.

The lore of Czech food being heavy, bread-y, potato-y, and sausage-y is, well, true. And delicious. We ate our fill.

The architecture and threaded streets of Prague are beautiful. We wound our way through myriad Christmas outdoor shops, drank hot mulled wine, and landed a three-hour walking tour of Prague. In English!

Ten minutes later, our version of the tour was over. Ada was having none of the cold and turned to crying her way through history-filled anecdotes none of the other tour-goers found helpful. We ejected.

Not to be dissuaded, we had a re-start. Ducked into a hotel lobby, waved at a few people, dried some tears, and started a tour of our own.

Prague is large, very easily walkable, and storied with history. We took shelter in a few cafes for sweets and coffee along the way, but managed to spend the next several hours on a tour of our own and quite seriously mispronouncing as many Czech words as possible.

There were buildings, there was water, we crossed a few bridges, saw a castle, took lots of pictures, and even managed to find our way back where we started. We learned that you tip about 15% on what you’ve eaten, you should have plenty of local cash for walking around money, and a sour cherry strudel is a perfect way to end the day.

Arrival in Prague

We have arrived! Honestly, it was as smooth as one could hope for with a 14 month old on a 12+ hour plane ride. Our flight connected in Istanbul on its way to Prague, which was a little bit of a harried transition but we made it with about five minutes to spare. We decided not to purchase Ada her own seat on the plane, so she alternated laps. As it was a night flight the majority of it was spent trying to sleep.

There was some fussing but overall it wasn’t bad and Ada did a good job rolling with the punches.

But let’s back up for a minute. For anyone outside our family or close friends that may be reading this, it may seem a bit odd that we chose Christmas as the time to take our 14 month old on a Central Europe backpacking tour. Two years ago Sal and I spend a week and a half in Iceland over Christmas on a whim, desiring to escape the typical madness of last minute shopping, crazy work schedules (at least for someone in the restaurant industry), and family obligations (sorry mom and dad…lots of love). We had the most incredible time. Granted it was a little over the top financially (thanks to some help from Adobe), and some of it was spent snowmobiling on glaciers and exorbitant wine dinners. But what was most memorable about the trip was

 

spending Christmas just the two of us, in a foreign place, surrounded by beauty, learning about another culture’s annual tradition. And the food. After that we decided  we would make that our own tradition and go somewhere different each year and celebrate in that same way. What we were not aware of at the time was that I was pregnant while we were coming to this decision. The universe’s own little practical joke.

The following Christmas, when Ada was only three months, we decided it was too soon and we would rather spend her first holiday with the extended family, but international travel was still something we wanted to make a priority. No, it isn’t easy traveling with a baby. The nights out end early, meals can

be stressful, you need to drag more stuff with you. But inevitably, we have found the joy of exploring other bits of the planet, and the people you meet while doing so, overcomes.

So here we are. We got into the city around 7pm local time, took an Uber over to our hotel which is extremely budget friendly, very clean, and centrally located. After checking in we headed back out to a pizza place up the street. Ada is on a bread and cheese kick (who isn’t?), and we thought we’d indulge in some pizza and red wine to celebrate getting here intact. Here’s hoping for a good night’s sleep all around so we can start tomorrow refreshed ready to do some walking.