By Erin Allen
Around this time five years ago, I was coming off the high of a most epic adventure. I realize it strange to be writing about it now. But, well, I wasn't a blogger back then.
Every year since, I think about the trip. So, it's appropriate to reflect back on this anniversary of sorts and publish those words at least for posterity sake.
What makes this trip so special is that it came at a crucial point in my life. I was pretty much on the verge of divorce and also realizing that any sort of relationship with my ex would be impossible. This trip was symbolic in that it helped remind me of my independence and adventurous spirit that had somewhat been curtailed for years. The trip also reminded me of the importance of friendship — I took the trip with some of the best gal pals a person could ever have and who will likely be some of the most important friendships I'll ever have.
The trip started off with a bang. Hitchhiking! I wrote about it when I was applying for a travel scholarship with World Nomads, which you can read here. To say we made it to the airport on time is an understatement. This moment, though, would set the tone of the trip — excitement, meeting new people and occasionally flying by the seat of our pants.
I've been looking back on the memories thanks to good old Facebook and while sifting through all the pictures we took. Here are some snippets:
A lovely, eight-hour visit with a former roller derby sister in London. Westminster Abbey. Downing Street. Good times at a pub.
Catching "Carmen" at the Vienna Opera House. A local delicacy of pork knuckle. Walking in the footsteps of the greats like Mozart and Beethoven. Paying respects at the graves of classical maestros such as Beethoven, Schubert. Catacombs tour of mummies. St. Stephen's Cathedral where Haydn was a chorister as a boy. Epic churches. Sturm.
A bus ride from Vienna to Budapest full of interesting characters and what ended up being a free ticket. Ruin pubs. A river cruise of the Danube. More epic churches. Next time, we'll actually make it to the public baths.
A meeting of friends in Berlin. Eating a burger in a former toilet. Seeing remnants of the Berlin Wall, SS headquarters and Gestapo. Checkpoint Charlie. Walking tours of a country's tragic history. Incredible museums. Currywurst. A boot shopping experience. More pork knuckle and Napoleon.
Making it to Munich and closing down Oktoberfest two nights in a row. Meeting some interesting British blokes who introduced us to the glories of Oktoberfest's champagne tent. More beer and meat and potatoes then I've ever consumed. Eating our way through the German Metro. Beautiful cobblestone streets. A quest for another pair of shoes.
There is so much more to tell, yet the memories are at once both vivid and hazy. But, what I've never forgotten nor will ever forget is the feeling of wonder, excitement, history, music, food and laughter.
One of my favorite photos is of myself, Sara and our friend Meghan walking down some street in Berlin (seen at the top of the page). The view captures us from the back – just a few gals out experiencing the world. I can't wait to do it again.