I just got back from my trip to Munich, Budapest and Prague with my friend from GW, Diane. She flew from the US to spend the week with me in Europe and it was so nice to have her by my side.
Diane got to Munich a couple of hours earlier than I did, so she had the opportunity to nap a little bit before I arrived. When I got to the hotel we spent three hours talking on our beds... I guess some things don't change, regardless of the location. Munich was absolutely beautiful (as were all of the cities that we visited) and a little less overwhelming than the giant Berlin. Our first stop was to Hofbrauhaus, the famous home of Oktoberfest. It was a huge indoor restaurant full of tables, beer, and loud German men. Women walk around dressed up in country outfits with baskets full of pretzels and the room smells of sausage. We each had giant beers that we were unable to finish in three hours. I guess that our drinking skills weren't up to par for Germany. On our second day in Munich, Diane and I visited Schloss Nymphenberg, the summer palace of the Wittelsbachs. It reminded me a lot of Versailles with it's decadent rooms and extremely sprawling landscape. Diane and I spent hours strolling the grounds of the palace and taking in the scenery- it looked exactly like one of those countryside films where the main characters ride off into the sunset. Diane and I also walked around Marienplatz, the historic and scenic town square with Peterskirche, the oldest church in Europe, got lost in the incredibly large Englisher Gardens, and ate dinner at 10PM after a nap gone long. We flew to Budapest out of an airport called Menningen which is deceptively labeled as "Munich West" on RyanAir's website. Turns out that it isn't even in Munich. Thankfully, we had a very helpful receptionist at our hotel who gave us explicit directions to the airport.
We arrived in Budapest to find that our hotel was insanely gorgeous and overlooked a beautiful sqaure. We arrived at sunset to an incredibly scenic view (and to chocolate!) After a long time trying to find decent food in the Jewish District, we spent a while in a ruin bar, Szimpla, where the walls are covered in signature graffiti and pictures. We spent a long time chatting with two friendly guys from Oklahoma who told us all about life in the state of the farm. Throughout our next few days in the beautiful city, we walked around the picturesque castle hill, visited The House of Terror (home to the headquarters for Nazi's in Budapest and violent communists in Budapest) and strolled along the beautiful Danube river on Margaret Island. Diane and I were flat out guessing when we handled money as $1 is 232 Forint, which, if you can imagine, is incredibly hard to calculate in your head. We would laugh every time we would pay a cab driver or a waiter because we had no idea what was going on. Our trip from Budapest to Prague was an adventure, as we took the train from a slightly dilapidated train station and Diane had to create a sob story about why we needed to cut the line of 70 people to buy our tickets. Once on the train, we sat in a Harry Potter-esque car with an old man, bought disgusting cheese sandwiches, and chatted for seven hours. It was quite the experience.
Prague was my favorite of the three cities- a truly beautiful city that has built itself up from destruction. We saw the Castle, walked through St. Vitus Cathedral, strolled down Petrin Hill, and walked through a labryinth of mirrors. We went through Wenceslas Square, took pictures at the Lennon Wall, and walked across Charles Bridge in a flurry of commotion. We took the tram, marvelled at the incompetence of the receptionists at our hotel, and pretended like we understood completely when people spoke to us in Czech. The weather was absolutely gorgeous on our last day, and we finally had the opportunity to wear shorts after a couple of chilly days in the other cities. We ended our trip with Sensation White, a huge concert that takes place in different places throughout Europe. Everyone is required to wear white and dance around to about seven incredible DJs playing house music. The smoky room (literally- it is legal to smoke indoors in Prague) was filled with people jumping and screaming as the lights turned various colors and the beats pumped loudly. We both had an absolute blast and were exhausted at the end of the night. We actually left the concert early at 2AM (it went on till 6 in the morning) but we both had early flights to catch.
The trip was a whirlwind of walking, language barriers, and long conversations, and once again, proved to me how much I love travelling and seeing the world (well... Europe) As the Lennon wall told me in Prague, "Sometimes you have to travel halfway around the world to come full circle." xx