Saturday, 25 April 2015

Back to Bayreuth {in photos}

Hey you guys, remember that one time I lived in Bayreuth for six months and it was totally awesome?

Yeah, those were the days.

So after a delightful family weekend in Frankfurt, I couldn't just fly back to the UK without taking advantage of being in Germany now, could I?

Nope, I hopped on a train and whizzed across the country back to my beloved Bavaria. Or, to be more specific, Upper Franconia. And oh, the excitement I felt as the train nipped through the fir-lined hills, past trickling streams and villages full of cobbled streets, quaint churches and pointy-roofed houses with exposed beams.

I had just 25 hours back in my old home-town to see as many old friends, colleagues and former pupils as I could so basically went from café to café catching up with different people. (Hard life, I know. Snapchats from uni friends in the library were only slightly guilt-inducing.) 

The sun was shining and Bayreuth was looking beautifully spring-like. It was so delightful to be back, especially to stay with my lovely old flatmates. And of course, I made sure to pay my fave restaurants a visit too. #priorities. (Kraftraum for shamazing healthy lunches and Oskar for hearty traditional fare, should you ever find yourself in Bayreuth with a rumbly tummy.)

So, enjoy a little taste of my whirlwind trip back to Bayreuth!

I believe that you leave a little piece of your heart everywhere you live, and there's really nothing like going back, don't you think?

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A 90th birthday in Frankfurt {in photos}

It's not every day you turn 90, is it? 

Last weekend, my German great aunt, Ursula, entered her 10th decade and I was thrilled to be in Frankfurt with family to celebrate the occasion. 

We had a big, delicious and delightful lunch, walked along the River Main and toasted to family.


I think Frankfurt's great because it combines both the historic, old-fashioned and quaint with the shiny, sleek and new. Hopefully when I'm 90 I'll be living in an equally vibrant place and be as fabulous as Tante Ursula. Family times are just the best. Happy 90th birthday, Ursula!

Have you been to Frankfurt? What are your thoughts on the city?

Saturday, 18 April 2015

REVIEW: The 4-star TRYP Munich City Center Hotel

Some people think travelling by yourself is weird. I am not one of those people. I am, however, someone who at the ripe old age of 22 (and 7/12ths) years old has realised she no longer wants to stay in grotty hostels, particularly if travelling alone.

Granted, some hostels can be really nice (remember this one?!), and when you're in a group that takes up a whole dorm, they're a lot of fun. But with a night in Munich on my own to play with, I didn't want to sleep on a bunk in a big dorm full of strangers, have to queue for a grimy, drizzly, cold shower, pay for stained bedlinen and squish all my things into a locker.

Although still a student, I think it's worth spending a little extra money sometimes for an experience you'll actually enjoy.

Enter, TRYP Munich City Center Hotel.

I arrived in Munich on a sunny day after a fun but busy week travelling round Germany (more on all those adventures soon!).

TRYP is only about five minutes walk or so from the main station, and super easy to find. The location is good - you can walk to the heart of the city (Marienplatz) in about 20 minutes, but of course there are other interesting things to see more nearby.


The hotel may not be the most beautiful of buildings from the outside, but then again I find hotels rarely are. And once inside, you find yourself in a stylish, clean, trendy lobby.

Although I arrived a couple of hours before I was technically meant to check-in, after just a five minute wait my room was ready, which was great.

And with free wifi throughout the hotel (although I think this may depend on your room), I was more than happy to sit in the lobby and catch up on life while I waited.

Up on the fifth floor, my room was fab.

It was delightfully clean and bright, and was really well-equipped with a big flat-screen TV, a full-length mirror, a desk and desk chair, armchair, lots of hangers and hanging space, slippers and a dressing gown, air conditioning, good black-out curtains and even a kettle complete with a few tea bags and coffee sachets.

That latter one really pleased me, even if there was no milk to go with (Germans, eh?).

From my window I could see the top of the church nearby and down into the hotel's garden patio area.

Unsurprisingly, everything in the mini-bar was super pricey, but that's always the way, isn't it? I loved that there were little packets of Haribo gummy bears on the beds (Germans, eh?). In my opinion it's these little touches that can make one hotel so much better than another.

And it only got better. Upon returning to my room after a long day exploring the city, seeing old friends and shopping, I found a tray full of goodies waiting for me, which was just what I needed.

My evening was perfect: I snuggled up in the crisp bedlinen and plump pillows, ate my treats while watching Germany's Next Top Model (basically exam revision), and pampered myself.

Hotel showers can be a bit hit and miss, but this one was great, ticking both the power and temperature boxes. It was also super spacious. In classic European style, the towels were tiny, but the hairdryer was powerful, and a shaving set, shower cap, comb, shampoo and shower gel were all provided too.

I crashed out and dreamed of the next morning's breakfast.

Yup, I love a good hotel breakfast - who doesn't? But breakfast at TRYP Munich, my friends - oh, this breakfast - was something else.

Without a doubt, the best hotel breakfast I have ever had the fortune of eating. 

The sheer amount of different foods was insane! So yes, I was basically in heaven.

And, with this review in mind and being the good journalist that I am, I took it upon myself to eat as much as I could.

Allow me to give you a bit of a flavour. There was:

  • Loads of different fruit - whole, chopped, in fruit salad, dried and in syrup. 
  • Loads of different breads, rolls and pastries, including my Germany faves, Laugenbrezn
  • Cakes and mini doughnuts (um, YES please!)
  • An array of cereals. 
  • A huge choice of yogurts, including pre-prepared pots of Greek yogurt and honey topped with walnuts. 
  • Bowls of seeds, nuts and dried fruits. 
  • About eight different homemade jams, as well as honey, Nutella and cream cheeses. 
  • Slices of Wurst, hams and cheese. 
  • Loads of cooked breakfast options including scrambled eggs, sausages (German-style, naturally), Bratkartoffeln (kinda like roast potatoes but not really), bacon frittatas and pancakes complete with maple syrup. 
  • Five different juices. FIVE! 
  • Sparkling and still water. 
  • Tons of different teas. 
  • Gluten-free breads and cakes as well as soya milk.  Shamazing.

You guys, I ate everything. And I do not regret it for one minute.

What's more all the food was super tasty. You might think that the sheer volume of different foodstuffs on offer would mean it was bad quality, but not so, my friends.

Thank goodness I didn't accidentally sit in the "express breakfast" area for those who plan on being in and out in 20 minutes. I'm fairly certain the staff were looking at me in shock at how many trips back up to the buffet I made, but hey, eating is one of my best talents.

Actually, the staff were all extremely helpful and friendly throughout my stay. I was even lent an umbrella for free before venturing out into the drizzle after breakfast.


So, to sum up:

Negative (if I'm being reeeeeaaaally picky): it could be a bit more central, but then that would be further from the station which would be annoying.

Positives: good wifi connection, THE BREAKFAST (I will probably dream of it forevermore), cleanliness, great shower, furnishing.

In short, I thoroughly recommend a stay at TRYP Munich. It was absolutely great and felt like such an indulgent treat for me. There are actually TRYP hotels all over the world, and I'm definitely keen to stay in some of their other locations too.

I was a guest at TRYP Hotel City Center Munich, but all opinions are honest and my own. Find out more about TRYP hotels on their website
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