Family in Germany

In January 2016 I met up with my cousin and his family in a small German village called Bad Windsheim. My cousin, Jim, was in the military and had lived there for about the past ten years or so. I stayed with him, his wife Babsi, and their two kids Jackie and Timmy. We did some sightseeing in the town center, went out to the countryside, went to Wurzburg, and also to Nuremberg. They made me the most amazing German breakfasts. Seriously, I don’t know how this country isn’t completely obese. 

Dachau concentration camp

I took the train from Munich to the Dachau concentration camp for a day. I had a walking tour with a small group. Seeing the gas chambers was very eerie. I don’t want to elaborate much on this topic as it’s not really my position to write about. I think it’s good that these tours are offered so that we remember not to repeat these horrible events that happened in the past.

For more information for those who are interested in WWII history click here.

 

I ordered butter?

I took the train from my cousins village of Bad Windsheim to Munich. I REALLY wanted to go to a big city. I ended up staying just two nights but kept busy the entire time. 

It started with me getting off the train and walking around in circles to get to my hostel which was actually just across the street from the train station. I found my room, threw my bags down and mapped out my route for the day. It was a BEAUTIFUL January day and I was staying in a perfect location.  

My main goal was to walk to Hofbrauhaus and get a beer. Walking around a new city is SO FUN to me, especially alone because there are no distractions and I love being forced to step out of my comfort zone. I soaked it all in. I made it to Hofbrauhaus and walked on in. I was a bit intimidated by the huge crowd and large tables of laughing friends. That was the moment I wish I had a someone with me. But I sat down and watched some live music and ordered food and a drink. My waiter came back a few minutes later with a stick of butter…. uh what? He then informed me that he was a bit confused as to why I had just ordered butter. I laughed and said that a pretzel and beer would be a great addition. I was just sitting there with my beer and overheard three guys next to me chatting in Korean. PERFECT! So I walked over to them and said, “Annyeonghaseyo” and they were shocked that I had said hello in Korean. I then sat with them and chatted. They were all from Seoul and traveling together for a little vacation. I asked if I could join them for the day and we ended up bouncing to a few different bars for the afternoon. They were nice guys and eventually we parted ways. 

I headed back to the hostel and went to the bar in hopes of making some more friends. I chatted with people from Seattle, Florida, and Austria. We played cards, went out for dinner, and hung out the rest of the evening. Later in the evening I met some more Koreans and one guy was from the neighborhood of Mugeodong in Ulsan where I had lived! What a small world. I love that when you travel alone you are forced to make friends. 

For the next couple days I went to Dachau, walked around the entire city for hours, got lost in a few different parks, ate really good food, and bought some really cool pants for 2 euros. 

 

Europe cures the winter blues

When I went to Europe in January 2016 I was broke. I was working two part-time jobs while also paying the bare minimum on my student loans. I didn’t have much leftover to really go outside of Seattle. So I bought some yarn and I saved up about $1,500 by selling crocheted items during the two months before my trip. I told myself I would have 100% of that money go to my “travel fund” and it worked!

So I took two (unpaid) weeks off in January & planned a trip to visit some friends and family who lived abroad. I am very fortunate to have connections in other countries and a place to stay when needed.

Did you know there are CHEAP flights to Sweden? Through Norwegian Air I could get a one way ticket from Oakland to Stockholm for $240. I would spend a weekend there & continue on to Germany, Ukraine, & England. Random, right? My credit card company thought so as well and stopped processing my flights as I was booking them.

Thanks to my dad and his love for planning travel itineraries I could make it work. After multiple phone calls to my bank, talking to my dad on the phone for two hours to get it all sorted, basically breaking my laptop while opening tab after tab after tab, and a LOT of patience it was set:

  • Flight 1: Seattle to Oakland for a quick layover – $90
  • Flight 2: Oakland to Arlanda (Stockholm) – $240
  • Flight 3: Arlanda to Frankfurt – $130
  • Flight 4: Frankfurt to Kiev – $120
  • Flight 5: Kiev to London – $75
  • Flight 6: London to LAX – $330
  • Flight 7: LAX to Seattle – $110
  • Total price: $1,095

So why this trip? I had a place to sleep everywhere I went. During those two weeks I stayed in a hostel ONCE in Ukraine, TWICE in Germany, and ONCE in London. I KNOW that this is not something everyone can do so I am very thankful for the family and friends that took me in. Thanks to Anna, Jim, Babsy, Colin, Stacey, & Nicola.

**More stories shown under the Sweden, Germany, Ukraine, & England tabs. 

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