München with a Blonde: Part I

Guten tag family & friends! I’ve made my way across the ocean and send you greetings and wishes for a happy new year from München (that’s the capital of the state of Bavaria for those of you in the know). How did I land in the world of schnitzel and strapping young German fellows? Back in November, my boyfriend and I decided that it would be an absolute blast to head out of the country right after Christmas and have our New Year celebrations away from the hustle and bustle (and we both had almost 2 weeks of time to get away from our offices). After doing some major research (I probably looked at 25 different vacation options for nights on end), I landed on Munich- it had everything we wanted: neither of us had been there, it was a large city but it would be easy to travel elsewhere during our stay, we could spend almost the entire time outside, the food and beverage options were right up our alley, and we could BIKE (I’ve been riding my bike all over Houston for years [yes, I’m sure you’ve heard stories of my many accidents], and every vacation we’d taken we rented bikes to get around the city and LOVED it).

After getting confirmation from my main squeeze, I went ahead and booked both of our round-trip airfare and hotels for 9 nights (with 2 layovers in Amsterdam). As I clicked through and entered all the information over the web, a little box popped up- “Avery, would you like trip insurance?” Heck no! Both of us were healthy, we have already confirmed our days off work, and everything in our world was truly happy, peaceful, drama free, and most of all we were always having fun and going on adventures together.  With one final push of the button, the trip confirmation was in my e-mail, and the planning began.

Fast-forward to 4 days before Christmas. My boyfriend informs me he no longer wants me as his girlfriend, and he definitely doesn’t want to go on the trip I had lovingly planned (and funded) around his interests, his likes, and his suggestions (that’s putting it mildly). I later found out he had multiple ladies on the side, so it actually worked out for BOTH of us that he didn’t go. How nice!

To say I was devastated and distraught was an understatement on so many levels.  I frantically called the booking agency. Could I get a refund? No. Could I at least get a credit? No. The airline was next on my list. Again, since I didn’t have trip insurance, they couldn’t help me. I kept hitting brick walls going 60 kilometers an hour. I was going to miss out on my trip AND had basically thrown money away.

Who wouldn’t want to spend 9 days with this TOTAL PACKAGE?

Then I ran into my beautifully wise and hilarious friend Kathie. I was beside myself- heartbroken and defeated. She looked at me and said, “I don’t need to know what happened, but I am so sorry this happened to you and you will get through this. Years ago something very similar happened to me, and I went on the trip, made it an adventure and had the time of my life. You should go.” I looked her in the eyes and told her how right she was (and if you know Kathie, you know how much she loved to hear that!), and made up my mind then and there that I was going to make this trip MINE.

I cancelled some of the adventures that weren’t of high importance to me that I had booked for him, and set my own itinerary. Restaurant reservations that wouldn’t have been my first choice? Over with. A surprise bird watching trip for him? Nein.  This was now my vacation, and I was going to go bananas.  And that’s precisely what I’ve done.  Now on to the good stuff.

Day 1 & 2 (they sort of ran together): As I was leaving Houston to head to the airport, I stopped into my office to do some last minute work, and say goodbye to my coworkers (who I love very dearly).  They had parting words of advice (some of which I can’t write on my website that my mother reads. Just kidding, Mom.  Sort of.), and offered beau coups of support on my adventure. I was scared. Angry. Nervous. Excited. And had just gotten a blowout, so I looked damn good. I was ready. Off I went.

I only took 3 tiny bags. Super packer!

Now, I know what you’re thinking (mainly because many of you said this to me), this is going to be like that movie The Holiday and Avery will end up with Jude Law in a cozy cottage in the hills and live happily ever after.  Or maybe you were thinking this could be my “rediscovery” and I could be Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love (which was a horrible movie [also not a fan of the book], by the way, but that’s a different entry for a different day) and find myself as I travel across the world. Those are both nice thoughts, but as I was leaving my switches were turned to one mode, and one mode only- SURVIVAL HAVE FUN. I was going to survive this trip and live to tell about it (and maybe even laugh about it in that, “remember when I was so silly, and naïve? What a funny little girl I was when I was almost 30” sort of way). Plus I don’t need to rediscover myself, I know exactly who I am.

Terminal D awaits this gal!

When I arrived at IAH, I walked straight up to the ticket agent, and explained my predicament.  I think my exact words were around the end of our conversation about my sad state of affairs were, “Look. You can see that I booked both of these tickets with my debit card, and he’s not coming. Please, oh please upgrade my seat to business class.” I’d like to say I negotiated it with my super skills, but honestly I think the guy just felt really bad for me. And maybe giving him a sweet little wink helped too.  I hopped on my plane, and guess who was sitting next to me? A former Aggie basketball player named Brian Davis who is friends with two people who live in my building. Being the two tallest people on the plane (he’s 6’10 and plays for the Amsterdam national team), we were both thankful for our upgraded seats (he didn’t know why they upgraded him, but he wasn’t asking any questions).  We had lots of mutual friends and talked about Big XII sports (or what was the Big XII) until after dinner, at which point we both popped a sleeping pill and drifted off into the starry night. I’m not a good sleeper, so after about 2.5 to 3 hours I was awake and ready to be in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, I had about 3 hours, so I took advantage of KLM’s on-flight entertainment by learning some words on their language game in German. I’m basically a pro at German now (with a Texan accent of course).

I have 4 things I don’t like to travel without:

  1. My sweet spot. Get your mind outta the gutter. If you don’t know what this is, get on drugstore.com right now and order ya some. It is a perfectly packaged piece of personal hygiene (and my sweet friend Megan says they smell so light and crisp). I use them for EVERYTHING. They are perfect for when you don’t have time to shower, but want to feel fresh. Great for long flights AND long nights. After sitting in a chair for 9+ hours (where Lord knows what kind of gross people have sat) and a meal that didn’t sit well on my tummy, this was a lifesaver. Plus, no one wants a stinky neighbor, or a nasty, umm. . .”Nether-land”.
  2. Travel pillow.  I tend to leave drool puddles in the shape of really fascinating looking whales, and let’s be honest, no one wants their neighbors slobber on their shoulder.
  3. Wisps. These little guys make brushing your teeth sans water easy. Airplane bathrooms after a long flight can even make an anosmiac like me gag.  Those bathrooms get nasty.  Clean your teeth at your seat!
  4. Eye mask. I put googly eyes on mine. Helps you sleep, and gives the flight attendant a good laugh.

We touched down just as the sun was rising in Amsterdam. I was pumped and ready. My flight the next morning was at 7:10 am, so I had booked a “micro hotel” that’s actually INSIDE the airport (it’s called Hotel Mercure, and I HIGHLY recommend it if you have a short layover in AMS or have an early flight), so I dropped off my big backpack and hit the cobblestone roads running.

After getting off the rail at the central bus station, I had directions on which bus to get on to see the Anne Frank House, which I had already purchased tickets for (I had read online the line could be 3-4 HOURS, and knew I wouldn’t want to wait in that, because as I have said and will say a thousand more times in my life, “I don’t do lines.”). Somehow, (probably because my ability to read Dutch is about as good as Lindsay Lohan’s ability to keep her skinny butt outta jail) I hopped on the wrong bus TWICE.  After getting an extensive scenic tour through the various neighborhoods (and finding many people riding the bus who had been in the red-light district munching on junk food in the early morning hours), I finally made it to Anne Frank Huis. Actually, I saw the line about a minute before I ever saw the actual house. Boy was I happy I had bought a ticket online before I even made it into the country.  I marched my sassy rear to the front entrance, where I was informed it didn’t matter if I had pre-purchased a ticket, I would still need to wait in the line that stretched ALL. THE. WAY. AROUND. THE. BLOCK.  Never mind that it was about 32 Fahrenheit, and I was wiped out from traveling. I went and bought my first cappuccino of the day at the smallest (and probably most profitable) shop in all of the Netherlands and got in line.  There was a sweet family of four from England in front of me (they took the ferry overnight and their little girl Lucy was precious explaining how long “the queue” would take us), and a very nice Japanese student named Yutaro behind me—he was so excited to practice his English with me (and tell me how I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and kept asking repeatedly if he could post my picture on Facebook and be his friend [of course the answer was yes]). Yutaro and I had the exact same Nikon camera, so we spent a good hour switching tips and having a nice chat.

My Japanese buddy Yutaro. 

After an hour and a half, I was finally back to the front of the line, and then spent an hour or so inside the house (which actually wasn’t a house, but Anne’s fathers office).  If you have never been to Amsterdam, this would be on my MUST DO LIST (I hadn’t read the book in 15+ years, so I re-read it on Christmas day before my trip, which was helpful and oh so meaningful). The space is fascinating, and you can see why so many people went to The Netherlands to hide during the German occupation, as the houses are built on the canal and it’s hard to tell how big/small a home is (there were all these crazy levels and hidden passage ways).  The stairways were incredibly narrow and steep, but Otto Frank wanted the home to be left unfurnished for visitors, so the rooms had plenty of space. It truly reminded me of the blessings in my life, as I have never been confined to a three-bedroom home with 8 people for years on end. It was a very neat experience and I would gladly wait in line all over again- definitely worth it. This was the most expensive museum I went to on this trip, however the historical value outweighs any tariff they could charge.

After having another cappuccino in the museum café (I was sleepier than Charlie Sheen after a week long bender), I hopped on the train to my next destination- a canal tour. I was on a time crunch (and exhausted at this point).  I was the first one to arrive, and took a nap while waiting for the rest of our group. Once the boat got moving, they took us to the TOP 100 spots along the canals in Amsterdam. Here are a few of my favorite highlights:

Weepers Tower is on the canal and helped to fortify the city.  Many don’t know that there is a serious housing shortage in Amsterdam- there are about 2 million people in the city- and so many people have bought houseboats and live on the canal- you wouldn’t believe how many people were just hanging out in the canal. The city was actually named after a dam in the river (Amstel), and city hall was for a very long time the center of the Jewish neighborhood (this changed during the war of course). As most everyone knows, I love learning about real estate and architecture, especially the details that make each city unique.  In Amsterdam I kept seeing GIANT hooks above every single door and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what they were for. My theories consisted of a religious symbol (but surely the entire city is not devoutly religious), a mechanism used in the building of the structures, or a place to hang flags (all of those ideas were horribly wrong).  I finally asked the boat captain and it turns out that the doors and staircases are all built to be quite narrow, so every home is built with a hook so that furniture can be brought in through the windows on the upper stories. I also happened across the narrowest building in all of Amsterdam (it’s only 1 meter wide!), but unfortunately my SD card stopped working and deleted my Amsterdam photos (thank goodness for my iPhone!).

By this point in the day, I still wanted to go to the Van Gogh Museum, but I had not slept in nearly 24 hours and could barely function. When I climbed back on the train, I made these ridiculously stupid guys sitting in my car promise to wake me up when we got to the airport, unfortunately they had spent the last 4 days in the red-light district and every time I was about to fall asleep they would jostle me and ask me questions. I finally just talked to them about their travels (all they did was drugs and party- ech!).  When I arrived at the airport it was about 6:30, and I desperately needed to shower and brush my teeth with a REAL toothbrush. I skyped my mom quickly, showered and ventured out into my hotel.  I met a Dutch man named Emil, who I dined with.  He recommended I try the fried meatballs or gehaktbal with a spicy mustard and gravy type sauce (can’t remember what the gravy was called) smashed between two pieces of bread. It was really amazing, especially because the Dutch are to Europe as the South is to the U.S., EVERYTHING is fried, and the only difference is that most everyone is waifish and thin. As I was falling asleep into my dinner, I knew it was time to retire to get up at 5 am for my flight.  I managed to stay up until about 9 and then crashed until midnight when I woke up wide-awake.  I talked to mom again for a bit and finally fell asleep around 4am; needless to say I wasn’t feeling so hot when I had to get moving.

Day 3: If my hotel hadn’t been in the airport, it’s quite possible I would have never made it out of Amsterdam. I was fatigued and drained. Even though I was in the airport, I still had to through customs, and because I was rushing I hadn’t had time to grab breakfast and couldn’t carry a drink with me until I had already passed through. I was hauling ass through the airport wearing my full-length rabbit coat (which I took at the last minute, and was the best decision as I never got chilly even standing in line in the freezing cold), carrying my two backpacks, and by the time I got to customs I was sweating, and feeling quite ill. There were four people in front of me, and it took every ounce of my being not to pass out. I took off my coat (which weighs at least 7 or 8 lbs.), but was gripping the rail in the line to keep from falling over.  When I got to the customs desk (where I’m sure they see drugged up people all the time), I was dripping in sweat, couldn’t carry my bags, the world was spinning and I could barely get my bag open to give the man my passport.  Then his questions started. “Where are you going? Why were you here? How long were you here (umm check out my passport mister, it’s on there, okay?!)? What are you doing in Germany? How long are you staying?” I mustered my last ounce of strength and answered his questions with a smile- I just had to get to the other side of that gate- I could see a store with some orange juice, which is all I could think about as I stood their shaking. He finally stamped my passport and let me through, at which point I bought a can of orange juice and a bottle of water.

I always try to be clear when I’m traveling that I want to purchase FLAT water. I’ll drink mineral water, but it just doesn’t seem to be as hydrating to my body and it’s never something I would choose to drink, especially if I’m feeling sick. I asked the lady if she spoke English (she didn’t, just my luck), so I asked her in French if the 1L bottle of water was flat water. “C’est cette eau plate?” She nodded yes. Whew. I paid, threw my bags down, sat on the ground and chugged my orange juice. I was starting to cool off and feel a little better, until I looked up. The sign said my gate was a 17-20 minute walk away (this was actually a cool feature, it told you about how long it would take to get anywhere in the airport) and my flight was boarding in 15 minutes.  So I tossed my water into my smaller bag and hustled. I arrived at THE. VERY. LAST. GATE. Out of breath, with the world spinning once again, and 3 minutes to spare, I called my mom one last time (to let her know I hadn’t missed my flight), and whipped out my water. I have never been so thirsty in my ENTIRE life, including when I ran the marathon last year.  I fiddled with the cap, took a giant swig and BLECH! It was sparkling water. I almost cried. By this time I was to board the city hopper, which thankfully was only accessed by going outside.  The fresh cold air was enough to get me on the plane, and since I was in business class (which was a joke on such a small plane) I immediately asked for water. She told me no, I’d have to wait.  I almost cried again. I couldn’t take it, so I put my pillow around my neck, threw on my eye mask and asked the girl next to me to wake me up when drinks came around.

I woke up in Munich. With about an hour of sleep, I was feeling slightly better, but still sick.

I walked through an empty airport and followed the signs for “TRAIN”.  As I was buying my ticket at the automated machine, a very strange man (he was Turkish maybe?) approached me and asked if I wanted to share a car with him to Munich. I politely gave my best “Nein” so he wouldn’t think I was an American and kept trying to read the German screen. He lingered a bit longer (which was a little scary for me), and finally buggered off. The English version wasn’t working on my machine, so it was incredibly difficult to figure out which train I needed a ticket for- all I knew was that I wanted to get to the central station or Hauptbahnhof. I purchased my ticket and as I turned the corner found a manned ticket counter.  There were two people in a line, so I took my spot.  As I’m standing there, the man at the ticket counter starts yelling in German and pointing my way, but looking to the left. I stood there for 10-15 more seconds as he yelled quite loudly, and then he finally motioned at me to come toward him. I walked forward and he starts saying things to me in German very quickly. “Sprechen sie Englisch?” I timidly asked. He nodded, but kept looking to the left (turns out he had two really lazy eyes, just my luck). “Will this take me to Hauptbahnhof? I don’t want to get a ticket or go to jail, and–” He abruptly answered yes, pointed at some glass doors and shooed me away.

What a first impression of Germany. Now I was REALLY scared.

I hopped on the train, and made it to my stop in about 20 minutes. I stepped off the train and, WOAH. Everything was in German.  Everyone was German. I threw my backpack over my shoulder and started walking.  I made my way up stairs (it was a German version of Grand Central-they have everything you could imagine there), and looked at my itinerary where I had printed out anything you could imagine. The confirmation numbers for everything under the sun, how to reach my bank and credit card companies, frequent flyer numbers, the address and number for the U.S. consulate, and directions to and from any place I would be going.  EXCEPT how to get to my hotel from Hauptbahnhof.  Venturing a block away, I found a coffee shop called “Coffee Fellows”. I walked in and Stephen the barista immediately started speaking English to me (YOU COULD HEAR THE ANGELS SINGING, I was so happy!).  I ordered a cappucino, and inquired if he knew my hotel. He didn’t, but he’d be happy to give me the Wi-Fi password so that I could look it up. I was incredibly grateful and thankfully, my hotel was a 5-minute walk. I chugged my umpteenth coffee of the trip (I NEVER drink coffee, which indicated how wiped out I was), and made my way to the Tryp Munchen.

My hotel was in a great area; my room was interior, faced a beautiful garden and was on the top floor. Since I was checking in early, the concierge gave me a pick of rooms, and actually upgraded me from the standard double bed to a queen. I was a happy girl. I splashed some water on my face, and headed to Marienplatz (the main square of Munich) where I had a bike/walking tour set up.

Since I was early (as always) I ducked into Frauenkirche, which was quite beautiful.  My favorite “feature” if you will, is the black footprint of the Devil near the back doors.  There is a footprint and if you stand on it, you can’t see any windows from that vantage point and it looks like a very dark and drab church. The story explains that the Devil stood here and mocked the church for building such a stupid church with no windows, and when he stepped away he realized he was wrong. This was a really powerful moment for me (quite possibly one of the most moving of the trip).  I tend to be a very “on the move” person, like to have everything planned to the minute, and like to look forward to “go, go, go”.  This reminded me to take a 360-degree look at everything, because otherwise I might be missing something beautiful. On every single day of journaling in my Moleskine, I wrote “Avery, don’t forget to look behind you”. It became my personal theme for the trip. I digress . . .

I arrived at the Old Town Hall (which is actually newer than the New Town Hall, since it had to be rebuilt after the war [this is a common theme with buildings in Munich]) and met my guide James.  You’re going to hear quite a bit about James, because he was instrumental in making my trip so wonderful. James is 27, from Australia, and a World War II expert. He is also quite easily the most informed, dedicated, and hilarious guide I have ever seen in 26 years of travelling all over the world. If you ever go to Munich, I would recommend anyone from Mike’s Bike Tour or even hiring James personally to take you around on bikes or by foot. He has started training for Dachau tours, and I have no doubt he would also be excellent at that. Also in our small group were a couple in there 70’s from Israel, and a guy in his 30’s from Kiev (his name was Oleg, and although smokin’ hot, he was a big time creeper and socially awkward).

Inside of Frauenkirche

James started by explaining the giant clock in front of us—Glockenspiel — that is the famous clock that rotates and tells the story of how two men dueled for their princess (and how it was a waste of time, and he was correct).  Next we walked over to Max Joseph Platz on what they call the “Royal Street”.  In this plaza is the national theatre of Bavaria, which had a really beautiful neo-classical design. One thing I found interesting was the gold mosaic on the building.  In Bavaria, they like to put these facing west so that they sparkle more brilliantly in the sun, and it sure did sparkle! On the other side of the opera house was the Königsbau, which was the city home of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.  I’ve always found Ludwig to be an interesting fellow, as he was quite the womanizer (he was a German version of Tiger Woods- bow chicka bow wow!). Another neat fact about Ludwig is that when he got married to Therese (I forget her full name) they had a giant horse race and huge celebration during the month of October.  This wedding was such a huge success and a monumental occasion for the residents of Bavaria, that it came to be known as Oktoberfest (although, it actually takes place in September because the weather is better).

As I was saying, our buddy King Ludwig had his way with women, and one in particular was the very beautiful Lola Montez (she’s where the saying “whatever Lola wants, Lola gets” comes from). She was his version of a Charlie Sheen goddess (I don’t know where all these Sheen references are coming from, I think the guy is a real dirt bag). Her apartment was right down the street from his residences (next to Theatine church). As is common with many parts of Europe (and Texas for that matter) there are endless churches, but Munich actually translated means “monk” or “little monk”. Theatine (I like to refer to it as Turner Tina, since that’s what it sounds like in German) is unusual in that looks incredibly ordinary from the outside, but when you walk in you are immediately encompassed by the intricate Baroque style. Without a doubt this was the most breath taking of the churches I visited on this trip. I think I’ll take one of the photos I took in that church and put it on canvas for my home- it was truly that spectacular.

Also down the street from Max Joseph Platz was a tiny back alley that had a strip of bronze in the street. I asked James as we passed what that was, and he said we would revisit the topic after visiting the square where Theatine was located (I can’t for the life of me remember the name though).  In this square are two lions one facing left with a closed mouth and one facing right with its mouth open. During the rise of the National Socialist German Workers party (the Nazis), they required all citizens who walked past this to heil every time they walked passed these statues.  If you didn’t, you were considered to be political opposition and you would be arrested.  Many people, including political opposition, Jewish people, and those that simply did not want any part of this, would walk down this alley to avoid heiling.  If the Gestapo or police saw you doing this on multiple occasions, you would be arrested and sent to jail, or worse, a work camp (concentration camp). After Hitler’s rule was over, they painted a strip of “Dodger’s Alley” bronze to commemorate those that stood up and died for what they believed.

Dodger’s Alley

(Theatine in the back)

You can say many things about the German government, but something I noticed was that they seem very transparent (even the government building was all glass so you could see through to the other side), and they don’t try and hide things about their past.  Everything seemed to be out in the open and even after all of the atrocious things that happened there, they don’t celebrate any of it- just memorialize the victims and tell the facts of what happened.  That was quite refreshing.

Right outside the government building is a memorial to the leaders of a resistance group called “The White Rose”.  Two students at the university who were put to DEATH by the guillotine on the day it was discovered that they were passing out resistance leaflets led the resistance. The memorial was truly beautiful, and on the top members of the Jewish community is encouraged to place a memorial of rocks to show appreciation for what the White Rose organization did.

After we left this area, we entered the English Gardens (bigger than Central Park), and saw surfers.  You read that correctly, surfers in the middle of winter.  They looked like ninjas surfing in the river. TRULY AMAZING.

The ninja surfer. Brrrrr!

It was starting to get dark, so we ended our tour outside of Hofbrauhaus (the famous beer house, where Hitler actually created the idea for his Nazi regime)

English Gardens, where I ran twice (remember I’m going on no sleep and no shower, so I look like a train wreck).

At that point our tour was over and dispersed, but I had asked my guide James if he had any good restaurant recommendation, so he asked me to come to the bike shop and he’d give me a map with everything I needed (I know, I know, this sounds like how all bad porno’s start).  After talking for a bit (of course he asked why I was traveling alone, and not being one to hold anything back, I told him), and he invited me to come eat dinner and then go out with his friends (one of whom was in town from New Jersey). YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW EXCITED I WAS. I thanked him, and he told me where to meet him to catch the train to the restaurant.

When I arrived later that evening, James was there as promised, and I inquired where we’d be having dinner.  “This great Mexican food restaurant called Los Amigos”, was his answer. I had just left Mexican food paradise, and the first place they take me has “authentic Mexican food”.  When we arrived, I immediately knew there was no way in Hell I’d eat their Mexican food- the place was family run and owned by a Vietnamese family. As Jarrod and Susan arrived, we ordered biers (amazing), and everyone ordered their food. I picked a bahn mi (I probably eat these three times a week) as it seemed like a safe decision and one of the only things I could read on the all-German menu.  Everyone else ordered quesadillas, but we’re then informed that they were out of quesadillas, so they all took my cue and got bahn mi. Our waitress and/or waiter (we couldn’t tell what it was) looked like the spitting image of a Vietnamese Michael Jackson, but the dead version and without the dance moves.  He/she was so bizarre and we truly wondered the entire time what it was. When it finally brought our food, everyone was ecstatic.  They’d been coming here every Thursday for two years and this was the best thing they’d ever had. Avery-1. German/Vietnamese/Mexican food- 0.

Jarod, James, Susan and Sassy Britches at Los Amigos

We hopped in a cab and made our way to a café/bar (I don’t know the name because it was long, German, and I’d had a cocktail or two).  About 6 more of my soon-to-be-friends were waiting for us, and we all ordered another beer. This bar can only be described as a Boheme meets Jacksons Watering Hole meets Owl Bar.  IT WAS AMAZING and everything I like in a drinking establishment- comfy, laid back and a locals bar. And I was the new American girl in town. After two days with very little attention, I was eating it up.  Everyone wanted to practice their English with me, all the guys wanted to buy me a beer (I didn’t let them, and in fact bought all of James’ drinks to thank him for his hospitality), they all wanted to tell me why where they are from in Germany is the best (those Berliners’ really cracked me up!), and they all wanted to take me out for New Years. I was in my own little Heaven.

We stayed there until 12:30 and then made our way over a bar called “The Havana Club”.  If you’re from Houston you will understand what a compliment I am paying this bar when I say that it was on par with Anvil. The pimms cup was BETTER than Anvil (and it took longer, which is also an amazing feat in and of itself). At this point I was a non-functioning person due to nice mix of lack of sleep, jet lag and booze. So of course I did the only logical thing- LATE NIGHT.

If you know me, you know that I will only stay up late for one reason- FOOD. This was my favorite late night of my entire life, and I didn’t even order it, it was brought out to me by a guy in our group, who didn’t know how happy he’d make me.

Pommes Frites with mayo and currywurst.

OH. MY. GOSH. My coworkers always get so grossed out when I order my French fries with mayo, but EVERYONE there was eating it, it was like my life that I had been covering in mayonnaise for years was finally being vindicated. I kept telling them the Germans needed a term for “late night foodie bites” (my term), but they said everyone there just calls it munchies. I tried to explain how the two were drastically different, but no one cared but me by this point in the night. After I had eaten my weight in salty, fatty goodness, the boys got me a cab and I zipped over to my hotel. By the time I got to my hotel, I was hyped up again (thank you jet-lag for that lovely little gift), and skyped with a couple of people because I thought in my stupor it would be good to purchase a few Wi-Fi minutes since my international plan wasn’t working. I hope those of you that got the Skype call enjoyed my enthusiasm for Germany and my multiple proclamations that I was “ NEVER LEAVING!” I finally fell asleep around 4 am.


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