EuroTrip Day 10

Wow today just kinda flew by. Amsterdam is so different from Munich, it’s insane. I’ve been deprogramming myself from the German mindset all day. Like I accidentally answered in German all the time.

Anyway, the bike lanes are the crazy thing that immediately stands out here. I almost got hit about 7 times in them.

I arrived at the hostel, the downtown Flying Pig, which smelled like smoke when I walked in. I immediately got in a walking tour, which was fun, as I learned a bit about the city and met up with a group of (aspiring) entrepreneurs from Iowa and other parts of the US. We ended up hanging out, maybe trying some coffee at a coffee shop, and eating at a place called Pancakes!. Afterwards my feet were hurting so we headed back to my hostel where I hung out with people on the bar and patio for a bit.

The vibe here is totally different than in Munich. Whereas I felt perfectly social there, I feel a bit more quiet here. Maybe it’s just because my mind is still wandering the lush green hills of northern Munich.

I was supposed to meet that group at 10, but didn’t, because I didn’t see them. I grabbed a bite to eat and chilled in the hostel room talking with people until I fell asleep on my bed, two beers in hand.

I woke up to a pain. Which turned out just to be a bit of cold beer running all down my leg. Oops. I cleaned up and passed back out. And now I’m awake for my next day.

What to do, what to do? Luckily I have a list!

EuroTrip Day 9

Woke up. Talked to Ulrike and Desi, so ‘m going there tonight before my night train. Sat in the bar and drank coffee and ate breakfast until 10am, then checked out. I then wandered over to the “Residenz”, which is the massive palace here in Munich. Explored it. Like 80 rooms filled with gilded things, tapestries, and ornate furniture. Alright, check, done. It was cool. I have pictures on my camera, which I’ll on here later.

I’m back at the hostel, going to get on the S2 to go up to meet them. My train leaves at 10:50, so yeah.

Met up with Desi and Ulrike and Andreas. Fun night. We hung out for a bit, Desi and I ate a doener, then she took a short nap while I practiced guitar and came up with a crappy short song for her. I played it for her, which was a lot of fun – it was cute enough that she liked it. Phew. We watched funny videos and sang some songs together (like the cups song, among others). We took some selfies:

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And
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Haha. We ate some true Bavarian food: good beer, white sausage, chicken and potatoes, and this bread-like meat thing. They gave me a chocolate as a farewell gift, too. Such nice people. It was a shame that I had to leave. I would’ve loved to stay there forever, but I have a life to live, and right now it is not there with them.

So I boarded the night train, where a 26 year old married German guy was waiting to go home from a business trip. We chatted a little bit then crawled into our bunks to sleep.

EuroReise Tag 8

Day 8… Wow, my trip is 25% over. But boy am I tired. Since I wasn’t too intoxicated last night I didn’t sleep well. My stomach is still kind of messed up from all the beer. Like it doesn’t hurt, but I just feel bloated and it feels bubbly. I’m trying to drink a lot of water. So far I think I’ve learned about myself from this trip, things I like and don’t like. I already knew this, but I don’t really like change – or rather changing circumstances – especially when I like things already. For example, I felt earlier in the trip that I was split between loving Munich and not wanting to leave this hostel (like I felt resistant to going to another hostel in Amsterdam because I like the situation here). It’s silly because in the week I’ve been here, almost everyone has changed. Another example is evident in how I eat food back home. I go to restaurants and there are places where I order the same thing almost every time.

Another thing I used to think is that I’m not a very social or friendly person. But I think that’s compared to Texas, where I’m beginning to realize people are abnormally friendly. I mean… the state’s name means “friend”, so…. Again, perhaps it’s the language difference, where I could easily strike up a conversation, but I haven’t really had anybody approach me and interacted with me first here (although not today, for some reason when I was walking back from the park after running, and during running, and while wearing my athletic shorts, I had probably 4 or 5 people do some sort of interaction with me, perhaps because there usually aren’t tons of tourists excercising or walking around in shorts when it’s chilly outside).

Anyway, things I am learning about myself… I’ve also enjoyed meeting everyone at the hostel bar, and you get to sync with them and share ideas, discuss commonalities and differences, and be funny. But even though what everyone is doing isn’t exactly smalltalk (I’ve discussed some stuff that’s more than smalltalk), it doesn’t exactly lead anywhere…. What really mean by this is that you aren’t really building relationships (except for with 1 or 2 people who you see on multiple days). I like building strong relationships with people, making real friends, building up trust and confidence and caring. Perhaps it comes off as clingy…

I’m not sure what I am going to do today. I wanted to go to out to the coutryside again and see Desi and Ulrike, but Desi is working until 15:00 and has driving lessons after, and she hasn’t texted me back since last night, so I’m a little iffy on whether that will actually happen. I just jogged like 5.5 miles (not very fast though), and only had about 4 hours of sleep, so I might just take a nap. I’m basically falling asleep while typing this…

I’ve heard Amsterdam is a huge party, way more so than Munich, and I booked at the Flying Pig, which is the famous hostel in downtown, near the train station. It has pretty good reviews, which was what I was going for. I’ve got to go to the train station and get my rail pass activated and make a reservation.

Although I’m sitting here typing this right now instead of out exploring, but whatever. That’s why I am staying in Munich for so long, I don’t think I would be able to just go to like 10 cities in 35 days. I like getting into the culture. And also having time to relax.

Alright, alright. I’m going to take a 1 hour powernap once the cleaning lady gets out of my room…

So I ended up sleeping for a few hours, and then talking with my Brazilian then Italian roommates. I also had to go over to the train station and get my reservation (night train Tuesday night) taken care of. So I’m going to Amsterdam, yay! Also had to fix my hostel reservation.

Yeah, I just ended up going down to the bar pretty early, like 6:30 and drinking slowly. Eventually I went with a group of Brazilians (many of whome didn’t speak such good English) to a club, but we didn’t go in because they didn’t want to pay the cover. Then we tried to taxi to another bar, failed massively, ate a pizza, and came back.

So last night I didn’t really have as much fun. I paid the stupid deposit on the pool stick and left it on the table, so at some point there was a group playing. I asked the female bartender (whose always in a bad news) if she would verify for them when I went over that it was indeed me who paid the deposit, and she refused, being super pissy about it. Yeah, pissed me off. She was already pissed earlier because I asked her to break a 1 euro coin for a tipjar where you could win shots. Oh nope. Even though other people were playing with 1 cent coins.

Anyway, a couple people were like “you need to go voer right now and demand 20 euro from the people playing since it was you who paid the deposit” and my philosophy was that it would be a lot easier to wait until they were done, when they would probably just give me the stick with no resistance since they got it for free, and I had a valid claim to 20 euro. Anyway, the whole thing put me in a really sour mood.

In other news I’ve injured my foot. I think from the run yesterday, wearing not so good shoes last night, combined with having been walking a ton on this trip.

Nick Out.

EuroReise Tag 7

Hallo from Deutschland. Today I woke up feeling very bad, around 11 o’clock. I feel extremely bloated. Ugh. Like I need to work out. I’m not sure I ended up eating anything, just drinking liter after liter of beer……

I did a similar thing last night compared to most nights, but didn’t go out. I met a bunch of German dudes who were doing a placement at Deutsche Telekom. Fabien Ullrich and many others. They were a lot of fun to hang out with. I think I am going to end up doubling the number of Facebook friends I have before this trip is over.

I need to work out. Seriously. I am going to go on a diet (again), becuase (as someone who is overweight by a few pounds… like 20-25, I feel very self concious about it when you go to a place like this where it seems like everyone is skinny). Ugh, its 12 hours later and I still feel sehr schecht, so I am going to take it easier tonight. This means going to sleep as soon as I finish this post. Tomorrow, I am going to wake up and go running through the English Gardens, since I have still only seen a small portion of it.

I really like certain parts of Muenchen, but I’m not sure if I could ever see myself living here. My German is slowly improving, and I find the language difference to be one of the hardest parts of living here. Although being here does make me want to be able to speak loads of different languages. Despite the fact that I am getting in a lot of good practice in meeting with people, I still dislike asking people to speak English. It also makes it impossible to strike up a conversation with random people (like on trains or whatever), which is something I sometimes do back home. Some of the advantages include the public transportation, which absolutely destroys driving as a means of transportation. It’s so much better… SOOO MUCH better. The country (and it’s girls) are also very pretty. Although Munich is supposedly very safe, I still don’t really feel that safe (especially at night and after drinking). In Austin (although I know where the parts to avoid are), I feel 100% safe walking around at 4am. While you need to take basic precautions in the hostel, the security here is quite good, and meeting all these people with similar beliefs has somewhat improved my opinion of humanity (although I am obviously only talking to English speakers who are in the hostel, so there is a bit of selection bias).

This is my room at the hostel:

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And the bathroom:

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I have more pictures on my camera, but not that many. I haven’t had a chance to upload them yet.

So, today I took it easy and went to visit Ulrike, Andreas, and Desi. I relaxed for a little bit, took a shower, and at 14:30 I hopped on the S2 going north to Vierkirchen (dat public transit, yo). Ulrike was there to pick me up, and she then drove me back to their pretty house, but not before taking me to the town’s cake shop. It was completely packed, haha, unlike the rest of the town in the rolling countryside of Bayern. We grabbed a bunch of delicious looking pastries and went back to the house. We started to talk about lots of things: languages, German history, sparkling water, and how we are related (Amanda and Ulrike are third cousins, which makes me and Desi – pronounced like “Daisy” – fourth cousins, I believe). Desi and Andreas showed up after a half an hour or so and we all got into conversation. Ulrike is a foreign languages teacher, and Andreas is a information systems consultant. Ulrike showed me some pictures of her 3 month trip to America from back in the day. She went a lot of different places, including College Station, where she even had a photo of her with my Grandfather, and either my Dad or Uncle. I’ll get her to send it to me, since I thought it was pretty darn cool.

Somehow music was brought into the conversation, and it turns out Desi has a microphone, and is learning to play piano and guitar, as well as singing :-) I of course like this a lot – since I try to play the guitar and have, of course, poorly written a song that’s on SoundCloud and you all know that I love to play music. For me, being able to put together a melody and play something, anything, that sounds nice, makes me feel really good. I’m not very good and I don’t practice enough but it doesn’t change the way you feel about it.

I’m writing this to you know at 7:10 am here in Berlin because I am unable to sleep due to 2 of my roommates being loud snorers and the fact that this is the first night I have not been quite drunk when going to bed. My earplugs are buried somewhere in my bag and I don’t feel like going to get them. I might just wait until 8 (which is the accepted time for waking up in the hostel). So I’m laying in my bed writing this.

Anyway, I hear that she is in to music and is taking singing lessons and of course I want to try to play with her. So after a few minutes I went upstairs with her to her giant, very cool room, where she had her equipment, including a keyboard. I tried to play and sing my silly song (Tomorrow) for her but I’m not so good at playing and singing simultaneously. She plays and sings Let It Go from Frozen for me – awwww. I thought she was quite good. She has little dots on her keyboard for the different chords, which seemed like quite a good idea to me. She sang the first and second verses..

We then played some little stuff, just messing around on the instruments and talk about things. Americans (which she doesn’t get to meet that many of,  since they live shop far outside of Munich), Music, School. I say to her: ich spricht kleine Deutsche aber ich habe ein Jahre gelearnt (sp?) in der Schule. Her English is good enough, but she is slightly off on some pronunciation. Perhaps I can learn German from her and she can learn English from me.

At this point it is getting close to time to go out to eat, so I leave her alone to get ready. A few minutes later we head out to a nice restaurant where Andreas and Ulrike held their wedding ceremony. It was freaking burning up, so much so that I had to go to the WC to take off my under shirt. Meanwhile Ulrike gets me ice cubes for my drink, haha.. I ordered a fish salad that came in a huge portion. We have a lot of fun when I say that my favorite German words are “scheisse” and “super cool”. :)

We had fun trying to pronounce difficult words (such as squirrel for her and some crazy long word that means a Czech matchbox for me), but eventually had to call it a night, since Monday is a schoolday.

Lastly, her dad takes me up to the castle in Dachau, which is on a hill, and shows me the landscape. We are not so far away from Munich and you can see the bright Allianz Arena and the Olympic tower illuminating the sky. Deutschland est schoen, even at night. I just want to enjoy this moment, and take it all in – like in Andechs – and as the cool, fresh air kisses my cheeks, I’m just thankful that we live in the present time, in our peaceful and awesome world where I can easily come to a place like this…

Unfortunately it’s getting late, so Andreas takes me to the train station where we wait for 19 minutes before the S2 arrives.

I hopped on and rode back into Munich, and actually had my ticket checked by two big, hard looking dudes. Haha. Check. Gut, gut.

I arrived back at my hostel, took a shower, typed half of this post, talked with my knew roommate who is from Brazil, and headed down to the bar for about 30 minutes before they do last call. I ended up talking with a Portuguese guy who just moved to Munich, and a guy from LA who works at the hostel and who also obviously moved here. Stay up til 3 am then attempt to sleep and fail and here I am. Haha.

I don’t really want to leave Munich.

EuroTrip Day 6

Last night ended up being really crazy. I hung out at the bar with these 3 Swiss guys, as well as a Scottish guy, and some other people. We hung out in the bar at the hostel until last call, and then we headed out to party in Munich.

I don’t really remember what happenned. We went dancing, of course, and drank, but I can’t even tell you the clubs that we went to. I got separated from the people I was with at around 4am, and ended up going to get late night food, before stumbling back to the hostel (I’m not quite sure how I made it back at all, considering that I completely broke my phone and was alone).

Along the way I was also accosted for my money. These 2 big guys just came up to me and asked me for it, but I told them I didn’t have any – which was true. I even showed them my pockets. I guess a drunked idiot tourist is an easy target. In my opinion, the worst part of the night was when we were in a dance club, and I leaned in to say something to some girls, and their immediate initial reaction was like: “if you don’t go away, we’ll call security.” … I was like, okay…

Anyway, I made my way back to the hostel at 5am after stumbling around the streets of Munich and somehow made it back here….

Then Day 6 began. It began quite late, as I was still kind of drunk when I woke up in the morning. I headed to a handyshop and purchased a cheap Android phone, which I ended up returning a few minutes later because it was so bad. I ended up with the European version of the Galaxy S3. So that it my fourth phone in 12 months. Haha.

I then installed some apps and hung out in the common area, talking (or rather attempting to talk with Amy, since she was too busy texting her new boyfriend from Berlin)………. Anyways, I saw the Swiss guys again and then it was time to head out to Allianz arena for the Bayern Munich game.

I hopped on the U5, then the U6, which was completely packed with Bayern fans, and rode for about 30 minutes to the northeast side of the city. The funniest part of the train ride there was seeing people drinking beer on the subway, haha. It was a perfect day for a football match, 60 or 70 degrees and sunny.

I went inside, got a beer, and headed to my seat. I was up on the third level, to Neuer’s left in the first half, about level with the corner of the pitch. I was on the first row, which was pretty cool, since there is nobody to block the game from view. The atmosphere was pretty cool, in the Kop-area (I don’t know another word for this), people were standing the whole time, loudly cheering and bouncing up and down wildly. Bayern completely dominated the game, you could tell from the possession they enjoyed early on that they were an absolute class football team. It’s incredible, their skills, and you really get to see it when you are at the stadium, as you can see their organization and structure a lot better than on the TV.

Lahm opened the scoring around the 20th minute. Tooooooor. “Phillipe”, the announcer yelled. “Lahm!!” the crowd responded. “Phillipe!” “Lahm!” “Phillipe!” “Lahm!”. Then, “How many for Bayern?” (of course this was said in German) – “One”. “How many for Werder Bremen?” – “None”. “Danke!” “Bitte!”. Haha.

They had some other cheers as well, many of which I wouldn’t be able to remember since I don’t really speak German.

Bayern went on to score six goals in total, winning the game with a clean sheet. It wasn’t even fair, 4-0 at halftime and some of the Werder fans were already leaving the stadium.

I would have got some pictures, but I was alone and didn’t want to ask anybody with my horribly broken German. I did take one shaky picture with my smartphone, but alas. At least I’ll have the memories of the game. This reminds me that I unfortunately lost some pictures from my last phone (or at least I can’t access them without a computer).

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Once the game was over, I hopped on the crowded UBahn with what seemed like a million other Bayern fans and returned my ticket to Herr Kretlow. I would’ve had a beer with him, but I wasn’t feeling up to it, and besides I had already spent all my money at the Bayern game (only 5 euro, but…). I came back to the hostel, took a shower, and prepared for another night out.

Mind you I’m already exhausted of going out (or really just drinking in general). I stayed at the hostel bar the whole night, except for going out and upstairs with this group of German guys from Essien, who work at Deutsche Telekom. They were all pretty cool. The didn’t speak as much English at first, but a couple drinks loosened them up and we conversed about a ton of things: language, guns in Texas, what Essien is like, etc, etc.

Wohoo, more Facebook friends (I think I am going to end up doubling the number of friends I have).

We stayed out until last call, where I once again climbed up into bed and fast asleep.

My favorite part of Munich has been the hotel bar, full of it’s international people, and of course the most English-friendly place around.

There are a lot of things I like about Munich, but the language barrier is one of the things I hate. Especially around Germans, I usually keep my mouth shut, as I would be unable to converse with them (this is at places when I am alone, like the football match). I love the U-Bahn, and it’s very scenic in this city, but something about it doesn’t completely work for me. I think it’s fun to come here, but I still prefer Austin.

I extended my stay in Munich by 1 night, since I want to meet Ulrike and Desiree, my extended family members who live here (not sure how we are related…), and the German national rail network has been on strike. Ugh.

I am thinking about skipping Hamburg/Berlin/Cologne, and just doing a few more days in each city I’m going to. So, my next stop will be Amsterdam, on Monday. I need to go to the Haputbahnhof and activate my Eurail pass. I haven’t picked a place to stay, which I will do in a few minutes here.

Anyway, I woke up around 10:30am, and wrote this post to you all. I said goodbye to Amy, as she is going to the BMW museum today, which I have already done. I think my goal for today is to meet Ulrike and Desiree, which could be difficult given the train situation. No matter. I’m not in the mood to do anything, as I’m just a bit exhausted from constantly meeting all these people as well as drinking 1 liter as a standard drink size haha.

I’ll update ya’ll on what I do later, perhaps from the train tomorrow.

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Oh also, this is Desiree apparently.

I’ll try to take more pictures, but I don’t always use my camera a ton (like at Dachau), especially in situations where I feel like I can always get a picture that is the same or better online. And when I am alone, I don’t usually as strangers for a picture, as it seem like a touristy thing to do, and we’ve already established that I don’t like standing out from the crowd.

So, Prost! I’ll see you later, come back and find out how I get to Amsterdam!

EuroTrip Day 5

Woke up somewhat hungover and hopped on a train to buy a ticket for the Bayern game. Got it, then Amy and I rushed to the Marienplatz for our tour of Dachau with Diana – the same tour guide we had for the walking tour, who is an American (Philadelphia) living in Munich. Man, Dachau was intense. It’s in a very pretty area. It ended up just being the three of us, and despite their normal policy, we were able to do the tour anyway! Having a private tour is badass, guys. We saw and talked about the history behind the place, as well as the antisemetic propaganda that was distributed all around Germany at the time.

At first I was having a little trouble connecting with the place, but I really felt it once we walked in, past the “arbeit mach frei” (work will set you free) gate at the front. We walked through the main SS building, as well as the prison cells of the camp. We saw the barracks, where the prisoners were kept, and talked about what life was like here.

Dachau wasn’t the worst camp in terms of numeric casualties, but the brutality that occured was horrible. I felt waves of bad feelings come over my whole body as I wondered how we are capable of such despicable things. It’s just awful.

At the end of the tour we saw the photos of movies taken after liberation in terrible detail. It’s one thing to see photos of a pile of dead bodies, but knowing that you were 10 feet away from where they were 70 years ago and realizing that this occured on the very ground you are walking on is another.

The crematorium was last. There are 2 at Dachau, since the first one was running at overcapacity. The prisoners were forced to build the chambers themselves, designed to burn thousands of emaciated, tortured bodies. The worst part was the gas chamber. Dachau’s didn’t run very often, unlike Auschwitz, since much of Dachau was used for forced labor. I felt physically ill standing at the precipice before walking into the chamber. It’s a small room, with a short ceiling, and fake showerheads used the adorn the ceiling. You can still feel death permeating from the walls. I knew that this was the last thing that scores of people saw.

I walked out quickly.

On the bus back, we friend requested Diana and talked about what its like moving to Germany. Very interesting stuff. Now I’m back at the hostel, it’s 5:22 and I’m typing this up.

Not sure of where I’m going next.

EuroTrip Day 4

Day four… Day four…. Interesting day. Started off a little bit late, after making my last post. First thing that happenned, I was walking down from the top bunk and slipped off, landing on butt. Oops.

On a tip from a friend, Amy & I decided to go to the small town of Andechs, which is about a 75 minute trainride away from Munich. On the train, we went past an extremely scenic lake with the jagged edges of the mountains in the distance. We hopped on a bus and rode into Andechs.

The primary attraction of the town is the brewery. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do a tour, but we did walk around the brewery and took a picture in front of a – get this – Mercedes tractor. Hahah. Only in Germany.

We walked up the hill in the center of the town, on the summit of which stands a large monastery. We walked around a bit but all of the signage was in German, so we were unable to really read anything. The actual church part of the Monastery was extremely ornate, all of it gilded with gleaming gold.

We sat down at ourdoor seating up there, enjoying the views of the countryside. We spotted a guy with a Canada shirt and hat and Amy began talking with him. Turned out he was with a big group of friends, including some of whom who were actually Canadian. We had an interesting conversation about lots of stuff and they showed us pictures from their EuroTrip 30 years ago, which was cool.

They also bought me a beer. Woot.

After they left, Amy and I grabbed a huge fried ham thing and a potato salad, and had another round of drinks. It was pretty good, but I didn’t finish mine. We took a detour walking back to the bus into the countryside. It was the most trippy moment of my time here so far. The cows and horses chilling in the small fenced plots of land, combined with the rushing of the wind and the setting sun and clouds rolling in. The intense green of lush grass, the rolling hills and the monastery rising from the hilltop were almost too much to take. No, I take that back, it was impossible to take it all in. My hearts was pounding hard enough that I’m sure Amy could hear it. Incredible. “This is surreal, I feel like I’m in a movie.”

Yeah……

We eventually made our way back to the hostel where she stayed in and slept and I hung out in the bar for another night of socializing and drinking. Met some girls from Exeter, hung out with my roommate from Australia, talked with a guy from Louisiana and another one from Scotland.

I ended up coming upstairs at some point, and fell fast asleep on my bed.

When I woke up in the morning I realized I hadn’t even taken my shoes off. Haha.

EuroTrip Day 3

Halloooo!!!

Es ist drei tag am meine EuroTrip. Quote of the day: “When I can turn human relationships into a mathematical equation,  I will rule the world.” Apparently it’s my quote. I was told to write it down,  haha. Day three has been most interesting! I woke up yesterday to the rustling of other backpackers as they packed their things up and did their business in the showers. It was just before 8am, but I felt incredibly good, considering it was the first sleep I had had since the start of this trip.

Abdou and I got up, got cleaned and dressed, and headed out the door of the Wombats to begin the next day of our EuroTrip adventure. Unfortunately, he was headed off to Geneve, Switzerland for the next leg of his trip, although he had made a poor choice in days, as the DeutschBahn went on strike at 1pm yesterday. He ended up being stuck on a >6 hour train ride to the border before he could get on a train.

He wanted to come to the BMW museum and welt (basically a car show/dealership), but had to leave within a few hours. So, we parted ways in the Hauptbahnhof station. This left me alone for the first time in 24 hours. I hopped on the surface light rain and headed north to the east side of the Olympic park to see the museum. I had no idea what to expect as I got off the train and began walking towards the large, automotive looking tower that marks the center of BMW’s Munich campus.

After wondering around a little bit, I came upon the entrance to the museum, but it turned out I had arrived a few minutes early. I walked across the bridge to the interestingly shaped Welt and started looking at the new BMW’s there. Obviously there were some nice cars, and I even got a picture of me sitting on a motorbike (which I would never do in real life). The most striking thing was the exhibit for BMW’s new mostly-electric car. It looked like an expensive sportscar (pictures are on my camera, so I will upload them in a few days), but boasted a 300 mile electric range and a 4 second 0-100km/hr. Asking price: 120,000 euro.

Once 10am rolled around and I took some selfies of the tower and BMW signage I headed back to the museum. An interesting site. I bought my ticket for around 8 euro and began to learn about the history of the Bayern Motor Werks group, which was originally founded to build engines for airplanes in the first world war.

They had a lot of stuff to see, ranging from brand-new convertibles to crazy looking bubble cars, to a shielded motorbike, and including their formula one racing cars. I am not an automotive engineer, so some of the exhibits were a little bit too much detail, but even as someone who rages about cars, I found the intracacy of the motor engines to be completely fascinating. There was some artistic advertising work, along with sections of history detailing the use of forced labor during WW2 (something I was aware of, but never connected with BMW).

All in all, quite a good deal. Even without a tour or audio guide, I was able to spend 2 hours there, and didn’t even get into a ton of detail.

At this point I was hoping to go over to the Allianz arena for a tour and to pick up some Bayern Munich swag, but I was getting very hungry. My phone informed me that I was tooking at a train ride of at least 1 hour, so I decided it would be easier to go back to the hostel for food first. I arrived back at the hostel just around lunch time, and in perfect time to find out that I was being moved to a different room due to “renovations”. No matter (I ended up getting a breakfast voucher and 3 free drink cards =D ).

While in the room, my first roommate of the day arrived. Her name is Amy, and she is a Canadian, eh, from Toronto. I found it to be very interesting since she had been backpacking for the last 9 months, and was planning to continue until at least the end of the year, exploring the whole world in the process. Needless to say, I was taken aback and quite envious.

She suggested going on a free walking tour of downtown Munchuen  which started at the Marienplatz, Munich’s famous central square, which houses the *Insert name*, a very cool, Gothic-style cathedral. Our guide’s name was Diana, an import from Philadelphia who loved Munich and decided she didn’t want to leave. She had short, auburn hair and a German-tinged accent. She led our group of two dozen around Munich, sharing quirky stories with us about the “Devil’s church” and an odd cannonball embedded in a church, which was apparently from the time of Napolean, and was actually specifically reinsterted into the walls of the church even after it was firebombed during the second world war. Ahh Germans, haha.

We walked through the Vitualkinmarket (sp?), Munich’s open air marketplace, and ended the tour at Odeonsplatz, which was home to an old building with lions on the front symbolizing freedom of speech and religion. In a twist of irony, it was Hitler’s favorite place to speak publicly in Germany. Amy and I enjoyed her sense of humor, and signed up for the Dachau concentration camp tour (likely to be a bit darker, and significantly less funny) on Friday.

Honestly I felt bad for the Germans at certain points. For some of them, whenever they walk around downtown they here tour guides bringing up Hitler and one of the darkest times in western history. Granted, it’s all the past now, but they have a stereotype of Naziism, and it is difficult to escape it’s shadow, despite the fact that many of the people who are my age’s parents were born well after the war and obviously were not complicit in the atrocities commited by the Nazi’s.

She also told us that we Americans have national pride, something the Germans lack to a certain extent. We may be fat and boisterous and drive around big cars, but we love being American and being a part of the building of the new world, which was a conglomeration of many peoples and nationalities that aimed to create a better world, unencumbered by the weight and pain of history to hold us back. This was fascinating to me. Everywhere you go here you cannot escape history, the fact that these things actually occurred, and they happenned here, in this spot. It’s just not something you feel or think about in the USA.

Once the tour ended and we tipped Diane (who needed the money to pay for her graduate degree, as she was trying to become a teacher). We headed off to see the rest of the English garden (a gigantic garden in Munich) and found the surfers. There are apparently some peoplewho built a rock formation into one of the rivers such that it created a surfable wave, and some of them would just spend all day surfing in the cold water in the middle of Munich, hundreds of miles away from the coast. (I have some pictures of this on my camera, again, coming soon).

At this point it was almost 6:00pm, so we headed over to a well-rated restaurant for beer and schnitzel. The atmosphere ended up being a classy, romantic one – outfitted with candles and with wreaths of hops adorning the windows. The schnitzel I had was nontraditional, but extremely delicious nonetheless. Amy and I conversed about her trips and travels and our respective homes and lives. It was very enjoyable. We spent about an hour and a half before we stumbled back to the hostel.

I learned a lot about her, as I had with Abdou and some of the other people (such as Ted, the surfer from California). She is a UEX engineer and graphic designer, and had worked a couple different jobs before deciding that she wasn’t happy and decided to pursue a whole, year-long, worldwide trip.

Once we arrived at the hostel, we ened up going to the bar, where I got way too drunk (again) and found myself conversing with a silly American from DC, 2 guys from Egypt, and some other people at different points. I actually migrated over to the Euro Youth Hostel once our bar closed, haha, which is where I met these guys. Needless to say, it was just fascinating meeting people from these different places, and exchanging views on life and people. It just reinforced my belief that most people in the world just want to live their lives without causing anyone harm, just enjoy the time we have been given without question and without harboring hatred and fear.

At some point, I stumbled over to McDonalds (drunk people food, over here) and then found myself back in my nice warm bed at the hostel. I passed out and woke up again at 8am, freshened up, and wrote this post. So I have a free day in Munich today, I am doing Dachau tomorrow with Amy, and will be going to the Bayern game on Saturday.

=D

I’ll keep in touch. PROST!!

EuroTrip Day 2

So I barely slept at all on the plane. It was basically impossible. I arrived dehyrdrated at the Munih airport with puffy red eyes and a headache. Then proceeded to be really confused about which ticket I needed to get. Yeah I basically just guessed then got on the train. As I’ve noticed here, they don’t usually actually check your ticket at all for the busses or the trains, which is different from places in the US. Although one of the people I met at the hostel told me they got a 40 euro penalty after they were caught without a ticket by a couple scary, burly dudes…

I first started by talking with two women from Denver, Colorado named Rebecca and Mary. Right as we were walking out we were joined by a guy from Algeria named Abdou. Essentially we walked around downtown Munich, as they only had 1 day in Munich. We took pictures at the Marienplatz and got to see the southern tip of the English park. Eventually we found ourself drinking beer and eating a pretzel at the Hofbrauhau (pictures coming soon!).

Abdou and I then split off from them and made our way back to the Hostel. After getting moved in and a little freshened up, we headed up to the Olympiastadion hoping to get a tour. And let me say, the Olympic Park was fabulous. One of the most scenic parks I’ve seen in a long time. We wondered over to the stadium only to find nobody there (I accidentally looked up tours at the Berlin Olympiastadion). No matter, we headed for the Olympic tower, the 150+ meter phallic structure in the middle of the park with an observation deck.

We got there at the perfect time, just as the sun was setting. It was gorgeous. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera and was forced to take pictures with my phone. Nonetheless, I think I captured some of the splendid scene: the dark, ragged edges of the mountains in the distance, the rolling hills and small, duck-filled lakes of the olympic park, the Frauenkirche, BMW tower, and Allianz Arena.

We stayed up there for probably an hour, talking with a girl who was a Russian exchange student studying business in Munich. As we headed back to the hostel it started to get dark outside.

We got back to the hostel where we had our tiny free drinks and began socializing (which is easy to do). At first we talked with two Korean girls who didn’t speak much English.. I was having a bit of difficulty with that so I thought to myself, why not down some Jaegerbombs? 3 bombs later and I was in the common area talking with a bunch of random people I don’t remember. I then proceeded to drink 2 full liters of beer as we met a guy from California and another guy from Florida.

We decided to go out on the town and hit up a couple bars after getting ourselves completely lost. Somehow we ended up seperated, but I found the California surfer guy outside the hostel and we started talking with two cute French girls. Apparently they loved my dimples =D

Eventually made it back inside and completely passed out for a nice night of sleep.

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The Olympic Park

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Sunset over the Munich Olympic Stadium

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You can see the BMW tower, Allianz arena, and a Ferris wheel!

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EuroTrip Day 1

October 13th, 2014

Currently I’m sitting in the Philadelphia Airport after having gorged myself on a cheesesteak from “Eat at Joes”, which supposedly has one of the better cheesesteaks in the airport. It was hot and fresh and tasted pretty good, although I thought the fries were just mediocre, to be honest. I’m on my way to Munich, in the Bavaria region of Germany to start my 33 day backpacking trip across central Europe. I’ve never travelled alone internationally before (where I wasn’t meeting someone at my destination), so this is going to be very interesting.

The day didn’t start that well, as we got off to a bit of a late start and I arrived at the Austin airport a bit late, got into the first-class line since I was <60 minutes until departure. I was then accosted by the woman working the checkin counter (apparently I'm disgusting since I don't fly first class). Yikes. She was in a bad mood, complaining about how many people were checking their guns, haha. Oh well.

Thus, after a 3 hour flight, I arrived safely in Philly. My flight doesn't start boarding for another 3 hours. All in all, I should arrive in Munich early in the morning local time tomorrow.

My rough itinerary for the trip is as follows:
Oct 14 - Arrive in Munich
Oct 18 - Bayern Munich vs Werder Bremen
Oct 19 - Arrive in Hamburg
Oct 22 - Arrive in Amsterdam
Oct 29 - Arrive in Belgium (haven't decided where exactly to go, perhaps Bruges, Belgium, or Leuven)
Oct 5 - Arrive in Liverpool
Oct 8 - Liverpool FC vs Chelski
Oct 10 - Go meet Tom in Newcastle or Leeds or London
Oct 14 - Arrive in Paris
Oct 21 - Paris->London->Charlotte->Austin

Woah. Seems kinda daunting. I’ll keep you posted :)

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