EuroTrip Day 16

Damnit. I got onto the train in Bruges to go to Leuven and realized that I left my bluetooth keyboard back at the hostel! Oh no. So after waiting for 30 minutes for this train (since I missed the last one by 1 minute), I had to unboard and haul back to the hostel to retreive it. My plan was to write to you from the train, but now I figured that I will just chill out at a Belgian bar and drink my “La Guillotine” while I recount the story of yesterday.

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(I have no idea why this is upside down)

I got started a bit late yesterday, but it was fine – there isn’t that much to see in Bruges. In the lobby I met up with the Russian girl, Anastasia, and the Tasmanian/Thai girl named Grace. We were joined by a couple of Canadian guys who were studying abroad in Dublin and were here, like many others, on Europe’s 1 week “fall break”.

Mmm. This is quite a good beer that I am drinking. I’ve actually had to shy away from some of the 12% beers here, since they have been hurting my stomach a bit.

There was another girl, from Los Angeles, but I don’t remember her name at this exact moment. Anyway, we decided to climb the large tower in the center of town – the Belfort. We wandered in the general direction of town center (not too hard to get lost in Bruges, guys) and found ourselves staring up at a giant church tower that was originally built in the 13th century. Of course we joked about how if a building in America is older than WWII then we put a plaque on it :)

After waiting in line for twenty minutes or so, we ascended the spiral staircase of 366 steps. There were several spots to get out and take a break, and each time we resumed the climb the staircase grew smaller and smaller, until it was basically only wide enough for one person. At the top, we saw the bells (which went off at 44 minutes past in a cacaphony of dischordous (sp?) notes). I took quite a few pictures (which are still on the camera – yes, I will upload them soon) from the top and got some selfies taken as well. Unfortunately, it was rainy and foggy, so we couldn’t see too much from the top, but I love views from altitude (nothing except the UT Tower and Mt. Grouse in Vancouver beats Munich) , so I didn’t mind.

After we came down, we wandered around town to the restaurant Aquaria (sp?), where we dined on fine croquets (which I have never had before) and Tripel Carmeliet.

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After this, we walked around town in a sort of brownian walk (although I sort of took us in the same direction as the walking tour the day before had). Eventually we headed to t’Poatersgat, a bar that my older brother recommended. I think we showed up a little too early, because we couldn’t figure out how to get in! After some time we headed back to the hostel, after having lost Grace and the American gal and being about to lose Anastasia as well.

We reached the hostel, had a few drinks, chatted a bit, and finally found ourselves talking to a French guy who had walked over 800 km from his hometown to Bruges, and who intended to walk another 1,000 km to Italy! He was a muscician, a free spirit, intending to pay for his journey by busking and doing odd jobs. Haha. He said he had seen a documentary about it and decided that doing a walking journey was what he wanted to do.

After some strange beers I could barely stomach, we headed to a place called “Ribs n’ Beer”. Haha. I had been talking about it all day, after having seen that it was rated number 4! out of all the restaurants in Bruges. We walked 1.2 km in empty streets (yes, empty at 8pm – there are 0 nighclubs in Bruges) and drizzle until we arrived to find out that we actually needed a reservation. Oops.

We sat outside in the drizzle anyway – I didn’t mind, after all it doesn’t really rain all that much in Austin anyway, and rain to me means huge droplets pounding the Earth in an absolute torrential downpour.

Anyway, we ordered our all-you-can-eat ribs (18 euros, 1 full rack to start, 1/2 racks afterwards) and, of course, beer. I ordered the spicy ones.

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Holy crap guys, this was BY FAR the best meal I’ve had on this trip, perhaps even in a couple months (no offense, Mom). The sauce was perfect, a little sweet, but also hot and very barbequey. Man, thinking about it makes me want to go back for lunch :). The ribs were slow-cooked, and were basically unattached to the bones completely, they were so tender.

Mmmm. I gobbled up my rack really fast and was totally satisfied and satiated. We were eventually moved upstairs, briefly conversed with a 3 person British family, and finished our drinks while watching Anderlechs play soccer on TV. We paid for the travelling bard’s meal and headed back to the hostel.

Upon arriving, we talked with Nastia (short name for Anastasia), and drank some beers. We spent like an hour using the word-magnets to come up with a poem (a very dirty poem, which someone eventually rearranged into a phallic shape) in order to win free beer. We won, yay, and recieved 25 cl of Jupiler (about 1 euros 50) haha.

I talked with people for a bit, including a Russian couple who were human rights reporters, until eventually calling it a night at around midnight when they shutdown the common area.

I had a pleasant sleep (dreaming strange things – I’ve come to realize that the contents of someone’s dreams tells you more about them as a person and their thought processes than anything about the world), and awoke around 10am. Checked out. Walked to the train station, and you know the rest.

It’s interesting, I’ve come to be tired already on this trip. I mean, I was already tired in Munich after a couple days, but that was because I was not sleeping enough and drinking too much. I’m tired in a different way now. Kind of an emotional way. When you travel like this, you meet some really cool people from totally diferent backgrounds and with different (or similar) perspectives. You make some friends for a day, or for a week, but you are saying goodbye to people every day. Nothing is permanent, I know this, but it does suck having to leave these people every day. And yes, wherever you go next you will meet more people, but I dislike this commoditizing attitude. It’s worse when you latch on to someone or someplace because, as Desi said, the show must go on. You are here only for hours, a fraction of a year, a blink in a lifetime – and your life: your friends, family, job, and home are a whole world away. You wish you could bring others into your world, but you forget how difficult it was to even leave in the first place, and you don’t think about how the others must feel. It’s a strange life: the life of a traveller. Many of the people I’ve met have different attitudes about it than me. Many of them grew up in lots of different places (such as Grace), and never really grew any sort of attachment to one particular location – never really felt they truly had a “home”. As they say, home is where you hang your hat. This is so different from my life, where my parents placed a huge emphasis on stability. When we moved into the house back in 1998, they promised me we would never change school districts until I graduated, and they kept that promise. I’ve lived in Austin my whole life. It’s interesting how you can let a place become a part of you. The particular winding of the roads, the smells of the seasons, the twisted oaks, the eclectic foods all come to be a part of who and what you are. It’s so hard to imagine what my life would be like without those things.

It’s also interesting to meet these people from around the world. When you live somewhere for a while, and especially when you are very busy, the entire scope of your thoughts shrinks down to your immediate surroundings. You see the people walking around you and you know they all are living their own lives, all the time you have been around and longer, they’ve been doing a similar thing – enduring suffering and boredom, engaging in conflict, striving for an achievement. And there are so, so many of them. You see this in your immediate surroundings, and you can easily connect with it – of course, you and them live similar lives.

But when you go somewhere far away, somewhere you have only really imagined and never really known, and you see the people there, the absolute immensity of the world and humankind stares you in the face. For example, when I met Desi & her family, and they mentioned 9/11, I realized this. I thought: Wow, I’ve only known these people for a couple days, they live so far away in a strange country, and all the 13 years of life since that day they’ve been going about their business, as unaware of me as I was of them. It’s strange. Imagining all that time of their lives is almost as difficult as imagining the time from before your birth. Since I’m sort of young, I’ve really only been conciously aware of the passing of time for maybe 16 or 17 years. 1960 seems like a really long time ago. 1200 AD is almost too long to really comprehend for me….

Sorry, I’ve had a few 12% beers :), I’ll stop my odd, pointless, philosophical rant now.

I think I might chill in Bruges a bit longer – maybe go drink a couple more beers and go eat some ribs again. Thanks for reading!

EuroTrip Day 15

Alright, I’m going to try to keep this a little brief, because it’s already 11am on my second (and last) day in Bruges. I rode the intercity trains for like 4 hours to get here. With the EuRail pass it was really easy, all I had to do was whip it out and I was golden. The morning started off extremely foggy. Once we got into Belgium it had cleared a little, and I got to see some interesting countryside. It almost reminded me of Iowa or Minnesota or something.

After listening to music and dozing off for the whole morning (oh, and accidentally getting off my train too early, in Brussels-Central not Brussels-Midi) I finally arrived in the little town of Bruges. I grabbed my bag and walked 1.3 km through the park between the train station and the southwest corner of town. It was a very scenic park. The first thing I noticed about Bruges was that it felt a lot more open than Amsterdam (Apparently Dutchies don’t know there is such a thing as grass).

Very scenic. It’s cool seeing the medieval streets, apparently Bruges is one of the oldest, mostly unchanged cities in the world. The buildings are all a bit smaller, the streets uneven cobblestones, and the two churches’ steeples scraping the sky. There are some cool canals here as well, but less dense. The first thing I noticed was all the couples and families, a sight which was somewhat lacking in Amsterdam.

Anyway, I wondered around for a bit, taking pictures. Then I did a 2 hour walking tour at 3pm and got to eat some Belgian chocolate and waffles.  Took a ton of photos, and walked back with a Russian and American girl to the hostel for beer tasting at 7pm. I chilled with a group of people from all over North America during the tasting, and we tried to make a pub crawl, but missed it and ended up chilling at this cool bar. We ended up talking to a couple Irish dudes and playing some pool.

My stomach had been bothering me all night (probably from the strength of the Belgian beers), and I excused myself to leave the group and go back to the hostel. About 15 feet away from the door I realized I was going to vomit, so I ran back into the bathroom and did my short business of puking basically nothing. I managed to make it back to the hostel and trying to sleep for a little while before puking again. Yikes, it’s my first vomit on this trip you guys!!! Success. (not).

Alright, I’m chilling in the lounge with some Canadian dudes who are studying in Dublin, as well as the Russian and American girl, so I’m going to sign off.

I’ll keep the blog updated.

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EuroTrip Days 11-14

Haha.

Well first off sorry about not writing to you. Amsterdam was a total hoot. I also didn’t exactly know how to write about some of the material, and I ended up falling asleep pretty early most nights.

So the lines for stuff in Amsterdam was really long. I did end up making it into the National Museum, which was pretty cool. I decided not to go to the Anne Frank house when I saw the lines, and I’ve already been to Dachau, I honestly don’t really feel like hearing about WWII or Nazi’s anymore. I tried to get in the Van Gogh museum on my last day, but much of Europe has been on a 1 week break this week, which has led to the overcrowding. Whatever, I got to walk around a lot.

I got some pictures with my camera, mostly on the first day, as well as some of the pics I uploaded to Facebook. Let’s just say Amsterdam was chill. Very very chill. I mean there were at least 6 coffeeshops within a 5 minute walk of the hostel. This made the environment at the hostel quite a bit different from Wombats in Munich. There, everyone was drinking pitchers in a huge bar area; here, you could sit in the smoking lounge or patio and sometimes nobody would even talk to you. It was a bit quieter overall in that sense. I even noticed my fast paced vocal patterns slowing down quite a bit to match with the hostel environment.

Hmm, what else to talk about? Obviously Amsterdam is a pretty city, but not exactly my style of pretty. Yeah there are lots of canals which are cool, and there are tons of relatively old leaning buildings everywhere, but it wasn’t exactly my style. I think just as the aesthetic of the city goes, I like Bruges and Munich more. The whole city just seems a tiny bit seedy: touristy traps, sex museums, red light distict (which everyone just referred to as “the Red Light”), coffeeshops everywhere… It’s a city which I think you really need to go with some mates from home, because otherwise you are doing stuff with people who are basically strangers, or you just don’t go because you are alone.

I think I spent a few too many days in Amsterdam. I did end up shortening my stay by 2 days, and moving onto Bruges, Belgium. I did meet some cool people (not sure how many are on my Facebook), such as a pair of Malaysian girls, a English musician named Alfee, a couple cool Aussies and Canadians, and a bunch of crazy English lads. Overall, lots of fun. Don’t spend more than 5 days there, and if you are alone/are predisposed to partying, just know that the time can FLY by. It was my 4th day in Amsterdam before I even knew it.

I did walk around the Red Light district at night a few times. It’s kinda funny, honestly. No, I didn’t go in, but I heard plenty of stories, haha. Not sure the next time I’m going to go to Amsterdam ;)

Alright, now it’s time for me to write me recap of yesterday’s adventure in Bruges.

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).

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.

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.