It’s another early morning, left hotel just before 7am to catch the 7.32am train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a 2D1N stayover. So for that night, we double booked accommodation for ourselves – our room in Munich (so we didn’t need to pack/move our luggage) and a room in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Enjoying the marvellous scenery during the 1h20m train ride.
Collected the KLOOK cable car / cogwheel train tickets (which we purchased the day before we left for our Europe holiday) at Zugspitzbahnhof Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s a very short walk from Garmisch-Partenkirchen train station to Zugspitzbahnhof, contrary to what we read on google map.
Lunch at Panorama Lounge 2962, at the top of Germany @3,000m above sea level. We liked the view so much that we stayed there for a good 2 hours.
On the following day, we made a day trip to Hallstatt. Left the hotel just before 6am in order to catch the 6.23am train from Munich to Hallstatt.
After 4h24min and 2 changes of train, we finally arrived. And we’ve taken the shortest train route (Munich / Salzburg / Attnang-Puchheim / Hallstatt).
Upon reaching Hallstatt train station, we took a ferry (payment made on the spot to the ferry operator before boarding) to bring us across the Hallstatt lake to its town. That’s where all activities take place and restaurants / cafes / shops are located at.
Had early lunch at Seehotel Grüner Baum once arrived in Hallstatt.
Right after lunch, we went to the most famous viewpoint of Hallstatt for social check-in 📸
Walked around Hallstatt market square and the Christmas market which coincidentally was only held for that weekend.
It’s time for afternoon tea.
It didn’t take us too long to walk from the market square to the other end and we made 3 rounds in total! Just wanted to indulge in the beautiful lake view and its environs within that few hours when we’re there.
Had another mulled wine before taking the last departing ferry.
After spending 8 hours in Hallstatt, we took the last ferry back to the train station where we disembarked our train journey to Munich. It’s already 11pm when we reached hotel. 8 hours in Hallstatt and 8 hours spent on train rides, totally worth it.
We’re happy to have made the decision to stay in a hotel that’s close to Munich main station / central station. Eurostars Book Hotel offered us no-frills accommodation and I didn’t like the cold ambience I felt when we arrived at the hotel lobby (daylight bulbs used & ceramic looking white tiles) and then the room (daylight bulbs again with tiled flooring). Breakfast was considered good with pretty varied spread but the restaurant was very small and our chairs were often hit by other guests who tried to squeeze through to get to the breakfast spread.
Nevertheless, just its strategic location was able to redeem all the negative points we experienced there. It’s less than 10 minutes by foot (550m away) to Munich Central Station and we walked to Marienplatz (Munich’s main square) every day. It’s a good 1.4km but didn’t feel at all that it’s a long route due to the good weather.
So if given a choice again, I think we would still go for it due to its location and the very reasonable room rate we enjoyed (corporate rate of €118nett).
After walking for more than 17km in Paris city on the last day in Paris, we returned to the hotel with utter contentment and exhaustion. Minutes before we reached hotel, we received an email from Air France informing that our Paris-Munich flight the next morning (10.25am) was cancelled. But they had scheduled another flight itinerary to bring us to Munich (Paris-Geneva-Munich).
It was during situation like this that we really appreciated our eventual decision of staying in a good hotel (including services & location) instead of the original intention of booking an airbnb apartment.
The hotel arranged a taxi to send us to airport and we paid €65 for the very smooth ride. It’s pretty expensive but definitely worth it (not that we had other transport mode choices at 4am).
We’re mentally prepared for a chaotic situation at Charles de Gaulle airport due to the flight cancellations & changes. But no, it’s very calm everywhere. There’s a queue at the check-in counter but it’s a normal one (about 5-6 travellers ahead of us). The boarding area was in quite a state of commotion though as some passengers’ boarding pass could not be scanned (including hubz) and there’re passengers who came for the wrong flight (boarding gate was changed at the last minute).
Apparently some of our seats were messed up. It took 1 passenger to realise that his seat was taken by someone else which led to the “ultimate discovery”. Ended up 7-8 of us were all occupying one another’s seats and none of us (except for the first one) realised it. But we all took it very well and had a good laugh over it 😄 Guess we’re all just thankful that we’re able to carry on with our journey despite the massive strike nationwide.
Used to make a couple of work trips to Le Havre many years ago and each trip was about 2 weeks.
I visited Honfleur during one of the trips, about 17 years ago. Though it was a weekend day trip, it left a good impression of the Normandy region.
So for this holiday, I decided to introduce Normandy to my travel partner amid our visit to Paris😄 And yes, he gladly agreed to the idea of exploring another French city, besides Paris and Lyon. Planned to make a day trip to Rouen, which is the capital of Normandy and only 1h10min from Paris by train.
However on our second day in Paris (3 Dec), we got a text message from Am. (our Paris friend) in the evening, informing us that the 5 Dec strike would most likely start on 4 Dec at 7pm.
And our day trip to Rouen was planned for 4 Dec, leaving Paris at 7.50am and taking the 8.12pm train back to Paris. Outbound was not a problem but it would definitely affect our return.
We went to our hotel front desk, they were helpful but, like any others, they did not have an idea what would happen the next day (4 Dec). Due to the uncertainties, they encouraged us to cancel our trip which we were very reluctant to do so.
After discussing with hubz, we decided to go to the train station (Gare Saint-Lazare) as planned to find out more details about our returning ride. We would expect a long Q at the SNCF ticketing office but no, it was very calm and there were only 2 people in front of us. The lady was helpful and advised that the safest Paris-bound train timing would be 4pm. She explained that the strike would officially begin at 7pm but it might start even earlier but they were not sure at all. So we changed to the 4pm train. Actually we were not allowed any changes on day of departure but guess they tried to be flexible as well so we were thankful. Well that would mean we would have about 7 hours in Rouen, 4 hours lesser than originally planned but definitely better than cancelling the whole trip.
Arrived at Rouen just before 9am. When we stepped out of the station, Rouen-Rive-Droite, we were surpriised by the coldness. Based on the frequent temperature checks done before the trip (an average of 7.5°C for the last 7 days, with the warmest being 12°C), we did not expect a 0°C morning haha. But we were happy as the weather was very good, with no rain.
We spent about an hour in this home decor store. It was a pity that we could not buy more due to the unknowns of our next flight.
Enjoyed just walking around before lunch 😍
Reserved lunch at this 2 Michelin star restaurant – Gill. We went for their 3-course Business Set Lunch at €45. Truly worth it.
A very pleasant dining experience.
The restaurant was full and we saw that everyone was having their business set lunch. But the restaurant manager and her service team definitely did not compromise on their service. And the food was very good.
After a very fulfilling lunch, we needed to burn some fats and the best way would be to continue exploring beautiful Rouen by foot. And the Christmas Market was of course the highlight.
Christmas Market in Rouen Place de la Cathédrale
Tea break at this pretty café, Dame Cakes.
On our way back to the train station, we managed to get some boxes of caramels. It was something I had planned to buy but somehow forgotten all about it because there were just too many things to see and too many places to go within the 5 hours (excluding the 2-hour lunch).
Thank God that we were still in time to catch a train back to hotel when we reached Gare Saint-Lazare past 5pm.
The metro station was packed with fast moving crowds in all directions due to the evening rush hour plus every one of us was trying to get to our destinations before the train / metro stoppages. It was quite an experience.