I went with Calli and his mother to Münster, which was only a 20-30 minute car ride, and explored the city. I had never been to Münster before and it is an absolutely charming city. Münster claims to be the bike capital of Germany and there are supposedly more bikes than people in the city. Yes, I’m still trying to figure out how that fact makes sense as well (do people have a road bike and a mountain bike!?).

I meant to post this yesterday, but Germany celebrated 24 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall yesterday!

One of the more poignant and recognizable features of Berlin, and the Berlin Wall, is the Brandenburg Gate. I’ve had the opportunity to go to Berlin a few times in the past 5 years and I always take a new picture of the Brandenburg Gate. The Berlin Wall ran right next to the Brandenburg Gate and divided the city of Berlin for almost 30 years. During the fall of the wall, the gate was one of the more iconic images on the news. JFK and Reagan both gave famous political speeches in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

Calli and I woke up really early to drive to Amsterdam on Saturday. We decided to just make a day trip out of it instead of staying overnight. I’d never been to Amsterdam before and neither had he so it was fun to go to a new place together!

The drive to Amsterdam from Münster was super easy. It took less than 2 hours and we parked in a “Park and Go” parking lot, which meant we could park for free the entire day. The parking lot was conveniently located right at a tram stop that took us straight into Amsterdam’s Central Station. I would highly recommend parking outside the city and taking the train in, if possible.

This past weekend I spent with an old friend, Calli, in northern Germany and the Netherlands. Calli was a foreign exchange at my high school about 6 years ago and my family has stayed in touch with him throughout the years. A week before Halloween, after finding really cheap tickets, I decided to go visit him for the weekend!

I think I was so inspired to start this blog because of all the wonderful blogs I read. Honestly, I read A LOT of blogs…and they’re about a variety of topics: traveling, fashion, baking, politics, etc. One of my favorite travel blogs is called “40 Before 30.”It is about a woman who wants to visit 40 countries before she turns 30. So I’ve made it my mission to visit 30 countries before 30!

This past Monday (October 7th) I started my orientation week at the University of Heidelberg. The specific department my program is part of is the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) and my orientation was run entirely through that department. Before I recount all my classes (and my first impressions of them), let me start by stating that after the first day of orientation, I rewarded myself with a birthday trip to Lisbon, Portugal in January. After my entire week of orientation, I rewarded myself with a weekend trip to Paris next month! I promise I’ll do some studying while I’m in Germany (at some point).

Schloss Heidelberg, also know as Heidelberg Castle (in English), resides 300 feet above the city of Heidelberg. There are a few options for getting to the castle. You can either walk, take a car, or take a funicular. I think there is also a bus but I haven’t checked on that yet. I was too cheap to spend the 6 Euros to take the funicular and don’t have a car, so I decided to walk (plus, I figured walking was the “outdoorsy” thing to do). The walk wasn’t too terrible. It was incredibly steep but only took about 15 minutes. Once at the top, the views more than made up for the walk!

Today, October 3rd, is the Day of German Unity, which celebrates the formal reunification of Germany on this date in 1990! Because it is a federal holiday, people spent the day enjoying the sunshine and gorgeous weather in Heidelberg by hiking and sitting in the cafes that line the Hauptstrasse (Main Street).

American Studies in Germany via Wayfaring With Wagner

My flight over to Frankfurt was uneventful (horrible food, semi-cramped quarters). However, I did get upgraded to economy comfort because of the lymphedema in my right leg! After arriving in the Frankfurt Airport, I immediately bought a SIM card for my iPhone and proceeded to the trains (Frankfurt Airport has a train station underneath it…super convenient!) I managed to figure out my trains, make it to Heidelberg, get my apartment keys from a friend, and proceeded to take a 4 hours nap. Afterwards, I met for drinks with some people from my program. Super chill and low-key night. Below I’ve documented my first days in Heidelberg!