May: The Month of Holidays

Welcome back to yet another exciting chapter of my blog! Today’s theme: the crazy number of holidays of Germany that apparently exist and how I spent these holidays!

Coming from a public university, I have always been a little envious of my friends who attend religious universities, as they seem to have so many more days off due to certain religious holidays. Despite my university being public, many of these religious holidays are observed. And it turns out there’s quite a few in the month of May. Between Ascension Day, Pentecost, and non-religious holidays such as Labor Day, I have had a substantial amount of time off lately. Looking to take advantage of these breaks I hopped on an 8-hour bus to Paris with a couple other friends for the weekend.

This was my first time in Paris, and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The architecture was absolutely amazing, the Eifel Tower at night was incredible, and even though it is such a massively populated city, it never felt too crowded or uncomfortable. We did many of the classic tourist attractions; Eifel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Louvre (which is free for students in the European Union!), Riverwalk by the Seine, Champs-Eylsee, Notre Dame. Really a nice time, but I didn’t eat a crepe so that was a little disappointing. Next time I guess…

The iconic Arc de Triumph

We then headed back to the slightly smaller, less French city of Bonn for a week of class before being gifted an ENTIRE week off for Pentecost. This is essentially the spring break I guess, an ideal week to plan a big trip. Which I did not do. I have a tendency to put things off (as seen the irregularity of this blog) and this was no exception. Many of my friends had invited me to go with on their Pentecost excursions, but I figured I would wait to commit so I could weigh out all of my options. Unsurprisingly, those options all disappeared, leaving me without any plans just days before the break began. I then spent the next couple days scouring the internet for cheap flights to pretty much anywhere. Naturally, all of these tickets were crazy expensive. I can’t say I would recommend “planning” for trips in this fashion. Luckily Nate, one of my best friends, was out in Munich visit his girlfriend, who is also studying abroad, so I figured I would head out there and third-wheel for a couple days.

When I bought the ticket the bus to Munich, I saw the ride was 10 hours long, but didn’t think much of it. My family has made a 26 hour drive out to Washington state time and time again so I figured this would be a breeze, right? It wasn’t. It was not comfortable. Really long. Honestly not sure what I did for the majority of the trip. Safe to say I was thrilled to get off of that bus.

Munich is home to many beautiful, secluded parks

We spent the first day walking around the city, 14 miles of walking to be precise. I like to think it balanced out the obscene amount of cookies I have been eating since arriving in Germany. I had been to Munich once before in high school, but only for a day or two with a class trip, so it was cool to have free reign on the city. I was able to meet a lot of the other exchange students in the program, who were all super friendly and inviting. So inviting that we actually tagged along with their class to the Deutsches Museum one of the days. Their professor was really cool and actually bought our tickets (I think he thought that we were also exchange students in Munich?). We learned about renewable and sustainable energy solutions (lots of new German vocab there) and it was all really interesting. The only thing was that Nate doesn’t speak German, which the professor didn’t know. So his response to all of the professors instructions and talking points was a head nod and “mhmm”, which was quickly followed by him turning to me where I would give a quick summary of what he said. Nate was determined to keep the professor convinced that he was understanding everything, but right at the end of the class the professor turned to Nate and asked him in German about the shirt he was wearing. This was followed by dead silence and then everyone bursting out in laughter as Nate revealed that he doesn’t actually know German. So close….

On the other days we checked out some of the landmarks in Munich, such as the English Gardens, where you can always find a group of surfers riding some waves in the river.

One of many surfers catching waves at the English Gardens

We also visited Schloss Nymphenburg, which was also very beautiful. And just like that it was time for me to hop on yet another bus back to Bonn. The ride back was just as bad, maybe worse. I had to run almost a mile to make it (made it with one minute to spare) so I was nice and sweaty for the trip back!

Schloss Nymphenburg is all of its symmetrical beauty

Annnnnd this pretty much brings us to the present. Here’s another quick list of observations/interesting things I’ve noticed:

  • No one follows the walk signs in France. If it’s red, but there’s no cars, people will walk. Polar opposite to Germany.
  • Totally normal/legal to walk around nude at the English Gardens in Munich
  • H&M has a total monopoly on Europe. In the downtown area Munich, you can visibly see 4 H&M’s without moving
  • The entire continent is under construction.

 

That’s all for now! Many thanks for reading, see y’all next time!