After exactly two weeks on the ground in Europe it was time to fly back to Australia.
Over the previous two weeks I had seen so much. From skiing on the highest mountain in Germany, to exploring medieval castles, reformation churches, and war memorials. A plan that came together in less than a week allowed me to see every friend who is currently in Germany. I have also fallen more in love with a country whose rich history, vibrant culture and lovely people makes me want to keep going back for more.
The surprise and highlight of the trip was visiting Leipzig. I knew nothing of the city when I arrived and was blown away by culture and history. Stereotypical Germany is what you get in Munich or Cologne but Leipzig is completely different. Leipzig is a side of Germany that you don’t get in the south or west and it’s a great hidden secret.
Winter was also a great time to visit. The risk I took was that the weather could be terrible the entire time. Instead I was immensely blessed with blue skies on almost every day and the worst rain I got was a few light showers in early mornings or late evenings. Sure it was cold, but that made the experience even better. I lived the two weeks in a beanie and a North Face fleece. I generally hate beanies, not anymore they work wonders in genuinely cold weather (not the faux winters you get in Australia).
Purchasing a German Rail Pass from Deutsche Bahn was a great investment. This gave me unlimited travel on rail services across the country for 10 days and allowed me to make sudden changes to my plans – like staying an extra half day in Leipzig and travelling to Bonn for a morning with no extra cost. I may have saved a few dollars if I had planned and booked every train exactly in advance but the cost difference was small for the convenience gained. Being able to get on a train and in a few hours be halfway across the country is also such a great experience coming from countries where trains are slow and rarely used.
Etihad are the best worst airline you can get. They are either fantastic, so-so, or absolutely terrible and you never know quite what you will get. The flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi on a 777 went smoothly, albeit long and cramped. The next leg to Munich on an A340 was one of the best flights I’ve been on, the older A340s have much more comfy seats and given that the plane wasn’t completely full the service was excellent.
The third flight from Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi is the best flight I have ever been on. This time an A330 the food was the best airline food I have ever had. Unfortunately this flight arrived at Terminal One in Abu Dhabi which is the worst airport terminal I have ever been in. Transferring to Terminal Three for the connecting flight to Sydney takes ages as you queue with thousands, literally thousands, of other tired and frustrated passengers. The final flight back to Sydney was on an A340 again a much better plane than a 777 and the breakfast was the best airline breakfast I’ve ever had.
Eighteen days after I departed I was home. What an adventure the past two weeks had been and new adventures have already started to be planned.