Days 52-55: Entering the final countdown…

No way has it almost been two months here… I am in disbelief and honestly fighting off the sadness of leaving Copenhagen on an hourly basis.

Quick Hits:

  • work is hard!! (but rewarding)
  • I had a desert at work that was like a giant cake pop but less dense and covered in coconut. Don’t know if it was danish or what but its worth mentioning.
  • my friends are awesome
  • my brain is fried
  • the sun is setting at 9pm!! Seasons are changing!!!
  • I am an emotional mess thinking about going home and I keep making it worse by listening to bluegrass and coldplay (whats wrong with me??)

 

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Details:

Yes, it is slightly less than a month till I’m back in the US. It may seem a little dramatic to be now constantly thinking of how I’m leaving, but I’m here to tell you three months is not enough to get acquainted with a city like Copenhagen (It’s probably not enought to get truly acquainted with any cool city TBH)

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This week has been a really fun one. Every night is something different. I am in an all out friendship, culture, fun soaking in sprint. Simultaneously my work tasks are beginning to get harder and more interesting, and I’m a little scared I wont be able to get everything done in time.

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Monday, I went to an open air screening of 500 days of summer. With my emotions already at frightening levels I should have known it would be a bad idea but I went anyways. I cried on the bike home, just overwhelmed with my life and feelings and the beauty of the city and seriously missing Santa Barbara and all my friends… Great movie though!

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Teodora and I got desert and beer Tuesday night around stroget, the shopping/ tourism center, and it was all so cute! Walking through the streets a performer was playing some Jack Johnson (UCSB Alum) and it made my heart hurt a little, in a good way.

Wednesday was my new Aussie friend Tay’s birthday! We all met for dinner and it seems like she had an awesome day!

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Yesterday I went to Copenhagen library and GOD check out how beautiful it was! Unfortunately it closes at 7pm so I didn’t have a lot of time. I came home, made a delicious dinner, did some reading (On the road by Jack Kerouac in case ur wonderin) and it was lights out at 10.

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Today, Friday, I got a little frustrated with my work (understatement) and I ended up going home a little early to take a nap and work on my thesis. I NAPPED for an HOUR. Thats how you know its been a completely draining week in more ways than one. Still, I feel so thankful for all the emotions and W’s and L’s I took this week.

Sometimes when I get a little overwhelmed or start feeling insecure I go on social media a lot more than usual, and its been one of those weeks. I made the decision today to try and take a little break for a while. Its hard, because I want to show everyone whats going on in my life and keep up with all of my friends, but at the same time, its so silly thinking that social media should hold any semblance of a priority in my life. Obviously, it dosent really matter, but its easy to kind of let it dominate more and more of my time until I’m blindly checking Instagram 10 times a day. So apart from messaging people on facebook, I’m just going to take a little time off from all that.

Hope you’ve had a wonderful week!

Days 45-51: Paigey’s first business trip

Sup! I was blown away by England this week but unfortunately had a really tight schedule and wasn’t able to do much actual exploring.

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Quick hits:

  • so glad I wear my retainer
  • DONG Energy is a private company, which supplies the primary amount of Denmark’s energy. This is important to understand before looking at the London office…
  • I bought a postcard with Manchester cathedral on it and it looked cool so we visited and it was actually the lamest building in the city
  • GIS is the coolest (who’s surprised I just said that)
  • There are so many sheep in this world

 

Details:

Wow. I’m really running out of time to even write these blog posts! I wish I could give the full experience of England in a post but I’ll be honest, it had a lot of very natural kinda depressing beauty I would not be able to capture in writing.

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ACTUAL SIGN IN BARROW-IN-FURNESS

SO, I will say I had a great time with my boss and coworker that came along with! We spent Wednesday in Barrow-in-Furness (not a joke, actual town name) and Thursday in Grimsby (also not a joke) Both were field sites and very remote. We stayed in Manchester because it was much more central.

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MASSIVE LET DOWN!! I WAS FOOLED!!

The weather was not that bad, honestly. I feel like this whole summer people have been telling me to wait for terrible weather and I am still waiting!

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In short, we were consulting for a majority of the time. It was a lot of listening to what they use our GIS solutions for, learning what they could be improving on, etc. In the field they are doing a lot of maritime traffic tracking and logistical work with our maps. It was awesome to be sitting in the control room, maybe 14 monitors around one desk, with three live streaming a helicopter landing on a pad on a windmill to drop off technicians. The conditions were HORRIBLE and everyone was really focused so that made our meeting seem really lame in comparison. Regardless, it was like I was in The Hunt for Red October for a couple minutes there and that was sick.

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MY GIS ENGINEER BOYS :,)

In London the consulting was a little more focused, working with GIS engineers that help develop projects around the UK, Germany, and Denmark. THAT was really cool information. I could realistically see myself doing that type of work as my career progresses. I wont bore you with technical stuff but it was AWESOME.

DONG Energy’s office in London was very very ritzy. They owned the first five floors of the building with Armani being on the sixth floor… It was really central, just behind Buckingham Palace and around Westminster Cathedral. After our meeting we had literally an hour to look around before our flight so I saw as much as I could and then we were back on the plane to Copenhagen.

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London was the coolest. I am so bummed I only had 12 hours there. I will be back (maybe to work at DONG Energy’s London office…)

This weekend was filled with new friends and lounging around all the best hangout spots in Copenhagen. I haven’t been with more than to 20 somethings hanging out in months so it was so awesome being a part of that again.

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I am pooped. We slept maybe 4 hours a night on the business trip and I’m trying to soak in this city while I can and that’s resulting in a lack of sleep. Last night I knocked out at 9:30. I also watched Surfs up for the first time in a while and I’m just giving you a friendly reminder to go watch it because its FANTASTIC.

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you should have seen how quick I ate this

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SO PROFESH SO SWAG ON A COMPANY OWNED IPHONE 5

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typical copenhagen traffic

Days 41-44: PRAGUE!!

Just had the most amazing weekend with one of my bestest pals Cailin taking in the food, the sights and the general good vibes of Prague

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Quick hits:

  • I really missed flip-flops
  • Paddle boats are sick
  • Prague is filled with these cone doughnuts and then they stuff them with ice cream and WOW
  • 28 hours of travel time for 36 hours of exploring with a best friend is worth it
  • pub crawls are a dangerous force to be reckoned with
  • saw a guy get physically thrown out of a club and I was really convinced he died for a minute
  • ive meet a lot of amazing women traveling on their own through Europe and everyone of them has taught me some great lessons
  • I’ve never been on an overbooked train until right now and its awkward as hell

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Details:

Thursday night I set off on an overnight bus from Copenhagen to berlin. 8 hours later I got on a train to Leipzig, 2 hours later I got on a bus to Prague, 4 hours later I was in PRAGUE and in the company of the one and only Cailin Mcgrath

We walked (a lot) and talked (a lot) and made the most of our time in every way.

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All the food was very cheap, very dope (Cailin is trying to bring the term dope back) These things called trudelinks are all over the city and they’re so delicious. Imagine a doughnut in cone form with sugar coating on the outside and then filling the center with soft serve ice cream. I’d call that a delicious nutritious lunch!!

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The city itself was beautiful, seemingly fake sometimes because of the condition of th buildings and how they were illuminated against the night sky. Sometimes it felt like a strange dream, but in a good way. I can’t explain it well, I just know I need to go back again.

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We were blessed with some fantastic weather. A small aside, I did something to my foot a couple weeks ago, maybe a month now. It’s really painful on the top of my foot, especially on runs and long days of walking around the city. I didn’t really know what to do so I’ve been dealing with it, trying to stretch it out, hoping luck will fix it. This weekend, however it never hurt. Cailin made the keen observation that I have never been a person that wears shoes but I’ve been wearing shoes all day every day for two months now, and this weekend was the first time I have been able to wear sandals. Neither of us are doctors, but were convinced my feet just hate shoes and flip-flops will cure-all my ills.

Prague is plagued with big boy groups and pub crawls. Don’t get me wrong, I love boys, but the ratio of men to women is pretty telling. Cailin and I for some strange reason could not escape groups of pub crawls or find bars not participating in a pub crawl.

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All the traveling clichés are hitting me. The cycle is vicious. I need to go more and more places. The list grows. I have cried a couple times now because its just been so beautiful and I don’t think I’m worthy (thankfully I am not alone in this) Saturday night we met up with some girls (or should I saw women) Cailin met on the train. One was from Australia, one from Brazil, and both had a lot of amazing advice about traveling, relationships, and life. Both of them were also traveling on their own and just loving it, which I think is the coolest. I hope to continue seeing more whenever I can, no matter how old I am. As we were walking back from the bar and talking about our plans for traveling in the future, Carla, the Brazilian woman, looked at me and said, “I think America just lost a baby”

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I don’t know how the time flew, but all of a sudden I am staring the half way mark of my internship in the face, five weeks remaining. I am hungry for more of Europe and traveling and discoveries. Not now, but by the end of this, I do think I’ll be ready to bring what I’ve learned back to school and live my days with a little more zest, perspective, whatever it is that’s happening to me out here. I’m not necessarily homesick, but I do REALLY miss Mexican food. I am preparing a presentation on my senior thesis for my team at work, and as I was flipping though my pictures looking for things to put on slides, I got my first real wave of missing Santa Barbara, and my friends, and all of our shenanigans. But I know I’ll be back soon enough. Right now is some much needed me time.

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Days 30-36: More work, more castles

Its been a long and awesome week here in Copenhagen!

Quick Hits:

  • I am exhausted every night
  • I can already tell the sun is setting earlier
  • The amount of traveling planned for the next month of my stay is insane
  • I have also overdosed on Lana Del Rays new album (its fantastic) and I have felt so many emotions that I am now incapable of being emotional anymore
  • My apartment is adorable!!
  • I got caught in a proper rainstorm today
  • I accidentally went to a nude open water swimming club (or was the universe sending me a sign???)
  • My friend told me all about Copenhagen at christmas time and I now wish it was christmas way too early (typical Paige behavior)

Details:

On my way back to Copenhagen last Sunday I made a friend, Seb, who was going to Copenhagen for a couple days and traveling up to Stockholm after. We had a lot of awesome conversations comparing UK to the US and talking about how much we have learned on our own journeys this summer. On his way out of Copenhagen Monday night we went to dinner at Copenhagen street food (now becoming a habit of mine) and no surprise it was a beautiful night and the place was packed to the gills.

To be honest, its getting a little difficult to distinguish all the days of the week, especially when I have work Monday to Friday.

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Some other highlight of the week include spending the night at the beach, Amager Strand Park. Yes, I said beach. Yes, it is a beach. Yes, the waves are nonexistent, but the sand is sandy and there are shells and lots of people there to enjoy the sunshine on a spectacular night. I live pretty close, 5 min by bike, and the water is as clear as day. Its perfect to unwind after work and just watch all the clouds moving in the wind, and of course, to swim.

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Saturday I thought I’d take myself on a little adventure. I will admit, mistakes were made, the largest being not dressing accordingly for the weather, but ultimately I am glad I went. The castle I went to should have been two hours by train, but with some construction happening on the tracks, it took me about four. It was pretty, but nothing compared to Fredriksburg Castle I visited last month.

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Today I went for a run to the beach and stumbled upon a nude swimmers club! Will I be joining? As of right now, its not really my scene, but I did admire their dedication in the wind at 7am on a Sunday, being truly at one with mother oash.

Later I got coffee with Theodora, who is one of my good friends at work. We talked for maybe four hours, and when we got up to leave, it was pouring. It started to die down, and we made our exit, but as we were walking, we got into another really interesting conversation, and before we could cover significant ground it was pouring again. So we eventually just had to cut our conversation and part ways. I came home soaked head to toe, my sundress was wet but I had the keen idea of bringing an umbrella just in case. In the long run, all it did was keep my purse and my hair slightly dry, but im still thankful I had it.

It has been a fantastic week, and all the work I have been doing has been exciting as well, but honestly, I’m exhausted, so you’ll just have to take my word.

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Month one done *emotional*

So here we are, 32 days later. If anyone out there has been reading my thoughts I have to say THANK YOU! Its so flattering when anyone says they read my updates whether it be Instagram, my blog, or good ol Facebook. Whoever you are, thanks a big bunch!! I hope to continue entertaining you for two more months (and maybe beyond if you’re interested in my American alter ego)

I didn’t come into Denmark with many expectations. I have been shocked every single day by the atmosphere in Copenhagen. This seems like the most time I have ever had for self-reflection some days, and others it’s almost like I am not thinking, just gliding around like a sponge just trying to take it all in.

What have I learned?

At work, I’ve learned that it takes a lot of people to make amazing things happen (but isn’t that so great?? Amazing things happen all the time!!) I’ve also had some things really reinforced, like the value in being self motivated, and the importance of speaking up when you have a question, no matter how big or small. I am really passionate about offshore wind energy and I am so excited so see how far we can progress with it in the future. I feel very thankful for the quality of education I have received in all of my classes at UCSB but most specifically GIS. Although I am new and very young, I am understanding things (school works!!) and thinking of where all this information could take the field in the future. Even if it’s just quiet brainstorming at my desk while my coworkers do something that’s actually important, it still feels really cool to be using my head like this outside of a class (finally)

On a personal level, I have learned a little and a lot (I think a lot but we will see if that holds true as time goes on) I have learned some things that I don’t think anyone that isn’t a best friend of mine would really benefit hearing, so I wont elaborate those lessons here. I am mostly just hoping the clarity of mind I am experiencing will follow me to the US when I return.

I am slowly letting go of plans (she says on her blog centered around planning) Its tough, I will always be a planner, I am not trying to deny that or change who I am, but sometimes its important for me to stop focussing on utilizing every second and being hyper efficient. I am in Denmark by myself for christs sake, how on earth can I predict what will happen in a week? Keeping that in mind, I’ve had the time to reflect on whats going on in my head planning for the far off future, and its starting to seem a little bit more outrageous than it already did. So I’m working on letting go of some of that, and it feels good. Its uncharted territory, but it seems like almost everything I am doing now is unexpected, and it gives me motivation to keep going further.

A small part of me feels undeserving of all of this. The beauty is overwhelming. I do not feel worthy. I am so so so thankful and very humbled. People ask me where I live and I tell them Santa Barbara, another slice of actual paradise, and I start to feel a little undeserving of living there too. I am not trying to put myself down, or make it seem like I am sad at all, because believe me I couldn’t be more opposite that. BUT part of growing older, at least for me, has been realizing how much I can and have taken for granted. As much as I never want to take anything for granted again, I know somehow it will happen. It happens to the best of us. I have taken people for granted, I have been selfish and ignorant, and the fear that I will continue doing it, even when I know better is very real. I just hope theres nothing in these three months I don’t fully appreciate.

YIKES that got dark for a second!! Lets bring it back!!

I have a lot of great ideas for trips (but im trying to go with the flow so not many hard plans, go me) Mostly exploring Denmark itself while I am here. The beautiful part of living here is the lack of urgency with all of my travels.

On that note, I am very seriously evaluating if I could live here, or anywhere not in the US, for more than an internship. I know now I could, and I should, and I will (knock on wood)

So, if you’re still there, you might be able to help me with some of the following:

  • I have a huge addiction to sending postcards (now taking requests)
  • I need music to listen to at work and on my hour-long commute every morning (now taking recommendations and playlists)
  • I have very limited kitchen space but I want to cook new things (now accepting recipes-high in veggies preferred)
  • I finished my book and I am planning on taking lots of trains and planes in the coming months (now reading whatever a friend thinks is quality)
  • I am getting ahead of the school year and making some new planners that could be useful to kids looking for an easy way to get organized, so if you think you have an idea of something I could help you with let me know! (now accepting emails paige.hoel@gmail.com)
  • I am trying to get some attention for my college application planner. I think its a kick ass product and I worked pretty dang hard on it (now taking any advice on where I could market this thing better)

And that’s enough from me! So much love!!

Paige (or Peach because Danish people seem to pronounce my name like that)

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Days twenty six to twenty nine: Bavaria and the boys

Some of our oldest family friends moved to Munich when I was about 9. Although we go years between seeing each other, somehow when were all together it seems like not much has changed between us from 2002 to 2017. Grant and I had the pleasure of staying in their home outside of Munich and taking in this beautiful region with the comfort of having family just a call away.

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Quick Hits:

  • trains can get you anywhere in Europe it seems
  • stamps are only $1 in Germany (postcard anyone?)
  • tap water dosent cost anything in Munich (finally)
  • Koingsee is the most beautiful place I have ever been
  • i am sleeping on a king sized bed (there is no position I can sleep in where I will be off the bed)
  • I realized I have seen nighttime only a handful of times in the past month…
  • German pretzels remain king

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Details

Some of my oldest childhood friends live in Munich. My brother and I played with Arno and Thomas from the age of two or three, and in fourth grade they moved back to Europe. They have been in Munich ever since. To stop and stay here was an obvious choice.

Tuesday Grant and I ventured out into the city and explored some museums in Munich. By far the coolest we saw was the Egypt museum. We grabbed some drinks with Arno and headed home.

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Wednesday Grant and I went shopping, and I remembered how much I hate shopping. I went into a Zara and almost lost an arm. It was wild. I got some sweet postcards (shocker) and some earrings. We did the stereotypical Hoffbrau house dinner and I got my fill of german pretzel, which I will dearly miss in Denmark.

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Thursday Grant and I ventured out to Koingsee. We took a bus, then a train, then a train, then another train, then a bus, and then a boat but IT WAS ALL SO WORTH IT. Because we messed up one of our connections we didn’t have much time once we got there but honestly, koingsee is the most beautiful place I have ever seen on this earth, and I will be back. To make it back home in time Grant and I had to run to our bus, and barely had time to grab some dinner before getting on the train. We got Burger King and it was awful but a very triumphant moment in our lives having seen all we did in one day.

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Friday we were pooped. We hung out and Grant planned the rest of his time in Europe. After dinner we got “predrinks” (how cute is that?) with Thomas’ friends before heading to a club. I have to admit, I am incredibly proud that I, Paige Hoel, managed to stay up till 6am dancing. I never thought I could do it, I considered faking sick, I thought of ways out, but at the end of the day (or the beginning of the next day) I fought to the finish, and actually had a really amazing time. Rest assured, if I did not have such a fun group, that would not have happened.

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Saturday I went to Nymphenburg Palace, and Grant and Arno met up with me to watch me get my ear pierced (so metal) We grabbed dinner and went into this cool part of the city where you’re allowed to spray art all over storage containers. We didn’t get there till it was starting to get kind of dark so we couldn’t stay long, but what we did see was so cool (unfortunate day for me to wear a dress)

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And today I am on a train from Munich to Copenhagen (12 hours) so I have some time to work on my Etsy store, read, listen to albums front to back, spill my life into my diary, write some postcards.  I brought a LOT of food, some people might say too much (but I’m not some people) Honestly, I think I am starting to get pretty good at train travel.

I am bummed to be leaving Germany. I forgot how much fun it is hanging out with our old gang. Although we have all arguably changed a lot, sometimes it felt like we never skipped a beat between being ten years old and now in our twenties.

It is so awesome and funny to see the transformation of such old friends over time. I remember thinking Thomas and Arno were way too into insects and constantly picking on each other, and now both of them are killing it in their respective schools and jobs. I feel very thankful to have had them in my life and to still be able to tag along as the girl of the group, constantly talking, wearing a dress and slowing everyone down.

Days twenty one to twenty four: Berlin has GRIT

My brother and I had the pleasure of traveling through Berlin on this beautiful weekend and are currently enroute to Munich. It wasn’t cute, but I completely understand why it was so highly recommended to me for my summer travels.

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Quick hits:

  • train travel is fun (especially from Berlin to Munich)
  • $48 can get you a massive rooftop room in the center of Berlin
  • Berlin has been destroyed like 5 times (ouch)
  • Not all cities can keep their parks as pretty as Copenhagen
  • Berlin smells like trash
  • Germany is all about cash
  • Investing $10 in groceries can get you four days of lunch for 2 people
  • eating big carrots whole is the best
  • trains can go on ferries and cross the ocean
  • I had an iced cappuccino that changed my life

Details:

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Berlin is gritty. I understood why Berlin looks the way it does a lot better after our full day walking tour on Sunday and I am not going to do the city the injustice of trying to summarize what I learned. I can boil it down to a couple things: you should learn about the history of Berlin, the city has changed so much in the past 30 years its hard to imagine that so much has happened there in recent history, and Berlin is the master of the bounce back.

We spent Friday traveling by train from Copenhagen to Berlin. We were delayed and it took about 9 hours in total, but I had a great time! Our airbnb was crazy cheap, and I am so glad that I was able to snag it. We had a really beautiful view of the city and on the second night I figured out that there were multiple ways to open the window, and we could sit on the roof and admire the sunset.

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Scared from the prices of eating out in Denmark, we got some groceries and made sandwiches for the rest of our lunches while we were there. Turns out Germany has normally priced food (yay) and money was no where near an issue like we thought it was going to be.

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Saturday, with our lunches packed and spirits high, we headed west of the victory tower to Charlottenburg palace. Any palace is hard to follow after some of the ones I have seen in Denmark, so I am trying not to be too bias. Virtually everything in Berlin was destroyed in WWII so its amazing that they could even preserve and of the structure, style or furniture. The gardens weren’t well kept (but I totally get it, Berlin has bigger fish to fry) but the tour was cool! Easily the coolest part of the tour was NAPOLEAN CROSSING THE ALPS (You know this picture, anyone that has read a history book in their life has seen this picture) Neither Grant nor I were expecting that and to be honest I am still pretty shocked that we were able to see a piece of art that famous that close for like $9

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For dinner we headed to a beer-garden along the river spree and had a grand old time people watching. To get ourselves in the mood for our Sunday tour we watched Indiana Jones after dinner.

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Sunday was our walking tour. Berlin is gritty. I understood why Berlin looks the way it does a lot better after our full day walking tour and I am not going to do the city the injustice of trying to summarize any facts or historical movements. I can boil the meat of what I learned down to a couple things: you should learn about the history of Berlin, the city has changed so much in the past 30 years its hard to imagine that so much has happened there in recent history, and Berlin is the master of the bounce back.

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DSC_0229.jpgWe had a great tour guide and again enjoyed the bounty of our pre packed lunches. The holocaust memorial and Berlin wall were extremely powerful and easily my favorite parts of the tour. After, Grant and I stopped into a cafe and got some coffee. I got the iced cappuccino and it was the BEST COFFEE IVE EVER HAD. I attempted to make it to a flea market at 5pm, but most people were packing up and to be honest I don’t really need antique spoons or old soviet money.

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Dinner was again along the river spree. My brother and I have had some great conversations on this trip but one of the best was at dinner when we were predicting what kind of person each-other will marry. Grant called me out on my udder fear of being an inconvenience or causing confrontation when I was having a nervous breakdown trying to ask for the check, and made me do a spit take because I laughed so hard. (really wish I had it on video)

The sunsets both nights were absolutely insane. Totally hot pink and fluffy and beautiful.

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Currently its Monday. Grant and I are on a U-Bahn from Berlin to Munich and were passing through Lictenfels as I type this. This train through the north of Bavaria has been so beautiful. There are castles tucked into hills, green trees everywhere, sheep, fields of sunflowers, and charming little postcard towns. Its raining on and off and its really making this whole trip appropriately magical and melancholy.

Grant and I realized we actually have first class access with our Eurail passes (score) but I would feel a little guilty now whipping out my full sized carrots and tub of remaining hummus around this crowd…

Hope you all had a great weekend! Auf wiedersehen!