The most cliche thing I’ve said in the past week was: Where is the time going? But I’m over halfway through my time in Europe and I’m just getting started. Some of you have asked what a typical week for me is, so here you go: I have a solid routine for my weekdays now since my weekends are anything but routine. Mondays are rest days, Tuesdays are exploring something new in Prague, Wednesday I have class for 6 hours and packing in the evening and I’m in another country by Thursday. Sorry it’s not terribly exciting, but I’m pretty lucky I’ve had two jobs in the travel industry that prepared me well for a life like this.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I visited Munich this past weekend and it is by far my favorite German city. But first, some interesting facts about Munich: the city was hit by 71 air raids in five years during WWII by the allies and was completely and meticulously rebuilt after US occupation in 1945. The city is now consistently rated among the top 10 cities with the highest quality of life worldwide, most recently rated as 4th. Munich is probably best know for Oktoberfest, but there is so much more to the city than an event that happens three weeks annually. BMW’s headquarters are also located in Munich, however you have to reserve factory tours six weeks in advance. So, if you go to Munich, be sure to plan ahead to be able to do this.
I went with a friend, walked everywhere and saw almost everything in 48 hours. We stayed close to the city center so we didn’t have to pay for transportation once. It’s clean, easy to navigate and has a rich history. There is a park, larger than Central Park, scattered with beer gardens which was a nice resting point after walking 10 miles. However, beer is a major part of the culture and I’m a little ashamed that I’d take German beer over Czech beer any day. It’s much lighter and not quite as filling…as far as beer goes. It’s very common to have half beer half lemonade, which tastes like cider, one of my beverages of choice.
The food in Munich was the highlight for me. One of the most famous open air markets in Germany is the Victuals Market with over 150 vendors selling everything from fresh produce to homemade gummy bears. It was overwhelming to say the least. For lunch I had a burrata-buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto panini on fresh focaccia. If that description alone doesn’t make your mouth water (Rachel), you should go make one right now and continue reading this later. I was so excited to eat I forgot to take a picture. Interesting note, Jewish food is German food; I don’t think I have seen more herring or bagels and lox in one place besides New York, a truly beautiful sight. (Disclaimer: This paragraph was written before dinner and all I could think about was food.)
Today I took a tour of the Pilsner Urquell brewery, perhaps what the Czech Republic is most famous for (beer). The only hiccup was that our train broke down so it took three hours and three different modes of public transportation to get to a place that should have taken only an hour. Nothing makes a group of 10 American students go into full panic mode like being yelled at in Czech. Moving on, they bottle 60,000 bottles of beer per day at the factory, so you could say today was overall a very good day. We were all mesmerized by how much beer was in one room. At the conclusion of the tour we tried their unfiltered, unpasteurized brew which was way better than what you can get on tap. Unfortunately you can’t buy it anywhere that way. To answer the question I know you’re thinking to yourself right now, it is a national holiday today celebrating the independence of the Czech-Slavic Republic in 1918. Most importantly, classes are cancelled for the rest of the week.
Tomorrow I’m off again for a crazy four days in Amsterdam 😉
Also, I’d love to hear if you have any life updates that I’ve missed since I’ve been gone for so long.
Finally, you can follow this link to see all of my pictures thus far: Mark in Europe
Much love from Praha