This weekend I went to Germany and it was the first time I've left Italy since I have been abroad. Finally being in a different country gave me such an appreciation for Rome. Although I loved Germany and have so many good things to say about it, I felt as though it was very commercialized. As I was walking through Munich, I realized besides the language, some gift shops, and cuisine, if someone asked me where I was I would have said New York. There was many brand named stores that are also in America and although there is some of this in Rome as well, Rome is so much more quant and cute with its unique flare of family shops and restaurants that it really makes you feel as though you went back in time and are in an old world, where as Germany felt as thought it kept up with modern times and is very similar to America. Although this is not a bad thing, it just made me really appreciate and fall more in love with Rome itself and made me want to explore it more!
So now for the things I loved about Germany and how it was so different than Italy! The first day when I arrived in Munich, I went on a bike tour around the city. It was so funny to be on this tour and I felt like the biggest tourist on this earth. This tour was actually very fun and informative about the cities history and it was a fun and different way to do a tour besides walking around.
The tour guide had us bike to many places that had a lot of history about the Holocaust. It is very interesting to hear it first hand and be in the place that these horrific events happened. Something else we did was biked through a park that was double the size of Central Park. The craziest thing about this park, was that were was naked people everywhere and they were openly drinking too! This was such a shock to me and the others on the bike ride and made me feel as though Germany is a free for all! It was such a weird thing to see but it was hysterical and interesting all at the same time. Contrary to what you might be thinking, since this tradition is normal in Germany, it is not a crazy party scene, it is just a normal part of their every day lives!
After the park, we biked to a beer garden where there was many various traditional German foods we could pick from, and German music was playing. This really put my friends and I in the mood for Oktoberfest the next day!
Oktoberfest was such a cool thing to do. Basically, it's the biggest festival where thousands of people around the world come together to drink, eat, and enjoy! It was so fun to dress up in the traditional German outfits (for girls it is called a dirndl and for the boys it's called a lederhosen) and be a part of this tradition that has been going on for over 200 years. We went on the first day that Oktoberfest began so they had a ceremonial opening of the kegs which the mayor was in charge of. After that, music played, they brought out the beers, and the festival began! Everyone was so happy and having so much fun it is something that you have to be a part of.
The last day, we went to Dachau. This is a concentration camp very close to Munich. I suggest that everyone does this because even though I have learned about the Holocaust my whole life, actually being on the camp site where this event happened is a complete different experience. Seeing the pictures does not do justice what it feels like to see this horrific place in person. This part of the trip made me really appreciate the fortunate position that I am in which is to be able abroad, and made me very emotional and as though everyone has to actually go here to feel the same and learn from this experience.
While abroad, I think it is very important to travel to different countries because you can then compare, contrast, and figure out what you like the best! It is so amazing to see the differences between the countries and I think it's a vital part of this trip to be able to have a full cultural experience of Europe!
Next week I'll be writing about how to balance home sickness, and about some of my next adventures!
Ciao for now!