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Europe According to Siobahn June 15, 2010

Posted by mgallagher8 in Travel Log.
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It’s amazing to think nearly three weeks have gone by since I was standing in my living room cramming that last pair of jeans into my already overstuffed suitcase. Within a week of landing in Frankfurt, I was able to settle into my new home in Metz, France (a very cozy dorm room, complete with a mini kitchen!), take a guided tour of the historical city center, AND embark on our first weekend trip to visit Munich, Germany, all the while attending classes. And I thought I was busy during the school year…

After our first day of class at GTL we were treated to a tour of downtown Metz. In all of the excitement of planning our first few weekends around Europe we had already forgotten to consider the beauty of the city we were already living in. On the walking tour we learned about the history of the city, its architecture, and the people who have lived there.  Metz can only be described as a very “French” town, both based on its architecture, its people and its culture. Despite our great effort to fit in, they can peg us as Americans from a mile away. Nevertheless, the locals have been extremely willing to help us in figuring out the transportation system, how to order in restaurants, and most importantly how to plan our weekend trips.

Just several days after arriving in Europe we were already heading out on our first weekend trip to Munich. Considering we were all traveling amateurs, the trip went extremely well. After a long overnight ride, we arrived safely in Munich with just a few cricked necks. As we got off the train we quickly realized we had happened to pick the perfect weekend to visit Munich. Their soccer (or as the Europeans say, football) team, Bayern Munchen, was playing in the Championship soccer game that weekend.

Although the game was in Madrid, the atmosphere and energy in Munich was indescribable. From listening to the underground train station rattle from the sounds of  excited fans yelling “HIP HIP, HOORAH!”, to watching the game on a large screen with the locals, their pride for their country was most evident. Aside from having the opportunity to watch the game with the locals, we also visited BMW headquarters and museum, The Olympiapark (the Olympic Park built for the 1972 Summer Olympics) and Dachau, the nearby concentration camp memorial. The view from the lookout at the Olympic Park was astounding and the city appeared to go on as far as the eye could see. Visiting Dachau the next day was a feeling I will never forget. In middle school we read about the concentration camps, their horrible conditions, and the hundreds of thousands of people they effected, but never could I have imagined I would have the opportunity to walk the same path as those prisoners had over 50 years ago. The time I spent at Dachau was eye opening and reflective and I’d love to visit again one day when I am older.

Well, I’m back in Metz now after a wonderful first weekend, but it’s time to hit the books! I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the many weekends to come! Bonne soirée!

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