Sweden to Germany, May 26 to June 17
It's been far too long, and now I've got 4 countries and 6 cities to tell you about!! This has been an incredible few weeks, and I'm thrilled that I get to keep up with this lifestyle for the next 2 months!!
So now I will try to give you the whirlwind tour of my last few adventures. Let's start at the beginning, Stockholm!
It was an incredibly sad goodbye to Turku, but Monica and I packed up and we were off sailing in no time. Our boat toook us through the beautiful archipelago all the way to Stockholm where we arrived at the very early hour of 6:30 a.m. Although it was rainy and a bit cold the whole time we were there, Monica and I loved wandering through the tiny tiny streets of Stockholm, laughing at the castle guards, and sleeping in our fantastic hostel, an old fishing boat!! The greatest thing in Stockholm though was probably the VASA Ship. It sank on it's maiden voyage hundreds of years ago and it has been perfectly restored. I hadn't realized how HUGE those war ships would be!! It was so so cool to see it. It was very ghostlike to me, as it sat there in the museum, undisturbed by the thousands of people gathered in awe about it. I loved it.
After a couple rainy days in Sweden, we hitched a ride on a plane to Warsaw in Poland! Again, it rained. And rained. And rained some more, but Monica and I are troopers so we powered through the rain, enjoying the sights of the city. The crazy thing is that about 75% of the city was left as rubble in 1945 after the Nazi's bombed the heck out of it, and now it's a mega city with a totally rebuilt old town. It is amazing how they have rebuilt so quickly. Another interesting thing about Warsaw was that when we arrived, we found out that the hostel we had booked was out in the middle of nowhere and there was no other hostel at all with any room for the nights we planned to stay for. So, a frustrating hour of phone calls later, we decided 'to heck with it', and booked ourselves a hotel room in a four star hotel! It sounds pricey, but since we were in Poland where you can drink half a litre of beer for under a Euro, it was the most inexpensive 4 star hotel I'll ever experience!! It felt a little like a James Bond movie when every night when we got back there would be some kind of black tie event going on in the lobby, or a chamber orchestra giving its all in the restaurant. There would always be a couple of stray backpackers like us walking around looking stunned too and it was great! We ended up spending a lot of time there one afternoon that the rain was so heavy that 5 seconds out of doors would have soaked us to the skin.
From Warsaw we took a train to the beautiful citz of Krakow! Unlike Warsaw, it was practically untouched by the war, so the Old Town (our hostel was right on the main square!!) is still brilliantly original. It was so beautiful there! Monica tasted Pierogi for the first time, and despite my allergies to wheat, I had to have just one of those delicious dumplings. They were sooooo good. We had a lot of fun sampling the delicious varieties of Polish beer, and generally just wandered around the old town, and the castle. One of the most moving experiences I had though was just outide of Krakow in Auschwitz. Monica and I toured the remains of this Nazi extermination camp for a day. It was really really difficult, but I am glad I went. It's hard to describe the emotions that take over when you are out there.
It was hard to say goodbye to Krakow, but we boarded a plane excited for Berlin!! At this point my innocent cough had turned into something a little more ugly, so the details of Berlin are still a little foggy for me. We made it to our hostel in, you guessed it, more rain. haha. We spent a day wandering the downtown area around the Brandenburg gate, checking out what's left of the wall, and having a blast in Madame Tussauds Wax museum! It was pretty cool to stand next to the Beatles, Elvis, Einstein, and even Barack Obama, haha. Berlin was a pretty cool city, but it felt odd to me. It has soooo much history, but you can't see it anywhere because the city is so new! Since the wall fell, Berlin has had an incredible building boom, so the city barely looks 20 years old.
With Berlin also came the time to say goodbye to my dear Monica. We has such a great time traveling together and I can't wait to see her again in Mallorca!! One of the great things about traveling with Monica is that we ate really really well! Both of us are eager to try new things and we did our best to find the best cheap food in every city we were in! Sushi was always a favourite, and we had some fantastic Indian food a couple of times too. Not to mention the incredible local foods we had too! Delicious Herring in Sweden, lots of lovely garlic-y dishes in Poland, and of course, Wurst in Germany!
After parting with Monica, I got on a train to Prague, marking the beginning of my solo travels for the summer! Riding through the countryside was incredible; I finally have an appreciation for the beauty of Bohemia! Low mountains, millions of leafy trees, and crumbling castles lining many cliffs and peaks. It was gorgeous. And that was only the beginning!! Prague was absolutely amazing. The entire city is old! I hardly saw anything built in the last century it seemed! I absolutely loved to get lost in that city, discovering so many cool places. The food was great, the beer was better, and my hostel was fantastic! I met some really great people there and we had a blast enjoying the nightlife of Prague together. I had a great afternoon in the Royal gardens just reading, writing postcards, enjoying the sunshine, and getting a bright red lobster burn on my shoulder. It was such a nice city. It ranks right up there with Barcelona in its magic.
One really long train ride later, I arrived in Munich! This was an especially exciting stop for me as I was able to meet up with a friend of mine from Saskatoon whose European adventures happened to cross paths with mine! I met her and her 3 friends on my first night here, and we made some dinner together and went out for a couple of beers before splitting up again for the night. The next day we were up early at the train station where we causght 3 trains and a bus out to a small town near Austira called Fussen, where we saw a couple of really cool castles! It was super fairy-tale like with the castles settled in the beautiful mountains with clear blue lakes and rolling green fields surrounding it. In fact, the one castle we saw was apparently the inspiriation for the Disney Castle!! It definitely felt like a disney movie, that's for sure! We got back to Munich and found ourselves a big Beer Garden where we drank Augustiner beer from mugs that seemed to be bigger than me!! It was a lot of fun. The waitresses are all in their little german beer wench outfits and the men have their leiderhosen on for good measure. haha. I thought it was just in the touristy places that they did this, but apparently they do it everywhere in Munich! Allie and her friends left early the next morning and I was off again exploring on my own. Munich's old town is prettz cool too, with the giant Glockenspeil definitelz being a highlight. I seem to have made a habit of not really rocketing around the cities I'm in, but seeing one or two major sites, wandering a bit, then sitting in a park somewhere with a picnic. It's a great life I live :D
Sorry for the really brief update, but when you have to pay to use a computer, it's all I can do!! If you have Facebook, you can check out a few of my pictures there, otherwise I think I'll have to wait for a while to get some pictures up on here. They always seem to take a lot longer than necessary on this website.
Anway, I had better get going so I can grab some dinner before i have to pack up and get ready for my train to Vienna tomorrow!!! Hopefully I'll be able to get on here a little more often in the future, but until then,
live, laugh, and love always,