Sunday, April 18, 2010

Germany by Bus

I'm used to traveling on the road. Every summer for the better part of my childhood I traveled with my family in a big van across the country. Once, I sat in that van for over 16 hours without stopping. My dad refused to acknowledge my desperate need to pee and I was taunted by two of my brothers about Niagra Falls and how the sound of the engine really sounded alot like the sound of a toilet flushing. I didn't pee my pants and so I consider myself a seasoned road-tripper. I was actually kind of excited to go on my first lengthy European voyage-ON THE ROAD! I got myself some Pringles (Europeans are super fond of these), made myself a peanut butter sandwich, and packed my bag up in a hot twenty minutes before booking it out the door Thursday night to catch my overnight bus to Munich, Germany.

I met my girlfriend Caah and the two of us made our way to the bus station outside of the Santa Maria Novella. We got there early to secure the good seats. These are the seats that are in front of the center-of-bus door, where there is just a little extra leg room and a perfect view of the second half of the bus's (I spent twenty minutes trying to figure out if it was bus' or bus's and decided that the majority of the reading community probably wouldn't understand if I wrote bus' with the intention of it being pluralized everyone forgets third grade grammar lessons and that when you want to make a word that ends in s plural you just add an apostrope, anyway. I even tried to Google it because grammar is so important to me, but of course I can't figure it out. So bus's it is). We munched out and watched the most motivational movie for a trip to Muncih: Beerfest. After that we watched Wedding Crashers, significantly less motivational but watching it sucessfully kept me unbored since sleep eluded me the whole 8 hour ride. I shifted around uncomfortbly, definitely irritating Caah. I complained about the cold, the noise, the light, the air quality. I even found it in me to complain about the view from my window, which was dark of course since we were driving through the night. We got to Munich at 2 a.m. and I was never more happy to get out of a moving vehicle.

The ride home, though, was about 75 thousand times more awesome. We rode through Austria, Germany, and Italy. The sun was up for most of the trip and we passed the most spectacular countryside scenery I've ever had the priveledge of seeing. Hillsides, trees, snow-capped cliffs, deep valleys, and yes, trees. Tree after tree. It was stunning. I found myself thinking that there is nothing that can boast this kind of overwhelming, nonstop beauty in the U.S. It was wonderful, truly, and I couldn't help but think that I was so blessed to be viewing the things I was from my window. They were all picture perfect. When the light faded I noticed the glittering lights, illuminating cities I would never have seen in the darkness. It reminded me of home, when I drive along the parkway and the lights of the cities litter the sky. I realized then that even though Europe is different than America, both of the places offer breathtaking things. I've never been more proud to be an American since I've lived here, in Europe. The selection of movies on the bus was awesome, too: Mean Girls, Step Brothers, and Sherlock Holmes. People forget easily how outrageously funny Mean Girls is. I love that movie. I was even able to write in my journal, which always makes me happy.

My first European road trip reminded me alot of the road trips I took when I was back home. Maybe I wasn't with my family, maybe I wasn't being nagged, but riding along in that bus had an effect on me I can't recreate in any other situation. Which makes it the same as the family road trips I've taken. If that makes any sense, at all. Re-reading that statement, it makes no sense, at all. But I'm leaving it in my blog because A. I've got a belly full of champagne and red wine and B. Right now it makes alot of sense to me. So...
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby

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