Remember how I was saying I could attract every Texan everywhere we go? I've proven myself right numerous times since then.
On the 24th we spent part of the day walking around and sight-seeing (the Glockenspiel, St Peter's Church, etc) then going on a tour of the parts of Munich that show it's Nazi history. Since they're not exactly proud of Hitler, Munich has naturally allowed some of the buildings to be torn down or fall into disrepair or they just conveniently didn't rebuild them after WWII ended, but some are still around. For instance, the museum the Nazis built to house "German art" is still around, built resembling the neoclassical style but uglier. However the beer hall where Hitler attempted the Beer Hall Putchz (which landed him in jail) is actually now the site of a very nice two-story Apple store. The buildings that are still around are typically used for other things and it's only been very recently that they're admitting to the Nazi history o the building.
That night, we dropped by Hard Rock Cafe - Munich and had some good old burgers and fajitas (ah, Tex-Mex) then went across the street to Hofbräuhaus, which is actually where the first Nazi political rally was held. The place is like a huge typical German hangout -- long wooden benches and tables, pretzels and sausages, free-flowing beer, really loud traditional music, waitresses in slutty milkmaid outifts, the works. That's where we ran into more Texans -- one of the people we talked to had lived in the state for a little while before going to UC San Bernadino, then graduating and moving to Riverside, California. I never caught his name, unfortunately, but we actually ran into him again on the street in Prague twice, which was super bizarre.
The next day, we mostly spent the day shopping near Marienplatz (the square where the Glockenspiel is) at a few big German department stores and some other European stores. We got on a train headed back to Prague around 4:45 and that's where we ran into more Texans. The carriage we got in was actually super crowded but I managed to somehow sit us down right next to three guys that just graduated from Rice University (Houston). We talked through probably a little more than half of the six hour train ride about a little bit of everything -- medical stuff (they're all about to start medical school), Houston versus College Station, Iran, scary stories, the Olympics and China -- one of them actually worked at the Beijing Olympics. How bad ass is that?! We talked a lot about Chinese culture and he (his name was Tommy) actually got me really pumped about studying abroad there in a few years. So that was kind of a Godsend since I'd been starting to doubt myself and freak out about learning such a complicated language and moving across the world. But now I can't wait to go! I know I said I'd love to live in Europe, but China might be quite awesome as well. We're thinking about going to Beijing next year to look around and see the country once before I go live there.
The next morning (the 26th) we woke up and went to see the half of Prague we didn't see the first fay we were there. Our hotel was really close to both what we dubbed "the Beverly Hills of Prague" and the Jewish cultural center. After breakfast, we walked around the Jewish area, taking pictures of synagogues and etc. It was the same area where the Nazis coralled all the Jews into pogroms after Kristallnacht and before the concentration camps were built and there was still a lot of evidence of that history in the area. I didn't actually take many pictures there because I felt kind of weird taking touristy pictures in a place where a lot of people spent their last free weeks of life, but the few I have are on facebook and flickr. It was then, as we were leaving the area that a man stopped me on the street, looked at my maroon 'Howdy, we are the Aggies' shirt and said, "are you from Texas?" I said we were and he immediately exclaimed "I'm actually a horns fan, but it's so nice to see a friendly Texan face!" I laughed and we chatted for a moment before parting ways.
My dad joined us later that day (he hasn't been with us the rest of the trip) and we showed him the Jewish pogrom area, walked through the Beverly Hills shops (Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, etc), then had a really late lunch/really early dinner at 4 pm. After that, we went to a really famous five-floor club in Prague even though it was pouring rain. We had to leave earlier than appreciated because we had to leave for the airport at 5:30 am, but it was fun.
Yesterday, unfortunately was all travel. I woke up at 4:30 am (Prague time-- about 8:30 pm CST) to be downstairs and ready to go by 5:20. We got on a plane to London and chilled there for about six hours. Luckily, there was plenty of free alcohol, good shopping, and (don't act surprised) Aggies to keep us amused. Because, yes, after running into six Texans during our trip, I FINALLY ran into two Aggies. It was pretty awesome. I got home pretty late, thanks to my good friend Kevin who was nice enough to come pick me up from the airport then take me to Sonic for American food. :]
Now, I'm unpacking, writing, probably going to Buon Giornio's and editing pictures for the rest of the night. I'll be attempting to stay awake until at least 9 pm to conquer jetlag. Hopefully going through the close to 700 pictures I took during five days of legit vacation will help in that endeavor. :)