The Adventure Begins

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The train station in Frankfurt

Five days ago, it was finally June 4th.

June 4th was the big day for me. It was the day, when instead of heading to the office where piles of work waited for me, I began my vacation.

Life required a vacation. I was exhausted. Mentally and physically. The past couple months at work has consisted of 50+ hour weeks along with half days on Saturday.  Don’t get me wrong, overtime is great, but at some point, I was just over it. Overtime made my bank account feel good but only added to my stress. I want to forget about my job. Not that my job or my boss are horrible. No, the opposite is true. I just want to enjoy a vacation without the stress of work.

I had only flown internationally once before and that was when my parents had taken me to the Cayman Islands on a church trip. I wish I could recall the exotic details and experiences from that trip, but my 2 year-old memory at the time apparently didn’t find the trip too memorable. All I have is an photograph showing my sister and I posing near the cockpit.

But now I get to go on an adventure at my mature age of 23. This time, I am determined to remember all the myriad of sights and experiences that will surround me. I am not going to forget. I will take pictures. I will scribble my random thoughts down. I will make new friends and create incredible memories.

I want to see the places I’ve only seen in magazines. I want to eat the food described so culturally to me by a new friend.

Most of this post was written over the Bering Sea just south of Reykjavik and west of Dublin. The flight was not as long or horrible as I cynically expected, although when the plane finally landed in Frankfurt one of my bags was lost. Fortunately, the bag with my laptop and most important stuff survived.

The town where I’m staying is a small castle town called Marburg. It’s full of old buildings, cobblestone walkways, and a couple castles. Wednesday night, my friends and I celebrated my arrival in Cafe Early and then grabbed drinks at one of the old pubs.

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The view in Marburg from Cafe Early

Thursday was spent in Darmstadt where we saw the Ducal Palace, the Wedding Tower and Chapel, and the Ludwigsaule monument.

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The Wedding Chapel

This past weekend, from Friday until Sunday afternoon, was spent in Hamburg.

The bus ride may have been way too long, but Hamburg was worth every single uncomfortable moment. The group I’m with stayed in a hostel for our stay and then just explored the city and its attractions. The river that flowed through parts of Hamburg, the bombed ruins of St. Nicholas’ Church, St. Paulis (the “beach” area), and the Reeperbahn (red-light disrict) all made this city my favorite destination so far. There were Turkish protestors marching through downtown as we ate along the harbor. The wailing sirens of police cars that circled aimlessly at night reminded me of the Bond movies.

A glimpse of Hamburg

A glimpse of Hamburg

I haven’t stopped seeing new places and experiencing new things since I landed. With traveling non-stop, I haven’t even had the chance to experience jet-lag.

I never realized how much of life I have missed out on until I started traveling around. There is more to the world than just the sunny SoCal I know so well. There are other countries to visit, cultures to learn, and new things to try.

It would be hard for me to explain how happy I am to be out in Europe on vacation. It’s a dream come true. It’s relaxation. It’s life in another dimension.

It is a blast.

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