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유럽여행: 독일과 스웨덴

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August 7, 2016 | 05:40pm
Mood: 그냥

I have been horribly lazy and even though I got back from my trip exactly a month ago (!!!), I still haven't even posted about it. So, here it goes, I guess.

Friday, June 24: Left home kind of late (about 11am). Flight was at 2:30pm. Fortunately, I'd made the executive decision to do the trip paperless, so I had mobile tickets and mobile receipts the whole way. Since I didn't have to get my ticket or check any baggage, I walked straight up to security and was out of immigration within 10 minutes. The flight was fine, I read a few books (3, I believe?). Arrived in Frankfurt at, I want to say 4pm, but I may be incorrect. Took the subway to the central train station and managed to find my hotel. The hotel was really nice- it was an old building, and the elevator didn't even go up to my hotel, but it had personality. That being said, the location (while close to a supermarket, restaurants, and the metro) was also close to clubs, which didn't help when I was horribly jetlagged and lazing around at 2 in the morning.

Saturday, June 25: I went to meet Amanda! We went to university together, studied in the same Russian class for a few years, and were good friends thanks to Russian Club. She is also one of the few remaining people I know who still occasionally uses LiveJournal, which is kind of awesome. I took the train to Marburg, where she used to live, and we spent the day exploring. It was pouring down rain so we went and I bought a cheap umbrella, which lasted me for two hours. Then, when the rain stopped and I tried to close it, it broke. (My trip was bookended with rain: the first day in Germany and the last day in Germany.) We ate casserole, visited a castle and some super old churches, and just caught up. It was kind of crazy that we were able to meet up and hang out in Germany, of all places. (That being said, she's lived in Germany for ages so I shouldn't be too surprised I guess.) I really hope we'll be able to meet up again, hopefully not eight years from now!

Sunday, June 26: I spent a good portion of the day in transit because I was off to Stockholm, Sweden! At the airport I tried to figure out if I should actually check my bag or not. I thought it was too big/heavy for the plane (one of those cheap airlines). I actually waited in line to check it when, when the guy weighed it, he asked, "Are you sure you want to check this?" It weighed less than 7kg. Hell no, I don't want to check it, so I just did my normal carrying it on. Upon reaching my gate I had the option of taking the flight and arriving at my desired time, or being delayed and getting money. After some agonizing over the decision, the spots to delay were taken and my decision was made for me. After arriving, I found my way to my hotel- somehow. I was incredibly unprepared for everything relating to this trip, honestly. I'd booked the tickets and then put it all out of my mind because I was busy trying to get through my final exams. My hotel was in a residential area and my room was ridiculously small, but it was pretty and quiet, so that was nice. I got food from the grocery store a block away from my hotel almost every day I was there.

Monday, June 27: I recall waking up at about 3:30 in the morning and wondering if it was light outside because the sun hadn't set, or because it had already risen. (Turns out it was just about to rise, although I was far enough north that even at midnight the sun never went completely dark.) My hotel had a very average breakfast buffet which I took full advantage of every morning. After eating and then taking a morning nap, I walked to Djurgarden, an island that was only 20 minutes walking distance from my hotel. I walked around for a while and then bought admission to Skansen, an outdoor museum/zoo. I'm not one for zoos, but the outdoor museum part was awesome- a variety of old buildings from around Sweden had been relocated to Skansen in an attempt to preserve history. I spent a long time there, and even though I kept trying to find my way to the northwestern part of the museum, I kept accidentally circling back around to the damn bison. I finally gave up and quit the museum, and went back to the hotel sunburned (in Sweden, of all places) and exhausted.

Tuesday, June 28: I decided to go to Gamla Stan this day. Gamla Stan is Stockholm's old city. Me being a moron, I hardly made it 15 minutes into my walk before I got horribly lost and ended up on the opposite side of the city. After a little over an hour (for what on other days was a 25-30 minute walk) I got to Gamla Stan. I explored a little, stumbled across the changing of the guard ceremony (right place at the right time), and got admission to explore the palace. It was quite nice. That being said, based on the European palaces I've seen- well, I very much get a, "seen one, seen 'em all" sort of feeling from them. I also visited the treasury.

Wednesday, June 29: I returned to Gamla Stan, this time with the goal of doing a walking tour I found online. I visited the sites, dodged other tourists, and went to Riddarholmen, a neighboring island where the church where all of Sweden's royalty is buried. It was a great church. Then I walked for a few thousand years to Monteliusvagen, on another neighboring island, which I'd read had great views of the city. (It did.) I took some photos, found a nice, quiet bench, and read for an hour or so. Then I went back to Gamla Stan, did a little souvenir shopping, and returned to my hotel.

Thursday, June 30: This was my last day in Stockholm. I went back to Gamla Stan again, this time for a final bit of souvenir shopping (did a poor job of doing so the previous day...) and returned to Djurgarden, where I went to the national museum. Museums are sort of my favorite thing to do on a trip when I travel alone. They're a good way to spend a day, you can learn a lot about the country you're in, you're protected from the weather, and it helps to keep you from being too lonely. I did the whole damn museum and returned to my hotel.

Friday, July 1: I ate an early breakfast, checked out of my hotel, and went to the airport. I was a little nervous because I was near some severely sketchy Dutch people as I went through security (nothing against the Dutch, but these guys looked like they were more than a little strung out on something). I got ripped off at the currency exchange, as they refused to accept an old-style bill that they GAVE ME less than a week before. Now, before I get to the exciting part, I should explain this: I never check baggage. At least, not if I have the option to do carry on. This means I keep my shampoo, conditioner, and razor in a plastic bag in an outside pocket, meant for ease during security. I was at my gate (well, a few gates away, since Arlanda is ridiculously small, but close enough!) when I made the genius decision to relocate the plastic bag. I reached into the pocket at- slice. My razor cut straight through the plastic bag and shaved off a good portion of the skin on my finger. Blood immediately welled up. I sucked it for a minute, but the blood kept coming, so I went to the bathroom to rinse it off. Blood kept coming. (The sight of my blood in the huge trough sink was... somewhat distressing.) I wrapped a paper towel around it, applied pressure, and went to a convenience store to buy antiseptic and bandaids. They only had bandaids, so the guy suggested I go to duty-free for antiseptic. Well, they didn't have antiseptic, but the lady said, "I do have antibacterial handwash." I agreed to use it. She said, "This is going to hurt a lot, since this is alcohol. But everything in life hurts." With that wisdom, she sprayed my cut. It hurt. I wrapped my finger with a paper towel and bandaids and applied pressure for the next 5 goddamn hours. On the plane. Landed in Berlin(!!) and went to a pharmacy to buy antiseptic. Figured out how to get transportation card. Got on a bus. Went to the end of the line. Transferred to the subway. Got out at Alexanderplatz, started walking to my hotel- got lost, because it isn't a trip if I don't get lost 57 thousand times- eventually found my REALLY fucking SWANK hotel. I checked in, cleaned and rebandaged my finger, got some food from a local grocery store, and passed the fuck out.

Saturday, July 2: I got up and went to the hotel buffet. HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS. This buffet was INSANE. I mean. I had three goddamn servings of food for breakfast every day here. Ridiculous. I'm taken back to the ridiculously delicious buffet in Lisbon (fig jam!!!) and the pesto potatoes in Bali. I mean. Seriously. Delicious. Anyways, I ate, relaxed for a bit, found another solo walking tour online, and headed out to explore the city. The problem with Berlin, I found, is that it's not necessarily a great city for walking. Everything is just too spread out. I mean, that being said, I am a beast and care not for such mortal things. But still. I was tired. The sky wasn't cooperating that day, and I found that most of my photos weren't really turning out very well. After a couple hour of this I'd made it to N on my tour (which went to U) when it started to pour down rain. I was stuck at a memorial for the Holocaust for about a half hour before I decided that the rain was light enough that I could dart back to my hotel. Made it back without getting too damp, and rested.

Sunday, July 3: This day, I decided to repeat my tour, although I skipped a few letters. The sky was clear and had big, puffy white clouds, so mostly I just wanted to get the photos I'd failed to obtain the day before. I finished the walking tour, saw the Berlin Wall and visited a sort of outdoor museum? Kind of? dedicated to it, and headed back to my hotel. I decided to stop in at the grocery store a block from my hotel- only to discover that it was closed. Because, as I'd failed to remember, grocery stores are closed on Sundays in Germany. I did a bit of research and discovered that there was a grocery store open at Hauptbahnhof, which was close to where I'd already walked (kinda). It didn't look too far. Of course, it was a hot day... I walked 50 minutes there and 50 minutes back. I was already tired from jetlag and touristing about that morning. My dinner tasted amazing that day. So did the gallon of water I drank upon getting back.

Monday, July 4: I was exhausted and decided to do a museum day. Unfortunately, almost every museum in Berlin was closed, so I went to one of the only open ones- the Neues Museum on Museum Island. It was a really good museum with a lot of stuff from Ancient Egypt and Germany's more ancient past. I also did some souvenir shopping this day.

Tuesday, July 5: I was still tired so I did another museum day. I got to the Pergamon Museum right at opening, only to discover a ridiculous line. Waited in it before getting to enter. It was... well, it wasn't a bad museum, honestly. It just didn't stand up to the hype that it had. The artifacts were incredible, and the Islamic art galleries were incredible, but there were a few areas which either had too many people or too little English. You're an international museum and you don't have English? What the hell?

Wednesday, July 6 (and Thursday, July 7): I got up early, got breakfast, checked out of my hotel. I was outside for less than 5 minutes before it started to rain. (Well, continue to rain.) I took a train to Hauptbahnhof and waited to get on my train back to Frankfurt. I was confused about where my seat actually was, but found it (eventually). Arrived in Frankfurt at 1:40pm, inexplicably couldn't find the platform for the airport train so I got on the subway for three stops and just crossed my fingers that I wasn't doing anything too illegal. Got to the airport okay, got on my flight at 5:30, returned to Korea. I rewatched Fargo (which remains one of my favorite movies ever), watched Zombieland, and also saw another movie that I can't remember right now... got back to Seoul, took the direct train to Seoul Station, and got home. Went and bought some food, stopped by campus to let the office know I'd returned, and chilled.

Overall, it was a pretty good trip. Some take-aways:
- the sky, the weather, the buildings, and the people were all beautiful in Stockholm. (The men are all super tall and gorgeous. And so are the women. Unfair!)
- Berlin didn't enchant me as much as it's enchanted other people I know, but it was pretty nice.
- I don't know if I'll ever return to Sweden. It's a nice place, but... I dunno. Not necessarily my style.
- I do foresee myself returning to Germany. I didn't love it, but there's a lot of the country I have yet to visit, so I could see myself going back for more. I do think learning German might be useful before I return, however.
- I did have the homo apps, but I didn't meet anyone during the trip- by choice. Not quite sure what that means. (It probably relates to Yongkuk and however I feel about him, which I didn't exactly know at the time and still don't.) That being said, good lord, guys on the apps in Europe are just ridiculously attractive. Where are the average and/or ugly guys?

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