This summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel with EF College Break, and go on their Germany, Italy & Switzerland Tour. What I love about EF is that the hotels, transportation, and excursions are all planned out for you. You just have to show up and go with the flow! This was a life-changing experience, and I wanted it to share it with you. During the trip, I kept a travel journal; I am going to make it public so that you can see exactly what a trip with EF College Break is like. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventure!
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7/6/16, early in the morning
I can’t believe that today has come! I almost feel like it’s a dream, and not really happening. 7 more hours until I land. I’m listening to ambient rain music, and reading Howl’s Moving Castle. I’ll probably try to get some sleep soon. I’ll land at 3 a.m. my time (9 a.m. in Munich), and I have a busy day ahead of me. I’ll check in later.
I ended up not being able to fall asleep. 😦 I spent most of the rest of the flight watching Good Morning Call on Netflix.
I was ecstatic when we landed! Taking my first step onto European ground was so surreal. I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to navigate my way through the airport to the meeting point (McDonald’s) – but I found it just fine.
When I got to McDonald’s there were already 3 people from the tour there; Rob, Erin, and Lesly. We talked for a while, and other people began to show up. Finally, Fabrice -our tour guide – appeared. He is so freaking good looking, haha. He led us out to the bus, and we headed to the Novotel Muenchen Messe. We stored out luggage, as it was too early to check in, and then got on the subway. I was a little nervous; I’ve never used the subway before, and this was an unfamiliar area. Thankfully, the whole group stuck together. Plus, my subway ticket was included in the cost of the trip – which was pretty nice!
When we got to the heart of Munich, I was blown away. The architecture is stunning; there are also so many historical sites and museums! I would love to vacation in Munich in the future, so that I can experience it all.
Fabrice gave us a walking tour. We started with the huge outdoor marker, and then went through the streets. He explained the historical significance of statues and buildings, and told us what “Munich” means (of Monks). We ended up right in front of the old town hall; a spectacular, centuries old building.
Pics from Guided Tour (Slideshow; takes a few seconds to load)
The guided tour was now over, and I had two hours of free time. I walked back to the market, and bought strawberries for 5 euros. A bit on the pricey side, but definitely worth it! They were the best strawberries I’ve ever had, and everybody in my group who tried them agreed.
I also went to a deli stand and bought currywurst – sausage flavored with curry ketchup. I didn’t really care for the sauce, but it wasn’t terrible. Afterwards, I split off with a couple members of the group; Shannon, Lesly, and Michael. We went searching for gardens that Fabrice had mentioned during the walking tour. It turned out that we didn’t have enough time to walk all the way to the gardens; but, we discovered a beautiful courtyard, and witnessed a wedding under a huge pagoda! There were also memorials nearby, and it was pretty neat checking them out.
After this, I stopped by a “Biergarten”, but just got water. Michael bought strudel, and it was amazing! The vanilla ice cream that went with it was creamier than any ice cream I’ve had before. I’m going to have dreams about that strudel for years to come, haha.
It was time to meet up with everybody else. We all took the subway back to the hotel, and had about an hour to get ready for the welcome mixer.
Pics from Free Time (Slideshow; takes a few seconds to load)
The mixer was located at the Hofbrauhaus, which Fabrice had pointed out to us during the walking tour. He had told us that service was very slow, and warned us not to get lunch there during our free time. It turns out that he had only said that, because he wanted us to experience it for the first time during the mixer – and didn’t want to give the location away ahead of time. It is one of the best pubs in Munich.
During the mixer, we had meat and cheese platters, with free beer. I don’t really drink much beer, but I tried one. Partway through the dinner, my tablemates and I got into an interesting discussion about finding yourself in your 20’s. There was so much girl-to-girl empowerment, and it was such a special moment. I already felt lucky to be on a tour with such great people.
After the welcome mixer, most people wanted to find a bar – but several of us took the subway back to the hotel. During the ride, Fabrice told the funniest stories about previous tours! I hadn’t laughed so hard in a while.
And now I’m back at the hotel. I’m going to go to bed soon, as I have to be up early. Tomorrow is Neuchwanstein castle! Good night.