Salzburg & Bavaria

fullsizeoutput_4dc7This week and next week I have Fall break, so two other Fulbright ETAs and I hoped a bus down to Salzburg, Austria for a few days of fun. The trip didn’t start out so fun, however, as our train was late, which meant we had to SPRINT to catch our bus at the station. It was pulling out as I reached the door and pounded on it with big puppy eyes begging please let us on! Luckily, the driver was a really nice Jordanian who laughed and said “We arabs aren’t very punctual either” and opened the door. My heart was racing for the next twenty minutes but it was worth the work out. We made it down to Salzburg that afternoon and began exploring. It is such a pristine city filled with elegant facades and castles perched on hills. I think my favorite part of the city was the cathedral in the Altstadt.

We stayed in a hostel that showed The Sound of Music movie every night at 8pm. Every. Single. Night. I asked the receptionist if he stilled liked the movie and he just rolled his eyes no– ha! Below are a few photos if you’d like to see 😉fullsizeoutput_4dbffullsizeoutput_4dc0fullsizeoutput_4dc1fullsizeoutput_4dc2fullsizeoutput_4dc3fullsizeoutput_4dc4fullsizeoutput_4dc5fullsizeoutput_4dc6That domed building is the cathedral!fullsizeoutput_4dc8fullsizeoutput_4dc9Casual castle on a hill.fullsizeoutput_4dcafullsizeoutput_4dcbfullsizeoutput_4dccfullsizeoutput_4dcdfullsizeoutput_4dcefullsizeoutput_4dcffullsizeoutput_4dd2It’s always IceZeit (ice cream time). fullsizeoutput_4dd0fullsizeoutput_4dd3Love Lock bridge, like in Paris!fullsizeoutput_4dd4fullsizeoutput_4dd5fullsizeoutput_4dd8fullsizeoutput_4dd9fullsizeoutput_4dddfullsizeoutput_4ddefullsizeoutput_4ddffullsizeoutput_4de0One day we went to Berchtesgaden, a town in Bavaria where Hitler held his summer residence. The actual residence is called Berghof/Eagle’s Nest, and you can take a bus up the side of a HUGE Alp to the tippy top. The view is other-worldly. fullsizeoutput_4de1fullsizeoutput_4de2fullsizeoutput_4de3fullsizeoutput_4de4fullsizeoutput_4de5fullsizeoutput_4de6fullsizeoutput_4de8fullsizeoutput_4de9fullsizeoutput_4deafullsizeoutput_4debThis is at the Königsee, a lake in the national park just below Berghof/Eaglesnest.fullsizeoutput_4decThe next day we went to Fuschlsee, a dreamy alpine lake near Salzburg. It almost looks like a green screen or some sort of party photo booth backdrop! I was speechless.fullsizeoutput_4dedfullsizeoutput_4deefullsizeoutput_4deffullsizeoutput_4df0fullsizeoutput_4df1fullsizeoutput_4df2fullsizeoutput_4df3fullsizeoutput_4df4Smolderfullsizeoutput_4df6fullsizeoutput_4df8fullsizeoutput_4dfcfullsizeoutput_4dfdfullsizeoutput_4dfefullsizeoutput_4dffWHAAAATTTTTTfullsizeoutput_4e01fullsizeoutput_4e02fullsizeoutput_4e03fullsizeoutput_4e04fullsizeoutput_4e05fullsizeoutput_4e07fullsizeoutput_4e08fullsizeoutput_4e09fullsizeoutput_4e0afullsizeoutput_4e0cfullsizeoutput_4e0dfullsizeoutput_4e0efullsizeoutput_4e0ffullsizeoutput_4e11fullsizeoutput_4e12fullsizeoutput_4e13fullsizeoutput_4e14fullsizeoutput_4e15fullsizeoutput_4e16fullsizeoutput_4e17fullsizeoutput_4e18We were color coordinated for these photos apparently!

This trip did the soul some good. Now I’m headed to London for a few days to visit my dear friend who is getting her Masters in Human Rights there because she is a boss who will change the world.

Have a good one, friends!

Playing Tourist for a Day

IMG_4286It’s easy to forget all the reasons you love living where you do, especially when life gets busy and you don’t have time to go out and fully appreciate it. That’s why everyone needs to play tourist in their own home every once in a while. I got the chance to do just that this past weekend when two of my German friends from my summer in Hildesheim came to visit. I showed them around my university, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood, Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and even took them home to El Segundo to meet my family. It was just what I needed. I loved speaking German with them, reliving old memories from Germany and making new ones in Los Angeles. Seeing them in awe of the beauty here made me that much more grateful to call this place home. Sometimes seeing it through the eyes of another is all it takes to put the magic back in a place! Below are a few photos from the weekend if you’d like to see!IMG_4150.JPG^Aren’t they great?! Yes, the answer is yes.IMG_4282IMG_4210IMG_4202IMG_4155IMG_4179^Love this place so much. I visited not to long ago (read here) but I can never get enough.IMG_4263IMG_4260IMG_4235IMG_4227^We hiked a ways towards the Hollywood sign and all the wild flowers were in bloom. This is one of the prettiest times to visit Southern California in my opinion.IMG_4231IMG_4297^Randomly found this in the forest near the observatory…apparently LA and Berlin are sister cities. Who knew?!IMG_4293IMG_4175IMG_4151IMG_4342IMG_4345IMG_4322IMG_4318IMG_4311Have a good one friends, and don’t forget to get out and explore your city!

Heidelberg Revisited

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Even now, three months later, I remember the day like it was yesterday. I lugged my suitcase down the stairs, said my goodbyes, and boarded the bus. I stared out the window as Heidelberg grew smaller and smaller in the distance, eventually fading from view all together. My year of studying abroad in Heidelberg was officially over, and I didn’t know if or when I would ever return. But instead of feeling sadness, a sense of peace washed over me in that moment. I didn’t cry because this chapter in my life was over, but rather I smiled because it was written in the first place. I felt overwhelmingly grateful for the chance I’d been given, and was glad it had ended on such a high note. I realized I may never live in this city again, but I can always visit and add new memories to the old. And that’s exactly what I did this past weekend!

Since I was given the opportunity to stay in northern Germany this summer as an Au Pair, I knew I had to return to Heidelberg for a day or two. So I hoped on the train Thursday afternoon and made it to Heidelberg by early evening. As I approached the main station, I felt butterflies in my stomach. Would it look the same? Would I have fun traveling alone? I’m pleased to report I thoroughly enjoyed this new experience/version of Heidelberg in every way.

My German teacher from the school year kindly offered to host me for the weekend, and we had the best time talking in both English and German! Two of my classmates who also decided to stay for internships this summer came over for dinner, and we swapped ‘Awkward American in Germany’ stories. The next day I walked around my old stomping grounds, visiting a few favorite spots and bought more unnecessary souvenirs I can’t fit in my suitcase. I just can’t get enough of this town. As I wandered the streets I’ve walked a thousand times before, I noticed new and wonderful details. It is impossible to be bored in this place.
Below are a few pictures from the weekend if you’d like to see.
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I know one thing for sure after this revisit: Ich habe mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren! (I lost my heart in Heidelberg). Or, in the words of Buddy the Elf, “I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!” Have a great week friends, I miss you already.

Question of the Day
Is there a place you’re dying to revisit?