I just got back from my 9 days in Central/ Eastern Europe – Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague. It was my most successful trip thus far in terms of actually seeing the sights and experiencing local culture. I’m getting pretty good at the whole tourist thing, and I should be after making my way through 8 different countries since I’ve been abroad.
We spent the first part of the trip in Munich. On Monday, we went on a tour of the city – the tour guide was awesome, we seem to be pretty lucky with that. I’m now an expert on German history, the reign of the Nazis, and beer garden drinking etiquette. That night, we went for a liter of Munich’s finest at the Augustiner Braustuben, mostly because it was the cheapest of Munich’s 6 big breweries.
Tuesday was spent at the Dachau Concentration Camp. It was one of the most if not the most humbling experience of my life. There I am in two shirts, a sweatshirt, and a jacket complaining to myself because we were outside for a half an hour in 10 degree weather, when our guide told us that in one instance, the prisoners were held outside in roll call formation for 17 hours in the same weather – they were wearing one pair of pants, one shirt, and a pair of sandals. Needless to say I sucked it up. I now check myself every time I complain because I realize I have a pretty damn good life.
We spent 5 hours in Salzburg on Wednesday on our way to Vienna. We conquered the city in 3 hours and spent the next 2 having a beer/ trying to warm up. It was the coldest day of the trip and the women who owned the place felt so bad for us, she gave us free food.
We were in Vienna from Wednesday night through Saturday morning. No free tours but we managed to see everything on the map that looked important. We did the whole tour of the Inner Ring, walked around the Shoenbrunn Palace because it was too expensive to go in, and saw Beethoven’s grave. Even managed to get into an opera one night, probably the last opera I will ever go to, but I was in Vienna so I figured why not. Most of my meals consisted of cheese sausages and kebabs and more good beer.
Prague was the last leg of the trip. We took another free tour, almost as good as the one in Munich. I was really surprised at the amount of history there is in Prague. I just figured it had nice buildings and good beer, but a few hundred years of political and religious unrest, and 10 years of Nazi control followed by another 40 years of Communist rule makes for a pretty interesting story. I was right about the buildings though, I’d say the nicest building design I’ve seen in Europe so far. Had goulash for dinner a of couple nights just to round out the whole experience.
Our next trip to Amsterdam is in the works. We’re hoping to make it there in about a month.
Still working on finding two more classes for the beginning of second semester which starts next week. Hopefully there’s an epiphany in the next 3 days.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you!