Last summer I decided that taking an awful, expensive, giant, difficult test for fun was a good idea. So I registered for the MCAT and decided it was a great excuse to spend even more money that I don't have and be surrounded by people who are taller and blonder than I. Thankfully, Megan survived her holiday travels (the last three days of which were so awful I'm trying to get her to write about them and post them here so you can all commiserate with her), and off we went to Munich.
We arrived in the city at midnight, bedraggled and run-down versions of our normal selves. I hadn't left Albania for over six months, was surprisingly anxious about a test I swore up and down I couldn't care less about, and hadn't eaten in two days - so, basically, the perfect travel companion. I needed this vacation so bad. ("So bad" I have to butcher an adverb to express it adequately, for shame.)
We had a full day on Monday before my exam on Tuesday to revel in drinkable tap water, stores stocking pants in our size, and proper city waste management. We had pho and sushi for dinner (thanks for making me actually eat something, Meg!) and turned in for an early(-ish) night.
The test proctor asked me if I was related to those Quandts and I felt right at home (not only could she pronounce my last name, she recognized it! Not in Lushnje anymore!). (Also, not related to those Quandts.) After my exam, I scarfed down a cheesy pretzel and passed out for a nap until Megan got back from her day trip to Dachau. After our less-than-super-happy-fun Tuesday, we woke the next day for our walking tour bright and chipper and ready for some fun!
The weather didn't agree with us, though, so we spent most of the tour dashing from awning to door stoop to overhang trying to stay dry in the icy cold sleet pestering the city.
Our tour guide, a sweet American-turned-German girl, told some awesome stories about the crazy history of this city. Most involved beer. For example, the cross of the spire of St. Peter's Church (gorgeous interior above) faces the wrong direction. The story goes that it fell down during a storm a few centuries ago, and none of the monks wanted to climb the steep roof to put it back. Where do you find someone willing to do something so stupidly dangerous? Why, a local beer hall of course! So they found a man foolhardy enough to attempt the mission and up he went, cross in one hand, beer stein in the other (sustenance for the climb, of course). Miraculously, he managed to replace the cross and raised his arms to cheer...and dropped his glass stein. It rolled down the steep, tiled roof and hit the cobblestones four stories below - and managed not to break. This being the Catholic church of the middle ages, they decided this was a miracle sent from the Lord and thus kept the revered cup in a special display case at the church, where it remains today.
Jewel-encrusted skeleton of St. Munditia, a "Holy Martyr of the Faith" - you can read all about these (and see better pictures of) bejeweled skeletons scattered across Europe here.
New Town Hall
The famous Rathaus Glockenspiel, which has put on a show at least twice a day for over a century, depicts a wedding and jousting ceremony from the sixteenth century, as well as the cooper's dance dating (allegedly) from 1517.
We didn't take many pictures. The weather = gross. Also, we were having too much fun just going with the flow, instead of trying to document every. single. thing.
The sun came out for a striking sunset, which made all the buildings of the Marienplatz glow in a way impossible for a camera to capture.
Behold: the Alps!
Behold: The Nonnberg Convent, home of Maria before meeting the Von Trapps!
Hohensalzburg fortress, started in 1077 (so, literally a thousand years old), one of the largest fortresses in Europe. Never been conquered and totally still habitable! (Unlike Skanderbeg's castles up north, which are nothing more than stones and grass...)
After we returned to Munich, we had one last morning before departing for Tirana. What a great trip to finish off my international European adventures! As always, thanks to Megan for being an awesome travel buddy. Je e mrekullueshme, moj. <3