Adventuring · Uncategorized

5 Weeks in Europe

My parents have been living in Germany for a little bit now because of my Dad’s work. Being the wonderful daughter that I am, and my husband was deployed, and I had quit my job since I was about to move, I got to go visit them…for 5 weeks. IT WAS AWESOME! Getting to go for an extended period really allowed me to see more of the culture and since my parents had been living there, they had a better idea on how things worked. I loved the culture of Germany. Everyone is so much more laid back and not in a rush. Meals take hours and people genuinely enjoyed just spending time together. Nobody had their phones out, they were engaged in conversation and people watching. They worked hard while they were at work, but never overworked or took work home with them. People ride their bikes/walk everywhere and hang out in the city center areas. People are outside as often as possible and take full advantage of bike trails no matter what the weather is. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. I do not speak German, but it was fine. Most people in the big cities now speak English because they learn it in school from a young age and they actually practice it! Do not let them fool you, they will say they speak “a little” English then speak fluently and have no problems understanding anything you say. Germans also have festivals for everything. They just love getting together to be happy. I would love to spend more time over there (cough,please get stationed there, cough). My one complaint about Europe is they do not drink enough water nor eat enough green things. I found myself only wanting vegetables and fruit at the house and carrying a water bottle around trying to find places to fill it up.

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The first two weeks were spent seeing as much as possible because my BFF came and we wanted to make the most of her time there. Home base was Aalen, Germany, which is a couple hours away from Munich in southern Germany. We took day trips to Neuschwanstein Castle and Innsbruck, Austria; both of which are absolutely stunning. We then went to Prague for a weekend. Prague has amazing architecture and is incredibly old. Prague was not destroyed during the war so a lot of their buildings have been around for a looonnnngggg time. It was interesting because it was easy to tell that it had been under communist rule for a long time. Not a lot of things were modernized in the tourist areas. We had the best dessert ever there. Think a cinnamon sugar funnel cake that you make into a cone and then fill it with ice cream….WWHHHAAAAAA.

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Hannah and I then took a train to Paris for a few days. The train was so easy and only took 5 hours. We walked approximately a million miles around Paris seeing every single tourist attraction we could. My favorite things we did there were the catacombs and picnicking at the Eiffel Tower at night when it sparkles. The area is full of people and was a lot of fun. We spent one day in Reims, which is in Champagne region, aka the only place in the world where champagne grapes can be grown. We ate a lot of chocolate croissants and drank a lot of champagne during those few days and it was perfect. We then went to Munich for a day before Hannah flew out of there. Old Town is really cool to see and there is so much of Munich that was destroyed during the war but they rebuilt to look like it did pre-war. It is full of history and amazing food.

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Once Hannah left we slowed a bit and enjoyed a lot of bike rides around Aalen. There are bike trails that go to all the different villages around the area and plenty of beirgartens to stop and refresh at. We ate a lot of breakfast in the city center. I need to stop here and go on a rant about how amazing Europeans do breakfast and how terrible Americans do. 1) breakfast is at least an hour affair. There is none of this grab-a-donut-and-run attitude. 2) They eat SO MUCH FOOD. I’m talking breads, cheeses, bagels, lochs, soft boiled eggs, fruit, coffee, tea, prosecco, beer (not joking). I wish I could eat German breakfasts every single day. We headed northeast to Trier, Germany for an overnight trip. Trier is the oldest city in Germany and in the middle of Riesling region. There were ancient greek ruins and baths from the second century. You read that correct, that would be 100s AD. I can’t even wrap my head around how long ago that was. NUTS! Europeans do an awesome job of restoring and the upkeep of their old buildings.Mom and I then did a day trip to Rothenburg, Germany which is the most picturesque little German town. It is known for its Christmas festival and shopping.

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I took a solo trip to Vienna. I had the best recommendations on exactly what to do (thanks, Brandi!) and really enjoyed being on my own schedule and not worrying about anyone else while traveling. I took the train and stayed in an AirBnB close to the central area of the city. I had a traditional Viennese breakfast each morning which is a croisant, a roll, fruit jam, soft egg, and tea (usually its a special Viennese coffee, but I hate coffee). I can also get behind this breakfast each day. It was amazing to me how the city had just completely built up around their tourist attractions. Many cities have their tourist areas which are pretty much exclusively that, but Vienna was more mixed together. I walked through multiple palace gardens, stopping to read in them all. I ate a lot of schnitzel and walked through Prater Park. Vienna is an awesome place to ride your bike as well, there was a bike lane/trail to get anywhere.

 

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The last week of my trip was spent doing as many fun things as I could to finish. We went to a Bayern Munich soccer game. What an awesome experience. I have never seen so many fans so in sync and invested in a game. People got in trouble by security for sitting down during the game! We also ate dinner in a castle and then headed back to Munich for a final day before heading back to the states. Our final day was spent at Oktoberfest. WOW. Oktoberfest is half fair and half beer festival. They had tons of rides and food like you would see at an American fair then they had all the beer tents. Only breweries from Munich are allowed to have tents. When I say tent, I mean MASSIVE tents that hold hundreds if not a thousand people. Every tent is absolutely packed the later it gets. If you do not have a table reserved, you will have a hard time finding a spot to sit/stand and if you don’t have a spot, you don’t get served. The beers are only served in 1 liter (34 ounces) steins and they only have one option – their Oktoberfest special. There were people from all over the world there and it was really fun hearing everyone singing John Denver at the top of their lungs and chatting with people from all over.

This was a wonderful trip and I am so thankful my parents opened up their home to me and traveled around with me for over a month. I made a video of my time there (top of page). It is almost 15 minutes long, but I wanted to get a little bit from each place we went to in it. Where has been your favorite place to visit?

 

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