Vienna will always be special to me—not because it’s a beautiful, artistic, historic city, and it is all of those thing, but because it’s the first place I traveled through completely alone. I went by myself, booked my own transportation and housing, decided what I wanted to do each day, and found my way around the city without any help from locals or people I know. I found food for myself and packed the time I had completely full with adventure, and more importantly kept myself accountable to doing those things despite being tired or dehydrated or whatever. I made the most of it. I held myself responsible for things I messed up at my Airbnb and handled it like an adult. And I had a kickass time in an amazing city all by myself. I wasn’t pining for anyone else or too afraid to figure it out on my own. I’m proud of that, and for that reason among all the others, this place will always be important to me.

Another place that I have an undeserved bias for is Germany. I say undeserved because it means a lot to me, but only because my family lived here for a while when my dad was a kid, some of my family came to the U.S. from Germany, and I spent my entire life visiting a German town in Texas multiple times each year. This country makes me think of my family, but in all reality I’ve never been here before and I have no reason to love it. However, when I took that bus from Vienna to Munich and the train from Munich to Landshut, I instantly fell in love. The German countryside with all its small white houses with brown and orange roofs are all so picturesque. Munich was a gorgeous city and I’m excited to see more of it tomorrow. And Landshut, where I’m staying, is also beautiful with more cute houses, a really wonderful Airbnb, and the most perfect Old Town down by a river. I felt like I was walking into a fairytale and everywhere I went I was reminded of my incredible family.

In Old Town Landshut, we had dinner at a German restaurant and surprisingly met a mother and a daughter from Alaska! We talked with them for most of our meal, and they were such sweet people. We also had an incredible German waiter who was very nice. The food was amazing, but we ordered way too much and had to take it home. (OH and I got to pet a cat for the first time in weeks!! It’s actually the first one I’ve seen since home. It was precious.)

That’s about all we did tonight; most of the day was spent with travel, but that was a good experience too. I read almost the whole time which reminds me of little Hayley who always read a lot on road trips. I don’t consider myself to be “losing a day to travel,” like lots of people say. I love travel days because I get to collect my thoughts and reflect, and I have an excuse to read and stare at Austrian and German countryside for hours. It also gives me time to write. Coupled with the dusk walk we took through an old German town where it’s already starting to look like fall and the cozy restaurant we attended with yummy food and kind people, this is definitely a night for the books.

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