Prost! Adventures in Germany

Quick! Write this post before the jetlag kicks in.

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It’s been less than 48 hours since I arrived back in Alaska after a whirlwind trip through Germany, from Berlin to Munich. And as quickly as the jetlag wears off, I’m wishing I was there again.

Stacia, John and I caught the last direct flight from Anchorage to Frankfurt for the season. Condor is the best: the attendant checked us in and sat us together, the stewards helped us celebrate our birthdays in style and even coached us in speaking German. 9+ hours flew by with books, movies, and laughs.

love Berlin. Thanks to our local guide, we were able to get beyond the surface and see and learn more about the city than we ever would have been able to independently. Berlin has so much color, culture and life. We went for a run early Friday morning in Treptower Park. Around 9:30/10 AM we were bicycling back and came to a stop near this nondescript black building. I wouldn’t have noticed it at all, save for the thump thump thump bass music and the people coming out of the door with beers in hand. Our host confirmed these people were wrapping up their nights, not starting their days.

Fortunately/unfortunately we couldn’t join them, with the marathon being just a day away and all. Maybe on our next visit…

I will tell anyone who listens: the Berlin Marathon was the best race experience of my life. There were so many spectators and so many runners, and so much noise and cheering and so many things to see on the course. And, to see my friends cheering me on at the finish line, out of a sea of thousands of people… I will never forget that sight and how euphoric it made me.

Our last day in Berlin included a Spree River tour, highlighting some of the city’s architecture.

Dinner, drinks, celebrations… And it was Bye Bye, Berlin.

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Hello, Munich!

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After 6 days in Berlin, it was south to Munich for a tour of Bavaria and…. Oktoberfest.

We got into Munich mid-day and spent the afternoon touring the city on foot. Munich has a bright, easily navigable public transit system that we took in and out from our VRBO daily. So, our first “must-visit” was the Haufbrauhaus – Munich’s oldest brewhaus.

Our first full day in Munich was dedicated to Oktoberfest. My cousin and I decided to meet up in Germany and go to Oktoberfest together months ago, because how many times in life will you be serendipitously planning a German vacation, at the same time as Oktoberfest? Probably only this once. So, we went! Kudos to Jenna for going all-in, with dirndl and all.

Oktoberfest was a riot. Should I ever go again, I’d dedicate two days: 1 for the drinks and 1 for everything else. There’s an amusement park within the fest, complete with roller coasters, slides and ferris wheel. We made it to three tents over the course of 6 hours or so, meeting people from Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. There were thousands of people in each one; singing, chugging beers, laughing and more. It’s hard to explain how much life was in Oktoberfest: there was sound everywhere.

The next day we took a far more somber day trip to Dachau, the first concentration camp used by the Nazis in World War II. There is a museum inside of one of the structures now that shared examples of fear-mongering propaganda from Hitler’s rise to power and the beginning of WWII. It also shared stories and profiles of people interred at Dachau. It was tough to stomach at times, and also important to see. It made me shudder to read some of the propaganda examples and draw similarities to current vitriol.

Never again.

Our trip away from the memorial and back into town had a happy note: kebabs! My favorite street food.

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As quickly as we arrived in Munich, we had just a day left. And I still had ‘fa, a long long way to go’…. to Salzburg, Austria!

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Just an hour and 1/2 train ride from Munich, Salzburg was a must-visit. My future SIL Emily studied abroad here in college and has nothing but good things to say. How could I turn down a day tour of a city that houses an impenetrable fortress, Mozart’s home and served as the backdrop for the original Von Trapp family (of Sound of Music fame, in case you don’t know)?

After a long day in Salzburg, it was early to bed so I could wake up very early to begin the long journey back home.

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Perhaps it’s the jetlag delirium, it seems incredible that just two days ago I was sleeping in another country. I’m definitely not in Bavaria anymore: since I’ve been back in Alaska, I was woken up by a 4.1 earthquake and been spooked on the trail by the largest bull moose I’ve ever seen in the city limits.

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