,So if I am going to be dealing with hellacious jet lag, I might as well blog...right? Anyways, I'm 48 hours (as I'm writing this...who knows how long it takes me to post it) back from my 12 day trip to Europe, and boy was it an adventure! It was by FAR the best vacation I've ever taken! I learned a lot about myself and how to be genuinely happy again. I found myself smiling, laughing, and enjoying the moment more than I ever have before.
Our trip started Saturday 9/29. We drove up to Charlotte for our flight with a pit stop in Blythewood to grab lunch with my dad. We had an overnight flight from Charlotte to Madrid. We grabbed a few drinks at the bar in Charlotte. Soaked in our last few quarters of American football for a few weeks (more on this adventure later...). Met some fun people at the bar...then boarded up. When we flew to Rome last year, I was super nervous and had a ton of anxiety. I was happy to not have a repeat of this.
I slept off and on during the flight. Got a few hours sleep so I was able to function somewhat. We landed in Madrid about 8 am Madrid time (which was about 2 am back home). We played it by ear as to if we were going to leave the airport. We had an eight hour layover. We decided that we were surprisingly energetic so we decided to venture out. (Pro tip: see if there is a luggage storage facility at the airport, so you can drop your bags, we did and it was helpful (although a bit pricey)). We grabbed an Uber and headed into the Plaza Mayor.
I've previously flown into Madrid (when I was 19 doing a May-mester study abroad), but spent no real time there. I knew from my previous experience in Spain, that the Plaza Mayor was typically city center so just go there. We reached the Plaza Mayor, and stopped into Starbucks to grab some much needed coffee. The weather was GORGEOUS. Sunny and around 70 degrees (a huge relief from the 90 degree Charleston weather). We explored the streets for a little bit, just soaking in some sunlight. We made it back to the Plaza Mayor and grabbed some breakfast at one of the restaurants.
I ended up having a jamon and tomato on toast with coffee and OJ. It was good. It definitely brought back memories (that I thought I had forgotten) about my past experience in Spain. After eating, we decided to walk and explore some more.
We didn't do anything significant in Madrid. It was nice to see Spain again, since the last time I went I wasn't fully prepared for the trip, to say the least and didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. One of my favorite memories was passing a "Ale Hop" store. When I previously was in Spain (I spent two weeks in the Salamanca area) there was an Ale Hop. The Ale Hop had a HUGE cow in the window and served as the meeting spot for our group. It was cool to see this Ale Hop and the cow again.
After a few hours, the lack of sleep was starting to catch up to us. We headed back to the airport, to make it back in time for our flight. Once we got back to the airport, we had more time to kill. The Madrid airport is a lot nicer from the last time I was there. It is HUGE. We grabbed another drink at a very busy bar. Another pro tip for traveling in Europe that I learned: European airports don't assign gates until like 30 minutes before you board. I guess this is to encourage you to eat and shop more in the restaurant and to prevent people from just gathering and camping out in front of the gate. It's kind of annoying especially when you are exhausted because you just want to relax, but can't in fear that you might have to high-tail it across the airport to reach your gate.
The sleep deprivation hit super hard by the time we boarded our flight to Munich. The flight was one of the most miserable we have had, just because we were tired and had been traveling for now almost 24 hours. I was swollen from head to toe. We finally arrived to our hotel in Munich at about 7pm Munich time. We were a bit frustrated because they gave us a dirty room, so we just begged for the room next door. We showered and decided to venture out in Munich and see if we couldn't find a bite to eat.
We didn't realize our hotel was on the outskirts of the city. Luckily we only booked a one-night stay at the hotel because we had pre-booked another hotel closer to the city for the rest of our stay. We ended up reaching the Oktoberfest grounds as it was shutting down for the night. We got a good laugh watching the drunks stumble out. We grabbed a bite an Italian joint (I know first night in Germany and we eat Italian) right outside the grounds. We then headed back and called it a night (thankfully!) and I slept for nearly 12 hours, which ended up being a good thing!
Here are a couple pics from Spain.
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.