Friday, July 20, 2012

Euro Invastion 2012

As I return to reality after an amazing trip, I find that perhaps the best way to compile and share my trip would be to dust off this blog...

Let's start by explaining that I'm a horrible journal-er. I lack the ability to be concise, I want to write down every single detail regardless of their importance. This can be time consuming, especially during a three week long trip. So after my first day of journaling, I decided to scrap it and make a series of lists which could cover all the bases and pertinent information. So, here it is... three weeks in Europe in a nutshell.

June 27th - Luxembourg City Hostel (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg)
June 28th - Jugendherberge Zuerich (Zurich, Switzerland)
June 29th & 30th - Hotel Coronado (Zurich, Switzerland)
July 1st - Funny Farm (Interlaken, Switzerland)
July 2nd - B&B Cima (Zermatt, Switzerland)
July 3rd & 4th - Hotel Villa Aurora (Lake Como, Italy)
July 5th - Motel Fussen (Fussen, Germany)
July 6th & 7th - Gastehaus Doring (Mitternwald, Germany)
July 8th & 9th - Hotel Turnerwirt (Salzburg, Austria)
July 10th & 11th - Hotel Royal (Munich, Germany)
July 12th - Hotel Burgschmiet (Nuremburg, Germany)
July 13th, 14th & 15th - Gasthof Zehentbartl (Wernburg, Germany)
July 16th & 17th - Hotel Rott (Prague, Czech Republlic)

Highlights from each country:
- Stumbling upon a gathering in a town square with a big screen projection of the Euro Cup Semifinals. I attempted to go buy a sausage, upon realizing that I had no Euros yet I tried to communicate and ask where I could get some - the guy felt so bad for me that he just gave me a sausage for free :)  #offtoagoodstart
- Realized that I forgot to pack a towel, so I used my sheets and pillowcases after my shower #resourcesful

- Sweet Zurich walking tour complete with chocolate and cupcake samples #nomnomnom
- Running around Lake Zurich (only to realize after driving around it the next day how MASSIVE it is)
- Lake Lucerne sight-seeing
- Dinner in Zurich with my mom's cousin Therese (who lives in Chur, Switzerland)
- Getting lost on both runs in Interlaken (thank goodness for my iPhone map) #5kturnedintoa7k
- Zermatt is a car-free city, so we took a train into town then had to find our hotel in the rain
- Daily "goat parade" in Zermatt, which basically consisted of dozens of goats being herded through the main street in town #baaaa
- Matterhorn Museum and Matterhorn memorials in the Zermatt cemetaries #notarideatdisneyland
- Cograil up to Gornergrat to see the Matterhorn. We did a little hike and I drank water that I scooped up from a waterfall - talk about straight from the source! #takethatevian
- Mom waking Tina and I to see sunrise on the Matterhorn. Yes, I'll admit now that it was cool. But anyone who knows me will appreciate the fact that I was less than enthused to take it all in at 5am #snoozeexpert

- Delicious meals at the Villa Aurora: pizza, cheap liters of sparkling wine, perch, and half-birthday ice cream
- 4th of July thunderstorm, Italy's answer to the USA's fireworks #thanksmotherearth
- Tour around the lake with Renardo in his broken English
- Discovering that Tina and I are Olympic-caliber kayakers (aka paddling in zigzags and circles) #teamUSA
- Using google and googleimages to help us find George Clooney's house #paparazziintraining
- Exploring Bellagio #notahotelinvegas

- It's tough to pick a highlight. There wasn't much to see. In all fairness, we knew that was going to be the case but we were at least hoping for a passport stamp. #didntevenseedentures

- Sound of Music bike tour around Salzburg to see sites from the movie. #crashandburn
- Taking the "long way home" because we didn't wanna wait #thankgoodnessforfriendlybusdrivers
- Delicious dinner at the drunken monkey
- Zotter Chocolate Shop
- Watching drunk children in the town square while Tina drank beer on the steps of the church.
- Visit to Berchtesgaden to take a Salt Mine Tour (complete with slide and train ride) and visit Hitler's Tea House.

- Eating weißwurst with almost every meal with either bread or a pretzel.
- Visiting Hohenschwangau, Linderhof and Neuschwannstein, the castles of Crazy King Ludwig II.
- Shopping at the flea market in Mittenwald
- Driving up to our hotel in Munich (which was in the Red Light District) and having literally no idea what we were getting ourselves into. #brownchickenbrowncow
- Beer tour in Munich with stops at Augstiner and Pauliner and finished our evening with dinner and liters at Hoftbrauhaus. #twoandahalfpoundsofbeer
- Happening upon a unicycle throwdown in Oberammergau
- Tour of Dachau Concentration Camp
- Summer Luge course in Tegelberg #notquitejamaica
- Trip to Zugspitz "Top of Germany" - reaching the top and realizing that lulu shorts were not suitable for the snow that we found there #whoops
- Tour of the Documentation Center on the Nazi Party Rally Grounds outside of Nuremberg.
- Visiting the family farm in Kotschdorf where my grandpa grew up. While there we took a horse drawn wagon tour of the property, jumped on the trampoline, ate lots (and lots) of delicious food, and I got to drive a tractor :)
- We took a tour of the historic town of Regensburg
- Visiting the family farm in Losau where my grandma grew up. We walked around the town (population: 46) and I tried on my 3rd cousin Lydia's dirndl. #embracingbavaria 

Czech Republic
- Hashtagging on the John Lennon Wall #wagsdoitbetter #adventureteam
- Running two 5ks across the Charles Bridge
- Bike tour through the cobbled streets of Prague in the pouring rain
- Dinner cruise on the Vltava river

Means of Transportation: 
feet, ferry, share road with cows, bicycle, motorailway, tram, train, bus, cograil, funicular, gondola, drove on tram tracks, winding roads in the Alps, water taxi, speed boat, salt mine train, salt mine slide, tractor (which I drove), horse drawn wagon, taxi, plane, subway

Best Food: 
Weißwurst (veal sausage) 
Veal Meatballs w/ veggies and mashed potatoes (Zum Augustiner - Munich, Germany)
Fondue and Raclette dinner (Swiss Chuchi Hotel Adler - Zurich, Switzerland)
Grilled pork fillet on potato hash browns with mushrooms, bacon and tomatoes,
gratinated with cheese, served with mixed salads (Zum Fidelen Affen - Salzburg, Austria)

Best Runs:
Lake Como, Italy 5k up a scenic cliff
Salzburg, Austria 8k through the coutryside
Interlaken, Switzerland 7k with Tina
Munich, German 5k through the English Gardens
Prague, Czech Republic 5ks over Charles Bridge

Essential German:
bäckereimetzgerei, ja, nein, bitte, danke, schön, Kartoffelknödel, Weißwurst, Autobahn, ausfahrt, brezen, käse, brot, schloss, kirche, schnell

Songs of the Summer
Drive By - Train
Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men
Somebody That I Used to Know - Goyte
Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to not only travel for three weeks, but to do so with my mom and sister. I was able to see some of the most beautiful places in Europe and meet family who prior to the trip had simply been names on the family tree. #wagsdoitbetter #notluckyimblessed

Thanks for reading!