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Munich and Edinburgh August 2, 2013

Posted by B.R. Smith in Travel Log.
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A couple weeks after Paris, a few of us decided to venture to Munich, Germany on one of our free weekends in Oxford. We weren’t able to get a taste of the famous German food and drink on the travel portion, so this adventure was much-needed.

We touched down in Bavaria early Friday morning around 7 AM in a hazy state, coming off little sleep and a long night of travelling. A couple espresso shots later we were geared up for a day of adventure. The travel portion had museum-ed us out, so we were looking to some things that would make the visit all the more memorable. We decided to head to the Bayern Munchen home stadium just outside the city center. After touring the enormous stadium and getting the chance to marvel at some German engineering, we checked out the famous gardens in Munich. We ventured our way to the expansive Englischer Garten. The garden wasn’t even wholly accounted for on the map we had, and I’m pretty sure in its entirety it was larger than the city center of Munich. After walking around the park for a bit we decided to cool down in the chilly water of one of the creeks flowing through the garden. We floated down the creek until we came to a biergarten called Seehaus on a pond in the middle of the garden. We got out, drip-dried, grabbed some steins and had dinner at Seehaus while enjoying the peaceful Munich afternoon.

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The German culture fascinated me. The Germans are a very thoughtful and precise people. Trains are on time, connections are glitch-free, and everything is clean! In addition, the architecture juxtaposed with the expansive, beautiful parks and gardens makes for a wonderful backdrop to any sort of activity. Also the food culture of Germany was awesome.

Upon arriving back in Oxford we had another week of classes. When Thursday hit we were ready to hop on the bus and head to Edinburgh for the British Open. Getting there, however, turned out to be much more stressful than any of us had initially thought. We get out of class at 4:15, yet need to be at the train station at 5:00. Since none of us had packed our bags we swiftly went back to do that then headed to the train station. With the train set to leave at 5:07, we arrive at the station at 5:04 and got our tickets. We rushed to the platform only to find that we had to take the bridge walkway to the other side of the tracks. As we made it to the platform, the train’s doors were closing. You know that sinking feeling when you know you’ve messed up? We tried to stay positive, but knew our journey up north would not be as smooth as a train-ride. Since that was the last train of the day, we sort out our options and decided to take the 10-hour overnight bus ride. This later became known by those of us on it as the bus ride from hell.

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After ten sweaty, bumpy, cramped hours, we pulled into downtown Edinburgh at 7 AM. Excited to see the Open, we immediately hopped on the train to Muirfield to catch some of our favorite golfers tee off. We made contacted with two Tech alums there playing in the tournament, Matt Kuchar and Stewart Cink. Though they didn’t win, we like to think our presence improved their performance, right? Regardless of their play, it was great to see some Jackets playing in the Open.

Another high point on the trip to Scotland was our visit to Arthur’s Seat, a large hill situated outside of Edinburgh. On my travels so far I haven’t really been able to get out of urban areas and explore the countryside. Though we weren’t in the wildnerness or anything, it was still refreshing to get out of the city and relax at the top of Arthur’s Seat, looking down on the city of Edinburgh.

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Another great thing about being in Scotland was the chance I had to learn a little about my family’s heritage. My late grandmother, Fergie as we called her, always reminded us of our Scottish blood, capturing my attention with wild stories of her family. Luckily I was able to learn a lot about the Clan Ferguson during my time in Scotland and buy some souvenirs  that pertained to the Ferguson Clan. It was great to be near the high country. I definitely have plans to make it back here, hopefully sneaking in a round of golf or two at its birthplace.

Luckily, getting back home was one hundred times less stressful. We took a direct train from Edinburgh to Oxford and just relaxed and enjoyed the views of the English countryside.

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