The Runaround

What a week it has been. I mean that in the most positive and most unpredictable way. The week started out with a night tour of Paris by car. My sister’s amazing friend, Laura (and her bf), drove me around Paris at night to see all the main attractions. I was able to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Literally. We also stopped to grab a Nutella Crepe while by the Eiffel Tower. I had not had one yet, but was told by Laura’s bf I had to have one. He was right. It was delicious. Only I’ve been craving another one ever since, so I’m not sure whether to thank him or be mad at him.

Tuesday I went to a town by the name of Chartres to tour a cathedral built in 1417. The train ride was about an hour and to get to the train from my hostel was around 30 minutes. I must say it was extremely worth it. It was an amazing site to see. I love good architecture.

I’m not a religious person, but this church definitely spoke to me. It’s hard to explain, but there was definitely a sense of this is exactly where you are supposed to be right now. And, I know that sounds like the most cheesy, basic line, but until you actually have that feeling, you will never understand it. Hell, most of my posts lately have been cheesy and ‘basic’ and I really don’t care. Anywho, this has been one of my favorite spots so far. A must see when visiting France. I could have sat there for hours just staring at all the detail except they don’t use heat, so the longer I sat there, the more numb my hands and feet became.

My last day in Paris. I strolled around the city. Saw Notre-Dame. Honestly, after seeing the Chartres Cathedral I was a little underwhelmed. Not that the architecture and history isn’t amazing, it’s just not as notable compared to Chartres Cathedral. I told you, a must see when in France.

Thursday was an early morning. Had to be up at 4:00 am to catch the train at 5:30. Although it wasn’t a far walk to the train, anyone who knows me knows I’m not a morning person. And, no coffee shops at the hostel or train station are open that early so it was going to take me a minute to not be a cranky hag.

I made it to the airport (without coffee) and was actually feeling energized and in a good mood. Finally had my morning cafe creme and was ready to go. Until 30 minutes before my flight; I read an email saying my flight to Amsterdam was cancelled. Wtf. I had already re-booked this flight the night before because my original flight was cancelled.

Waiting in line at customer service I learn all flights to Amsterdam were cancelled. Apparently there was a huge storm in the Netherlands. The airline gave us train tickets so we could at least get there the same day.

With so many people needing a train ticket, the customer service line was extremely slow and I was in the back. By the time I finally received a voucher, it was cutting it extremely close to making it back to the train station in the city (which I had come from earlier that morning). Once I made it back to the train station, I had to figure out where the hell I was going and I had less than 10 minutes to do so. Ten minutes may seem like a lot of time, but this is no small train station. And, you have to insert your train ticket at every turn. I had to stop and ask information where to go because I kept running in circles. The lady in front of me took SO long. It was actually only about three minutes, but felt like 10. By the time I talked to someone to get a clear direction of where I needed to be, my train was supposed to be leaving. Wholly hell at this point. I was walking as fast as I could. I’m never a person to run for a plane, bus or train, but by damn I will speed walk like a mf.

I saw that my train was still there when I arrived three minutes late. A man stopped me and told me it was delayed 30 minutes. I have never been so happy for a delay. As soon as I started to catch my breath and perk up, he told me not to get too happy because it could potentially be cancelled. While I waited to find out if it would be cancelled or not, I went to the bathroom. Because at this point I had been holding my bladder for a good hour and a half. Also note that bathrooms are not free to use at most train stations and airports in Europe. I had to pay €0.70 just to pee. But, by the time I got back to the train they pretty much started boarding. I know what you’re thinking right now and no, I did not spend 30 minutes in the bathroom. They started boarding early.

Finally, after seven hours I was finally on my way to Amsterdam… So I thought. Half way to Brussels, which was only supposed to be a brief stop, they announced it would be the only stop and that we would not be continuing to Amsterdam. At this point I had already decided I wasn’t going to Amsterdam at all. I was only supposed to be there two nights so cutting one night out it wasn’t worth going to at all anymore. I decided to stay in Brussels for two nights instead.

At first, I was a little nervous about Brussels after I looked up the travel advisory for it on the US gov website. But, once I got settled in my hostel and decided to walk around I found that I really enjoyed this city. It’s not huge, but has so many cute little shops and restaurants. The city is actually pretty colorful. They have comic strips painted on the side of buildings, rainbow colored crosswalks, painted streets, etc.

Brussels was never a first choice city to visit; however, I’m glad I was brought there and got to experience something not on the agenda. I’m sure that will not be the last mishap of the trip. Although, can I really call it a mishap? I’m in fucking Europe. Even the unplanned is amazing.

After the two days in Brussels, I got back on my schedule and headed to Munich. Of course as soon as I got off the train in Munich, I walked in the wrong direction. That never fails. Hell, I did that in Chicago until the day I left. Luckily, I didn’t walk too far in the wrong direction. Once I got turned back around I passed the hostel because I didn’t see the sign; although when I finally found it realized I stared directly at the damn sign before I had passed it. If I had not walked in the wrong direction or passed it, it would have taken all of two minutes to get to the hostel from the train station. Instead it took about 15.

I got settled into my room and decided to go explore the city a little and to grab dinner. Again, got lost trying they find the restaurant I was planning to go to for dinner. It started snowing on me so I decided to stop in the next place I saw versus navigating to the restaurant I originally intended on going to for dinner. I was too hungry and tired.

The next place I found was community seating, which meant I was sitting at a table across from someone I didn’t know. She left not long after I got there, but then someone else was immediately seated in her place. He was an older man. I didn’t talk to him until he was paying for his meal and the server had put one of my beers on his tab. I joked that he could go ahead and pay for it if he wanted. He did not want to. He paid for his and then he went on his way.

I picked up the tab for my own drinks (I only had two) and dinner. Both of which were very tasty. A traditional German meal of bratwursts, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and brown bread. So many carbs and I didn’t care one bit. It was worth it. Those mashed potatoes were no ordinary ones either. They had fried potatoes mixed in and were very buttery. Seriously, probably the best mashed potatoes of my life.

After I slept off my food coma (which I’ve had a lot of in Europe), I got up, got ready and went and ate again. Pretty much everything I have done has revolved around food and then walking it off by exploring the different neighborhoods of the city. Seems to be working well for me. I don’t feel guilty about eating a lot or drinking a few beers or some wine with my meal because I’m walking a good 10-15 miles a day.

Walking around after eating, I went to one of the oldest/main city squares in Munich. I stopped near the square to get a cappuccino and got a donut, too, because apparently lunch wasn’t enough for me. It actually was; I just couldn’t resist the sprinkle covered donut that was filled with chocolate goodness. Cappuccino in hand and donut already eaten, I make my way to one of the towers near the square. You can climb to the top of this tower and get a 360 view of the city. When I say climb, that’s literal. There was no elevator. I had to trek up 15 floors of stairs to get to the top. I might have been huffing and puffing a little when I got to the top, but it was worth it. Plus, I wasn’t the only one huffing and puffing. This was no spacious tower either. The stairs were very narrow (it was a one lane staircase) and the platform outside the tower once you got to the top was narrow, too. There wasn’t a way to get around people without invading some serious personal space. However, we were all supposed to go in the same direction to keep from having to invade one another’s personal space, but no one paid attention to the sign. I didn’t stay up there too long. That wind was a beast.

Back on the ground, I make my way to Hofbräuhaus. It’s a 100 year old and state owned beer hall. I drank a beer the size of my head. If I’m being complexly honest, I drank two. I’m in Germany, so I’m allowed to drink a lot of beer. Like I said before, I’m walking quite a bit so hopefully these few weeks in Germany don’t give me a beer belly. That would not be a good look for me. This is also where I met a group of men from Spain. I hung out with them for quite some time. For anyone who saw the picture posted to my Instagram for a short period of time, that was not actually me he who posted it. It was one of the men. I did not find it Instagram worthy, so I took it down. Has to be just the right picture to make it on Instagram. Everyone knows that.

I successfully made it back to my hostel that night (last night). Called my parents, who did see the picture, to inform them I had not been taken and that my dad does not need to go Liam Neeson on anyone. They were both happy about that.

Overall, it has been an eventful and successful second week. Stay tuned for more adventures and shenanigans by me. 😊

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