May 21-25, 2013
I know it’s been a really long time since I posted, and I have about 7 more countries to blog about. Traveling Europe took up a lot of energy, and by the time I’d get back to Switzerland, all I wanted to do was sleep and catch up with the rest of the group.
During the second week of travel, we went to Amsterdam and Germany. We flew to Amsterdam, and Kayla and I couchsurfed for the first time with a guy named Remi. He lived in Amsterdam, and he showed us around everywhere. He was the best first experience with couchsurfing we could have ever asked for. He was also the tallest human being we’ve ever seen as well! The night we got into town, Kayla, Tillie, Jill, Mal John and Mal Harkins all came over to Remi’s house, and we hung out with him and his roommates. Later, we rode on the back of their bikes to the red light district so we could see it at night. That was definitely an experience! We got to see all the shops lit up at night…. and all the guys out shopping…. Awkward.
In the morning, we woke up early to go tour around the city. Remi took us EVERYWHERE we wanted to see. We went to Vondel Park, where Kayla made her monkey sounds. We walked through old neighborhoods and saw the canals. We saw Ann Frank’s home. We walked through the Van Gogh Museum and took pictures at the “I Amsterdam” sign. We then walked through the market and ate at this amazing Arabic restaurant. We ended our trip with a scenic stroll through the red light districts and looking at the culture of the coffee shops. It was a great day, even though it was freezing (the coldest May since 1960!) Nevertheless, it was a wonderful trip to Amsterdam.
Later that day, we hopped on a train to Frankfurt, Germany, where Kayla’s friends were picking us up at the train station. We were couchsurfing again, but this time we were staying with people she knew from home. Her friends picked us up, and we made our way back to his place, about 20 minutes away from the central area of Frankfurt. It was really cool seeing the suburbs and surrounding areas of the main city. Not many people go far outside the main cities, and I felt blessed to have the opportunity to see so much of the city.
The next day, Kayla’s friend toured us around the city of Frankfurt, which was beautiful, and for lunch, we stumbed upon a VERY traditional German restaurant, where no one spoke any english. Thank God Carl was with us because there is no way we’d be able to translate. Later that night, we went out to dinner at yet another very traditional German restaurant for Mal John’s birthday. I got a “meat platter,” which scared me more than anything I’ve ever seen, but I still tried it, and it was delicious. We had some apple wine, and had a great time. Afterwards we went to a bar on a boat and enjoyed our last night in Frankfurt.
Early in the morning, we went to Munich. I had to lug around my giant backpack all day while touring, but it was okay! We saw all the main areas of Munich, went to the English Gardens, saw the surfing river, and went to the Hofbrauhaus. At the Hofbrauhaus, I ordered the largest beer I could get in honor of my father’s wishes. Weird, I know, but when my mom and him went to there in 1984 my mom got a picture holding 3 of the steins (beer mugs.) So obviously, I had to do the same. We had a great lunch, and after I successfully finished the giant beer, we continued to tour around. Our Couchsurfing host, Peter, came to pick us up, and we went back to his place to get ready for the evening.
Also, sidenote: I had eaten about 6 pretzels at this point while in Amsterdam and Germany.
Peter cooked us dinner, and we shared a few gasses of wine while he serenaded us with his beautiful voice and piano playing. Then, we met up with the girls at their hostel, and Peter took us to a VERY local indie bar in Munich. The bar had an awesome vibe, great music and cheap beer. It was such a great night to end our time in Germany. The next morning, we had to catch yet ANOTHER 6 am train ride, and we made our way back to Leysin.