My mother seemed upset that Mark and I would be gone for a year. “No, we are not going to fly home from South East Asia for Christmas” I explained. She finally warmed to the idea when I suggested that she and my father meet us half way through our trip. From that point on we discussed potential destinations before settling on Munich, Germany.
Had it not been for my parents, I wouldn’t have stopped in Germany (or Europe at all) during our trip. It didn’t strike me as particularly adventurous or exotic, but in retrospect it was the perfect destination to follow 3+ months in Africa. From the moment we arrived in the Munich airport we marveled at small luxuries: how we were able to download an entire movie between arrival and baggage claim, how fast and convenient the train to the city center was, how clean and orderly the city seemed to be. It didn’t stop there. The showers were amazing — full pressure and steaming hot! Then there was the food. We gorged ourselves on brat worst, schnitzel and goulash and washed it all down with giant pints of beer.
Without a doubt though, the best part of Munich was spending time with my parents. Sure, we had FaceTimed a lot over the last five months, but that can’t replace an in person conversation, a shared experience or a meal. So despite my mom’s jam-packed itinerary, I left Germany feeling recharged. It was the same throughout our time in Europe, where we were fortunate enough to meet up with numerous family and friends. Traveling has been fantastic, but after five months on the road, catching up with familiar faces is a rare and sorely missed treat.
We rented a car and cruised through the beautiful Bavarian countryside. I thought the long car rides we had planned might do us in (as they always had on Bowden family vacations) but we managed just fine with Mark at the wheel (and with a trusty GPS!). We covered a lot of ground including Dachau, Mad King Ludwig’s Castle and picturesque Regensburg. We even ended up on a quirky tour of the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine, which would have been a complete bust had we not nabbed this fantastic picture!
Luckily, my dad’s idea of a vacation is more relaxing than my mom’s. He enjoys long lunches and even longer dinners, both complete with a few brewskis. So our busy mornings were followed by lazy and relaxing afternoons. An exciting ride on the autobahn and a couple of days in Berlin (with Erin Cummins!) capped off our time in Germany.