Europe as a whole has been on my Bucket List for as long as I can remember. Where in Europe, well there were really 5 places that I have been dying to get to: Greece, Portugal, Spain, Iceland and Czech Republic. I thought studying abroad was going to give me the opportunity to check Europe and those 5 Bucket List countries off my Bucket list, but when my initial Exchange school became a bust, I was devastated and didn’t know if I’d ever get to do them.
Then Everything changed. My exchange location and really all my “dreams” changed.
I ended up leaving for the complete opposite side of the world than what I had hoped for, and I didn’t know where to start. I was alone, in a country more polar opposite than my own than my own siblings and I can get. I wasn’t going to be traveling through Europe, I’d thought about island hopping but it really just didn’t feel the same, so when my parents asked me if I was going to come back to Canada for my Christmas holidays I had a long deep thought and chat with myself. Was it wise? Would it make the culture shock of coming back to Trinidad too much to handle? How would I react?
This is when it hit me, it was my year abroad and those bucket list countries weren’t going to visit themselves. You’re only abroad once, and it is all about the experiences in the time that you’re not home.
I booked a return ticket to London UK, but London isn’t where I wanted to go. I did some research and came up with Germany being an option to experience Christmas in Europe. German food, Christmas markets, all things Christmas, I thought it might make me feel a little more like it was Christmas, and a little less like I was missing something at home…. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Between the time I arrived on the 22nd of December in Munich and 2pm on December 24th EVERYTHING in Germany had shut down except the single Indian Restaurant; I wasn’t about to eat Indian for 3 meals a day for the next 3 days. Sure it was Christmas time, and it was normal for things to close on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but even in Canada, McDonalds is at the very least open for you to grab a greasy ole burger, but not Germany. The Country took to their homes to celebrate for days.
So what were we going to do… Well we met a few friends who were headed to Austria, so we took to the trusty old Google and found what was open, what a difference 2 hours on a train and a country can make, because Austria was OPEN, EVERYTHING was OPEN. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy with a 35 Euro train ticket purchase before, but I was with this one, and it hopefully meant that my Christmas Day wasn’t going to be half bad, and trust me, the minute I got on that train, destination Salzburg, Austria Christmas Day got 100 times better.
We even had a real breakfast, something I’ve been craving since I left Canada. The views in Austria were nicer than Germany, it may have been colder, but I am Canadian. I’ve never been so sad to leave a place as I was when we had to take the train back to Germany.
If I had to do it again, as much as my travels have been fun so far, traveling over such a big holiday like Christmas may not be in the cards, when I’m backpacking and staying in a hostel.
Until the next adventure,
In safe Travels!