“Absolute Happiness. Where being happy stops being simply an emotion you feel and transforms into a state of existence. I don’t know if one can live forever in this realm, but I”m there now and I don’t want to go back.”
Well, the hard part is out of the way. If there was one thing that had me even slightly nervous about this whole trip, it was staying with strangers in hostels. It wasn’t anything in particular, it’s just something completely different from how we live in america, so I expected it to be awkward. It wasn’t.
I knew I was going to fall in love with this city, I just didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. Thursday was supposed to be a laid back day where I arrived, checked in, and relaxed. The fact that I’m just now writing this at breakfast on Friday morning should be a dead giveaway that I did not follow through with those plans.
Before I continue with Munich, I have to apologize to Dublin because I forgot to mention two other things I loved about the city. The sun didn’t set until 1030 at night and every street has multiple pubs. Like, you hear the phrase, “a pub on every corner”, but that’s an understatement. Instead of seeing restaurants that had a bar, like you might see in America, they had bars that happened to serve some food. And I’m sure the super late sunset was just because it’s summer, but it was still pretty awesome to witness. The rest of time at the Dublin airport was pretty uneventful. I maybe slept for an hour, much less than I had planned for, but there was really no way around it. About 3am they finally opened security so I was able to get through the rest of the terminal. I walked around some more and then simply settled at my gate until my 7am departure. Tried to sleep a bit on the two hour plane ride to Munich, but wasn’t able to accomplish much of that either. Whoever invented the travel neck pillow needs to seriously consider inventing a travel ass pillow. Airplane seats suck. Funny story though. So my first time ever flying was a summer vacation to Greece back in 2007. On the plane, they had a music playlist you could connect your headphones to in addition to the movies. I wanted to sleep for a bit so I switched my headphones over the the playlist and took a nap. What I didn’t realize though, was that only one song on that playlist was working for me, so it played on loop all through my nap. I fell asleep to, and woke up to, Roxanne by The Police. “Roooooooooooxxxxxxxxanne, you don’t to put on the red light”. Well for this trip, I made a big Spotify playlist so that I could download it and have access to some music on my travels. It’s fittingly titled, this.is.not.your.playlist, if you want to look it up and listen along. Anyway, I started that playlist and just put it on shuffle when I boarded the plane to Munich. First song to play? Roxanne. I guess that will just have to be my flight anthem from now on.
Upon arrival in Munich, my first task was to get through immigrations. As I was waiting in line I noticed the officer seemed to be quite bossy, demanding to see various ticket confirmations from people visiting. I guess people come in on a travel visa and try to stay though so they have to be that way. To be proactive, I took all of my travel confirmations from my bag. Didn’t need any of them. The officer opened my passport and goes, “Schroeder? Thats a German name”, and I knew I was in. It’s little things like that that make me really feel connected to this place. I wasn’t even in Germany for 30 minutes and I already felt a sense of home. Same thing actually happened when I checked into the Hostel and the guy saw my name. Now I just had to collect my bag and take the train to the city. I had done my research, so theoretically I knew where to get the train and which one to take, but it still took some work. Munich airport is huge and all the signage made me wish I had worked a bit harder learning German with Duolingo. Still not even sure I purchased the right train ticket, but no one checked and the train I boarded got me here, so it all worked out. I’ve kind of just been letting this trip take me where it wants and everything is just falling into place. Nothing to stress about on vacation. Nothing to stress about when in Germany.
The hostel was easy enough to find from the train station, but I arrived an hour before check in so still wasn’t able to rest like I planned. I could have just hung out in the lounge, but I opted to start walking around instead. Ended up just walking for two hours because everything was so amazing I couldn’t stop. I didn’t even take pictures because all I wanted to do was keep exploring. Most people were speaking only German, so I will admit I was feeling somewhat out of place at first, but my interactions the rest of the night reassured me that I’ll be just fine. Finally I forced myself to head back to the hostel because I was running on about 3 hours of airplane sleep in the past two days and I really did want to get some rest. Got my key and room number from the front desk of the hostel and was told, “if the bed is made that means someone has claimed it, but if the sheets are still wrapped in plastic then its available.” I expected the beds to be pre-assigned, but I kind of liked it better this way. No one was around when I got to the room, but two sets of bunk beds were already claimed so I took the bottom bunk on the remaining set. It was oddly hot in Munich, like 95 degrees, so after making my bed and putting my bags in my locker, I went down to the lounge area to cool off for a bit. Other travelers here were pretty much doing the same, some were even taking naps, and I started to feel like maybe meeting people wouldn’t be as easy as I hoped. That was wrong of course. Went back up to the room and decided to just suffer through the heat and took a nap. I didn’t necessarily intend on napping, but my body felt a bed for the first time in 36 hours and took matters into it’s own hands.
Woke up about 4 hours later and considered just calling it a night and staying in bed, but two of my new roommates had just come in so I started up a conversation with them. They were both backpacking from Brazil and were heading down to the bar for a drink so I decided to join them. There was a Germany soccer match on anyone so I was hoping the hostel bar had a tv I could watch it on. They did! Success. No one else in the hostel seemed interested in the fact that Germany was playing in a big tournament, but I’m thinking that most are not even German. Two girls were sitting at the table closest to the tv so I just went over and asked if we could join them. They are from Oregon so we connected pretty quickly. Just like that I made 4 new friends and all my worries went right out the window. Why can’t meeting people be this easy at home?
After a beer, or several, we all made our way out to a nearby club. Walking down the street a group of australians stopped us and asked if we knew any clubs around. We told them the name of the one we were headed to and they said they couldn’t get in because, “there were already too many australians in there”. I was highly doubtful that was the actual reason, but they didn’t seem too drunk to enter a club, so I was definitely curious. When we got to the club the bouncer stopped Bernardo, one of my new Brazilian friends, and asked, “where are you looking to go?” I was thinking, um, the club right behind you dumbass. Bernardo told the bouncer the name of the club and was then asked, “why do you want to go here?” I guess an answer of, “because I heard this place was cool”, was satisfactory because the bouncer kept going with his interrogation. He asked what kind of music we liked and where we were from and after that we were allowed it. Never experienced entering a club like that before and the fact that the club wasn’t even that packed made it even stranger. Maybe they like people to think it’s an exclusive place, I don’t know. It was actually a really cool club though.
After partying there for a bit, the Brazilians and I left the girls there to go check out a different club. Because you know, at 2am here the clubs are no where near shutting down. The second club was much less exclusive. It was actually so packed you could barely walk through the crowds. Still a cool vibe there though and they played great music. I left the guys at the club somewhere around 330 because I knew I had an early morning and walked back to the hostel. While walking back a guy came over and asked me something in German. I didn’t understand him, and he didn’t know much english, but I was able to find out he was looking for directions. Since I had my handy maps.me app out, I was able to show him where the McDonalds was. Success.
In just one day I was able to easily meet people and also easily interact with people who didn’t speak english. If this is what my relaxing days are like, I can’t even imagine what the rest of this trip will have in store for me. Just finished breakfast at the hostel so I’m about to start adventuring again. Today I’m checking out a soccer stadium and the Englischer Garten, but I’m sure i’ll end up getting into much more than that.
Vacation Beer Count – …fuck. Lost count already. That didn’t take long. Lets go with 3 Liters, 3 pints.
Vacation Step Count- 49,250