The night before our 5AM train to Munich we cleared it with the front desk of the hostel that we could get a taxi at 4AM through their pre-negotiated rate posted on the wall because the Metro wouldn’t be open at that hour, and I was told twice that it wouldn’t be a problem and that it would be there within five minutes. Cut to the next morning of the 17th at 4:15, the front desk clerk calling for our taxi and speaking to someone in crazy Czech and then hanging up the phone to tell us Sorry, no taxis. We kind of anticipated this happening because of everything else that had happened up to that point, and so we tried to refrain from freaking out too much and just asked for the walking directions to the train station. He gave us a map and showed us the route, making sure to show us the park that we would need to “walk REALLY REALLY FAST through…

Um…what?

You’re basically telling us to book it like Freddy Kruger is chasing us through this particular park at 4:15AM, because why? Did we even need to ask? Okay, this is going to be the scariest moment in our lives, and we might get mugged, raped and die… in Prague.

Both of us were thinking to ourselves that when the  guy was calling for a taxi, he could’ve been calling his friend to tip him off that two stupid Americans are on their way through the park with big heavy backpacks, so if you need a perfect target- Christmas is coming early this year!

Basically, I’ll just tell you, that it was the scariest walk of our lives, we did not speak, we tried to make as little noise as possible, and it was horrifying. We concentrated on our prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith or whoever Becca used to pray to that our last moments on Earth were not in Prague. Thank God, we got to the train station in about a half hour, only had to avoid eye contact with a handful of train station loiterers while we sat on our bags waiting for the train to arrive.

Day one in Munich was the longest day of travel, and it was because we decided to go to the Neuschwanstein castle straight from the Hopbanhof. As soon as we arrived we needed to find a place to store our stuff, which was not easy because there were 453,655,229 teenage German backpackers at the station taking up the big lockers. I remember that morning well, after we’d gotten up at 3AM, walked through the streets of Prague to the train station with the warning to WALK FAST THROUGH THE PARK AS TO NOT GET MURDERED, and then had to unexpectedly changed trains halfway to Munich and in a panicked haze of exhaustion and fear of being stuck in the scary, gray, post-communist countryside of Western Czech Republic. Needless to say, we were mentally and physically DONE. So when we de-boarded the train in Munich amongst this sea of backpackers in the bright sunlight of the Hopbanhof, I felt like we were finally in a safe, friendly place. We eventually found an empty locker, threw our stuff in it, and then went to a Bavarian restaurant in the train station because we had some time to kill and were starving.

Bavaria is known for having cheerful, rotund, jovial people, who wear Lederhausen and drink beer out of steins in beer halls. This restaurant we went to was a stereotypical chain where the waitresses wore busty costumes and the menu was filled with bratwurst, kraut, and an extensive beer menu. All I wanted at that moment was some cold beer, and french fries. The language barrier was a bit rough, and so I ended up ordering what looked like Brat soup (three white brats in broth with green onions?????), some kind of side dish, a children’s order of fries, and a ginormous beer. I barely ate any of the main dish (I gave it to Becca, my fearless food friend), but I devoured those fries which were the most delicious things I’d ever eaten in my life. I don’t know what they did to these fries, but I have dreams about them still. Becca had the most delicious spaetzle with cheese sauce, OMGITWASDELISH. The other funny thing about Germany at that point was that I was introduced to pay bathrooms, which meant that even at the restaurant, we had to pay .80 Eu to use the toilet. Outside of the restaurant, there were these public bathrooms that you pay a Euro to enter, and it was like the Mecca of bathrooms. All modern stalls and fixtures, in futuristic colors, being cleaned and polished at all times by a bathroom technician. Strangely enough, as annoying as it is to have to pay to use the bathroom, these pay bathrooms were so nice and clean and luxurious. I wanted to hang out all day inside them.

It took a while for us to get our food, and then we realized we only had 15 minutes to choke it down and then find the platform for our train to Neuschwanstein. I remember us being so sad that we were finally looking at massive amounts of delicious food and we had to choke it down before our train left, because we didn’t know where Platform 15 was amongst the 50-60 or so platforms (trains are big in Europe, so some train stations are like airports), and on top of that, we’d paid A LOT of money for it. But, we had to make our train or else we’d be sitting around for hours waiting for the next one.

We took two trains to the town of Fussen which were an hour each, and the ride was interesting for a few reasons: 1) the train was really old, and had no air conditioning so it was swelteringly hot. Becca and I were constantly moving around as to avoid the direct sunlight through the windows that made us 700 degrees hotter.  2) we were going through the Bavarian Alps, so the view was amazing,

and 3) because we were going up mountains, the train was painfully SLOW. You know how Europeans always make fun of Americans and how spoiled we are and how we complain and all that stuff? Well, even if you think you’re the most “go with the flow”, unspoiled type, YOU’RE STILL AMERICAN AND I PROMISE YOU, YOU WILL BECOME AN OBNOXIOUS AMERICAN IF YOU TRAVEL EXTENSIVELY THROUGH EUROPE. I only know this from experience, I swear. Not trying to pigeonhole anyone, but just embrace this fact.

Once we got to Fussen, we had to wait for a bus to take us three miles to the office where you buy your tickets to the castle. We thought that buying that bus ticket would take us to the castle, but that assumption was our first mistake of many. Once we bought our 20 Eu tickets, they scheduled us for a tour two hours later. So what else are we supposed to do for two hours? Oh, I don’t know, maybe buy crap at one of the restaurants or stores in this place we’re stuck at for two hours. Because there’s absolutely nothing else to do while you’re waiting- cause you took a bus three miles outside of town! CAN WE SAY TOURIST TRAP??? So we hung out at a restaurant and drank a couple of beers, and then once it was time for our tour, we had to buy another bus ticket to the top of the mountain where they were loading 75,000 hot, stinky people into a tiny bus (OMG THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN AMERICA), and then took us to the castle. Finally.

So we got up there, stood in line to wait for our tour to start, and at this point I started thinking, this is so not worth it. I mean, it was amazing to go to this castle and see the incredible views and stuff, but holy god, it was more trouble than it was worth, times 100. All the standing in lines and waiting and WAITING. Then the tour through the castle was interesting, I guess…??? We couldn’t take pictures inside, so I was bitter Betty, and the whole tour lasted about 20 minutes. And then once we got done with the tour, I just wanted to get out of there as soon as humanly possible because I felt like cattle being shifted around from room to room. Oh! and then the best part of the whole day, there was no bus to the bottom of the mountain, because they were done with bus rides for the day…um… *going blind with rage*… excuse me?… *thinking and maybe also saying* THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN AMERICA!!!!!!!!!… EVER!!!! Alright Becca, let’s start walking. In my not-for-walking-down-mountain sandals. Hi blisters!

Then, once we got down the mountain, there were no more buses to town. Haha, you thinking I’m messing with you now, right? You think I just want to write in all caps again THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN AMERICA!!! But no, I wouldn’t dare. We got to the bus stop along with an Italian couple, and tried to communicate with each other somewhat successfully to figure out how we were going to get back to town, because it sure looks like everyone else who was at the castle with us is now on their cozy little tour buses back to town, and I really don’t think they feel like letting us hitch a ride. So, we somehow agreed with the Italians that we should hop on the phone and call a taxi to share. Becca called and spoke broken Germenglish to the operator to get us a cab, and since we don’t understand German, we could only hope that the four of us standing on the side of the road not being able to understand each other were waiting for a cab that would really be coming. Thank God, it came, and it cost us 12 euros to drive us three minutes.

Once we got back to Fussen, we learned that our train only came at 8PM on weekend nights, so that train we thought we’d be catching to Munich that was already gonna take two hours? It wasn’t going to be there for three more hours, at 11PM.

Awesome! We’re not tired or anything! Let’s go spend yet, more money at the bar and drink for three hours! Which is exactly what we did. We found this little Italian restaurant where we sat at the bar, tried to decide whether we were hungry or not, and then once we wanted to order food the nice barmaid told us the kitchen was closed for the night. Figures, right? Then she felt bad and gave us this little baggie of gummy candy. It was pretty cute, actually.

Once the train finally came around, we were pretty tipsy mixed with exhausted. And if you guessed that Becca and I would be a little goofy on the train, you’d be right. This was the strangest train ride of all, because the types of people who are on the train in the Bavarian Alps late on a Monday night are a mixture of weirdos, drunks, teenagers, and two 28 year old drunk American girls. So if you got a really sloppy, incoherent postcard from us, it was probably written and slobbered on by us on that very train ride.

Of course, Becca eventually fell asleep, and I went back and forth between kind of passed out, kind of paranoid awake, and kind of wondering why we kept stopping randomly in the middle of nowhere and not at a station. Because of all the intermittent stops in the middle of nowhere for reasons only those who understood German knew, it took us THREE HOURS to get back to Munich, where we only halfway assumed our stuff would still be in the locker, cause that’s just how things were going for us. Once we finally arrived, I was so thankful we were in the safe Bavarian city of Munich.

Then we had the privilege to walk what I say was three miles but Becca said was one, to our hostel because there was yet again, no working public transportation. What’s a 40 lb. backpack on this tired body that could collapse at any minute? Throw it on and let’s go hiking through this pitch black urban jungle at 2AM to try to find our hostel cause that went so well last time! But holy god, I needed to sleep that night. So, we perservered. And we found our hostel, which had a full size shower (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and we cleaned ourselves and passed out.

Awesome! We’re not tired or anything! Let’s go spend yet, more money at the bar and drink for three hours! Which is exactly what we did. We found this little Italian restaurant where we sat at the bar, tried to decide whether we were hungry or not, and then once we wanted to order food the nice barmaid told us the kitchen was closed for the night. Figures, right? Then she felt bad and gave us this little baggie of gummy candy. It was pretty cute, actually.

Once the train finally came around, we were pretty tipsy mixed with exhausted. And if you guessed that Becca and I would be a little goofy on the train, you’d be right. This was the strangest train ride of all, because the types of people who are on the train in the Bavarian Alps late on a Monday night are a mixture of weirdos, drunks, teenagers, and two 28 year old drunk American girls. So if you got a really sloppy, incoherent postcard from us, it was probably written and slobbered on by us on that very train ride.

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