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Germany, the motherland of Wurst, Bier, and Brot (sausage, beer, and bread).

But since we are plant-based and don’t drink much, we were mostly excited about the Brot, and the infamous supermarkets with ridiculous cheap but good quality vegan goodies. And of course, spending quality time with Muttie and Papsi (Tilo’s parents), and Tilo’s brother, Tom.

We did spend quality time with the fam, but not in the way that we expected. As we all know how life goes… things never go to plan!

Before we tell our tales of Germany, let’s back up to the very beginning…

Nothing beats German’s pricing for bread…

Somewhere between 2019 – 2020, when we first decided to take a gap year and spend that time traveling through South America, we thought through a few different ways of going about it:

  • Back-packing… We rather quickly decided against it as one of the things that we value most while travelling is our independence, our ability to go wherever we want, and venture off to unbeaten paths. Which is difficult to do when you are relying on public transport. On top of that, we both think we are too old to sleep in hostels for long periods of time.
  • Motorbike… Would have significantly increased our flexibility and the level of adventure, but this option was voted out for not being comfortable enough by one of us (the person that still complains about how much her behind suffered sitting on the back of a motorcycle for 2000km in Northeast India). To be fair, even Tilo didn’t like the idea of traveling 30,000km on 2 wheels with all of our equipments and clothes for a year.
  • SUV with a rooftop tent… Once again not comfortable enough especially because at this point one of us demanded a bathroom.
  • Van… Bingo! Comforts of a tiny home, enabling us to be self-sufficient to go off the beaten paths for days without needing civilisation. How hard could it be to find cool vans with a bathroom and off-road capabilities that are in our limited budget? As we would soon find out… very difficult indeed.

But what does all of this have to do with Germany?


Initially we had planned to buy a van in South America, Chile to be precise as it’s THE known place for buying and selling kitted-out vans. But after more research and conversations with other travelers who had completed their journey through South America, we came to the conclusion that it would be a much safer idea to buy a van in Germany, get it ready, and ship it over.

With that decision, our Germany ‘travelling’ experience turned into a ‘family project’ experience, as our whole family went through the stressful period of searching, debating, buying, and getting the van ready for our big adventure.

But don’t worry, we would not want you to leave completely empty-handed, and as an avid reader of our blog, you already know about the amazing German supermarket culture.

But there is more to Germany: rich history and culture, castles, and Bua’s highlight – Muttie’s and Papsi’s garden house.

Tilo’s mum (who we just call ‘Muttie’), absolutely loves history and castles. She took it upon herself to sweep Bua of her feet by all the majestic castles that Saxony – a state in the east of Germany has to offer.

Never once having laid her eyes on any castles, Bua was indeed swept off her feet by the grandeur, the glory, and the wealth that Saxony royals wielded back then. Walking through the castles, taking in the fine chattels, trying to imagine what it would have been like to be a royal living and walking through these halls. Probably very stiff and formal – she concluded.

Her favourite castle experience is ‘Zwinger Experience’ in Dresden where AR was integrated throughout the different sections of the castles, offering visitors a glimpse of the daily live at the castle. The technology was so well embedded that it felt like the whole castle and the stories of those who lived there came to life.

An easy to pronounce name, Völkerschlachtdenkmal, or for those of us who need the translation – the ‘Monument to the Battle of the Nations’ is iconic in the city of Leipzig, Tilo’s family hometown.

Completed in 1913, this significant monument commemorates the defeat of Napoleon’s French army in Leipzig, 1813, by the unified forces of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden.

The statues inside the monument represent the four German virtues: Tapferkeit (fortitude), Volkskraft (strength of the people), Opferfreudigkeit (willingness to sacrifice), und Glaubensstärke (strength of faith).

Together with Papsi, we climbed 364 steps and were rewarded with a phenomenal panorama view of Leipzig. In contrast to Bangkok, where the view of the city is rows and rows of skyscrapers, Leipzig is lush and green with thick forests.

Leipzig city center is also stunning with a glorious opera house, museums, and beautiful architectures. Unfortunately, we didn’t capture much of the center this time round, but we will be back, and Leipzig will get its own blog post!


We also loved visiting Tilo’s parents’ garden house.

German garden colonies, aka, Kleingartenanlage, are massive sections of land encompassing rows after rows of small gardens with tiny houses. These allotment gardens have cultural significance as they enable people to be more self-sufficient, especially after world wars when food was hard to come by. They also provide an outdoor space for relaxation for those who dwell in the city.

East Germany holds more than half of all German garden colonies, with Saxony (state in which Tilo’s family live in) has the most so-called allotment gardens.

Muttie’s and Papsi’s garden house, however, is far from ‘tiny’. Their garden house is a 40mins drive from Leipzig city. For over 30 years, the family has worked the land, designed, built and re-built the house and the garden, turning the space into a plentiful sanctuary in the middle of farmland.

There, we spent our weekends, enjoying all the fresh produce that have been lovingly plotted and taken care off at the start of every summer.

We gorged ourselves on never-ending fresh blueberries, capsicum, green beans, various kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, and numerous kinds of chillies. On Saturday evenings we would BBQ, sit around the sun room, enjoying bickering with each other (Bua chipping in with her perfect German, coached by Google Translate), and stuffing ourselves, farm to table style.

Tilo’s family really did build a little slice of heaven. We loved it so much so that we aspire to build something similar in Thailand, once we return.

Eating organic fresh home-grown produce, learning about Muttie’s and Papsi’s way of life in East Germany, stories of Tilo and Tom when they were little, and sharing our future plans and dreams, were our favourite times in Germany.

We wished we would have had more time to do more of this; however, reality had other plans in mind, as time waits for no one and we didn’t have a lot of it before getting everything ready for our South America adventure. So fasten your seat-belts before we take you with us through rough terrain of the Spikey journey.



  • Culinary highlights: Galletas Spekulatius (German version of ginger bread biscuits) and Kartoffelpuffer (hash browns with apple sauce – salty and sweet for the win!) ——>
  • Spending time with family in the garden house
  • Supermarket shopping! So many affordable vegan goodies that we can’t get in Thailand or they would cost us an arm and a leg!




  • The bureaucracy and wait-time for getting appointments to do paper work and mechanical work on Spikey
  • Towards the end Bua was struggling a bit with the cold and it wasn’t even winter yet!