Munich

I spent 2 days in Munich in early September 2015 as part of my 6 week Eastern Europe/Balkans trip. Sadly, I can’t say it’s somewhere I’m dying to get back to, but it does have its charm and beauty.

Oh Munchen. You were definitely interesting from beginning to end, just not sure in the absolute best way possible. The couch surfing experience was quite an experience, but more on that later, off blog.

My visit started as soon as I got off the 8-hour bus from Berlin and headed off towards my Couchsurfing host’s apartment. Right off the bat, I came across the main train station, blocked off and guarded by armed police and medical volunteers. Medical tents were set up, and people flooded off trains, single-file, into the various tents. It was the first refugee arrival zone I’d seen. My “greeter” would later tell me there were 3-week-long waitlists to volunteer – so many Germans all over Munich wanted to help, they’d already reached capacity. It was definitely a sight, since it’s unlike I’ve ever witnessed firsthand in the U.S., and made for an interesting time to be in Germany.

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Berlin: you really are quite something 

My stay in Berlin was short but definitely the most dynamic of any stay I’ve had so far. I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew is that I’ve always wanted to go, and I’m so glad I finally did.
When I first landed and got into the city, I stopped by my hostel to check in and drop my bags off, but they weren’t accepting check ins until 2pm. It was 1:15. So after checking some quick wifi (you can never be too grateful for free wifi when you have no other way to connect) I actually took my bag on my back and headed for the free Berlin tour meeting point. Our guide was this spunky blonde German girl from Dresden and she took us on 3 long hours of history and walking around the city’s main attractions. I’m glad I went since I got to see some sites and hear stories about them that I probably wouldn’t have known otherwise. (That the hotel balcony right in front of the Brandenburg Gate, for instance, is the same balcony where Michael Jackson hung the baby. Crucial info I know.) I met a lot of other travelers, a girl spending the day in Berlin before taking the night train to Poland, and an older woman from Australia traveling on her own for 2 months.

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