4 Countries & A Wedding: Europe 2012

by Jane Moneypenny

10 days. 4 countries. 6 cities. 1 wedding.

Traveling will always be my sanity and therapy. I’m my best self when I’m backpacking through the world. At that point, I’ve done everything I can in preparation for the trip so if anything goes wrong, it’s out of my control and I can only smile and roll with the punches. If only real life could be the same way.

With that said, I’m never ever backpacking with newbies again. Or at least ones that didn’t do research beforehand. I took for granted that they were ready, but when one of your travel partners takes out her phone at the London airport in attempt to text home, you know it’s going to be a long trip of babysitting. Although she never once complained or whined, she was unaware of what country we were in most of the time, it seemed. Perfect manicured nails, face full of heavy makeup, heeled boots (?!). Between her and the 23-year old that overpacked clothes and then proceeded to buy three “das boots” in München, I was exhausted by the end of the trip. I emailed my favorite European travel partner and told her I was never going there without her again.

I came home to my apartment bathroom and kitchen still being renovated and a thousand fruit flies. Ah, real life, what a slap in the face.

But it’s going to be okay. Because I just got to eat delicious fondue and drink hot chocolate on Luzern’s snowy Mount Pilatus, fall in love with the incredibly efficiency of Swiss transportation and breathe in the fresh air of the Alps. Biking around Interlaken was such a treat.

Interlaken Lake Brienz

Interlaken Lake Brienz

I witnessed one of my dearest friends have her German wedding in a little church on a hill in Lörrach and hug her when her tears fall at missing her father, who died a day after her American wedding two years ago. Although I didn’t understand a single word during the ceremony (nor did she), I felt my heart swell at what a wonderful husband she’s found.


View from a hill on Lörrach

München was more than I thought it would be. The food was delicious (although, really, these four countries need to work on their vegetables and fruit offerings) and the history was fascinating.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle, inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty

Vienna was freezing cold and raining. The Austrian National Library was one of the biggest highlights; too bad we couldn’t actually browse the stacks! One of the first things we heard getting off the train was, “Don’t worry, this number is unlisted.” Intrigue! Also, really giant delicious wiener schnitzel!

Austrian National Library

Geeking out at the Austrian National Library

And Budapest, perhaps my favorite. It held that feeling of old world and mystery and everything I love about travel. While the three other girls seemed shocked at how different it was from Switzerland, I found beauty in the architecture and graffiti.

Buda Hill

On Buda Hill, overlooking Pest

So I return to a chaotic apartment, a job I still hate and a slightly still broken heart.   But it’ll be okay, right? Just have to believe in myself and all that jazz.