Thursday, February 4, 2016

Munich and Innsbruck

2 January 2016
In the air. Worst takeoff I’ve ever experienced. I’ll blast my music and try to enjoy the rest of the flight.

Milchkaffee from the market in Munich and some planning
I don’t want to ruin the surprise but I really did not like Munich. There wasn’t much to see or do, the weather was awful, the food was awful, the hostel was awful. I’ve heard it’s great during Oktoberfest but in was pretty terrible. I was also in a bit of a slump, I had just spent a week with my friends and now I was alone…and had three whole weeks to go. I didn’t realize that being alone would hit me so hard, but I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was running on no sleep. I mean maybe it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought, when I got there I was sleep deprived and it was cold but there were some good parts like the Viktualienmarkt and the view of the city from the church tower and the Spanish tour I went on. I don’t want to bore you with the all details. I’ll skip to my second to last night at the hostel.
 I had just cooked some pasta in the electric kettle that I borrowed from reception and was journaling when two American girls came in. The room had been empty all day so I was expecting someone to come in and I was SO EXCITED to meet some Americans, I think I met like 4 in the whole month I was traveling. A few minutes prior to them coming in I had been looking at bus tickets because I didn’t want to spend a whole other day in Munich but I had already paid for the hostel and had my train tickets to Füssen and Prague. I saw that tickets to Innsbruck, Austria were cheap and impulsively told them that’s where I was going the next day when they asked what my plans were. They had been in the city for a few days already and felt the same way I did, it was settled… we were off to Austria in the morning.

We got up and headed to the bus station for something like 7 o’clock. The tickets were 8 euros online but they ended up costing 18 on the bus which isn’t terrible but I guess spontaneity isn’t free. The bus was with Flix Bus and it was really nice! It was a double decker with lots of leg room and Wifi. The ride was three-ish hours but it was beautiful. I really came to appreciate traveling by bus on this trip. We got to see the sun rising over my first glimpse of the Alps-my new favorite mountain range. We stopped at a ski resort on top of a mountain and it was a complete white out, luckily it cleared up beautifully by the time we got to Innsbruck. The whole way there all I could think about was how the little towns we were passing through were what I really wanted to see, not the big cities. Though I’ve learned it’s not true I always have the saying “big cities are all the same, it’s the towns that show you life” floating around in my head.

When we got to Innsbruck we stopped at a café called “Baguette” for breakfast. I only got a verlängerter because I packed a bread and jam sandwich. We got our lives together and ordered our return tickets before we set out. If you asked me to describe my experience there in one word it would be “mountains”. The whole day I had the TAW creed going through my head “the inspiration of the towering mountains...” We walked through the old town and fawned over the coo-coo clocks and big knitted sweaters and took in the sights and smells of the Christmas markets and then we went across an amazingly blue river to a neighborhood called Sankt Nikolaus. It felt more like we were in Scandinavia than half way to Italy (Innsbruck is the midpoint between Munich and northern Italy). The weather was beautiful, sunny not warm, in the morning but by afternoon it started to rain. We went inside again to thaw out. In the café an older guy who was mentally disabled started to talk to us when he heard the two girls I was with say they were from California. His brother has apparently been living in LA for thirty years. I’ll be honest, it was kind of heartbreaking because it sounded like he hadn’t heard from him since. A bit later we headed out to look around the Olympic facilities. We couldn’t see much but it was cool to be in a place that held the Olympics because I’m slightly obsessed. I’m not sure why but I just didn’t make it to any of the facilities in London or Munich. At the Christmas Market I bought a pretzel and some mulled wine along with a mug to put it in. Both were amazing. We were pretty tired at the end of the day so we tried to change our tickets to the 5:30 bus but the drivers were being really difficult so we spent two hours sitting at Baguette and then Burger King (Baguette closed at 6:30) waiting for the 7:30. The bus ride home was so warm which was wonderful after a very, very cold and wet day. My only complaint is that I was surrounded by couples who saw nothing wrong with three obnoxious hours of PDA.

All in all I am so glad I went to Innsbruck and I’m glad I had two new friends to go with. We got along really well and it was cool to hear about life in California, sometimes it seems as different from home as Spain. It was also nice that we had the same sort of thoughts on traveling, that going out is great but if you are going to party every night and sleep all day, why don’t you just stay home? Aka our entire hostel room.

The next morning I got up early, checked out (best moment ever…I really did not like that hostel) and headed down to the train station. I had two nights booked in Füssen, Germany, the land of fairy tales which I’ll save that for another post because I have a lot to say about that!

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