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Sunday 23 October 2011

UK / Europe Highlights and Oktoberfest

This trip pretty much included the highlights of europe and Oktoberfest. Fast paced but managed to see a lot in the time allocated!
Countries Covered (no visa’s required):
  • England
  • France
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Monaco
  • Vatican City
  • Spain
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore

Ground work


18 AUG - NEWCASTLE TO SYDNEY to LONDON (Depart SYD 4:40PM - British Airways)
19 AUG - LONDON Arrive 6:35 AM | Accommodation: Friends / Family
20 AUG - LONDON |Accommodation: Friends / Family
21 AUG - LONDON | Accommodation: Friends / Family
22 AUG - LONDON | Accommodation: Friends / Family
23 AUG - LONDON | Accommodation: Friends / Family
24 AUG - LONDON | Accommodation: Friends / Family
25 AUG - LONDON TOP DECK (Depart 7:00am) | Accommodation: Campanile Bagnolet
26 AUG - PARIS - Sight Seeing | Accommodation: Campanile Bagnolet
27 AUG - PARIS TO SWISS ALPS, SWITZERLAND | Accommodation: Hotel Rigi First
28 AUG - SWISS ALPS - Day Trip to Lucerne | Accommodation: Hotel Rigi First
29 AUG - SWISS ALPS TO FRENCH RIVIERA, FRANCE | Accommodation: Kyriad Gare
30 AUG - FRENCH RIVIERA | Accommodation: Kyriad Gare
31 AUG - FRENCH RIVIERA TO FLORENCE, ITALY | Accommodation: Columbus Hotel
01 SEP - FLORENCE TO ROME | Accommodation: Hotel Beethoven
02 SEP - ROME | Accommodation: Hotel Beethoven
03 SEP - ROME TO VENICE | Accommodation: Hotel Centrale
04 SEP - VENICE | Accommodation: Hotel Centrale
05 SEP - VENICE TO PAG ISLAND, CROATIA | Accommodation: Hotel Loza
06 SEP - PAG ISLAND | Accommodation: Hotel Loza
07 SEP - PAG ISLAND TO LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA | Accommodation: Ljubljana Resort Hotel & Camping
08 SEP - LJUBLJANA TO SALZBURG, AUSTRIA | Accommodation: Hotel Haunsperger hof
10 SEP - PRAGUE | Accommodation: Hotel ILF
11 SEP - PRAGUE TO BERLIN, GERMANY | Accommodation: Hotel Aurum
12 SEP - BERLIN | Accommodation: Hotel Aurum
13 SEP - BERLIN TO AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS | Accommodation: Amstel Botel
14 SEP - AMSTERDAM | Accommodation: Amstel Botel
16 SEP - LONDON | Accommodation: Best Western Mornington
17 SEP - LONDON | Accommodation: Best Western Mornington
18 SEP - LONDON to MUNICH, GERMANY (Depart 1:15PM)| Accommodation: Friends / Family
19 SEP - MUNICH, GERMANY | Accommodation: Friends / Family
20 SEP - MUNICH OKTOBERFEST | Accommodation: Friends / Family
21 SEP - MUNICH OKTOBERFEST | Accommodation: Friends / Family
22 SEP - REGENSBURG | Accommodation: Friends / Family
23 SEP - REGENSBURG | Accommodation: Friends / Family
24 SEP - REGENSBURG TO DUSSELDORF, GERMANY | Accommodation: Friends / Family
25 SEP - DUSSELDORF / COLOGNE | Accommodation: Friends / Family
26 SEP - DUSSELDORF TO BARCELONA, SPAIN (Depart 3:15PM)| Accommodation: Yellow Nest Hostel
27 SEP - BARCELONA | Accommodation: Yellow Nest Hostel
28 SEP - BARCELONA | Accommodation: Yellow Nest Hostel
29 SEP - BARCELONA | Accommodation: Friends / Family
30 SEP - BARCELONA TO LONDON, ENGLAND (Depart 1:50PM)| Accommodation: Central Park Hotel
01 OCT - LONDON to KENT, ENGLAND | Accommodation: Friends / Family
02 OCT - KENT / BRIGHTON | Accommodation: Friends / Family
03 OCT - LONDON TO SINGAPORE TO KLANG, MALAYSIA (Depart LON 8:30PM) | Accommodation: Friends / Family
04 OCT - KLANG | Accommodation: Friends / Family
05 OCT - KLANG | Accommodation: Friends / Family
06 OCT - KLANG | Accommodation: Friends / Family


I flew between Australia and England using British Airways booked through Jetabroad. No major reason for flying British Airways except they transited via Singapore on the way home which made it easier for a stop over in Malaysia and they had a special on at the time. I used the following sites when hunting for cheap flights, also when booking check the flight time since it can vary a lot!

I would also recommend making a stopover on the way back since going over your all excited for holidaying, but on the way back who wants to go back to work! Plus it helps re-adjust to the time zone.

For interconnecting flights within europe I used the following sites:
When flying in and out of London to europe, its heaps cheaper to fly from Stansted Airport or Gatwick Airport. You cannot catch the tube to these airports like Heathrow however there are trains which take about 30 ~ 1 hour to or from London. NOTE these trains usually stop running at about 12am
Gatwick Express: Arrives / Departs:  London Victoria train station – Cost £16
Stansted Express: Arrives / Departs:  London Liverpool Street train station – Cost £21 (Free wi-fi)


2 companies which are pretty good for traveling, sightseeing and partying are TOP DECK and CONTIKI they both pretty much do the exact same sights but small differences in places to stay and cities visited. I chose Top Deck Europe Uncovered this time round since it left at the right time and did Berlin instead of Munich since I knew I was going to visit that city for Oktoberfest! Usually these companies will do discounts on their trips so keep an eye out on their websites!
Also Top Deck seems a bit more chilled with maybe less people on the bus and an older crowd (mid to late 20s). Contiki has more people on the bus and maybe younger people keen to get loose every night, just depends on what your after!


Most people think you need to buy a ticket or book a table at Oktoberfest which is not the case. Booking a table in one of the beer halls would be great however i believe you need to do this 1 year in advance. The best way to do it is as follows:
  • Go during a weekday, there is heaps of people on a weekday and I would hate to think what it is like on the weekend!
  • Getting to and from is best done via U-Bahn (Train). The stop to get off at is Theresienwiese
  • Get there early or around lunch time. Usually you can get a table inside the beer hall up until 5pm. At this time tables are cleared for people with bookings.
  • Try and get a table just outside the beer halls at 5pm or just before. This is the best option for eating dinner since you can get hendl (Roast chicken) or haxen (Pork Knuckle) after dinner you can choose to keep drinking or ride some rides!
  • The festival usually wraps up about 11pm at night.


When accommodation wasn’t taken care of by top deck or I was not staying with family and friends, the following websites were used to assist with accommodation booking:
The following accommodation was chosen for each city.

London (Bayswater area was nice!)

Best Western Mornington - 2 Nights
Very nice hotel close to where top deck does pickup and drop off. Also has a laundry mat in the next street across and free WI-FI though a bit more expensive.
Central Park Hotel - 1 Night
Closer yet to Bayswater / Queensway tube station than Best Western though not as nice and no free internet, flip side is its a lot cheaper!

Yellow Nest Hostel - 3 Nights
Easily the sickest hostel I have stayed in not sure what it was about it but was easy to meet people. Stayed in a 12 room mixed dorm, had a games room and organised dinners / pub crawls which was sweet! Clean and nice!

On the ground


As always i find the best way to manage money in another country is just by working out the currency difference from a currency exchange and withdrawing it using a visa card from an ATM, you do end up paying a cash fee but the convenience is soo good!
I met a few people using this credit card which had no fees! Sounded too good to be true so i did some research. Turns out it does exist, only downside is that it charges interest from the day of withdrawal

Getting around

Getting around in London the only way is the tube! Top Deck handled pretty much all of the other interconnecting travel however knowing each cities public transport system is handy see below for each cities transport map!


Out of all the places I have been, Europe (Especially Paris and Barcelona) seems to have the most scams and con artists! If there is anywhere you need to be more vigilant in looking after your stuff its here! Two chicks and myself had issues with pick pockets. If you are careful (keep your wallet in your front pocket / have a money belt) you should be OK. Best advice is don’t carry any more money then you are willing to loose!!
Young, frequently attractive women coming up to tourists with pledge sheets. They pretend to be deaf people collecting money for one charity or another. These scammers frequent tourist areas and are generally harmless. If you simply ignore them they will leave you alone. I was walking down the street next to a few of these girls then suddenly they start talking to each other! Talk about dodgy, if you want to give to charity then give to a registered one!
Beware of touristy areas where there are gambling stands with people playing. The guys standing and playing are accomplices of the person manning the booth. They usually play with 3 black rubber coins to guess the one with a white piece of paper stuck underneath. They will time it to catch your attention as your walking past. You can never win at that as they switch hands and do not let you open it yourself, also while the person manning the booth talks the guys “watching” can switch the coins. They usually operate in crowded places, don’t be fooled!

Another thing to be wary of is people asking where do you come from with strings in their hand. They will make small talk with you while tying a friendship band around your finger. After that they will demand money from you.

The subway is a hotbed for pickpocketing activity, which can range from simple opportunistic thefts to coordinated attacks. Be especially wary on the subway platforms at Sants train station (Barcelona) going to the airport. A group of men / man will start to board the train and stand in the door way while you attempt to enter a subway car. They may ask you questions to distract you like “Does this train go to the airport” or “how many stops until the airport”. These men / man may not look like your stereotypical pick pocket, again don’t carry more than your willing to loose or keep your wallet in hard to reach places.
Once they take stuff, they quickly return to the platform and walk off calmly while you are trapped in the departing subway as they make sure they exit just before the doors cannot be reopened. Violence in these situations is rare, and in most cases the goal of the thieves is to rob you undetected.


Travel Insurance = $243.00AUD (TID - 10% DISCOUNT CODES: SPRING2011 WINTER2011 TIDTHANKS)Flights to/from Australia = $2182.44AUD (Jetabroad)Connecting flights = $831.30AUD (Lufthansa Air BerlinEasy Jet | Air Asia )Accommodation = $782AUD (all places listed above)Tours =  $3843AUD ($3736 Topdeck + $107 Sightseeing Tours London)
Pretty much the same price as Australia if you don’t convert it. For example mac donalds costs about $10 and eating in a restaurant could be between $15 ~ $40 beers are about $5 however you need to budget in the currency of the country you are going to.
Cappuccino (Paris) = 5.20€
Heineken Brewery (Amsterdam) = 16€
Rome Metro ticket = 1€
Barcelona T-10 (10 trips) = 8.25€
Return train trip to Cannes from Nice (France) = 12€
6 x Escargot (Paris - Restaurant) = 7€
Coke a Cola (Paris - Restaurant) = 4€
Steak and Chip (Paris - Restaurant) = 13.50€
Gin + Tonic (Barcelona – Club) = 10€
Oktoberfest Stein of beer = 10€
Oktoberfest Roast chicken (Hendl) = 10€
Oktoberfest Pork Knuckle = 10€

APPROX TOTAL PRICE = $7882 + spending money ($5000 for food, partying and random expenses).

Final words.

Europe is pretty much where modern civilization began! There is more history than you can poke a stick at! From Ancient Greece to the Roman EmpireRenaissanceFrench RevolutionIndustrial Revolution, World War I and IICold War and the Iron Curtain.
Not only will historical events keep you thinking but the architecture and cultural history will enlighten. Definitely a must do at some point in your life.

1 comment:

  1. very interesting ... thank a lot
    Traveling! It’s a love affair like no other. One who has a wanderlust has everything. Though you don’t have to travel only for pleasure if you love to travel. This comes to the very lucky few. You can travel for business to various places and still feed the traveler in you.

    Many people look for such job profiles that require them to travel all the time or at least once or twice a month. Whatever the job maybe, be it holding a camera, a diary, a flag or anything. Love for travel has no limits.