In September 2014, I was so lucky to get the opportunity to start LL.M program specializing in International Dispute Settlement in Geneva, Switzerland. Now that 2015 almost ends, I would like to count my blessing for what I have had ever since my master program started. 2015 is the break-from-work year; study year; and certainly, traveling year for me! I would say, 2014-2015 are the years where I travel the most in my a-little-bit-over-than-a-quarter-century life. Before I forget everything, I would make a series of European countries that I visited throughout the year. It will be based on the season. At the beginning, I wanted to make this page as a summary of all seasons. However, it would be too long as I *just realized* that I visited so many cities. 😀 Therefore, this page will be the summary of the our winter road trip. Detailed story of each city will be posted separately.
How it started?
It all started with my (un)Romantic Paris with Maya. From there, Maya contacted me and Nadia whether or not we wanted to have a winter road trip to which we replied yes.
Together with Diana and Vini (as the brains of the trip), we name ourselves ‘Grumpy Girls’. The name is not without any reason. It was mostly because we always complained about most of the little things. Nevertheless, everyone was so cool and understanding one to another. So, despite lots of complains, we did not fight at all during the trip. Do you know what the keys were? Cards and movies!
After a tiring walk, we always managed to play card and watch movies together. Maya happily invested in buying Queen Sisi card while we visited Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. Together, we started the trip from Diana’s room in Munich. Her cute little room was cramped by four girls. Vini and I occupied the bed, Diana and Nadia laid on a carpet on the floor. Everyone but Vini almost got frozen bite. It was winter and predictably so cold. As the building’s heater did not work, we could only rely on a cute square heater which did not radiate the heat evenly. Maya was lucky enough to come the next morning and skipped the freezing night.
As Diana really really really loves driving, she became the driver all over the trip. I was not an option because I cannot drive. Hence, unless we wanted to go to heaven directly, I could not drive. Nadia and Maya are actually excellent drivers! One thing backed them off – the steering wheel is on the left side of the car; plus it was snowing so heavily most of the time. None but Diana fulfilled the requirement and was brave enough to drive. It was a two-week road trip. Except for Diana, it was our first road trip in Europe. We were so excited! Having a car made us able to bring all our stuffs! We even had a toaster to press food expenses.
Where did we go to?
From Munich, off we went to the birth town of Mozart, Salzburg. We wandered around for two days. The trip continued to Vienna where we spent Christmas weekend. We enjoyed walking around the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). We had Christmas snacks and sweets. The city remained magical despite the fact that it was my second time.
The third destination was Budapest, Hungary. It was a city for appetite! The foods were cheap. Public transportation was reliable. View was excellent! After staying in Geneva, Budapest was like heaven to my pocket!
Later, we transferred to Bratislava for a rest. It was snowing so heavily when we were there. Everyone started to get exhausted. When girls were exhausted, we became grumpy. When we were grumpy, we complained and got hungry. We spent few hours at Subway to talk and play card. Everything seemed a bit better after that. 😀
After an overnight in Bratislava, we moved on to Prague. The city that we thought would be another magical city. It was so pretty and chaotic at the same time. Probably, it was because we were there for New Year’s Eve. Probably, it was just because too many people were enchanted by its beauty.
From classic building in Prague, we moved on to Berlin – a city where Vini lives. Unlike other European cities, Berlin is different. It is full of young soul. It is filled with lots of tragedies, too. The clash between the two makes it even more interesting to visit. More, it is heaven for Asian food lovers! Every corner of the street is decorated with Asian restaurants. Berlin was also grumpy girls’ last stop. Diana and Nadia drove back to Munich. Vini stayed as Berlin is where she lives.
Meanwhile, Maya and I had an extended trip to Oslo and Reykjavik. All was planned and done without even thinking too much.