One Month in Europe: Travel Blog
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
On Sunday, June 16th, 2019 Grant and I flew from Los Angeles to London to begin our journey, filled with festivals, concerts, music stores, rock stores and bars, and so much more. It has been quite an adventure since we departed.
In one month, we have been to London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, Zurich, and Munich… We have taken three flights, five Eurail trains, numerous local trains, buses, and trams, walked over 120 miles, switched currencies 5 times, and languages 4 times.
We really enjoyed London, revisiting our favorite places and seeing some friends. Highlights include the first bar Iron Maiden played in; Cart and Horses, Garlic and Shots, and Camden Market. ￼
From London, we flew to Brussels, Belgium for Graspop, (#GMM19) which was a BLAST! (Please see my Review in the July 15th issue of Sin City Presents Magazine. Link below.)
We spent a couple nights in Brussels enjoying the architecture and making friends at a rock/goth bar called Le Cercueil (The Coffin). And of course, we needed to see the famous statue of the Little Boy Peeing! And, we learned that Brussels also
has a statue of a Little Girl Peeing. We took a train to Amsterdam June 26th, where we went to a couple Museums, did a canal tour, and went to some rock bars, including Excalibur and Planet Rock.On June 28th, we got up bright and early to take a train to Berlin, Germany to celebrate our 11 Year anniversary. It’s one of our favorite cities, and again we revisited some of our favorite places, and met with friends. It was great to be back at Halford’s and Bretterbude, which are both decked from floor to ceiling with memorabilia and play metal music. The vegan food in Berlin was definitely my favorite so far. There were so many amazing options and such great variety. I even got to try a vegan version of one of my favorite foods as a kid… Peking Duck! We also really enjoyed spending a couple days like ‘locals’swimming at Lake Weißensee and The Badeschiff (Man-made pool on The Spree River). Funny we live in Los Angeles, and have to go to Europe to get a tan! On the contrary, we actually ‘played tourist’ and went to the top of Berliner Fernsehturm to get a 360 degree view of the city from 863 feet in the air!
We also went to see Checkpoint Charlie, The Wall Museum, and The Ramones Museum.
We took a train from Berlin to Warsaw, Poland July 3rd, and, in our hurry to get off the train, we left our toiletries bag. That probably doesn’t sound too bad to anybody reading this, but, EVERYTHING we needed for the entire trip was in that bag part. (We still have not been able replace most of it.) Ughhhhhh.
Aside from that, we absolutely loved our full apartment in Warsaw, and the view of the Palace Of Culture and Science.
However, the weather was not ideal during our stay and it was cold and rainy most of the time. Also, it was weird being out of the US for the 4th of July, although we HEARD fireworks ONCE. One cool find was a shot bar called Zebra Shot Bar, where you can choose three fancy shots from the menu for ten PlN (which is only $2.64 U.S.) A definite bonus for Warsaw is how CRAZY CHEAP everything was!
Next we flew to Budapest, Hungary. The best route actually took us thru the Riga, Latvia airport, which was an interesting detour. Sending a big shout out to Eszter Kanti for her travel tips. We loved our apartment in Budapest, and absolutely LOVED the town. The weather was perfect, people were friendly, and the architecture was amazing! To top it off, Szechenyi and Rudas thermal baths were nice relaxing treats. We learned some history while being inside one of my favorite places (a cave) at Hospital In The Rock, saw The Royal Palace, Buda’s Castle, Heroes’ Square, and walked the Danube River and across the Chain of Rocks Bridge. Our time in Budapest ended with a nice surprise find, a vegan restaurant that served healthy take away boxes and a metal bar/store (Pub and Rock Shop) that I could eat it in while waiting for the train. Compared to L.A, Budapest was very inexpensive as well.
Our next stop was Zürich, Switzerland, where we had floor seats to see Bon Jovi July 10th. We really loved it there, and enjoyed spending time at Lake Zurich. Also, we found the most amazing vegan buffet (Tibits) ever! It had tons of variety, and EVERYTHING was good. We went there three times! We also went on a beautiful and crazy three hour hike in the Uetliberg Mountains to Felsenegg, where we ended up taking a gondola down from the top. And we came across a rock bar called Ebrietas that had its walls covered in metal albums and had a punk/hardcore band called Migraines playing downstairs in the ‘dungeon.’ As you can imagine, Bon Jovi was definitely my highlight in Zurich! In comparison to the two previous mentioned cities, Zurich was MUCH more expensive… (A veggie burger cost between $19 to $26.)It was my first time seeing Bon Jovi outside the U.S. and my first time seeing them perform in an open air stadium. We watched the entire set from the front, and it was AMAZING! (Keep posted for my Review in the September 1st issue of Sin City Presents Magazine.)
The plan for Munich, Germany was to spend a couple days at their local lakes. Even though it had been rainy, cold, and overcast, we ventured out to Lake Starnberg. I was really glad we did, as it ended up being a beautiful day. Since Munich is known for their beer gardens, we made a point to go to Augustiner-Keller, which opened in 1812 and has about 5000 seats, for dinner and a beer. The only rock bar that we went to was called RAW. It had a cool vibe, played metal, and had Maiden, Sabbath, etc. decorations on the walls.
Also, Grant and I have made a point to post Cooter Brown and Metal Babe Mayhem stickers everywhere that seems appropriate!
On a side note, I am quitting bread and cheese when I get back to LA. (I have been living 50% off cucumber/cheese/tomato sandwiches.) And I am eating nothing but Mexican food for a week! Lol.
That’s all the excitement I have for my first month in Europe. Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you enjoyed what you read and will keep posted for my next month… Beginning in Prague, Czech Republic.
Read my Graspop Review in Sin City Presents Magazine here: https://joom.ag/btee/p36/