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samantha rundell’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 24 Sep 2006

Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Map"ZIGGY ! ZAGGY ! ZIGGY ! ZAGGY !

OI ! OI ! OI !"

I'm writing to you all from a Net Cafe in Prague (Czech Republic) - where I'm taking a well-deserved respite from one litre steins, bizarre German songs, liederhausen & crazy Aussie hooligans.

I'm trying to think of a way to succinctly describe Oktoberfest to you all, but truth be told, my memory is a little hazy (it turns out that a one litre stein is a lot of beer for a little Sammie).

I arrived in Munich bright & early for the opening day of the Oktoberfest festival & the tapping of the first keg of beer, after spending the previous 2 days yodelling my way through picturesque little Salzburg (home to the Sound of Music).

My time in Munich was spent doing a combination of partying down & sightseeing with Johan - my first non-home based travelling friend for my trip.

Together we managed to hit the Oktoberfest tents 3 times (Hofbrau & Lowenbrau - & were rejected from the Hippodrum (this is where B grade celebrities like Paris Hilton like to party down)), spent an extremely sobering afternoon at Dachau (the first Nazi concentration camp), & we also managed to head out on a tour to Neuschwenstein (a massive castle in the Alps which was reputedly the inspiration for the castle in Fantasy Land in Disneyland) with our most excellent friend Mike.

We managed to find plenty of mischief to get ourselves into with extracurricular activities such as; the time when I (somewhat illegally) tryed on expensive dirndle in a department stores & took photos so I didn't have to buy it, getting ejected from the Hofbrau (ok, that was just me on the first day), eating Weiner sausages, getting stranded in a remote town in the Alps on probably the ONLY train to break down in the history of German locomotives, riding rollercoasters, crashing the PC in the Kodak shop & then doing a runner, & living on the edge by riding just about everywhere without a train ticket (Bavarian people are BIG & SCARY units, so trust me, this was really was living on the edge).

Unlike my travelling partner Johs, Oktoberfest was not the pinnacle of my journeys, & even though I heard more "G'day mate"s than "Gutentag Fraulein Samantha"s, it was all so much fun !!

& now I'm sitting in beautiful sunny Prague where my liver is not at all happy with these recent events.

I've spent the past two days here exploring the majestic hotch potch of architecture that Prague holds - with everything from classical to baroque to gothic to renaissance styles (sometimes within the same building !!!).

Having spent the previous three weeks in tourist friendly Germany (due to just about everyone being able to speak English, everything being clean & safe, the people being friendly & helpful, & the hostels generally being of an excellent standard etc), I experienced quite the culture shock stumbling into the Czech Republic (which is still recovering from it's 1992 emancipation from Soviet rule).

Even after the many countries I have visited, I still find it remarkable that you can experience culture shock even after only a 6 hour train ride.

Prague is very different to how I imagined it would be - it oscillates between the spectacular scenery of the old town & the seedy streets of the new town - & was actually one of my "Must Not See Before I Come Home" cities, along with Rome, Paris, London, & Barcelona.

So, I'm in Prague for 5 days, & then I head on to Cesky Krumlov (also in the Czech Republic), to Vienna (where I plan to see some of the world famous opera) & then to Interlakken in the Swiss Alps.

After Interlakken, I have to force myself to leave all this unbelievable culture, architecture, food, art & history behind & jump on a plane back to the most beautiful city in the world - Melbourne !

Hope you are all being good & taking care !
xoxo s xoxo

p.s. I almost forgot my MASSIVE news !! Remember how I mentioned that I checked out the Vines in London & my two friends & I had our photo taken with Courteney Love ?? Well ... it was published in the TNT (London magazine for Aussies, Kiwis & South Africans) this week !!!
p.p.s I would do a "Kirst" & email you all the article, however it is currently in the process of being mailed home, so you'll have to wait until I'm safe & sound back on home territory before you start queuing for autographs.
xo s xo