Time to kill two birds with one stone! February has been a good month! I took a trip to St. Moritz with one of my best friends, Schuyler, to watch the Snow Polo World Cup Finals, and then took a spontaneous solo trip to Munich, Germany to cure some post-travel blues.
Starting with St. Moritz: I cannot even put into words how fun this trip was! It was definitely a quick one, just a Saturday to Sunday, but Schuyler and I made the most of every second. Literally. We stayed up 24 hours to really enjoy it all! Saturday morning had an early wake up call for our 6:30 train. St. Moritz is just over four hours from Basel by train, so we got nice and comfortable for the first two hours before we had to change trains in Chur.
Once in St. Moritz, we had a nice little lunch at the train station and picked up some snacks to take to our hostel, which we then took a short bus ride to. Upon check in, we were informed that we had been upgraded to a private room for just the two of us! We were ecstatic and skipped down the hall to get ready. The Snow Polo World Cup is quite the event, with a lot of prestigious and wealthy people in attendance. While we don’t exactly fit this mold, we decided if we looked and acted the part, people would believe that we did. Surprisingly, it worked. We actually had people asking to take our picture multiple times throughout the day! (Which is quite strange…literally felt like we had paparazzi!)
Watching the polo was truly a unique experience! I have seen some polo matches before, being from Wellington, Florida, but snow polo took it to another level. It is literally played on a frozen lake! Plus, it is free to the public to go watch in the standing section. At first I was nervous about this, and worried we would be freezing cold just standing there with nowhere else to go! But it was SO fun. We snuck our way right up to the front of the barricade, so close that when the horses were running, their hooves kicked the snow up at us!
We made some friends at the match who invited us out with them later that evening, so after a bit of downtime, including a warm beverage to defrost, we joined them for some food and then went out to one of St. Moritz’s most popular clubs. Now neither Schuyler nor I frequent clubs on a regular basis, and we had been awake since 4:15 in the morning, so we both decided we would leave as soon as the other wanted. Fast forward a second club and 4:30 the NEXT morning, we were STILL out and having the BEST time. The main reason we left was because we had an early-ish train home and wanted to make sure we got a tiny bit of sleep after such a long day! But honestly, it quite possibly was the most fun night I have had in my life. We were laughing, dancing, and singing all kinds of songs with our new friends for hours, and it is a night of fun I won’t soon forget. It made for a really long and exhausted Sunday, but we wouldn’t trade the memories for anything!
Just two weeks later, the travel bug was makin’ me itch again! All of my friends were busy, so I decided it was time for another solo getaway! I found incredibly cheap bus tickets to Munich, Germany, and three days later I was on the road! It was a super comfortable coach with free WiFi, and the whole trip was just under four hours nonstop. I arrived in Munich just around lunch time.
I checked into my hostel, took a quick catnap (I really need to work on going to sleep MUCH earlier…), and then went out to explore! I found myself walking towards Marienplatz, which is Munich’s main square. There was a lot of shopping, cafes, and of course the New City Hall, the main building in the pictures below. Just adjacent to Marienplatz was St. Peter’s Church, complete with a 300ft tower that I chose to climb for three euros. There are 306 steps in the tower, and I most definitely overestimated my athletic abilities when I was about halfway up and completely out of breath! But the views from the top were most definitely worth it. Sweeping 360 degree views of all of Munich on an absolutely GORGEOUS day!
I walked around a bit more, stopping and looking in churches, theaters, and even the famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall until it started to get dark, when I made my way back to the hostel. I got dinner and a drink on happy hour at the bar inside the hostel, hoping to make some friends. After a bit, there was a massive line forming at a table, so I went to check it out. That is something college taught me well: if you see a line, get in the back of it because you’re probably waiting for something cool! It turned out to be a night time beer tour through the city. Personally, I hate beer. Why did I take a trip to Munich, the beer capital of the world? Good question. But, since I was solo traveling, and also wanting to partake in traditional “Munich” things, I decided to go! The tour included a liter and a half of beer, and I did try some, but passed it onto one of my new friends after I decided I didn’t like it so much. We went to three different beer halls where we learned a lot about the history of beer in Germany, some cool facts about Oktoberfest, and tasted some typical Bavarian beer.
The highlight of the tour for me was definitely making some friends that were also staying at my hostel! I continued to hangout with them through the evening, and also the next day and night while we explored Munich! The next day started with a walking tour of the city, which ended up being super great for me to learn more about all of the places I had visited the day before on my own. After the tour, we had traditional Bavarian lunch in an outdoor beer garden before going to the English Gardens, which is one of the biggest urban parks in the world. It was another gorgeous day, so we sat in the grass and watched some people play frisbee. We also got to see professional surfers totally killing it on the manmade wave in the park. I can’t even imagine how cold the water must have been, but the surfers were seriously so good. I would definitely have killed myself attempting such a thing.
By this time, it was around dinner, so we all headed back to the hostel to freshen up a bit and rest before having dinner and going back to the Hofbräuhaus to experience the lively night time atmosphere. There wasn’t quite as much singing at the Hofbräuhaus as there normally is, so we were told, but it was still a really cool place to be. Despite being rather touristy, it still encompassed what I picture to be traditional Munich/Bavaria.
The month of February was complete with a special Valentine’s Day surprise from my sweet Jon. He had made arrangements with my best friend Zoe back in December to make sure that my Valentine’s Day was as special as it could be. The two of them really knocked it out of the park! A massive box of heart shaped balloons was delivered to my house in the morning, and the evening ended with a surprise visit from Zoe to take me out to dinner when I thought I was supposed to be babysitting. It couldn’t have been better, and I am so grateful to be loved so well by the both of them!
More fun stuff coming soon! My kids have two weeks of school holidays that just started this week, and I leave on my own little trip today! Stay tuned to see where I am heading to spend my vacation!
Until next time,