Naomi’s Day Off

Don’t we just love summer?

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1999

So we’re all living in pretty depressing, damn-near post-apocalyptic times right now and before I get to the feel-good part of this post I just want to say that it is 100% okay to feel scared at this moment.

We’ll get through this.

But before that, let’s do some reminiscing.

So this time last year, I was either about to go on a study abroad to Germany or still deciding if I actually was going to go or stay in Lawrence and take calculus (disgusting). And yes, I know, I’ve babbled on and on about this trip but seriously, I haven’t even started.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Germany and last summer because it really was one of the greatest summers I’ve ever har and now that I’m tutoring German, I’m so desperate to go back and I miss my host family dearly. But because this post is about reminiscing, vitality, summer and I guess just the liberation of being able to go outside, this post won’t even be talking about my trip as a whole.

We’re just gonna talk about my day off. In Munich.

It was one free day on the 18th of July. We had absolutely no academic or social obligations to the program; so we could do whatever we wanted anywhere in Munich as long as we met back up in time for a group dinner. I made a list of places I wanted to go, armed myself with Google maps, a decent battery life and spotty WiFi and I walked over 27,000 steps on a hot day in Munich.

Let’s call this: 24 Hours in Munich On A Budget

And I’m talking less than 30 euros, if that.

The Bamberger Haus

I started off at Luitpold Park named after ancient Bavarian royalty. It’s a huge park and I’m lucky I didn’t get lost. Bamberger Haus is located on the western end of the park and was opened as a cafe. It has a seriously gorgeous interior, but I didn’t get to see any of that seeing as they were closed when I got there.

I went primarily for the cafe and the memorial; a tall Obelisk of which there appears to be no name (I could be wrong tbh) and no particular thing it is memorialising, except that the trees surrounding it were planted to commemorate each year of former Prince Luitpold’s life and I’m very sorry but I did a touristy thing…

Right, so afterwards, I went off to the Olympic Park; which I don’t really know what I was expecting.

I was expecting to go into the park; but right now I don’t know if I ever achieved that. They were doing tours but I didn’t want to pay for one, so I just mooched arorund, basically tried to scale the surrrounding areas to see what there was to see. Looking back, I don’t think the pictures I took adequately represented what I did see, but honestly, it was so hard to get a godo picture with so many trees in the way. And it was so bloody hot!

Olympic Park in Munich

I did get lost here.

And it wasn’t that kind of, oh hahaha, I’ll just retrace my steps. This was absolutely terrible. I had no idea where Ms. Google was taking me, I was climbing hills, I came up to a fence and that was when I knew I was screwed. I also ended up missing the bus that got me there and had to sit around like a fool, sweating my ass off.

FYI, there’s just one bus that goes to the Olympic park so make sure you get on it.

The Mercedes-Benz Office in Munich

Tbh, I wasn’t very sure if this was the museum or not.

I can’t even tell you what it was like getting to this place, especially after I had survived the hellish experience of being lost in an Olympic park. Or on the outskirts of one, we really can’t tell.

I remember walking along one of those flyovers at one point feeling quite stupid about my expedition. I took a train or two, a tram, maybe even a bus, I have no clue. Was it worth it in the end? Well, seeing as I didn’t even go inside, I probably thought it was the museum the whole time (which would make no sense because the museum its in Stuttgart not Munich ha ha)… well, you’d have to get back to me on that one.

Google, Munich

Probably one of the most oddly fulfilling and satisfying aspects of my day was when I dared to travel practically halfway across the city to break into the Google office under some random guise and maybe get them to give me a tour or just pretend that I had any business being there.

I know, right. I was also still majoring in Computer Science then, so it was a whole thing for me.

This was a particularly tricky part of my day but I can’t even tell you how nice it felt just knowing I had actually found it you know? Also, all the houses in that area are super nice and expensive-looking. I guess that’s what it’s like to be some fancy software developer.

The picture on the right was taken in the lobby while I was trying to be as elusive as possible. When it came down to it, there was no oppoortunity for me to just glide around aimleessly because a) most parts of this buildiing require some kind of access key or code to get in (I mean, it’s a tech comopany right?) but also, you don’t even talk to the person behind the desk, you just go straighht to a kiosk and type in what appointment you have.

So obviously, I just left. It was kind of awkward.

I also snuck some pictures of their basketball court and outside picnic-bench-area-for-eating place. I was so jealous.

The French Quarter

Munich isn’t even close to France, I have no idea why they have a French Quarter. This was, however, my favourite part of the day, without a doubt.

The architecture here is so pretty. It’s also so exclusive-looking that the only black woman strolling down the sidewalk with a cheap T.K Maxx purse (it’s T.K Maxx outside of America guys!) I felt… exposed.

But I wasn’t thinking about that so much, I didn’t even care. It also helped that I didn’t have to endure any unwelcome glares or anything like that. I had such a great time taking pictures and enjoying the occasional shade from the sun.

So this was around lunch time, but I was like broke. As usual.

I wasn’t just in the French Quarter to stare at some scenic buildings and chill, it had been a long day of walking and I was starving. Also I was looking for the Kolonial Cafe.

Kolonial Kaffee Espresso, Munich

Seriously, if you’re ever in Munich, you need to go here. There’s no number of pictures I could post that would justify how gorgeous this place is. Like, hello? Colonization? What a concept.

Who knew?

Well, a bunch of people did actually.

The interior is designed with posters and prints from, I guess, the colonial times? It really did feel like I was in a colonized developing nation. There’s just too many, I really couldn’t put my finger on one.

And you’d think that being from a previously colonized country I would frown upon the glorification of the concept and complain about how the truths of colonization were obviously overlooked but I really was feeling it you know? Like yeah, the British can piss right off but that aesthetic though?

And as you can see, I had my lil’ soy latte with some vegan cookies over there. Let me tell you, if bliss was a moment…

Nymphenburg Palace, Munich

I saw a bunch of castles in Germany but this was probably like top 2. Definitely second to Neuschwanstein and not just because of the clout. Neuschwanstein is literally in a mountain, she wins.

So this was another little project for me. It took me a while to get here, I ended up walking down what felt like the longest road in my life and that was mostly because my phone was about to die.

Me, in a foreign country, German skills equivalent to a 3 year old (actually worse) with a dying phone, all while I was heavily relying on my dictionary app and of course, Google Maps.

I can’t even tell you how FAST I walked. I had to get in, take some cute pictures and get out. And you better believe I did it.

Next on my list was LMU, my dream university (once upon a time I was supposed to be studying in Germany; which would have meant free tuition and healthcare but… I’m not complaining).

I honestly was disappointed and confused at the same time. There is a very big difference between German universities and American ones. American ones look like the pictures. German one’s are really just about that main building and then, that’s basically it.

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

I don’t know if I ever got into that “main building”, I did get into the Law department and the Arts. The Law department looks like an institution of education, library and all. The Art department literally looked like the students designed it.

I couldn’t even stop to take pictures because the students lingering around would have thought I was weird (and if a Eurpean person think you’re weird, then you’re weird) but also I was too busy panicking about being lost and being confused as to if I was actually in LMU or a school, for that matter.

Honestly, it was funny, I think it was one of the funniest experiences I’ve ever been in and I would love to get lost in some more European universities.

Marienplatz, Munich

Finally, the beautiful, beautiful Marienplatz. I apologise for the exposure.

The city centre of Munich and honestly one of the most heartwarming things about it. I did the European thing, I lounged around by a fountain after my long hard day. I unfortunately, was eating McDonald’s (I did say I was broke) and I spent some time thinking about how I would joke that I had been tanning but my classmates would probably think I was serious.

The whole tanning thing probably backfired on me because I still haven’t fixed my hyperpigmentation, but we’re working on it.

Munich is seriously one of my favourite cities. It’s probably number 1, actually. Can’t wait to go back to Germany and impress my host family and my real family with my updated German skills.

What vacation are you wishing you could take right now? Let me know!

xx

Naomi.

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