Last week my friend and I decided to take advantage of the break we had before classes started, so we decided to take a journey through Munich, Ljubljana (Slovenia), Vienna, Budapest, and Nuremberg. It was a week filled with mistakes and successes, cheap food and valuable experiences, and lots and lots of laughter. It does not matter how old, well-traveled, or intelligent a person is: anyone going on an 11-day journey through four different countries is bound to run into a few problems. I'm of the opinion that the best response to these issues is to simply laugh and learn. Everyone lives and learns, but it takes a special type of confidence (or naïveté) to laugh.
The first bout of laughing we did was in Munich, although much of this was due to the fact that it was not exactly what we expected. Or, to put it more accurately, what I expected - my friend was busy laughing at the fact that I had confused Munich with Switzerland in my imagination. We decided to take one of those hop-on hop-off bus tours through Grayline, and it was a worthwhile experience. We didn't do a lot of hopping-off, since the bus's open roof allowed us to take beautiful photos without leaving our seats. However, the one time we did, it was to walk around the Englischer Garten.
The Englischer Garten is a park in Munich which is famous for many things, one of which is surfers. Since I've gone to school in California for the last 2.5 years, surfing is nothing new to me. However, I can state with complete and utter certainty that I have never seen anyone surfing like they do in Munich. There is a small stream which runs through the Englischer Garten, and it is a hub for surfers. We spent about 15 minutes with the other gaggle of tourists watching four people in wetsuits attempt to withstand the power of the stream. For me, this was one of the most interestings thing I saw in Munich. Photo below:
After we wandered around the Englischer Garten for a while, we decided that we wanted to get back to the bus in time for it to take us back to one of the castles we were interested in seeing. However, we had some trouble finding our way back (read: we were lost). By the time we finally made it back to the bus, we were only able to take it back to the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and we were forced to navigate the U-Bahn system ourselves. It wasn't a bad experience, but we could've saved a few Euros if we hadn't mistaken a trashcan for a map in the park. The castle we went to see, Nymphenburg Palace is pictured below:
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<p>My name is Ali, and I'm a Political Economy major at the University of Southern California (Trojans!). Ever since I was a little kid and found out that there was such a thing as "study abroad", I dreamed about doing it. I'd stare at the famous Midwestern cornfields and wonder what it would take to go see the world. I loved the idea of picking up and leaving everything, even if it was only for a short while. Now, I'm living the dream and studying abroad in Berlin, Germany.</p>