Oh, Munich and Vienna. I know I said I thought Berlin may have been my favorite city, but these two are definitely tied for first place now. First of all, the Bavarian countryside is absolutely gorgeous. Even in the rain on the train ride from Berlin to Munich, my breath was taken away. The rural villages, old churches, and snow-capped mountains are making me swoon just a little. I’ve never seen anything like the scenery here; there’s nothing like it in America. Seeing God’s creation like this has given my heart songs of praise and thankfulness that I’ve never sung before. I could feel my love for the Lord growing as I caught a glimpse of His beauty in the mountains.
When we got to Munich, the hostel was busy. The boys were in a separate room from Sam and me this time, but were glad to spend time with females! When we walked through the door, two girls who were sitting at the table in the middle of the room immediately smiled and said “Hi!” They received an enthusiastic “Hi!” back from Sam and me, as we were relieved to be with Americans (no language barrier!), and nice Americans at that! Their names were Katie and Kristen, recent college graduates from Wisconsin. They had just gotten off the plane from America and their bags were lost. We immediately hit it off. There’s a certain bond that forms—regardless of the person—when you meet another American in a foreign country, but these girls were great. We got to spend a lot of time with them, and ended up rearranging some of our plans so that we could tour the city together. We had a ton of fun with them. They came with us to my favorite spots in Munich—Dachau and Neuschwanstein. My fondest memories of Munich had Katie and Kristen in them. It was a blast hanging out with them, and refreshing to be with other girls! They were so, so sweet and funny. We got to share our dreams and plans for the future with each other, among other little details about ourselves, and compare accents. Honestly, part of what made me like Munich so much was having such great roommates and new friends.
Vienna was the complete opposite of Munich. The hostel was practically empty when we got there. Even the city itself was quieter. It was a bit of a bummer to discover that it would only be our team in the room, because in both Berlin and Munich we’d had really great roommates to get to share with and love on. It was harder to meet people in general in Vienna. It was nice to have some team time, though. The city was absolutely beautiful. It was basically a combination of all of the things that we liked from the other cities. This stop was more for us girls than anyone else. Sam and I are both music/art/history lovers so we ate every minute of it up. It was really nice to have some girl time, because for the rest of the time we’re here, we won’t get time like that again. We wandered around the first day, debated on seeing an opera (we didn’t, but how cool would that have been???), and looked at an old church and a palace inside the city. At the palace, we stumbled upon a gala and saw a Bollywood actress. We’re both into Bollywood, so that was a really cool moment! We also saw the bigger palace on the edge of the city with the whole team, and got the most amazing view of the city. After that, Sam and I got to see the Royal Orchestra perform at the Beethovenhaus. It was incredible! While we really would’ve loved to see an opera, the concert was just as great, and we didn’t have to stand for 3 hours like we would’ve at the opera. I’m really thankful for the time we got to spend in Vienna.
So far, I’m finding out that God it teaching me more about my relationship with Him than I thought I was going to learn on this trip. I came expecting him to change the people that I would meet, and he’s also changing me. I am eager to see what the next week and however many days left of the trip hold!