Going to German cities – watch a football game and also look around

Tip: Learn German. I’ve met quite a bit of people in Germany who didn’t speak English very well and this included old and young people.

I recommend going to all these different German cities for the local sights and sounds which might include a castle or museum or whatever and a football game. People might argue that it’s just a spectator sport and it’s all part of the “circuses and bread” show like what Rome used to provide in the past with its memorable Coliseum games. Yes, I agree that watching TV is probably not the healthiest thing in the world but it’s different when you go to the game because you had to take yourself out of the living room (or hotel room if you’re traveling) to go to the stadium. By doing so, you extend yourself to an increased exposure of all 5 senses to something new: tasting the new foods or drinks there, smelling the grass (and pollution) and different types of food being cooked, touching new places that you’ve gone to, feeling the roar of the crowd that cannot emulated via TV, and hearing the screams and thrills of the people around you in the stadium.

heidelberg schloss summer cloudy day by the river neckar rio castillo

Hey look, it’s a castle… another castle in Europe. You might be like me and get all “castled” the hell out. You get castle-tired and stop giving a damn about them because there are so many especially in Europe.

That’s why going to a game is more than just watching through the TV screen. You get far more exposure not just to the game but also the country’s culture. If you observe closely, as you are going to the stadium, Germans are big on the social aspect of eating merrily, drinking happily, and talking among their friends and family. And football is a big topic/theme for them as a great excuse to get out of the house, get some fresh air, and talk. What’s the most valuable thing that you can provide to someone? Spending time with them. Face-to-face is big in Germany.

So do what the Germans do! Go out traveling and go to the games. They are relatively cheap and you can partake in what the locals do! And sometimes there is not much to do in the city once you get there. I like to use the football game as a good excuse to travel there whereas I might not do it at all because there is no great urge to go there in the first place. Although big cities like London can provide a lot of opportunities to do stuff like fishing (outside of the city, but within an hour’s travel) and watch football, smaller cities might have that much less to see and do. Hell, football’s all there is to see!

climbed subi subir al castillo aventura middle germany Baden-Württemberg university town pueblo de univerisario

So I climbed to the top of the hill where the castle is… is there anything else to do here at Heidelberg other than see the castle?

What’s the best thing to do? Take the train to other cities. You can see more of the country and it’s generally cheaper than taking a plane. There are no security measures to go through like in an airport, more space to walk around and stretch your legs, and the long trip trains have a restaurant on-board. If you’re in first class, you will have access to an electric outlet (220 V) and free wifi! Some of the major train stations in Germany are like malls if you have ever been to one!

train seats sillas puestos del tren sitzplatz in dem Zug Zuge Zuege der zug DB deutschland german germany

Germany’s passenger train company is called DB aka Deutsche Bahn. These are just an example of what the seats might look like. And sometimes all 6 seats are taken!

 

Tip: Bring a form of ID, preferably a passport. Due to high numbers of illegals coming into Germany and Europe, the police and even the train workers have been more diligent to ensure criminals are not breaking the law in their country or continent. As long as you have your documentation on you and prepared to show, it’s basically show and go. Maybe a few questions and that’s it. Usually, the conversation is in German or English; generally, once you open your mouth and they determine that you’re from a Western country, they let you go pretty quickly.

Tip: If you are into the beer scene, then take this route of trains, trains, trains because every town/city/village and region boasts how their beer is the best meaning there are thousands of beer of different flavors waiting to be tasted by beer/alcohol aficionados. By traveling on train, you can see how the beer’s flavors were adopted by the locals to make it adjust to their taste buds. Just don’t go overboard on the booze factor to where you get obscenely loud with your lever stuck on full retard mode and start fighting other people. Not good at all.

Tip: If you have a ticket for a football game, you don’t need to buy a ticket for local transportation. The football ticket is your transportation ticket. They do this so everyone is not driving to the stadium and causing a huge traffic jam of potential accidents and drunken slug-fests. For example, I’d take the train (this train ticket had to be bought) from Frankfurt to Berlin and then check into my hotel. Then I would take the metro (train/subway) to the stadium for free, watch the game, and then go back to my hotel via metro (train) for free. No extra ticket needed. Only had to pay for the game ticket and the train ticket to get to the Berlin. Best to read up on the rules if you are not sure. This is only in Germany. Not in the UK even if you go to a football game there. Not in London where you need an Oyster Card!

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Fishing in Iceland – it’s possible but you need experience and a lotta luck!

I have to admit that after going scuba diving in Iceland to be really fun, chill, and enjoyable, I thought that it would be super-easy trying to catch sea-run brown trout there as well like it was fly fishing in England. Nope. I was wrong. It was more like fly fishing in Scotland – must have luck pre-installed onto your fishing drive. Maybe it was the weather or the water levels but I really had to work it hard. I guess I should have gone fishing out in the ocean because at least in Scotland, I caught some sharks. In Iceland, the sea-run trout are a lot more spooked. And what’s funny that there are only big fish and small ones – nothing in-between which makes sense because the little ones are just starting out and the big ones survived the arduous journey from bears, seals, whales, sharks, other big fish, etc.

stream farmer farm water varma river rio glacier waters geothermal big fish

Ahhh, what a great day for fishing. After the previous day of scuba diving, it was time for the next step – fly fishing the pure clean waters of Iceland.

Tip: You must have fly fishing experience (both dry fly and nymph) before you do this fishing trip because otherwise you will fail in catching any fish. It’s also expensive here in Iceland due to the combination of having everything shipped in (since it’s an island) and high taxes, probably not as bad as Copenhagen/Denmark. Also take note of the fishing seasons which generally run from April to October. Different fish species come out at different times in the rivers/lakes – the only native freshwater fish in Icelandic waters are Atlantic Salmon, Brown Trout, and Arctic Char.

waterfall fishing catarata pesca fly con la mosca rod line leader

My guide stated that you can see trout jumping at this waterfall but there were none to be seen. Probably the water level is too low. No bites here after casting all around it. it was a first for me fishing such a big waterfall. Just very therapeutic standing there and casting.

brown trout trucha sea run icelandic fun water waders wading creek stream pure water pura agua pesca

My guide spotted this big sea-run brown trout. So we made a plan for me to sneak behind it so I could cast out to it. But for some reason, he just didn’t want to bite. I ended up catching another brown trout, much smaller. The funny thing is that I caught that small one on a back cast.

iceland fly fishing lures casting rod fly fishing trout trucha icelandia campo rio arroyo naturaleza pez peces la pesca peche

That’s me casting in the waters of Iceland, trying to catch a sea-run Brown Trout. My guide was on the pedestrian bridge scouting to see if there were any big fish to cast to and snapped this photo of me trying to get this one big trout but gave me the finger instead.

In the end, I only caught a few small brown trout. I was hoping to top the big brown trout caught back in New York but in this case, I think my luck ammunition ran out. Maybe I spent it all on the last English fishing trip. All that means is that I have to build my fishing luck ammo bays. And no, I didn’t take any pictures of any of the small brownies that I caught. They don’t just measure up to the “big one” that I caught.

Tip: If you’re going to stay in Reykjavik, don’t stay near the city center. Many times I was woken up at night because of the screaming, yelling, puking, and other ass-grabbing by drunk tourists (and probably locals) at 1, 2, 3, 4, and even 5 am! I remember walking out onto the street and there was a cleanup crew, power-washing the street because there was so much debris on the street: beer, piss, vomit, bottles, and other stuff. Maybe this might have affected my fishing because I couldn’t get any good sleep. Unless you are a boozer and/or a night owl, don’t stay on Austurstraeti Street. You’ll never sleep.

Contact:

Go Fishing Iceland

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Scuba diving in Iceland – yes! You can scuba dive in the cold waters of the Continental Divide, Silfra!

This was one of the trips that I have been waiting a long time to do. And that’s going scuba diving in Iceland. I know Iceland is cold as its name prescribes itself to, but it’s also very rewarding to go diving in just barely above freezing-temperature waters. But don’t let the cold scare you away, as a matter of a fact, I use that to my advantage so that there is less competition and less people going out there to go scuba diving. Most of the people traveling to Iceland are doing the Northern Lights, Golden Circle, Whale Watching, Snowmobile, Waterfalls, ATV, biking, or lava tours. I admit some of these tours sound fun but I want to feel the action through me instead of paraded around like sheeple to go watch this or that. Oh yeah, by the way, there are a lot of sheep in this country and that also includes tourists.

Tip: This trip requires you to be dry-suit qualified. I also recommend people to be somewhat experienced in scuba diving so you can enjoy this trip much more (peak performance buoyancy specialty helps as well!). When I went, the diving guide had to worry about 2 other divers, far less experienced than me, because as soon as I was in the water, I moving around like a natural fish. If you are not scuba certified and/or don’t have time, you can still go snorkeling in a dry suit if you’re still interested. Better is to be a scuba diver because it is quite expensive to do this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

tectonic plates division breaking diving scuba iceland continental divide

Our entry point into Silfra, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates split!

The diving company that I went with, picked me up from the bus stop (less than 1 minute walking from my hotel in Reykjavik) and later took me to the Silfra dive site. They setup all the gear and everything. Of course, this helps a lot if you book the trip and get all the pertinent information to them ahead of time.  They need this information because instead of wasting time trying the gear, they will bring the gear in the van that will pick you up. This also means bringing all of the necessary gear and other documents that you will need in order to do this dive.

Tip: Try to be first ones at the Silfra dive site. I was in the first group that was lucky enough to be first and only ones in! It helps with the visibility and then you can see how pristine and pure it looks even though there is some river current. It’s not as strong as the one in Cozumel, but you can feel it push you. You will definitely see why on the second dive because you’ll definitely see debris and dust-ups from other people.

silfra icelandic diving tour adventure

In Silfra! It’s so blue and clear in these pristine waters.

pure clean water glacier diving pureza clara agua

The water is so clean and clear that you can actually drink it! I drank some by accident but it was better than that salty oceanic water!

follow the diving guide blue waters

You have to follow the guide throughout this trip. Otherwise, you might find yourself in some serious deep waters meaning that you went too far.

follow the divemaster guide seguir seguia el guia de buceo bucear en icelandia

This diving requires a change in depths at times which is good because the deeper you go, the colder it gets. It’s still clean, clear, and fresh even at the shallow waters!

clear water reflection refleccion

I thought this was interesting to show how clear the water is.

blue clear waters agua azul wasser bleu

It was so unreal diving in waters that came from a glacier. I was told that it takes 50-100 years to get from the glacier to Silfra…. meaning that it’s been purified for a very long time!

algae clear clara claro agua rio lago dulce sweet freshwater

It’s clear but it’s green… meaning that the algae here has adapted to survive in near freezing temperatures.

When I first jumped in, the weather was cloudy but by the time I went in the second time, it was sunny with clear blue skies. It’s a complete change in the diving conditions because not only was it warmer, but the colors changed too. For example, the sun rays would blast in colors of the rainbow within the water. It’s something that cannot be videotaped or photographed – it must be experienced while scuba diving. I don’t think you get the same sensations even if you are snorkeling.

changed diving conditions visions view way looking at it

Sunlight completely changed the diving even though we were diving the same spot.

afternoon blue diving iceland Reykjavík

Following the guide again, but gosh, the visibility was even better. It was originally 100+ meters but I’m sure it could have been 200+ meters!

earthquakes plates theory geology atlantic ocean earth lava

There’s me touching both Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

silfra diving iceland icelandic cold water dry suit

Another picture to show how blue it was behind me.

tectonic plate break american european plates

Before swimming off, I thought I’d look back at the plates division. Don’t want to move your head too much otherwise you’ll change the water and get your head too cold.

sandbar fresh water adventuring freezing water drysuit peak performance buoyancy

You can see behind me that there is a sandy slope, kind of like a sand bar. You dive above it to get to some shallows.

crack dealer diving scuba layers warm diving icelandic

I was in this area called small crack. Makes me wonder if there are a lot of crack dealers around Iceland due to all the “crack” there is in this country.

shallow diving cold ice water barely freezing

About to leave Silfra and out of the water… it’s an amazing dive. And pricey, but one of those “one in a lifetime” trips.

My recommendation? Do it! Do it! It’s definitely one of the best dives that I’ve ever done. If you ever wanted to see the most alien place underwater on Earth – it’s Silfra, Iceland.

Contact:

Dive.is

You can also get the Silfra Tectonic Diver specialty from PADI from this place. One of the few, hard-to-get specialties out there. People get key-chains, mugs, shirts, etc. as souvenirs…. I got this specialty instead!

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Say hello to Reykjavik, the gateway to Iceland!

Yes, Reykjavik…. I know that it’s impossible to spell out or pronounce. It took awhile to get used to it as well. But it’s pronounced “Rey-fla-vik” or something like that. I think the local people understand you if you’re close enough. The good thing is that almost all Icelanders understand English quite well as they’ve gotten used to the amount of foreigners particularly tourists who go to Iceland. You can’t expect a native population of 350,000+ to have foreigners/travelers to Iceland learn Icelandic. Not really going to happen. It’s probably better this way for Icelanders to know English as they can cater to the tourists (knowing that it brings in cash) and they’re subject to a lot of American and British culture thanks to being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and in-between Canada/United States and the British Isles.

ships reykjavik marina harbor boats barcos barcas pier tourists tours

Iceland is an oceanic country so its culture has revolved over the centuries and years around it along with some farming and ranching. You have to remember that all of that was required in order to survive such hard times in the past and even today, it has left its mark particularly on its culture and food.

jellyfish man of war marina pier harbor iceland atlantic ocean

I thought this was interesting as I took this picture since no one was looking at it like I was. There were just tons of jellyfish in the marina. Tons!

When do you decide to go to Iceland, most likely you will fly into Keflavik International Airport, which is about a 30-40 minute ride from Reykjavik itself. You have different modes of getting into the city (or elsewhere) but you will likely have to take a taxi (very expensive) or take a bus. I recommend the bus option because you can also input your return trip as well, saving you the hassle of going back to the airport.

Tip: Note that this place is quite wallet-breaking as the prices here are quite high. Not as high as Copenhagen, but be ready to break a lot of large bills to make this trip to Iceland work. A good idea is to get some of the local currency from the ATMs or exchange your money. Some places in Iceland don’t accept credit cards; some might accept US dollars and/or Euros but don’t count on it.

cathedral icelandic iceland island iskander church christ atlantic nation

This place is called Cathedral of Christ the King. Interesting building but not as distinct as the next one…

iceland pond city hall water fresh park

This is Tjornin, basically a pond from which the city hall looks out to.

iceland cathedral dom iglise viking norse church christianity explorers travelers viajeros

So this is the more interesting building of all – Hallgrimskirkja. In addition to the Leif Erikson (founder of Vinland aka Greenland) statue, this building is just unique in its own way.

Reykjavik in itself doesn’t have a lot of stuff to see. Instead, the capital is best used as a launchpad for doing some amazing tours. I could care less about whale tours or going pub crawling, but there are some tours that might interest you, especially if you’re into the outdoors scene.

prime minister office oficina de ministero primo leader government icelandic capital top

Unlike the Oval Office in the US, you can easily see the Prime Minister of Iceland’s Office in clear view for everyone to see. Just don’t walk up to UN-intruded – you’ll just get whacked in the face and handcuffed away.

memorial vikings norse travlers vinland settlers Iceland history conquerers

Called the Sun Voyager, I think it’s a memorial for all the Norse Vikings that have traveled and founded Iceland. In the shape of ship bones, it’s kind of unique.

scallops salmon fish meat vegetables grilled asado mariscos asados

Gotta love the seafood especially if it’s a historically seafaring nation. I got this seafood all grilled up and ready to be eaten. And yes, it’s fresh. All to be expected from a country like Iceland.

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Prague, capital of the Czech Republic

The city by the Vltava River, also known as the Czech National River, has always been another one of those must-visit-European-cities. Like Budapest, Prague is known for its architecture by the river that has developed over the centuries making it a tourist destination. Unlike the Goulash that made Hungary famous for, the Czech Republic is more famous for its beer. Either that or people still remember the Czech Republic as being part of Czechoslovakia, before it broke up into two countries of Czechia (Czech Republic) and Slovakia.

Charles Bridge Vltava River rio prague capital puente

That’s the Charles Bridge which you might have read or heard about. When it was first constructed, the Charles Bridge was known as the Stone Bridge and it connected Prague Castle with Old Town. By the way, Prague Castle is overloaded with tourists like Old Town is.

bridge tower czech republica czechia prague king charles

This is the Old Town Bridge Tower. The bridge used to be very important back in the day as it symbolized one of the important bridges that linked the west and east path. Nowadays, it’s a very popular walking path for tourists so take note that it can be very crowded at times.

Tip: Don’t hire a shuttle service in Prague. There is no train nor metro so instead, get a taxi. Well, I take that back, there is a tram but it’s just a hassle since the airport is fairly far from the inner city like Split, Croatia. So I recommend taking a taxi and get one of their business cards so you can call them to pick you up at a discount unless your hotel can call you up quickly. One time I went to Prague, I got a van shuttle service, and it took so long that I could have used a taxi to get there faster and more efficiently. I waited almost 2 hours for that stupid van to show up when I could have gone exploring!

old town prague plaza

You’ll see lots of interesting buildings in old town of Prague.

Prague Astronomical Clock peering from alley black building old antique

As you make your way into Old Town, you’ll get peeks into some fantastic buildings… you’ll also take note of seeing so many damn tourists. You’ll see them unfortunately in this tourist-crazed city.

old town square plaza prague famous czechia capital large city hauptstadt

So this is the Old Town Square. By the looks of it, there are waves and waves of tourists here. I didn’t get a good picture of the famous Prague Astronomical Clock but you can easily see the magic of the place.

Tip: If you want to take good pictures especially of Prague’s famed old town square, get there early in the morning because Prague doesn’t really have a low season in my opinion. It’s just so damn popular that all year long the city gets an influx of tourists. I don’t even think that the winters barely scare off that many tourists looking to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Czech capital as well as the beer and food. I have to say that Czech food is good. It’s not that spectacular but it’s still good especially in relation to its price. A huge difference compared to the wallet suckers of Copenhagen. Maybe that’s another reason why Prague is popular with the traveling crowds – great views, good food, good drinks.

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