Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Memmingen…not Munich

This past weekend of traveling was interesting to say the least. I have been fortunate enough to not have any issues traveling…until this weekend. The trip sounded like a great idea-fly into Salzburg, Austria, spend a day and a half there, then take a train to Munich, spend two days there, and then fly home from the Munich Airport with 3 of my good friends. What we did not know, was there are two Munich Airports, which is an incredibly important thing to know.

We got to Salzburg pretty late in the afternoon, so it was beginning to get dark. We decided to just take a walk around the town and see a few of the sights. After being lost for about 45 minutes, we finally found the main part of town and it was absolutely beautiful. The next day we got up early and checked out of our hostel. We each bought a Salzburg card which was 22 Euros and allowed us to take public transportation all day and get into most of the tourist places for free and the others at a discounted rate. We then hopped on a bus and headed to the famous “Sound of Music” pavilion. It was off season so all the workers were setting up for the Christmas Market that goes on there. It was very festive and still beautiful. Next we went to Mozart’s birth house. It was very interesting and full of items from his lifetime. The most amazing part for me was getting to see his childhood violin from when he was six years old, since I started playing the violin when I was six years old. After that we just moseyed around town for a while and looked inside the little Christmas shops. We then went to the Museum of Modern art and got to see Salzburg from a panoramic view. It was beautiful. The last stop for us was the Stiegel Brewery where we got 3 free beer tastings and a free gift. We found it to be a successful day and decided to get on the train to Munich.

Our 2 hour train ride to Munich was only 6 Euros, so we were off to a great start. We got to our hostel around midnight excited to start our adventure in Germany. The next day, we woke up and went to Dachau Concentration Camp. This may sound odd, but I have wanted to go to a concentration camp ever since I could remember because of my huge interest in the Holocaust. We were there for 4 hours and we didn’t even see everything there. It was one of the most moving things I have ever experienced. That night when we got back, we walked around the Marienplatz and had a traditional German meal that was delicious. Our last day, we woke early and went on a walking tour of the city that was free through the hostel that we stayed at. We were able to see the town hall and experience the Glockenspiel first hand. We then got to see a few churches and hear a lot of the city’s history from our American tour guide. Unfortunately we had to leave the tour early in order to catch a train to the airport. This is when the trip went terribly wrong.

Every single sign that we saw just said “airport”, but did not specify which one. So of course, we assumed there was only one airport. After getting to the airport about an hour and a half before our flight was supposed to leave, we learn that we are at the wrong airport (Munich Airport) and that the one we were supposed to be at (Memmingen Airport) was a good 2 hours away so we missed our flight. After freaking out for a good ten minutes, we finally gathered ourselves and went to the last minute ticket desks. We found flights ranging anywhere from 300 Euros to 150 Euros. As poor college students, we obviously could not afford that. So we found an internet lab and began to look up tickets on the cheapest websites we know. We finally found one on Ryanair, but it did not leave until Monday afternoon which meant we had to miss a full day of classes, but really had no other choice. So we spent the next 24 hours sitting an airport hungry because we didn’t have any money left for a meal. $200 extra later, we made it back to Harlaxton Manor unharmed. I guess after so many successful trips, it was our time to have a hiccup.

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