So I decided that this is as good a time as any to start up a blog on my travels in Deutschland and such. I did it for my time in Munich in 10th grade, and really liked doing it, but never got around to it this time until now.
To recap slightly, I'm staying in a student residence hall about a 6 minute bus ride from the University of Regensburg. Regensburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany. I live in the suburbs, but a couple of miles away is the central city, the “Altstadt,” which is mostly medieval architecture. It's one of the oldest cities because it was largely untouched by the World Wars, so everything is still around. What's cool about that is that even the bars, clubs, and cafes are in 800-year-old buildings. The city is right on the Danube River, which made it a very important trade hub in southern Germany throughout its history.
Life in Regensburg has been crazy at times, boring at others. I go out on weekends to clubs and bars, but I need to find some new ones because they are kind of getting old. Either that or I need to find some more people to go with, because it's a lot more fun with more people.
I am part of a group of students living in Regensburg from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. The group is 23 people, and we all live in the same two residential complexes. We all took a ten-week intensive language course at the University while the Germans are all on break. We had four classes, from 8:30 in the morning to as late as 3:30. It was very reminiscent of high school. It was worth it though, because I get two semester credits towards my 10-credit German major just for those ten weeks.
Okay, enough about all that. Basically what ended up happening is I started to lose it a little bit from not hanging out with people I know really well. I have people I hang out with in Germany, and they're cool and fun to hang out with, but I kind of found myself longing being home and seeing everyone. So, we had four weeks off before the semester started, and I decided to go home. I was going to travel around Europe, like a lot of people in our group were doing, but it turned out that a two-week trip to the U.S. Was just about the same price, and something I kind of felt I needed.
I noticed, though, that the layover between Boston and Munich on my way back was in Amsterdam, and on 4/20... Needless to say, that would be an awesome time to be in Amsterdam. I called the airline to ask if I could change my second flight to a few days later, and they told me it'd probly be cheaper to just buy a new flight and not take the one I have. Turns out he was right, and I paid 100 € for another flight, three nights later. I booked a room at two different hostels, and I was set to head to Amsterdam on my way back from America.
My two weeks in America were exactly what I needed. I got to go home and see my mother, all of my siblings, my niece, my best friends at school, my girlfriend, and my friends in New Hampshire. I spent a few days at home, a weekend at Wheaton, three days in NH, and another weekend at Wheaton. It was SO amazing to see everyone, and I headed back with a brand new attitude towards my abroad experience. I was getting a little pessimistic about it before, but now I'm pumped. Especially because it's spring now, almost summer even, and has been in the 70s every day for the past couple weeks. We are also starting actual German classes in a couple weeks, so I am really excited to meet people!
So, the story of my trip to Amsterdam... I had been psyched for weeks for this trip, and went up to the counter at the airport. I was asked what my destination was, and I said Munich, but I'm getting off in Amsterdam. My heart sank to the floor when she started to shake her head and explain that I'm not allowed to do that. Apparently it's a policy that wherever your destination is, that's where you gotta go. I stayed there for like ten minutes asking her over and over if there is ANY way I can just grab my bags and get out at Amsterdam, and she said absolutely not. And if I were to intentionally miss the flight, red flags would go up all over the system because it's suspicious that I didn't get on the flight. I finally gave up and tried to get used to the idea that I wasn't going, that I had to go back to Regensburg, and that I wasted 100 € on a flight and 100 € on hostels. I finally kind of got over it by the end of seven-hour flight, but when I saw what a nice day it was out and how amazing the country looked, I got SO pissed that I was about to get on a plane and leave, when I had place to stay for three nights, and a flight home.
I had basically been asking everyone, at every stage, if there was a way to do this. The check-in lady, the security guard at the checkpoint, the gate-keeper at the gate to the flight; they all told me it's not possible: tough luck (see what I did there? Semicolon and colon win). So I got on the flight, got to Amsterdam, walked to my gate, and sat down to wait the half an hour until boarding time. Then, as a last ditch effort, I decided to tell my story to THIS gate-keeper. She immediately was just like, “Um. I can't make you get on that flight. If you don't want to travel, you don't travel. I don't understand the problem.” I asked her about my bags, whether they'd go on to Munich, and she said she'd personally call the baggage guys and tell them not to. I was then to go to baggage claim and give them my name, and have them call someone to put my bag on an unused belt. I did so, talked to a few people, and about an hour later, my bag was there! I was SO excited because I had spent the past 8 hours getting used to the fact that I was denied this opportunity, and it was saved at the very last second. How legit it was, how legal it was, I have no idea. All I know is that I'm in Amsterdam, and that it's one of the most amazing cities I've ever been to.
I took the train to the Central Station, and after much staring at maps and trying to make sense of the crazy Deutch street names, I found the Bulldog Hotel, the hostel I'm in right now. It's a REALLY nice place. The only thing was, I got here at 11, check-in was at 3, I had all my luggage, and I hadn't really slept since I woke up at Wheaton the day before. I ended up taking some 5-hour energy, leaving my luggage in a room they have here, and walking around the city a bit. I haven't seen much yet since I only got here a few hours ago, but it's beautiful, the people are nice, it's a melting pot of all cultures, and, last but not least, the hostel is located right at the end of the Red Light District!
So yeah. Sorry if I bored a bit with extraneous details, but I literally just kinda write what comes to mind. I'm mostly writing this for myself, but if anyone out there is interested enough to read, it's a very lovely added bonus!
I'll probably check back in sometime later, or tomorrow. Have a good one ladies and gents! Happy 4/20!