Monday, September 23, 2013

Hallo Germany

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is in the southern German state of Bayern and takes about eight hours to get to via bus. Right before noon we arrived in Heidelberg to take a quick tour of the town. Our tour guide was so much fun. She was engaging and showed us fun little “secret” aspects of the town. We did not have the time to explore it, but there is a castle upon the top of the town where when the sun shines upon it where the castle begins to literally sparkle.


It’s mind-blowing the vast history and experience of all these places in Europe. America is so young in comparison. 

We got into Garmisch-Partenkirchen a little after 19:00. The hotel that the majority of the group were staying at was unable to provide rooms for about 20 students, so some had to stay at a different hotel. I was one of those twenty. We stayed at Hotel Atlas Post, which was ridiculously great. It is a small boutique hotel that captured a authentic feel of the German culture--past and future. I was roomed with a girl named, Kathleen, who is super fun.

A view of the mountains when walking to the other hotel

Our first night there, although it was a Sunday, the small group of 20 kids in Hotel Atlas went to explore the towns. We ran across a small group of locals who were drinking pints and dressed in traditional lederhosen. We asked if we could join them and they welcomed us with open arms. They played music for us, as well as taught us some of their traditional games that recognized strength (such as arm wrestling). It was one of those “unreal” moments when you have two completely different groups of people come together and learn how similar they truly are. I could not have asked for a more wonderful first night in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Annika and I exploring Garmisch 

The next day we went to the other hotel to meet with our pensione groups. I am staying in Cordova, which will house a little over 50 students. It is the biggest pensione. There are about seven pensiones where Gonzaga houses students. I am lucky enough to be rooming with Sam in Cordova. Many of our friends are within walking distance, which should work out really well.

Later we traveled to Munich. We had planned on going on a tour; however, when we arrived it was raining fairly hard. The Student Life staff gave us the option to go on the tour or go explore on our own. Courtney and I, although we wanted to go on the tour, wanted to escape the rain even more so. We went off on our own to grab a quick bite to eat. We ate at this traditional German pub and tried some new food. After lunch we just walked around and checked out a few sites and stores. I bought some socks at H&M! Definitely a good buy.

GIF students trying to escape the rain under a little passage way in Munich

The Munich Stadtmuseum

The skies began to clear up

I'm loving all of the fresh flower venders 

Courtney and I all ready to shop

That night a few of my friends and I headed over to Peaches, this local bar, for American dollar night. Every Tuesday night at Peaches you can bring in your American money and use it in exchange of euros. What you would usually pay four euros for, you could pay four dollars--definitely a good deal. Courtney and I split a Long Island Iced Tea and were able to talk to a few locals. The German people are quickly becoming some of the nicest groups of people I’ve met thus far.
Some old, new, and German friends

Wednesday we left Garmisch-Partenkirchen and headed to Florence. These past few weeks in London and on Opening Tour have been unbelievable. I have been able to visit three countries and various cities, while hanging out with old friends and getting to meet many new ones. 
Excitement eventually turned into exhaustion (due to all the traveling), but being around so many enthusiastic people definitely helps. I feel prepared enough now to live out of a backpack for two weeks and get along on limited funds. I could not be more happy and ecstatic with my experiences in London and on Opening Tour, but I am looking forward to settling down and getting to become immersed with Florence and everything it has to offer.  

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