First rule of holiday: no alarms.
And yet, I woke on the sixth day of my trip to the sound of my alarm. Joy. Unfortunately, it was necessary to allow us the time to fill our bellies at the breakfast buffet before we checked out.
The walk from the train station to the city centre just a couple of days earlier had felt like it took forever, and so we allowed ourselves an hour to get to the station, grab some food for lunch and find our train. However, despite our best intentions, we left a bit late to check out, then remembered that we still had to buy a postcard and magnet – standard souvenirs for us. Once we’d done that, we only had 40 minutes left before our train departed. Knowing we couldn’t afford to miss the train, we had no choice but to power walk the mile to the station.
Arriving in little over 10 minutes, my calves were in agony and I was desperate to sit down. Thankfully, once we’d grabbed some food for the train, I knew I had a 5 1/2 hour journey to relax. Settling in to our seats, I was actually really sad to be leaving Italy and a bit apprehensive over the next leg. Italy was an amazing start to the trip, and we had a bit of travel to do before we’d have some time to settle in to a city. However, I didn’t dwell for long as the scenery passing us by was absolutely amazing.
On any ordinary day, five and a half hours seems like a fair amount of time to be travelling. But sat on a train snaking its way alongside rivers, past stunning mountains and through cute little towns and village, the time flew by. I kept jumping up to take better photos from the train carriage lobby, and the further north we went the more the scenery changed. The views were on another level, and it was a great reminder of why I love train travel so much.
As we left Verona and moved north through Italy, we were treated to clear blue skies which stayed with us as we made our way through Austria and the snow-capped mountains. As we continued north into Germany, there was a really eerie moment when we could actually see the edge of the cloud cover. Within minutes, the blue skies had disappeared and it was quite obviously winter and cold. The frost and snow gave everything a whitish-grey covering, and as we stepped off the train in Munich the change of temperature from Verona instantly hit us. It was cold. Like, really cold.
Munich was just a stopover for a night as we had a train booked for Strasbourg leaving early the next morning. Fully aware of this, we checked into our super modern hotel near the train station, and ventured into the city centre to have a wander around the Christmas markets. As we’d been here this time last year, we were familiar with where the markets were and where we’d be able to grab some dinner, so spent most of our time perusing the craft stalls and soaking up the atmosphere of the markets.
Not wanting to get to sleep too late, and really tired from our day of doing little else but sitting on a train, we tried an apfelschmarren – a kind of apple pancake – grabbed a couple of bratwursts and made our way back to the hotel through the Christmas markets. It was really starting to feel like Christmas!