Saturday. I woke up to a rush of messages on my phone… it was the morning after the attack in Paris. My friends in Prague and around Europe were all in shock trying to find out what happened and making sure that those we knew in the city were safe.
My heart goes out to all those affected both my this attack in Paris and the other attacks that happened around the world the days leading up to this. Fortunately, everyone I knew was safe and accounted for.
I didn’t have much time to process everything – which was probably a blessing at the time – since I had a train to catch Munich bound.
Unfortunately, I missed my first train and had to wait in a coffee shop until the next train. Sipping on filter coffee (huzzah! I rarely find plain, American coffee in Europe) I caught up to speed on the situation in Paris and prayed for those affected. It was amazing how quickly social media sites responded and stories of bravery surfaced. I remember one of Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore sheltering guests and it hit me that just a few weeks ago I had wandered through those very shelves that protected people now.
My train arrived and I was able to relax and refocus. I arrived in Munich just in time for my free walking tour.
I’m a big fan of these free walking tours, they’re such a great way to get a brief overview of the city and understand a bit about the city. After the tour I wandered around the Residenz a bit and the garden outside.
Late that night I was finally able to check in to my room, drop my backpack, and eat some much needed food.
Sunday! After wandering around for most of yesterday with my backpack I needed a little extra time to sleep in before heading back out to the city.
Once I was finally moving I headed to Dachau Concentration Camp. Seeing it in light of the recent attacks it was interesting to see how far we’ve come in some respects and how much we still have to go.
I reflected some on Dachau on the train ride back to Munich.. there was a lot to process. I’m glad I got an audio guide. Moving at my own speed is really important to me and I wouldn’t want a tour or travel companion causing me to rush in areas I wanted more time.
Back in Munich I got an early dinner and did a little more walking around the city. I chose to briefly visit the University area and check on a second-hand, English bookstore! I love finding bookstores in every city I visit and collecting books or bookmarks if my suitcase is already full.
Off to another day trip, this time – Neuschwanstein Castle! Getting to Fussen (the city closest to the castle), walking up to the castle, taking the tour, walking back, and taking the train back to Munich is a full day. It probably took 8 or 9 hours but I did enjoy seeing the castle and going on a little walk through the alps.
I realized that I preferred to view the castle from the outside on a walk instead of from the tour on the inside. Regardless, I would still recommend going on the tour through some of the rooms in the castle and having the history and symbolism explained.
Tired, I went to a grocery store in Munich and picked up food for dinner and snacks.
Last day in Munich and on this short trip. I was down to just 5€ left and I was determined not to withdraw any more money since I was leaving later that day. I ended up getting a cappuccino and bagel for breakfast and hoped that, and the granola bar I got the previous night, would be enough to keep me full until I got back to Prague around 4pm.
Somehow I made it back to Prague without dying of hunger, though the first thing I did after getting back to my dorms was buy groceries.
Overall, Southern Germany is beautiful, the people are so welcoming, and I loved my time there! I’m glad that I went alone because there were several days that I moved way slower than usual and I wouldn’t want someone waiting on me. Conversely, there were several times that I moved incredibly quickly or skipped things that I didn’t feel like seeing and I wouldn’t have done that if I was traveling with someone.
All in all, a very successful and fun trip!