'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Saturday, February 7, 2009

euro sojourn #1 (+bonus MHTVs!) : garmisch+munich+vienna = beautifishimi!

So last week I got a lil' spur-of-the-moment travel itch and decided to jump on a train and head to garmisch-partenkirchen (an aside: the latter part of this town's name is such a fun word to say...you should try it...SO german; me likey) via innsbruck, austria and then onward and upward from there to munchen for a tiny-lil' side trip before hoppin' over to wein, austria to complete mission: visit-the-czech-consulate-and-drop-off-the-visa-app.

The trip was fanmazing ("fantastic" and "amazing" combined - wahoo!) to say the least. Needless to say, I was nearly peeing my pants with excitement for the lil' sojourn, as this is one of the major perks of living in Europe. It's not "hey, I think I'll drive home to Wisconsin this weekend last minute" (as lovely as that really is, family!)...it's "hey, I think I'll hop a train and head over to Germany, and then onward to Austria from there!" Two simple, but very poignant words: FREAKING COOL.
So, yeah, the trip worked like this:

Leg 1 - chill in sleeping car to myself (rock!) and travel overnight from prague to innsbruck, austria - arrive 2:30 am (much to my surprise)

MHTV#5 fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants...european sojourn#1 from megan harrod on Vimeo.
(VIDEO NOTE: When you see the story below, you may think that my statements about there being no homeless people in Germany was unqualified...but I wasn't in Germany when I saw the dudes below...I was indeed in Austria! So, ha! My comments stand.)

Leg 2 -
arrive in sketchy innsbruck train station at 3 am and hang out in info room with homeless booze-hounds.
Leg 3 - innsbruck to garmisch-partenkirchen (rockin' the G.Love in Shelley Glover's honour)...

MHTV #5.25 entering garmisch-partenkirchen territory! from megan harrod on Vimeo.
...arrive 8am...finally find my way to race venue at around 9:30am. Settle in for some finish area fun...race delayed due to heavy fog in the mid-section of the course (see pic below) every 30 minutes until it was finally canceled at 2:30pm. Many red bull colas, bratwursts (massive!), interactions with the Hermann Maier fan club and trips to a really nasty trailer full of bathroom stalls later, I was left slightly disappointed that I didn't get a chance to see my first euro world cup race (and DH at that!).
Worried I wouldn't be able to find my friends, I asked around (after not speaking the entire day in fear that no one would speak english) until I found 'em, and then I smiled big and we went on our merry way. Although there wasn't a race, it was still heaps o' fun to experience the fanfair in the finish area (I am just saying this to make myself feel better - but it's working!). Seriously unreal...and that's nothing compared to Kitzbuhel (which I will, no doubt, be attending next year - here I come, Londoner!). I had a blast hanging with Kevin Francis (check him out - he's a rock star and will be finishing top 30 often in the coming year! sorry had to get a shameless plug in there for ya, kevin:)) and friends - they're all super-fly. So that was that, and it was rad. (look deeper...in the reflection of the glass!)
Leg 4 - it's sunday AM and I grab some yummy german bread (it's heavenly!) and hitch a train to Munchen for a lil' side trip. On the way, I meet a cool chick who is actually from Prague too...this lady will be deemed "COOL CHICK #1" of the trip. Oh happy was I to find a new friend. But it wasn't too long before we exchanged info and then were on our merry separate ways and I bought a meal that made me feel at home (pizza and starbucks!). ha!
Leg 5 - Wien, here we come! So here I was, heading to Wien (Vienna, duh!) and the hostel ruthensteiner (a fellow member of Europe's Famous Hostels - woot, woot!)! Made it to the hostel and was welcomed by Franz and a friendly staff, then went to my dorm room (yikes - get re-acquainted with dorm room etiquette!) to settle in. After that, Franz told me about a little restaurant around the corner that had sweet "schnitties". ha! Wienerschniztel galore! So, I went...and it rocked. And I thought to myself, 'all of this fatty goodness and no Firm...I am DOOMED!' hee. But it was fab. And, what made it even more fab was running into COOL CHICK #2 of the trip...who came to my table and introduced herself. We gabbed and gabbed, and realized we were pretty lucky to have met each other...so we watched the Superbowl that night and we explored Wien like princesses on Monday. It's pretty amazing, the people you meet when you travel...it's such a neat part of it all.

Then, it was Tuesday...and my mission awaited me: the date with the czech consulate! After neglecting to shower (oops...hope I didn't smell like the men in the innsbruck train station!), I said "goodbye" to my new friends, Franz and Monica, at the Hostel Ruthenstiener...and was off to find the consulate. After a few small glitches (note: disgruntled face in below pic), I handed off my application successfully and headed back home to Prague via Student Agency buses. Fingers crossed, I'll be able to head back to Wien within 60 days to grab my shiny, new work visa! Ugggh, we'll see about that...
Leg 6 - back home...to prague, smiley and thumbs-up!
Mission: Completed.
Rock star,
P.S. I absolutely ADORE Germany!
P.S.S. Everyone thought I was German (like really German...not just faux-German. I'm not sure if that's a good thing...ha ha)...


  1. MEGS!!! Loved your post! glad you had a good trip! x kate

  2. I know it's a good thing and a good experience when people think you are German. I have some experience with that, lol.

    People tend to buy you beer if you are from Germany.
    Well, if that's not a good thing then I don't know. – GG


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