Bring on the Bling

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Final Week of Europe!

resferber (RACE-fay-ber)

(n.) the restless race of the traveler's heart before the journey begins, when anticipation and anxiety are tangled together; a 'travel fever' that can manifest as an illness

One thing that I've come to understand is that some languages have words that cannot be translated into English. One word that can describe something so beautiful, with no word-for-word translation into another language. There are a few German words that I have learned, but won't bore you. In this case, I think the Swedes have it right. I started to feel this way as I said goodbye to new friends in Kiel and headed off with Andrew. I felt it again as I watched his bus drive away in the rainy streets of Prague. I had tackled solo travel before, and I was ready to do it again. I enjoy having the company of good friends, but sometimes it's nice to pull away and discover how awesome you really are.

Along with my awesome German Rail Pass, I am able to travel between Prague and Munich via IC Bus. What is that exactly? A really HUGE double-decker bus with lots of space, a WC, free wi-fi, and a non-stop trip in comfort to Munich! Side note: I think the driver was a little lost. We had to turn around a few times, making my stomach a little gurgly. I was happy to be finally dropped off! We parked at the ZOB, which is the main bus station and just a quick S-line ride to the main train station. My hostel was "around the corner" from the main train station. Unfortunately, there are about a dozen different ways to get out of the Hbf, so I had to use an app...and it was almost midnight again. I really have to stop doing that...

I finally got up to my room, and again found that I was the only female in the 10-bunk room. Whatever. Side note: I booked a bed in a female-only room for Berlin). It was so hot in the room! Seriously Germany, you need to GET ON BOARD WITH THIS WHOLE A/C THING! YOU INVENTED IT! Granted, it was invented to help keep beer cold, but I digress. I fell asleep face-down on my pillow at about 1am and didn't move. Well, I couldn't even if I wanted to...the bed creaked every time anyone breathed. I woke up around 6:45 and got ready for the day! The forecast called for rain, but I said NO, so it didn't.

I met the bike tour I scheduled and took off. I had a blast! I highly recommend Mike's Bike Tours!!
Neurathaus in Marienplatz 

Homer and I had a great ride together!
I love bike tours!

Rubbed the dogs for luck...lots of that going on in Europe...
Outside of the Fuhrer House...where Hitler used to stand on his balcony and make his "speeches"

Riding through the English Gardens...staying away from the nudists...
Bought a stein at the Beer Garden!
Long story short: a SoCal engineer/surfer added extra beams to the river so people can "surf" on the river

Today wasn't all fun and games...I returned to the hostel late in the afternoon to do some laundry. Thank goodness because I don't know when I'd have any time later this week! I decided that I was craving a good-old American burger. Someone had put up an ad for the Hard Rock Cafe. DONE. As I sat down to my burger, I thought about the time Tom, Andrew, Leisl and I were in Copenhagen doing the same thing. Saddened by the fact that the guys weren't around to finish my burger, it went to waste. I couldn't finish that massive thing! Oh well. After dinner I walked around Munich a bit. I love looking at the old buildings at night. It gives them such a different feel.

Morning came and I left the hostel and headed to the train station to drop off my luggage. I had just gotten a pastry from across the street when I heard a familiar voice call my name. MEGAN!!! After spending almost 24/7 with people for weeks, it's a big change to NOT hear their voice every day. I missed this girl! Plus, I got to meet Kevin, her BF. We headed out to our Castle Tour! I was so glad that she mentioned they were doing this tour, because I didn't hesitate! After going through the tour, I see why people say to NOT do the tour. We were rushed through the village of Oberammergau, and didn't feel like we had enough time to wander around the grounds of the castles. We had to race to make our tour time, and then race back to the bus so we didn't get left behind. However, seeing the lines that we avoided when purchasing the tickets and being able to enjoy the drive on the Romantic Road, I can see why it was worth it. Nevertheless, I had a blast! Best part? The rain made the castles seem so mystical!

Outside Linderhoff...and of course it's raining!

Linderhoff...pretty gaudy and tacky inside, but still amazing!

The gardens at beautiful
Megan, Kevin and I
Neuschwanstein...what what??

And she said yes! Kevin asked me to record his proposal on the bridge overlooking the romantic!

View from the bridge!
Hohenschwangau castle...didn't go in, but had a great view!
After the whirlwind castle tour, we parted ways back in Munich. They were headed out to celebrate their new engagement, and I was killing time until my train to Berlin. I decided to head back to a place we visited on the bike tour that I wanted to have more time at. It was still raining, but I felt it was appropriate. I headed back to a square that has 2 buildings that are now museums. Back in the day, however, they were the headquarters for the Nazi Administration. I was able to stand in the rain and just let my feelings sweep over me. I felt anger and apprehension as I climbed the steps to each building.
Before the grass and trees, this is where rally after rally was held, including the first book-burning...
The Führer Haus, next to the above Platz

The Führer Haus balcony where Hitler would give his "speeches" (rants)...

After experiencing this dark piece of history again, I headed back to the train station for my journey. I used my rail pass, so I ended up sitting up all night. Ugh. Not the best idea, but it was free for me and I was able to get a few hours of sleep.

Hot mess in Frankfurt on my "layover"
I arrived back in Berlin and made my way to the East Side Gallery. I didn't have a chance to visit on my last trip to Berlin, so I made it a priority this time. I was so happy I did.

I just HAD to make one more visit to Mustafa's!
There was a 90 minute wait this time, but so worth it!
After finally eating my Döner, I went back to the hostel to figure out my next few days of getting back into Prague. Not having internet available 24/7 has proved to be both a blessing and a curse while in Europe. It's been nice to not be plugged into the world all the time, but it has made making travel arrangements a little difficult. This was no exception. The hostel only had free wifi downstairs in the bar. Great. So I sat down at a table and figured out the trains I needed to take. I wanted to head down to Freiberg first thing in the morning to go to the temple. Looking at the sessions' schedule, I realized that if I was going to be able to do a session and have time to get to Prague before midnight, I needed to be up at 5:30am, and out the door before 7. Well, I haven't slept in once this whole time in Europe, so why start now? Thankfully I had booked a bed in a room with only 3 other females, so getting up and out was easy. I jumped on my train and headed down to Freiberg. Again, much more complex that just that: I took the subway one stop, got on a regional train to the main station since the S Bahn wasn't working, then took a train to Dresden, followed up with another regional train to Freiberg. It was such a cute town! I didn't want to spend time figuring out their small bus system, so I found a map, took a picture, and then headed out on foot.

Walked by a park with some awesome lakes

3 km later...found it!

I ended up meeting an awesome missionary couple who were connected to a family in Claremont by marriage, so we spent some time together after the session. They were sweet and took me on a little tour of the city. So awesome! Then they dropped me back off at the train station, just in time to catch my train back to Dresden. I was able to grab some food and relax before my train back to Prague. I was super excited about this one, as the route was going to be through a beautiful part of the countryside. I finally landed back in Prague around 10 and made my way to the hostel...subway ride, streetcar ride, walk up a hill...pretty standard. However, this hostel was anything BUT standard. It was the cleanest, nicest, and cutest hostel ever! Such a great way to spend my last night in Europe...on a comfy bed!

View from the train doesn't do it justice

Waiting for the streetcar at 7am...

Last meal in Europe...doing it right: Goulash and a sausage for breakfast!

Sums up the trip
My flight from Prague to JFK went by really fast. 8.5 hours worth of movies and just relaxing...and then I landed. Customs wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be...made it through in 45 minutes. I called my dad to talk to him and let him know I was back on American soil. I headed over to my gate for my next flight, only to find out that the seat next to me was going to be empty. SCORE!! 5.5 hour flight and more movies...again relaxing! I am proud to say that I flew out to Europe and back with only 2 carry-ons: my backpack and a bag. This time, I had to buy a bigger bag in Prague to accommodate all the chocolate I bought for my family, LOL. Love the bag, so it wasn't a big deal. When I landed, my parents and Michael picked me up and took me to In n Out. That was the best welcome back gift I could have ever imagined! Haha.

I'm spending the next day and a half here in LA with my family before heading back to Utah. I still don't have an apartment lined up, but I'm sure I'll be able to find a room somewhere. I'm obviously not too worried about it. This trip has been just so amazing! I am so grateful that I went, and will be writing a wrap-up post soon! Also, my friend Nikki gave me an awesome idea of compiling a list of my top 100 things that happened while in Europe. I have started working on that and will post it as soon as it's done!


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