- The toilet paper here is so soft.
- I love my family.
- I love my dogs.
- GREEN GRASS TREES AND A BREEZE
- A banana actually tastes better without peanut butter-what?! Has my obsession vanished?
- We have the best showers. Long heat (I wasn't even at max heat!) and lots of water pressure.
- Back to civilization-no more bushy brows. I am so clean and waxed.
- The English language is so easy. Never take for granted your ability to express yourself.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Woke up bright and early again. Drove to the gas station and filled up on gas. I hadn’t slept very well—like everyone, so I was in need of a cup of coffee. Go inside to get a cup of coffee. It’s kind of a blur at this point, but essentially, our conversation started in German, switched to English, but clearly I still didn’t understand her, so she stated (not asked, mind you): “You, big coffee”. Exactly. You read my sleepy mind.
Got to the airport, hung out, and boarded. Sat between two German men and behind two devil Spanish children and their mother. The Spanish aren’t very into disciplining their children. The whole time the children are screaming and whining (they were probably ages 4 & 6). Of course both German men grunt at the mother and yell in German for her to discipline them (I’m assuming, since I don’t know German). She gives them the blank stare and continues with her non-discipline. However, when one daughter’s hair gets messed up, the mom screams at her child and tells her everyone is looking and that she cannot have her hair so ugly and that she only gets four gummy bears because she is already fat. Way to go Spanish parenting.
Got off the plane in Málaga, jumped on the train to Sevilla. Writing from here now.
Looking out the window—maybe I’m too hard on Spain. It’s pretty here. My Spanish has improved a little. I like my host mom and her family. Classes are more or less reasonable. But I know it’s not my country. I could vacation in Spain and enjoy it. But it’s not home and I could never even think of calling it home. Home is in the US with people I love. But Germany could very well be my home too. The climate is more to my liking, the food is pretty good (apple everything?!), the people are outgoing and friendly, they are active, I look like a German. All that’s left is to learn the language. And convince someone to come with me. I think it’d be fun to live there a year or two straight out of college. I’ve never felt a connection like that with a place before. We’ll see what comes of it. But for now I’m super content with my vacation. Now to edit all my photos!!!
Link to Munich Album:
Wake up bright and early and drive to Munich. No messing around this time—we took the autobon and we arrived on time haha. Got up to my current record, 195 km/hour. Crazy part was I was following someone and losing ground.
Get to Munich and start off with the open air market. This was by far the coolest market I’ve ever been too. Part of it may have been that Easter was this weekend and so they were selling lots of flowers and other Easter goodies, but either way it was sweet.
After walking there we walked through the city hitting up lots of the tourist sites—it is such a pretty city! I think one of the reasons that I like European cities so much is the fact that they don’t have skyscrapers; the cities are much more inviting and intimate that way. I’ll have to look up the names of all the sites; you see so much in one day that you forget everything you saw.
We walked up into the English Gardens. Megan Dale: You and I would own this park. It was awesome!!! They are so active here. In Spain all they do is lay out and drink. In Munich there were Germans surfing in the river (which was super high) and in the open grassy area people played soccer, volleyball, Frisbee, and extreme tight rope walking (slack rope?). These kids were insane! They were on the slack rope jumping and twisting and flipping. A jersey shore look-a-like tried it in his boxers. Hilarious. Tool.
In the Gardens we walked to the Chinese Tower. Sat in the shade after getting a tan in the park—the sun is so much more friendly to pale skin here! After we headed back into the city in search of Haxen—ham hocks. We got back to the market and sat in the biergarten with our liters and haxen and brezen (pretzels). Yum. Divine. We hung out at the biergarten from 6 to 10 or so, making friends with a few Germans, a Frenchman married to a Mexican, and a drunk Canadian with a crazy mustache. Also, I love the random men dressed in traditional German attire. The hat with the pins, suspenders, short shorts, high socks and shoes—seeing one of them walk by is like reaching into a box of random candy and blindly pulling our your favorite kind. It’s delightful.
After our stay in the biergarten we walked around town and hit up a few bars. But everything was very overpriced and closing down. Around 1130 or so we packed ourselves back into the car and I drove to Memmingmen. No worries, I hadn’t drinken anything, Mom. We spent the night in the car in the Netto parking lot from our first day; so things had come full circle. It was a good last day. Everyone got along and laughed and relaxed; it was the perfect ending to our trip.
Wake up bright and early to grab a coffee and head out into the mountains. Today was going to be our big hike. Bad timing with last night’s unsuccessful run, but I wrapped it up, took some Advil, and went with everyone. After some “discussion” about where we would hike, we finally settled on a trail that went up a valley. It was more or less flat until after two hours into it. Then it went up pretty quickly. My foot was pretty bad. We stopped at a waterfall and drank the mountain water (it’s so freaking clear here!) and I iced my foot--in a mountain stream-how cool! (haha literally) Refreshed, we kept on moving for another hour or so. I called break and we stopped and had lunch on a grassy hill top looking down into the valley. I enjoyed some super seedy bread and a quarter watermelon. Y.U.M.
Knowing I had to walk all the way back, I said I was done but that I’d meet them back by the car/lake. Kelsey came with me, and Ryan and Christie took off up the mountain. While Kelsey and I walked back, Christie and Ryan apparently summated (sp?) a mountain. These are not small mountains. Ryan had to go through deep snow (in shorts and a tee) and rockclimb up the last bit. I think it made his trip! Kelsey and I enjoyed the break time. We sat by the lake and got in some girl talk while we duck watched—this was a hilarious group of ducks.
Drove home and everyone passed out early.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Woke up bright and early for the Sound of Music Tour!!! Yahoo! Just me on this one—I’m the only fanatic lol. It was awesome. Travelling solo is a great way to make friends! I made friends with two girls studying abroad and traveling for two weeks; I also met a girl from Brazil traveling with her parents—we spoke in a mix of Spanish and Portuguese.
On the tour we visited tons of sites from the movie: we saw both palaces, the first one which played the back. We drove past the abbey and a fort thing they used in the movie. The other palace had a private drive, but I snapped a photo of the front. We saw the gazebo (recreated/moved) where the two love scenes were.
We saw a lot of places. Drove out to the Mountains and Lakes District and settled in the town of Moondsee. Absolutely picturesque! The church from the movie was there and prepping for Easter. It had pink arches and dark wood framed paintings—no description of mine can do it justice. The whole tour was awesome. We sang all of the songs from the movie on the bus; I got a little emotional on the last song—Edelweiss—reminds me of my daddy.
After I walked through the Maribel Gardens, where the children ran and skipped on their day off.
Returned to the hotel and waited a few hours for my roomies to get back from their morning. My foot was still bothering me and I had a lot of homework so I called the afternoon off and did work on my computer. I got some stuff done and took an hour nap.
It was a gorgeous day, so after my nap I strapped on my running shoes and went for a run. I even ran across the footbridge the Von Trapp children ran across in the movie! It was an excellent decision to go for a run until it was an awful decision to go for a run. My arch pretty much snapped. Limp home; however, it was limping along Salzburg’s beautiful scenery at sunset—so it wasn’t so bad.
I met up with my roommates again at the hotel. Showered and got ready for a night out on the town. We went to a Bavarian restaurant for dinner; nobody ate much, but my soup was great. Afterwards we walked into the old district; all the bars were along the river. Not a huge selection. My two favorites were a karaoke bar—the place was absolutely pack and the whole bar was singing along to the singer with the mike. My roommates weren’t too happy there so we moved on. Eventually we settled on an Irish pub. How is it that in every city in Europe, the bar that the locals recommend is the Irish pub? Haha, well it was a good recommendation. Live acoustic music, wooden walls, and chill people. Perfect atmosphere. We met a few characters: the Bosnian excited to find people who spoke English, the German who liked caressing faces and told Kelsey that the peeing was international, and the creepy German with glasses, a mustache, and a leather jacket who didn’t say much but would stand next to you and stare. Hahaha but we all had a great time and danced to the music.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Wake up and check out of the hostel. Kelsey and I wanted to shop; unfortunately we had one debby-downer who is currently driving me crazy. I didn’t get any German souvenirs yet, so hopefully he’ll back off in Munich and quit complaining.
Headed for Salzburg. It’s supposed to be a two and a half hour trip, which we somehow stretched to eight hours. I almost shot someone. I drove the whole way; I love driving through the mountains but our resident backseat drivers made me want to drive off a mountainside. It was scenic, but when we pulled over at 4pm for lunch I was ready for some alone time.
Fortunately I found a fantastic place for our lunch; it was a cute park with lots of lush grass and sun to sleep in. While they slept I took off for a walk through the park.
Found fantastic views of a castle and made new friends—they were maybe 5 and 6 years old. I was wandering through the woods and stopped to admire their fort. They ran up and started speaking to me in German. I shook my head, put my hand on my chest, and said, “English”. The little blonde boy looked to his friend then to me and said, “lkjadkd” and the other said “oadkjtbj”. Their names—how cute! I laughed and said, “Nein nein, Michelle”. They smiled and started speaking German again. I waved goodbye, pointing to their fort and giving a thumbs up (universal, no?). They shouted “Tank-jew, and Bahee-bahee” = “Thank-you, bye-bye”. Adorable overload.
Breakfast search—apparently no stores are open on Sundays in Germany either. However, people eat ice cream here all the time! The only stores open were ice cream stores—not even the bakeries were open. We finally found one that sold waffles—and kaffe. Delicious.
Later we went to the Neuschwanstein castle. The tour was totally worth it. I cannot describe how absolutely fantastic the castle was. The outside is literally exactly how every Disney castle looks; the inside was even more incredible. Every wall was covered in rich colored paintings—my favorite kinds too: realistic with horses and woods and pale girls. The castle was narrower than it looked. The wood was dark and rich and intricately carved Unfortunately pictures weren’t allowed inside, but I’ll grab a few off of Google to throw in here.
Later we went back to the room. I can’t remember what we did until dinner. Since people are bargain shopping for meals we ended up getting pizza-ehh. But it was Hawaiian so that’s okay. What made it worth it were the men working the shop. I love the people here! Hahaha Italian Germans—and extremely politically incorrect. Christie is half-Mexican, so it’s hard to pick out her ethnicity. The owner asked in his broken English if she was Asian and when she said no he promptly showed her how Asian eyes go and called her ChingChangChong—Konichiwa. So funny. We saw him later at the bar we went to; I smiled and said hi, and he came over and Asian bowed to Christie. Priceless.
View out of the window of Thorne Hall:
The lake on the right is where we took pictures from the day before. We hiked over the farthest mountain on the right up to the yellow castle in between the lakes:
First Full Day in Fussen.
While Ryan slept, Kelsey and I decided to go exploring. Christie joined us too. It looks exactly like Beauty and the Beast’s forest—we were literally walking through a Disney movie. Well we got all of a quarter mile before we ventured off the path. There was this rock really close to the path that looked perfect for sitting, but then we got to that rock and there was one a little bit higher, that looked even better. And so on for a few rocks, and then we decide, why not climb this mountain side to sit on top of the cliff? And up we go.
It only took us a solid 10 minutes to realize this was probably not our smartest idea, but the goal was still so enticing. Up and up we go, crawling on hands and knees sideways up this hill at greater than a 50 degree incline. Mind you this hill is covered in a layer of leafs about six inches deep and under that wet, mossy earth. I don’t have cleats. I have everyday running shoes. There were times when I slipped and Christie literally two-handed my cheeks and pushed my butt back up the hill. So we get to the bottom of the cliff.
Christie presses forward. I start directing Kelsey down. Christie finally caves. Now to get down. We all look down. Straight down. We’ve probably climbed 150 feet or more up this slippery mountain side that has absolutely zero grips and few trees. So what do I do? I pick a tree about 20 feet down, sit on my butt and slide. Not too scary. Pick another tree about 30 feet down. Sit on my butt and slide. Starting to get fun. And so it continues until we’re back on the hiking path, covered in mud but totally exhilarated with plenty of new quotes.
Catch up with Ryan and continue our hike. Hike up another mountain until we get to one with an up close and personal view of the two castles. Perfect place for a lunch break. Delish. Walk home, take a wrong turn that ended up working out and walked on some weird Christian pathway. There were three crosses that marked a stunning view of Fussen. Later there was an opening with a small shrine to Mary, a cross with a snake and another rock statue of Jesus carrying the cross. Very appropriate for Easter week!
Once we get into town we go back to Netto for dinner. Grab some grub and book it home—it’s almost five and I haven’t peed since I woke up. Pee then grab the car. Head towards the mountains. After a few misturns, finally find the perfect worn down road that heads straight into the Alps. Up we go in our cute station wagon Audi. At some point we pull over and walk up a creek. Find the perfect spot. We spend an hour or two finding wood and kindling while watching the sunset. Our little gorge turned golden and rosy as the rays came through. An amazing sunset.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Spend the night in Málaga Airport; we all shared a tiny cubbie. Literally, we got all of our luggage plus four people into this little nook in the wall that was maybe 5’x5’x5’ (See pic). Freezing, so we didn’t get much sleep but the night went by fast, so good overall. Our flight took off at 630am; we arrived in Memmingem around 930. Rented a sweet car—how it worked out in our favor I don’t know. I asked for an automatic shift that could fit four people's luggage. We’re driving an AUDI. Hot and bothered. I have always wanted to drive one. And I drove it on the autobon. Fast. Real fast. Crazy fast..
Before I scare my parents, we’ll move on to Lindau, our first stop in Germany.
Pause, back up, rewind to before the autobon. There’s a grocery chain named Netto, which we four of Team America like to call “Neat-o” because it has an awesome fresh bakery and discount on all grocery items. The grocery stores are kicking here!!! Germany knows what’s up! So many delicious items that you can’t find in Spain or the US for that matter. Ugh, drooling. Literally. Also, Dad, this one’s for you. I asked for a kaffe, mit milch. They understood, and I got my coffee with milk. I don’t know what I would have done without my German lessons from you.
Lindau—well after getting there in record time (thank you autobon+Audi) we cross the bridge and go into the “Old Town”, which is an island that goes out into a stunning lake. Walked around town and took plenty of pictures, stared in awe at the Alps across the lake. Decided that some day I’d live in Germany. Weren’t there for very long as there wasn’t much to do, but it was so pretty. Really quaint and could not get over the lake+mountains+sun+island combo. Oh, we saw the original wall too, which was pretty sweet.
Lindau (Painted churches):
Get back in the car, stop listening to our very polite British GPS woman and take off down a road that looks super windy on our old-school map. Best decision ever—so beautiful. We drove slow, pissed off some Germans driving with a purpose, and enjoyed the views. Our all-nighter caught up quick so we pulled over and walked into the woods.
We ate our trail mix and all went our separate ways to find a place to take a nap. I slept in a sun spot in the middle of the woods, but it got a little overcast later and the cold woke me up. Walked over and found Kelsey. She was looking over a drop off. Valley dressed in pines and blooming trees, and church bells floating in off the wind. Christie woke up and joined us “Nature is all over me”; had to wake up Ryan eventually because we were freezing and he was still out.
Drive into Fussen, check into our hostel which is super nice! Kelsey and I share a bed and Ryan and Christie have a bunk bed. There are kiddie designs on the wall and a hilarious picture from Sea World. Go Shamu—you’re in Germany!
Later we just walked around town. Found a pretty park, took pictures, window shopped. Ate Turkish Kebab Crepes for dinner which were fantastic.