Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Observations from Abroa-HOMEEE

So I haven't been home 24 hours yet, but here are my thoughts upon arrival:

  1. The toilet paper here is so soft.
  2. I love my family.
  3. I love my dogs.
  5. A banana actually tastes better without peanut butter-what?! Has my obsession vanished?
  6. We have the best showers. Long heat (I wasn't even at max heat!) and lots of water pressure.
  7. Back to civilization-no more bushy brows. I am so clean and waxed.
  8. The English language is so easy. Never take for granted your ability to express yourself.
Among my other activities, I have played Clocks on the piano, taken the dogs for a walk, went barefoot outside, cooked apple chips, and made doctors appointments. Possibly off to the bars for my first bar experience in the States!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Time is curious

Time is a strange thing.

I could really elaborate on this one, but I'll refrain.

Albert Einstein said "The only reason for time is to keep everything from happening at once." Well that's false Mr. MCsquared. Because it's Tuesday of my last week in Spain and everything is happening at once and time is not playing fair. Packing, studying for finals after essentially 3 weeks of break, trying to squeeze in time to say bye to friends, and Manoli's daughter going into labor (first grandbaby-yay!). This week needs to halt and let us check up!!

Reality check:
Just packed my luggage for my weeklong stay in Wales (I leave Saturday).
One suitcase is packed for Chicago already.
I'm planning out my wardrobe for my last four days in Sevilla. Have to pack the rest.

Didn't I just unpack this all? I know Bailey was just giving me a hug on the floor while Mom and Dad sorted through my mess.

Did I really just live abroad for 5 months? It couldn't have been that long.. 6 weeks, maybe.

Time, you are a curious creature.

My bud Ben Franklin said, "You may delay, but time will not."
Shoot. Procrastination, move aside; final in my poetry class begins in seven and a half hours and I should probably study. Bleh.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rejoneo (Bullfight on Horseback)

Hello everyone!!

Happy mothers' day to every wonderful lady celebrating, and a big round of applause to my mom!!
Since I couldn't be with my American mommy, I took my mama espanola to her very first bullfight ever-we both loved it!

A rejoneo is a bullfight on horseback. I liked it much better than the bullfights done on foot. When it's on foot, there are almost ten men against one bull. But with a rejoneo, it's one man and three horses (he changes for different parts of the show) against one bull. It's much more poetic this way too. I definitely enjoyed it. I wish there was another I could go to!!

Here's a breakdown synopsis. My favorite rejoneos were the second and third.

First fighter: Antonio Domecq (age 40; from Jerez de la Frontera, Espana)

A good experienced fighter. Although he had trouble placing the final kill stroke, and therefore did not win the prized ear of the bull. (You can win 1 or 2 ears, and a perfect fight receives the tail of the bull as well). However afterwards, while taking his victory walk, he asked his son (12?) to come out with him. He walked him around with him and then gave him his riding chaps; a tender dedication. It was nice to share that moment.

Second fighter: Rui Fernandes (age 32; Alamada, Portugal)

This guy was nuts! From the very get-go his performance was daring and spectacular. All the other riders wait directly opposite for the bull to come out into the ring. But this kid went right up to the door where you couldn't see him. The crowd was silent and confused. Then suddenly he and his horse are out like a rocket with the bull right on his tail. The whole ride went like that. The bull knocked one horse, but he didn't fall and wasn't hurt. Rui killed the bull on the first try and his daring performance won him an ear. Rubio.

Third fighter: Andy Cartagena (age 31; Benidorm, Espana)

I snuck out to use the bathroom (thank you, morning coffee) in between the last guy and this one, so I had to watch it standing, but I was close to the arena and got to stretch my legs. Only downside was that my camera was still at my seat with Manoli, and of course this was the best fighter. Of course. His horses were all stunning and beautifully trained. Having horses trained with alta escuela and tricks really makes the show exciting. He had his horses bow, terre a terre, piaffe, passage, climb the wall and say hello to the crowd, and balancer. Fantastic, fantastic riding. Clearly the best rider of the day. He earned an ear.

Fourth fighter: Joao Moura (age 21; Moforte, Portugal)

This guy was so young! You could tell too. He did okay; the fight wasn't as entertaining as the others because the horses weren't as well trained. Though you couldn't tell from the way this kid tried to work the crowd. He demanded loud cheers for basic things and thought he was amazing when he was just average. He wanted an ear so bad. However, the crowd didn't agree and didn't wave its white hankies, and so the dead toro left the ring with both his ears.

Fifth fighter: Leonardo Hernandez (age 23; Badajoz, Espana)

Started out with a little excitement. I am sitting in the fourth row. The bull charges out, and normally, men with hot pink blankets lure the bull to run a lap around the ring. This bull had no intention of running around at pink blankets. He ran straight for the opposite end of the arena-where I'm sitting-and jumped the arena wall into the crowd! Luckily no one was hurt and he was chased back into the ring. This guy was one of the three from the other rejoneo that was suspended. For being young he did really well, earning himself an ear. The fight was over really quickly too.

Final, Sixth fighter: Francisco Palha (age 24, Lisboa, Portugal)

This guy did really well. Unfortunately I don't remember a ton from this fight. But his horses were pretty! He didn't rejonear with his cremello, but it made for an excellent exhibition horse. One of his bullfighting horses had a sweet rear and did it a lot-wasn't sure if it was always part of the game plan haha but it looked cool! He earned an ear.

Friday, May 6, 2011

On riding in Feria

You know, I think the hardest things for me to blog about are the things I enjoy the most. Granada, going to Lisbon with my mom, riding a horse in Feria (Sevilla's biggest festival). I don't know why. You would think it would be easier to crank something out about it, but nope it's not. There too much stimuli, you do so much and are so happy you can't describe it. For example, here's my description of yesterday:
*Rise and shine early, catch up with the crew, and braid Neptuno-the horse I took to feria.
*After hours of prepping, get dressed, make friends with the local men (I'm one of the few girls, and from what I saw, the only blonde girl riding in Feria, so making friends is super easy), mount up, take pictures and ride into the city.
*Get to the Feria grounds. Stimulation overload. Everything smells so good and people are singing and laughing and screaming and playing guitars; the whole place is one big kaleidoscope of bright colors, smells, and sounds. I'm excited, my horse is excited, we're all dressed and ready to go.
*Basically when you go to Feria on horseback you saddle up for a minimum six-eight hour ride. All you do is walk to friends' or family's casetas, big tents people/associations own, and the hostess brings you out tapas and rebujito. Rebujito is a delicious drink made out of 7up and manzanilla. It's really sweet but really strong. You drink a couple of glasses at each caseta and you're in for a long, fun ride. You meet lots of new people and make new friends. There was one kid amped up on something-life, he says, who wanted to stand up on his horse. Sidenote: Did you know the police fine you if you're riding a horse in the wrong attire?
*That's it. You have the best view in the place--perfect for seeing all of the beautiful dresses and people dancing. But also the best place to be viewed. Sums up Spain--See and Be Seen.

See, writing about it doesn't do it justice. And it doesn't even begin to describe the chaos:
*The four year old riding a la crupa who fell and her dad, on the horse on her side, caught her midway through the fall and held her one hand until he could place her back on the horses butt.. Scary ten seconds!
*The fight that broke out in Parque María Luisa. All the riders go there around 8 or 830 to rest the horses and get a drink. So you're packed in with a bunch of stallions and mares touching sides, then add in the amount of rebujito everyone has been drinking. Thankfully I was off the horse when it happened. I was holding the baby stallion and Neptuno while Manu got drinks. It started with yelling and one horse rocking back on its hocks, then suddenly horses were kicking, people punching, other people falling off horses, others yelling "suelto!" which means loose, the loose horses trying to gallop through all of the others, people tossing their glass drinks so they could control their horses, police sirens (which are great for spooked horses)--Chaos. Luckily no one in our group was hurt
*General chaos of trying to walk through the masses in Feria. Not only are there lost tourists, but people in flamenco dresses, people wandering without cause, pushy horse carriage drivers, crossing the intersections was almost impossible.

But all this just added to the excitement and adrenaline of Feria. We rode from 130 until 1130 and I was pooped at the end! I didn't bring an extra set of clothes, so when everyone went back to Feria on foot after, I got a ride home and crashed to bed. If it doesn't rain Saturday, we'll go again on horse and I'll definitely bring an extra set of clothes then!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A change in attitude

So coming back to Spain made me want to cry. Being in Germany really made me realize how much I "hated" Spain (I'm writing this two weeks after coming home). Here's a glimpse of my first morning back in Sevilla.
*Step in doggie doodoo because it's in the middle of the street.
*Go to Día Maxi, the grocery store to pick up greek yogurt. As I'm looking at my selections, a woman rams her cart into me and stares, waiting for me to apologize for being in her cart's way. I just look at her and look away. She turns her cart mumbling under her breath. How unbearable to think of going around someone in an aisle instead of through them.
*Later in line, a woman, instead of asking me to move because we're all in 12 person lines waiting to check out, literally grabs my shoulders and moves me. Perdona?!
*General gawking ensues throughout the day.

So I continue for a week hating Spain and cursing the plane for taking me back here. I'm stressing out about final projects and final travel plans. I kept making a mental tally of all the ways Germany is better than Spain. Instead of sharing that with you, I'm going to tell you I kicked my attitude in the butt. How childish and selfish of me to spend my time abroad unhappy and cursing. Granted there are some rightful things to be cursing, but I only had three weeks left in Spain. I made a vow to myself not to obsess over the things I disliked, but to enjoy the things I did and try to be as Spanish as possible. And I've done a pretty good job! And I am really enjoying myself more!!

Thursday night: Go to my first bullfight and then out to the bars with friends
Friday: Crap I forget, but it was something Spanish! I didn't go out that night though.
Saturday: Revisit the Flamenco museum, make friends with the tourguide Joaquin. Hang out with Christie in town, go to the Carbonería bar at night where there are free flamenco espectáculos. Very cool. Meet some funny Irish guys, including the crying gay guy who was making fun of Americans.
Sunday: Try to go to bullfight with Manoli but it's cancelled due to rain
Monday: Out and about on the town
Tuesday: Ride!! Metro is packed with people dressed up for Feria-so cool!
Wednesay: dress rehearsal for tomorrow, looks great. Shopping both in the morning and at night
Thursday (tomorrow): PASEO CON LOS CABALLOS EN LA FERIA!!!!!!!

Germany, day 8


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!!!

Germany, day 7

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.

Germany, Day 6

Same rules apply for the photos as the last post. You get one, but for t
he rest go to my facebook.


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.

Afterwards we drove home, stopping in at an authentic Italian restaurante for probably some of the best pizza ever. Of course I got Hawaiian and loved it. Woodburn stove.

Drove home and everyone passed out early.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Germany, day 5

Hi guys! I'm sorry but I will no longer be uploading pictures onto here. It takes too long and it's irritating so I never finish posts.

Try to access my albums via facebook; here is a link:

This should have all of my albums posted. I will make my travel albums open to the public. [Copy and paste the link in the address bar.]


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

Germany, Day 4


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.

Got into Salzburg pretty late. We scored a snazzy hotel for cheap—opening week prices. We have a huge room and friendly receptionists. My favorite is this super enthusiastic guy from Munich. After we wandered around Salzburg looking for a cheap place for dinner, without a map and ignoring the receptionist’s recommendation, until we settled on the one and only McDonald’s. Oh well. Tomorrow will be better, and hopefully not include a date with a BigMac.

Germany, Día 3


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.

Afterwards we walked a ways to a suspension bridge to snatch some awesome pictures of the castle:

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:

After the bar we wandered back to the hotel. On the way we ran into a 1Euro ice cream place. The Romanian guy there was hilarious. Sarcastic, sassy, and ice cream-savvy. Recommended banana ice cream—absolutely fantastic. I was skeptical at first, but glad I listened to him.

The smaller castle:

Germany, Day 2


First Full Day in Fussen.

Wake up at nine. Best night of sleep since Lisbon, but I literally felt like I had slept for 2 days. An all-nighter at the airport really makes your body appreciate sleep. Apparently I spooned Kelsey; I just really like spooning, I can’t help it. Besides it was cold in the room.

Anyways wake up and walk into town. Original plan was to go to a bakery, but then we saw our new friend, Netto, and went there instead. Bought a yogurt and coffee for breakfast—yum!—and pretzel bread, Dijon mustard, ham and cheese for a lunch sandwich. I love pretzel bread. I would move here just for the pretzel bread. The views and temperature don’t hurt either. Or the fact that everyone thinks we’re German anyways. It’s nice to blend in! I’m home!

After getting a map from the tourist center, we decide to hike to the Cinderella castle, the Neuschwanstein castle. So without a watch and with lunch packed, we take of on our epic journey. (We also found this sweet german sweets store. They’re these balls of goodness called “schneeballen”. Look them up. I didn’t get one, but I took a bite. Mmm, will have to describe them tomorrow. Also, the store had a sign in “American”: “Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!” hahahahaha)

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.

So close, thirty more feet up this crazy mountain side and we’re there. After several slides down and mud all over, we’re getting to the top. Kelsey crawls up first. I saw the light when one of her loose rocks flew inches from my face. I took one step closer and the second my shoe hit the wet rock I knew this was my last stop. So Christie passed me. Kelsey has a life moment when she slips and slides down the wet rock on her butt for awhile. Okay, she’s done. She laughs one of those laughs you laugh right after you realize you’re not dead. The hyperventilating/relief laugh. Haha.

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.

Ryan starts the fire right as the sun goes down and all warmth goes away. We’re on the rocks on the dry half of the creek bed. BONFIRE IN THE BAVARIAN ALPS. It’s perfect, honestly. They roasted Brats on the fire and drank amazing German beers and I ate my fresh lettuce and cherry tomatoes. And we chilled. Talked and laughed and enjoyed our fire in the German forest. Even though it was around 40 degrees out, our huge fire kept us toasty warm

The moon gave us a fright though. All of a sudden our valley was filled with bright streams of light. We all thought a car had pulled up near ours. I go down to investigate. No one. Look behind me—brightest full moon I’ve ever seen. Incredible. Stay with our fire til midnight. Clean up, put it out, and walk by the light of the moon down the mountain to our car. Drive home, singing “She’ll be coming down the mountain” and “John Jacob Jingleheimerschmitt”. Arrive, write everything down. Say my prayers. Go to bed :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Germany, Day One

So I was finally smart about my blogging-I wrote down the day's activities at the end of each night. So you'll get a super in-depth view of my trip to Germany. PS I'm moving there.


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):

Lindau (Lighthouse):

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.

Team America conquers Füssen
Füssen's river banks:
Fussen by night
Fussen sunset over the riverbanks & Bavarian Alps