The last day of our free tour was a visit to the factory where the awesome Erdinger beer were bottled. The representative came in a car to pick us up from the hotel and it was a short drive to the factory. Joined a group of beer loving people which was led by a lady guide.
The factory had a couple of levels and a few other sections for the different phases from brewing to storage and bottling and finally to the warehouse before these were sent everywhere in the world. The warehouse impressed me the most, with the automation.
Then the grand finale of beer testing which I couldn’t fully utilized as there were too many to try and I couldn’t do it all! After the beers and a nice photo opportunity inside one of the chambers, it was the end and we were transferred back to the hotel.
We had about half a day left, so we spent it exploring the town of Erding, walking into the Xmas markets and trying out the food on offer. It was a little snowy but a whole lotta of Xmas feels.
All good things have to end, ours ended with a final ride to the Munich airport for our night flight home. The icy weather was a problem for the planes and some defrosting had to take place on the planes before the plane could take off.
This trip was awesome because it was sponsored by Lufthansa and Erdinger for the flights and the accommodation. This was also the biggest prize I had won in my entire life!
This was also a first for me traveling with someone other than my partner, which was a different mode of travel, more spontaneity with the lack of plan, triggering our spirit of adventure.
Erdinger factory tour was an eye opener for me (more so as I had never through one myself), a lot of work had to be done to deliver that bottle of tasty Erdinger right to my mouth, and with guaranteed freshness. All this learning was complemented with the good company of Erdinger representatives, making the value of this prize so much higher than priced!
Woke up to a cold winter day and as we proceeded to have breakfast at the hotel, snow fell ever so slightly outside, powdering the pine trees and covered our car. Did some snow graffiti before using the wiper to clear the windscreen, something that we would never had experienced in summer all year long Singapore. Onwards to the town center of Munich, to return the car and for a walkabout.
The whole town was ready for Xmas, everywhere we could see Xmas decorations and Xmas markets were were around, busy selling off the accessories and the crafts and Xmas foodstuff. There was a market selling real Xmas tree too.
There was Xmas markets set up at the popular Marienplatz where the musical Glockenspiel in the tower could be seen. Again I have seen it before and thus was just happy to introduce it to my first time visitor friend.
The markets had a tremendous variety of crafts on sale, to buy and place on your Xmas trees. Unlike mass produced accessories from China, these most likely were hand made and thus were slightly pricier than what could be bought in Singapore. Got myself a candle holder though.
The whole day was basically spent hopping from Xmas markets to Xmas markets, since they were everywhere. Of course we did some window shopping as well in the hope to see if there were cheaper deals that we could score compared to back home.
Day turned to night quickly during this winter period and the Xmas lighting illuminated the streets and the markets, bringing some warmth to the people.
As we had a dinner date with the hosts from Erdinger, we had to get back by train to the hotel. At the hotel restaurant, we met up with the Erdinger representatives and sat down for a lovely dinner of Bavarian food completed with tasty Erdinger beer and complemented with interesting conversations. We ended the night with promised arrangements for the factory tour the next day and a last good night sleep at the hotel.
Memory refreshing in progress… article not complete! Only photos for now…
I had been joining travel related contests in a bid to win free escapes but hadn’t been successful. The big break came about in December 2011 when I received an email from a representative from Lufthansa for winning a trip through a joint contest for Lufthansa and Erdinger. It was a 3D2N trip to Munich which included the flights tickets and accommodation at Erdinger hotel, a dinner at Erdinger restaurant and a tour of the beer factory. It was a nice surprise but due to the short 3 days notice from the email to the date of flight, I managed to grab a friend (as my wife couldn’t make the trip) and we were off!
It was my first time on Lufthansa and it was a pretty comfortable midnight flight to Munich, with a nice big screen for watching movies and if not, asleep most of the way.
After picking up our luggage, we met the Erdinger representative who drove us from the airport to the Erdinger hotel in the pretty little town of Erding. It was a nice cosy hotel within a historical building and we enjoyed the buffet breakfast spread after checking in.
No time to waste, we took the decision to visit Neuschwanstein castle since it was just an hour and a half from Munich. Some 5 minutes walk and we found ourselves at Erding station, with the train taking us to the Munich main train station, a 40mins ride.
To get to Neuschwanstein Castle, we rented ourselves a car, from Avis, amongst one of the many big car names in car rental. Soon we found ourselves cruising on the Autobahn, with some snow fall, a first experience for me. It wasn’t highway throughout as we broke off into one of the smaller roads (following the GPS) as we got closer to the castle. Views of small towns backed with snow capped mountains welcomed us. We had to stop to take in the view and exchange seats.
Soon we could see the signs for free car park where we left the car and proceeded to purchase tickets for the visit. There were quite a number of visitors though not insanely many, managed to get tickets on a certain scheduled tour, as there weren’t free and easy walk within the castle.
There was some time to go so we took a slow walk through the path lined with snow towards the entrance. We got ourselves some icecream to eat along the way which ended as lunch as there weren’t anything else affordable to eat near the entrance.
As groups of visitors started to stream in at their allotted time slot, we bore the cold ( my friend was actually shivering from the lack of cold wear) standing with a crowd on the outside, taking photos to pass time. Then with a English speaking guide, we entered the “Castle that inspired The Sleeping Beauty Castle”.
The tour was pretty straightforward as we moved from place to place, rooms to rooms with the explanations coming from the guide, accompanying the visual of how Bavarian royalties lived. It’s a pity no photography was allowed.
Lonely Planet suggested a bridge to where we could get a nice view of the castle and so we walked there after the tour. The snow came down more furiously the more we walked and thus could only make do with the blurry photo.
On the bridge we made acquaintance with a Chinese solo traveller offered her a ride back to Munich.
Since I had been in Munich previously in 2005, I recommended we visit one of the more popular beer houses, Hofbräuhaus to have dinner, drink some beer and be merry. Since the last visit as far as I could remember, the same old atmosphere was there, nice and warm with lots of singing and drinking. Had the pork knuckles and the giant size beer and was filling very full.
Left the Hofbräuhaus and drove back to Erding, tired but satisfied. Upon arrival, we were surprised by some Xmas gifts left on our beds, Erdinger windbreaker!
Didnt stay awake much longer as I knocked out soon after…
Total duration 4D3N Singapore is 6hrs ahead of Munich. Flight time is 12hrs on Lufthansa from Singapore to Munich.
Morning flight is on Lufthansa on 17th December at 11.59pm and arrival in Munich at 6:05am. Return flight is on Lufthansa on the 20th December at 7:05pm and arrival in Frankfurt at 8:15pm and transfer to 10:05pm flight and arrival at 4:55pm in Singapore on the 21st December.
This escape plan was a free trip that I won over a Facebook contest jointly held by Erdinger and Lufthansa. A trip to Erding a couple of days before Xmas to get the Xmasy feel with snow and a drive to Munich and Neuschwanstein was a perfect end to a great year of escapes.
Budget nature: Affordable in this particular escape.
With the tickets and accommodation already taken care of, its just some of the beers that we would need to pay for.
Complexity: Easy to get around with public transportation and driving on the Autobahn.
It was very simple to get from Erding to Munich using the train and driving on the Autobahn even during snow was not difficult, though it was a first. Of course, we had free transfer to and from the airport.
Total duration 27D26N London is 7hr behind Singapore while the rest of Europe is 6hrs behind Singapore. Flight time is 7hrs 25mins on Emirates Airlines from Singapore to Dubai for transfer. Flight time is 7hrs 35mins on Emirate Airlines from Dubai to London Gatwick International Airport. Flight time is 2hrs 25mins on EasyJet Airlines from London Gatwick to Rome Flumicino. Return flight is 6hrs 30mins on Emirates Airlines from Paris to Dubai for transfer. Flight time is 7hrs 10mins on Emirates Airlines from Dubai to Singapore.
Early morning flight on 23rd May at 325am and arrival in Dubai in the same morning at 655am. Transfer to another flight in the same morning at 8am and arrive in London at 1235pm on the same day. Afternoon flight on the 13th Jun at 505pm and arrival in Rome at 830pm. Return flight from Paris on the 17th Jun at 950pm and arrival in Dubai at 620am the next morning, transfer to another flight in the same morning at 945am and arrive in Singapore 855pm.
Day 1 Arrival into London, exploring London
Day 2 Salisbury and Stonehenge tour
Day 3 Tower Bridge
Day 4 Brussels
Day 5 Amsterdam
Day 6 Sankt Goar and Heidelberg
Day 7 Lucern and Lauterbrunnen
Day 8 Jungfrau visit
Day 9 Liechtenstein and Munich
Day 10 Dachau Concentration Camp and Innsbruck
Day 11 Verona
Day 12 Venice
Day 13 Florence
Day 14 Pisa and Monaco
Day 15 Nice and Cannes
Day 16 Barcelona
Day 17 Barcelona
Day 18 Carcassonne and Bordeaux
Day 19 Paris
Day 20 Paris
Day 21 Paris
Day 22 London
Day 23 Rome
Day 24 Rome and Vatican City
Day 25 Milan
Day 26/27 Home Sweet Home
This escape plan was planned our graduation trip which started off the whole wanderlust. We decided on an almost month long trip with a first visit to Europe. As we were really tight on budget, being recently graduated, we thought it would be great to do a bus tour around Europe with Contiki tour (Day 4 till Day 21), which offered more places to see without breaking the bank! And they say the rest was history.
Budget nature: Not cheap
It was not cheap to go to Europe during times when Euros were almost twice our currency. We managed to get good flight prices through Emirates and we tried to save up on accommodation living in hostels and eating bread for quite some days in order not to spend too much.
Major European cities were very well connected by public transport which we used to get around while exploring. The major part of getting from city to city was taken care by the coach. Domestic flights and interstate trains were easy to arrange as well.