Monday, February 11th, 2008
The Internet is too small to contain my excitement, but I’ll try – it’s official! My friend Kristen and I will be taking an impromptu trip to Germany (Munich, to be exact) in two weeks!
Okay, that definitely deserves a few more exclamation marks: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This all came about because D and I were in the early stages of planning a trip to Europe later in the spring, and I noticed with a sick feeling how drastically cheaper airline tickets and hotels are in February. I was complaining about this over dinner with Kristen when one of us – I can’t remember who – suggested we should take advantage of those cheap prices and go on an off-season “mini-break” to some as-yet-undetermined city in Europe.
I was instantly gung-ho/obsessive-crazy about this plan. I’ve been making extra money working for my parents’ costume website (shameless plug #7,890: Candy Apple Costumes), so this seemed like a great excuse to spend it.
And Kristen was feeling some job burn-out and needed a break. So it was decided – sort of. She still had to get approval from her boss for her chosen vacation days, and that took about a week from the inception of our idea, which to an obsessive-crazy-excited person like myself seemed like eternity times infinity.
Meanwhile, I was putting all my crazed energy to work researching destinations, airline ticket prices and hotels. We’d discussed Edinburgh at dinner, but then I found out flights there are not so cheap. The whole idea was to have a cheap off-season vacation, so that really didn’t work.
D and I are probably going to Amsterdam on our trip, so that was out. I thought about all the episodes of Passport to Europe with Samantha Brown I’ve watched (and that’s a lot), during almost all of which I’d turn to D and say, “I want to go there!” I fondly recalled the episode on Bavaria, looked up the area on my trusty TripAdvisor.com, and found that Munich is a city most vacationers adore and that it’s a good hub for seeing the sights in Bavaria. I also searched Flickr.com and came up with photos like this amazing one of Neuschwanstein Castle that were pretty convincing.
I also entertained ideas of Prague, but Kristen didn’t seem as into it, and flights to Munich were super cheap – like $414/person cheap. Because the flights were so cheap, I talked Kristen into an extra day – leaving on Wednesday instead of Thursday saved us so much on the flight that it canceled out the cost of staying in the hotel an extra night.
As soon as I got confirmation from Kristen, I focused all my efforts on Munich and compiled a list of hotels with ratings gleaned from expedia.com and Trip Advisor, along with additional info like whether the hotels had free internet and decent bathrooms, and how close they were to the train station and pedestrian-only zone.
We met on Saturday to finalize the details and book our travel arrangements. We got decent seats on all flights, booked a hotel we’re happy with (the King’s Hotel First Class), and it’s official! It’s official! We’re really going!
The weather will be colder than our everyday weather in Alabama, but not too bad (most likely highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s). In preparation I bought a warm waterproof jacket, thermal underwear shirt, non-decorative scarf, fleece hat, and waterproof walking shoes.
At the most recent New Era Club meeting, someone gave a talk on how she went to Europe for 14 days and only took a carry-on suitcase, so I had big ideas about doing that myself. But Kristen and I agreed that since we’ll only be staying in one city, having the easy transportability of a small suitcase is not that important. Having our possibly excessive amounts of winter gear – now that’s important.
I’ve already made an extremely detailed packing list. Here’s a small segment:
6 pairs socks
4 pigtail elastics
5 granola bars
Nuts in Ziploc bag
Band-Aids of various sizes
Now that the trip is booked; the packing list is made; and the winter clothes, guidebooks, No Jet Lag pills and sleep mask are bought; all I can do is wait impatiently for these next two weeks to pass. My knee is bouncing as we speak.
Meanwhile, I have to somehow concentrate enough to write a cover story and try to learn some German. So far I know “Ich heiße Kristin.” (I am called Kristin/My name is Kristin). Good thing about that one – it works for both of us.