Eurotrip14 earned itself a title alongside Snowpocalypse11 and other silly titles given to events Kirby and I have deemed important enough in our life.
Our travels took us over a large segment of Germany, and we even dropped in on Amsterdam. We didn’t leave out any form of transportation. Liz and I took the bus to Berlin from Hamburg, traveling through the Nordern Deutschland hinterlands, much like the plains of Oklahoma but with stands of reclaimed pine forest.
I had the chance to see Berlin a second time, but this time with American tourists. Kirby was an especially loud and proud American, the first night in Berlin we went to a rather upscale mall or ‘Kaufen Passage’ and he proceeded to buy the gaudiest cut-off sleeve denim vest they had. I considered buying a lovely pair of short euro swim trunks, but they were indistinguishable from most of what Goodwill has to offer, so I saved my euros. Next step in operation guess what country we’re from was waving at all the passerbyers like any good ol’ country boy would. I refrained from most of that behavior because I actually have to live here after the trip. Later that night we were rejected entry into a posh new club The Pearl because “we looked homeless”, read Kirby and Brandon. Who wants to go to a club anyways? The denial was probably due to equal parts denim jacket + shaggy headedness, though I do feel discriminated against everytime I use my Kredit Karte. I’m met with the stern response “Ausweiss bitte” (ID please) every time I swipe it (someone even told me “This is not your card!”). Liz just pranced right in and out of the stores and paid with her card without a second look.
There was plenty of Bartlesville gossip spread around the table the first night in Berlin, and Alli fully enjoyed getting a background into our humble high school hometown. It made me realize that what we do in high school is insignificant. Our trajectory in life is guided only slightly by our pursuits and endeavors there. The here and now is where our destiny is decided.
Ken is a typical Germany, he likes fast cars and has style like Ryan Gosling in Drive. He topped out our ride from Berlin to Munich , the Volkswagen ‘Astro Van’, at 190 km/hr on the unrestricted section of the Autobahn. Mind you, most portions of the Autobahn actually have a limit. The cross winds that day were strong otherwise he would have gone faster so he said, though I don’t think the Wagen had much more power in her.
On our way into Munich, we visited the Dauchau concentration camp memorial. This particular camp was one of the more sterile, less brutal labor camps, intended for housing political prisoners. It was harsh reality, that the same halls we walked through were the very place where thousands, if not hundreds of thousands people died unjust deaths just because they dissented or spoke out against the mission of the 3rd Reich. That was one of the most tangible ways I have experienced history. Seeing the infamous ‘Arbeit macht frei’ on the entry gate made it all the more real. One good thing that about all of this is that Germany is open and transparent about their past history, they don’t try to cover up or brush it aside.
After a thoroughly depressing experience, we had some light-hearted fun in Munich, with a traditional dinner at the Ratskeller. There was music, dancing, and most importantly delicious Bavarian fare. We had wurst, wurst, and more wurst. I’m not exactly sure what I had my taste buds and stomach were satisfied. Food was king on this trip; If we saw something we liked or were advised by Ken to get, there was no stopping us. After dinner we wandered aimlessly around Munich, taking pictures and just being rambunctious little kids, staring up at the crazy architecture of buildings like this.
Liz asked me why I couldn’t have studied in Munich and not Hamburg. I have to admit, the weather was two fold better than Hamburg. It was in Munich that I received my first real live sunburn while in Germany. There were many beautiful places we visited the next day, including the Biergarten, where they served the Bier by the liter, and Nyphemburg Palace with it’s wide open lawns and swans, and the street market. In the market, Kirby was finally publicly shamed for dressing like a white trash wangster, as a group of high school aged girls just pointed and laughed at him openly. He claims he didn’t notice them.
The next sojourn took us on to the fabled city of Amsterdam via overnite train. Once a wealthy port city with the strongest fortifications that the 17th century could offer and worldwide shipping kingpin, Amsterdam is place with many hidden treasures that could be explored for weeks on end. But we made the most of the two days we had there and came to a general consensus that it was our favorite place. No one really appreciated the cheese as much as I did, but we all loved the orange juicing machine in the grocery store. Kirby and I did a cost-benefit analysis on it though and came to the conclusion that unless you had a orange tree in your backyard, you might as well stick to the regular stuff. This lead to him tossing around more of his far-fetched business plans and me just agreeing and telling him he’ll be a millionaire one day. I can’t mention any of them because they are all patent pending, but I’ll leave you with a hint, ‘car phone’.
On Wednesday night, Kirby and Alli went to the Beyonce concert, and Liz and I had tickets to the CHVRCHES concert. Unfortunately, the concert experience in Amsterdam is run differently from the US. We showed up at the venue at 9:30 for a show with doors opening at 8:30 expecting them to just be starting their set. We were met at the door with people leaving the show. But its ok, the four of us will get to see them at Lollapalooza this summer, so all is right in the world. To make up for the hole in me where CHVRCHES was supposed to be we went to the Pancake Corner, where we devoured flapjacks with a radius of my forearm. And you better believe we came back the next night for more. We had bonded over food by the end of the trip (Currywurst and Doner Kebabs were big hits. Kirby still owes me two doners from a bet btw), and we had bonded with our hold hands and tell each other your favorite part of the day sessions.
We flew home (for me at least) to Hamburg early Friday morning, having gone to bed at 4am and waking up 6. Alli had the sleepy sillies at the airport and kept trying to convince us of her conspiracy theory that Amsterdam was some kind of elaborate hoax the Dutch were playing on tourists (at least I thought thats what she was getting at, she can explain that one later). On the other hand all Liz cared about were the dogs, going crazy over every single one she saw.
Once in Hamburg we immediately crashed, but were revived in time for me to show everyone around the Hanseatic und frei Stadt Hamburg a little bit. That evening, on a whim from a brochure Kirby saw, we went to the Hamburger DOM. It was basically a state fair with a German flair, and it had lots of crazy rides that are probably illegal in the US. We rode the rides and ate the food, which led to the inevitable of Kirby almost puking up his dinner, mainly because he went on the swinging arm ride even I refused to go on for fear of my life. And it was only appropriate that they had fireworks that night to cap off our week long adventures. Great times had by all!
Well thats what I’ve been up to the past few weeks, and now classes have begun, so the fun times are coming to an end for now. Hopefully more to come when my family comes to visit me soon, right? ;)