Between packing in as many hours of exploration as possible and the fact that I have not had time to figure out the movie editing software that I need for my Croatian excursion… the blog is going to be slightly out of order. For those that remember the Bavarian video, that was Jennifer and her fine skills. So, I am skipping ahead to my departure from Croatia and will to work on Croatia over the weekend. I know these are a little longer than the typical blog, but it is hard to condense traveling to a few paragraphs. I’m sure they will become shorter as my course work increases.
I hopped on the train to Munich (leaving Croatia) at 6:50am, and those who know me well will understand why that is bad; I am not a morning person. My cousin Mia helped me into my car because I was loaded down with luggage and gifts. We said bye, for now. I promised to return soon, and I settled in for the first (9 hours) of two trains. I asked the conductor where the food car was because I needed coffee and he said sorry there isn’t any on this train. Really, me, nine hours, and no coffee…That’s a recipe for disaster.
I sat with some very nice Croatian women who spoke Croatian and German. Neither of which I am particularly good at other than saying food items, please, thank you, check and where is the toilet. But we managed. Some older Americans boarded and were completely confused, so the savvy train expert, that would be me, offered some help. I have to say, I have become pretty relaxed about the train situation – eventually you will figure it out. Unless it is midnight or unless you are headed to another country, there is always another one and your ticket is usually good for the day. I arrived in Munich and staggered around with my luggage looking for a locker — didn’t have enough Euros, had to get cash, break it twice (needed coins), had food, put three bags in a locker, then realized there was no way I’d make my 8 minute platform change at the next station with all that luggage. So, I called Jen and she found a direct train, it was four hours later, but far less stressful. I bought a ticket and wandered out of the station to have a peek at Munich. I went to the main outdoor shopping area and looked around at the shops and restaurants.
That took almost the full time, snapped a few photos and looked for the Pension that I wanted to stay at upon my return a few days later. My second train to Parsburg took two hours and I arrived before 10:00pm. I was looking forward to a shower and my bed.
The following day I packed for the UK, and also boxes to ship to the states and then ran errands with Jen. The next morning I said bye to Fletcher (her husband), and Jen took me to the train station on her way to her first day back on active duty. I arrived in Munich and promptly dumped everything into a storage locker. I hopped on the 100 bus and spent the morning at one of the best museums in Europe, Alte Pinakothek. They have paintings by da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Rembrandt, Boucher van Dyck and many more. Then I stumbled across a Japanese noodle house where I had the best bowl of veggie noodles. I boarded the 100 bus for the second time and went to the English Gartens. The gardens were created in 1789 and are full of green lawns, flowers and trees, sculptures and fountains and plenty of places for people to play sports; it is larger than NY’s Central Park. After roaming for a few hours, I stopped at one of the Bier Gartens for a bier, some potato wedges to soak up my drink and to read for a while. Finally, I took a bus back to the bahnhof to retrieve my luggage from a locker and make the short walk to my pension. After checking in, I ended up at a Pakistani restaurant for take away (yum-o), then some packing and sleep.
The next morning, after a month of traveling in Europe I headed to London, left the airport and boarded a bus to Cambridge. That is one long bus ride. If you want a scenic route with minimal hassle, it is great, but it takes more than four hours. The train is around an hour and a half.
I arrived in Cambridge around 5:00pm and luckily my friend Kristin was still waiting for me — in the cold. We hopped in a taxi and went to her house where her husband Dave, son Ciaran, and doggie Bob were eagerly awaiting our arrival. That night included a quick pub visit and Tesco for some food followed by a lot of catching up. The next day I relaxed at the house for a while, then Kristin, Ciaran and I set off for the main town, where I had possibly the best falafel and brownie ever, though not at the same place. There is a great Indian restaurant near their house, and it was packed. We went back to the house for more chatting. The last time I saw them was at their wedding in 2005, and this was my first intro to Ciaran who is now three.
We had a good time together; we played with motorbikes and in his sand box, and also what I refer to as their secret garden. Most children want to watch cartoons and he does, but what he would watch on a loop if you let him is a video for Queen’s song Radio GA GA. And Sunday morning, he and I did just that — he rocked out and I hit replay. That afternoon, I took a bus to the train and made my way to Kings Cross where I found a taxi and crept through the Olympic Trial traffic and across the London Bridge to my new South London home-away-from-home, aka my dorm. Finally, I have arrived.