while you guys were eating turkey, i went to a castle

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November 28th 2005
Published: November 28th 2005
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so i definitely had a good time this weekend, even though for the first time in my life i missed thanksgiving with my family.

first, last tuesday we went to the vatican museum (finally). i would have gone before, but i was waiting until i could go for free with my class. i did try to go once, but the line looked too long and boring. anyway, it was actualy a little bit disappointing for me. i've seen many, many things very similar to what the vatican has all semester. it just seemed like more of the same. i mean, i know its nice and all, and if i had gone when i first got here iwould have been all "WOW!", but its just too much of the norm for me now. however, keri and i managed to somehow "lose" laura while exiting the museum, and we ended up sitting outside in the cold for about twenty minutes hoping to find her. we never did, but we did get to see an excellent pigeon fight.

back to munich. so wednesday night we took an overnight train. not a sleeper car, but it was a better situation than the overnight i took to vienna the weekend before. it was me, keri, and laura, and some nice italian lady. eventually the italian lady left and it was just the three of us. we took turns laying full length on one row of seats, while the other two would attempt to sleep as best as they could on the other row. i'm getting pretty use to this travelling thing now, and i ended up sleeping the best/most out of all of us. thats not to say that i was super comfortable, but i did manage to get a decent amount of sleep considering the circumstances.

all around munich and in the city there was a fair amount of snow, and by the time we got there it was snowing. i saw snow the week before in vienna, but that stuff melted instantly. this snow stuck around for awhile, so props to it. we got brunch at the train station, which meant doner kebaps for laura and me. let me tell you about doner kebaps. they are these amazing turkish sandwhiches filled with pork, lettuce, some crazy delicous white sauce, and sometimes tomatoe. this may not sound very exciting, but trust me, they are scrumptious. i got one in vienna, thanks to the advice of mary price, and now i'm hooked. anyway, then we walked to our hostel. it was very near by, which was excellent since it was freezing! the temperature range most of the weekend was frm about 35 to 14 degrees fahrenheit. sometimes with snow. hostel was very nice. we only paid for dorm beds, which means there are usually other random people in the room, but we got lucky and got all the beds in a three bed dorm. so basically we had a private room. fantastic. we sat around for awhile and looked at various brochures and maps and stuff, trying to figure out what to do. we realized we could use our eurail passes for the two hour train ride to neuschwanstein, since we had already validated them for that day, and thus after being in munich for about two hours we were back on a train. i realized yesterday that i have spent over 50 hours on trains in the past two weeks. geez.

so we took a train to fussen, a small town near neuschwanstein. from there we still had to take a bus and we had to wait about an hour for it to run again. so we walked around fussen, admiring the mountains and snow. that got old (and really cold) after a few minutes, so we went into the best bakery in the world. they had allll these delicious tortes for really cheap prices. we all got hot chocolate and shared a sugar plum torte thingy. yum yum. we get on the bus, drive to the base of the mountain that neuschwanstein is built on. you still have to climb up the mountain to get to the castle. normally there is a shuttle bus that runs back and forth between the bus stop and the castle, but because of the snow itwasn't running. it was way too cold for our personal preference for us to walk up the mountain, so we took a horse and carriage. haha. normally this would be just too silly for us, but i'm glad necessity forced us into it. it was truly delightful. haha at one point keri said, in all seriousness, "i am NOT going to take a horse and carriage to this castle." she sure did eat her words. some funny german man with a santa hat was driving the horses. one of the horses pooped in the middle of the ride, and our guide's comment was "apples!". hahahahaha. and then the other horse wouldn't stop farting, and he said stuff like "not the driver, not the driver." oh yes, i forgot to mention, some old man grabbed keri's butt while she was getting into the carriage. hmm.

at the mountain we had to wait quite a while for our tour to begin. our feet were very cold during this time, as we were only wearing tennis shoes with one pair of socks. to alleviate this problem, we stood in the castle's women's room, and put our shoes under the hand dryer. it helped some. the castle was nice, lots of dark wood and swans and gold. there was a fresco of Jesus with a rainbow behind him. that made me laugh a little bit. there was a beautiful sunset, one of the most beautiful i have ever seen. there will be pictures of all this.

we almost froze waiting for the bus back to fussen, and then i fell asleep on the train back to munich. we plucked up our
the beginning of the first train ride.the beginning of the first train ride.the beginning of the first train ride.

keri had her little blow up neck pillow with her. look how pleased laura is.
spirits when we returned, though, b/c we really really wanted to go out and get some realy excellent german food. we took the guy at our hostel's recommendation and went to some place called the augustiner. it was super super local, had good food, nice people, and lots of beer. i dont' really like beer, but if i did, this would be the place for me! we were silly and all ordered the same thing for dinner. fortunately it was a very good meal. pork roast, potato dumpling (mashed potatoes with dough in it, i think), sour kraut, and a pretzel for each of us. oh yeah and we all had half a liter of beer. eh. we had to share a really big table with a lot of other people. amazingly, several of them spoke decent english, and they were very helpful and nice. some nice german boy got my coat down for me. then we went home and slept. and that was my thanksgiving day.

day two. we got up and ate our free breakfast (that was one of the essentials in chosing our hostel). hmm, i forget what happened next. oh yeah, so we walked down
me on the first train ride.me on the first train ride.me on the first train ride.

the lady beside me said she spoke spanish, so i tried to talk to her. i soon discovered that she really didn't speak spanish. just italian with a couple spanish words thrown in.
one of the main roads and just went into random stores. german stores are much more like american stores than italian stores. meaning, they're big, have clothes i can fit into, the prices are MUCH more reasonable, and the clothes just look more american. so, i did some clothes shopping. i remember cole told me at the end of the summer to not bring much clothing with me to italy and to just buy stuff once i got here. well, that didn't work out since italian clothes are 1) super expensive 2)provocative and 3) for skinny people, and i just didn't have a whole lot of clothes for awhile. BUT, if i had gone to germany instead of italy, that would have been excellent advice, but it still all worked out since ive managed to pick up a few things from all the other countries i've been to. anyway, i bought a really excellent new pair of cordoroys for 15 euros (thats an astoundingly great price--in italy, they owuld have costed at least 50 euros), and i got two new shirts at this place called H&M that is apparently all over europe, and a pair of one euro gloves (one

i like how intently laura is staring off into complete darkness. haha.
of the best investments of my life). oh, and i bought a really really ridiculous shirt at the neuschwanstein gift shop. i'm wearing it right now.

so we looked into a lot of stores, we saw a lot of people ice skating. some old(ish) people were dancing while they skated, we went into a church, we walked around the christkindl market and bought chocolate covered fruit. i got some fried potatoes for lunch this day. german people, at least bavarians, seem to eat their potato pancakes with apple sauce. i did, too. it was interesting, although i do prefer ketchup. that night was the lighting of the tree and the "official" opening of the christkindl markt. so we stood around and listened to the mayor speak in german for awhile. laura speaks some german (which was veeery helpful this weekend) and she told us some of what was going on. for awhile the mayor was making fun of americans. poo on him. keri and i were laughing to ourselves b/c as soon as the mayor started talking in his deep, imposing voice we were both like "man....sounds like hitler." i hope no one heard us say that. the next guy who talked did not sound like hitler, though. they lit the tree, it was pretty. we walked around and bought cute little christmas ornaments and candy. i bought this confection called a snowball. its a softball sized ball of fried dough (kinda like sopapilla dough), filled with amaretto flavored marzipan (man, do they ever love marzipan in this country. it had me thinking about homestar runner all the time), and covered with white chocolate and chocolate sprinkles. there were other varieties, but thats what mine was made with. it was intensely sweet and very large. it took me like five attempts, with the help of laura and keri, before i could finish it off. i think i might have diabetes now. that night i was also introduced to the magic known as "weiswurst" (white sausage). ohhhhh my gosh. steamy, super hot sausage in an excellent bun with slightly spicy mustard while its -10 celicius (12 fahrenheit) is one ggggreat meal. back in the day, i thought i didn't really like pork, but germany and austria have changed my mind. man, i love pork. bring it on!! so i had two weiswurst that night, and one the next day for
on the train ride to fussenon the train ride to fussenon the train ride to fussen

i have never before seen so much snow.
lunch. had to get my fill while i could, you know. we had to take breaks from walking around the market, b/c our hands, feet and faces kept going numb. we went into this really really huge bookstore. it interested me more so for its warmth than for its wares b/c, although i love me some books (and my grandma, haha), german books don't relaly do me any good. it was very warm in there, though. walked around the market some more, and went to bed.

third day (saturday). we tried to explore off the main road. we walked through a little park that was all covered in snow. we went into a really nice bakery and shared a couple delicious treats. the employees there were sooo nice. we were just silly looking american kids, but they treated us with the utmost courtesy, and told us we should just stay around all day and keep eating all their stuff. haha. we found the largest english bookstore in munich. i bought a book, almost two. i definitely would have bought two, but i have to haul those things home somehow, so i gotta take it easy on the books till i get back next semester. we found a medieval fair. we climbed to the top of a cathedral to get a aerial view of munich. we looked at the christkindl markt some more. we stood around in tourist shops and looked at steins, clocks, and nutcrackers for HOURS. i finished all my christmas shopping friday, and once im done shopping, i'm really done, so i was pretty bored for all of this. finally laura bought a clock and we got to leave.

after a little bit of relaxing back at the hostel, we went off to the legendary hofbrauhaus for dinner and beer. there were like three different restaurants inside, and it took us awhile to figure out which one was the cheap one. we found it, and then we realized we were goign to have to fight about half the population of bavaria for a table. we managed to snag one and fortunately some nice german kids sat at the table with us and explained what all the stuff on the menu was (it was all in german, and laura's skills with this language only go so far). however, we still got prettty jipped with our food. well, actually i was very pleased with my dinner, b/c mary price had told me to get it back in vienna but i never got a chance. "it" being kasespatzle, something thats sorta like german mac and cheese. yummy. keri, though, ended up getting sliced, not so great sausage and a few pieces of lettuce, and laura got some very questionable looking sausage. originally our waiter tried to give me half a chicken, but i made him take it back since 1/2 a chicken and kasespatzle are two entirely different meals. oh yeah, and i got CARDED for the first time since i've been in europe. wha? who gets carded in the hofbrauhaus in GERMANY of all places?!? not that it was a big deal, it was just weird. so the boy beside me, who helped us order, had a mohawk and a nice sense of fashion. i never learned his named, but in my head i called him max. anyway, max had to leave pretty quickly b/c one of his friends was under 18 and i think he got kicked out b/c of this, but he invited us to go partying/dancing with him and his friends. i kinda wish we had gone but we had to wake up early the next morning for the train and we were pretty tired anyway.

we went back to the hostel and tried to sleep, but there was some big party in the bar downstairs, and it was kinda difficult to sleep while it sounded like there was a marching band on the floor below us. we considered wakling up and down the halls banging pots and pans the next morning to give those fools a taste of their own medicine. of course, we did not.

12 hour train ride back to rome. a lot of the ride had beautiful scenery. little mountain towns, all thickly covered by pure, untouched snow. so pretty. i still got pretty bored though. that was my last train ride for who knows how long. how sad, but at least i had a reallly long time to say good bye.

i have a lot of homework this week. bleh.

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28th November 2005

I'M SO GLAD YOU GOT TO TRY KASESPATSLE!!! It sounds like you had a grand time in Germany... I'm also psyched that my advise helped you get some good food.

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