The third book of 2018 was The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Back in 2012, I was working at a bookstore in Guatemala City and Kazuo Ishiguro’s books always caught my eye but for a reason I can’t seem to recall, I never bought and read one, which is a shame because he then went to win the Nobel Prize in 2017 and everybody’s interest in his books piqued, and I have to confess my own interest returned.
I finally picked one of his books, after my lovely sister recommended him to me. I was surprised to find out that Kazuo was born in Japan, but he grew up in England. The book I picked, The Remains of the Day, takes place in England and the story seems written like only a true Englishman would know how to.
The Remains of the Day is about a butler at a big house, Darlington Hall, the house that once belonged to Lord Darlington but has recently been bought by an American gentleman. Mr. Stevens, the butler, narrates the book in first person and the story goes back and forth with his memories of the great days when Darlington Hall was frequented by great men and women, like Winston Churchill.
When they find themselves understaffed, Mr. Stevens goes on a trip across England to find Miss Kenton, who worked in the house as a housekeeper to try and see if she would like to return to her old job in the house.
This trip is what made me pick this book from the rest. I love England and I myself once took a road trip around the United Kingdom. I was excited about a book that would talk about different places in England. I was a bit disappointed. The novel, though it does take us through different towns, barely describes them. The story is mostly in Mr. Stevens head, his memories and the small experiences he encounters on the road, but it is his memories which dominate and move the storyline.
But even if the novel is not a travel book, as I had wished, it is an endearing story which hooked me up immediately and carried me from page to page. There is more to what we imagine of the relationship between Mr. Stevens and Miss Kenton, but it is not, however, a cheesy romantic novel, which I appreciated. It is a story of loyalty and dignity, of a man that knows nothing but to be the best butler to a great Lord.
The Remains of the Day is a good winter read, a story to cozy up to with a nice, warm cup of tea.
In 2011, I preordered a book by a YA author I had heard a lot of, but had never read. Amazon was giving out signed copies and I thought that was cool. The book was The Fault in Our Stars and when it came out in January of 2012 and I finally read it, I fell completely in love with the author and the way he had made a romantic novel not about the romance, a YA book with very serious and “grown up” topics and a heartwarming story which would stay with me for years.
So, when many years later, hist next book was finally published, I was more than excited. Again, I preordered it, this time from Barnes and Noble, and once more I got a signed copy.
This books is about a girl named Aza (Hername spans the whole alphabet, because her parents wanted her to know she could be anything). Aza suffers from anxiety, and perhaps that is an understatement. The novel written in first person is takes place inside her messy, fearful head.
The first chapter threw me off. I honestly found Aza obnoxious and hard to keep up with. Then I realized that was exactly what John Green had intended. Aza is not an easy person to deal with, her extreme anxiety makes it hard for everyone around her, so she relies on her loyal friend Daisy who has kept up with her for many years.
After I told myself I had to keep going, I found myself with a heartwarming story of adventure, first love and growing up in a Midwestern city. I even finished the book in a week!
The plot reminded me a lot of John Green’s other novels, and I felt it did not quite reach the level The Fault in Our Stars had.
Turtles All the Way Down still covers a new and interesting topic and by the end of the book I found myself amazed at how much like Aza I was. I to am afraid all the time, I too get anxious and need to check things more than once just to be sure. My anxiety my not be as high as the heroine’s, but I still found I could relate to her in a very human and real way. This is what I treasure the most about this book, not the storyline, but how much I could relate to the character. I too, drive myself crazy most of the time.
My review: 4/5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★
Finished the book on January 25th, 2018. The second book of the year.
Check out my sister’s bookstagram and her awesome pictures of books, including Turtles All the Way Down:
Hello! I am Andrea. I have been writing for a while about my travels around the world, but I have yet to write about all those beautiful lands I constantly visit through the books I read.
For years I have followed book blogs which inspire me to read more and have helped me find fantastic new reads. I’ve been meaning to do the same, share my own experiences on reading. Perhaps now that I have settled in the amazing city of San Francisco I can start writing more about the new lands I will visit through books and stories, especially since I’m reading a lot thanks to my daily bus commute.
I might even include some recipes from my favorite cooking books (hence the pudding). I also plan on visiting every single bookstore in the city and write about them!
I am excited about starting a new year filled with books. I hope you can join me!
I watched the movie a couple of years ago, but I knew the book had to be better. Some people had recommended it to me, saying it was a beautiful book full of wisdom.
The premise of a teenager stranded at sea on a lifeboat with no companion other than a tiger is engaging. But there is more to this story than Verne like adventure, it is a very spiritual and philosophical book and poses many great questions about religion, the human condition and our relationship with the world around us.
I immediately fell identified with Pi Patel’s search for truth and God. I myself have gone through phases of extreme uncertainty and others of extreme faith in a power bigger than myself. But Pi’s search is a very innocent and human one. He doesn’t see how there are boundaries between religions and beliefs.
But the bigger story can also be seen as a parable. Pi’s great misfortune turned adventure as he loses his family and becomes a cast away in the middle of the unforgiving Pacific Ocean can be seen as a metaphor of life. His story inspires with human endurance and educates about animal-human relations. It is, indeed, a work of fiction, but so much can be learned from fiction.
I devoured this book. As a story, I wanted to know what would happen next. How is he ever going to get out of this one? As a parable, I didn’t necessarily find answers to my questions, but I did find solace in knowing I am not the only one asking them and truth might be closer than I imagine.
I have been away from Medium for a while but I am back with more stories about my travels and now my new city.
With Michael, my now husband, we traveled around Europe and lived on Airbnbs for a year. We are both web developers and we traveled as digital nomads, taking work with us wherever we went.
After getting married in February of 2017, I started the immigration process to come and live in the United States where we decided we would settle for the now. Both working in tech, coming to Silicon Valley seemed like the obvious choice. So in mid August we packed our bags once more, landed in San Francisco and crashed at some friends’ apartment.
First it was the job search. Michael already had some interviews lined up but I had only just gotten my green card so I was finally able to work in the country.
I polished my resumé and uploaded it to several job boards and started my search applying to as many places as I could. After a month and a half, I got an offer from an awesome company and now I work with an amazing group of people.
Last time I had a full time job I was living in Guatemala. It was 2013 and a combination of horrible traffic every day and wanting to follow my dreams led me to quit and start working as a freelancer. I started writing and editing, but then decided to learn how to code out of the desire to build my own app to teach creative writing. This turned into a change in career, meeting Michael and taking off to see the world.
Now life in San Francisco is yet another adventure. I now live in one of the most exciting cities living in one of the most exciting times in history, where technology is thriving.
We looked for apartments around the city. We first scouted out neighborhoods and we narrowed down to three: Cole Valley, Lower Pacific Heights and Noe Valley. We liked the walkability, closeness to downtown and the uniqueness of each main street in the neighborhoods. Cole Valley had its cute little corner stores and cafés, Lower Pacific Heights had long Divisadero Street and Noe had the quaint 24th street.
We finally found a beautiful apartment at a Victorian House built in 1904, in that very San Francisco style with bay windows and tall ceilings that I had only seen in family sitcoms from the 90s.
Cost of living in this city is definitely exorbitant compared to other places we’ve lived in, but we are surely enjoying our time in this city. We don’t own a car but drive a Vespa and use public transit, which might not be perfect, but has proven to be reliable.
In four months we are quickly becoming San Franciscans. We take a bottle of wine to Dolores Park on lazy Sunday afternoons, we have joined the De Young Museum and we take hikes around the beautiful Presidio or Land’s End and visit the family of raccoons living in Golden Gate Park. We only go to Fisherman’s Wharf when our family is visiting, and have to take them to the touristic places, and we walk to the Mission to find the best latin food. We are no longer surprised by the steep hills, but we ride up and down with the Vespa and our exercise routine now consists of walking up to a bus station. We love the fog and no longer think of cloudy days as depressing. It’s part of the city and we have learned to embrace it.
San Francisco is a rich mixture of cultures, where I find myself feeling at home finding Guatemalan products (like hand made tortillas) and talking to fellow countrymen, or where I can get all I need to make Sushi by visiting Japan Town and hear so many different languages on my morning commute.
It is also at the epicenter of technology and seeing the buildings where my favorite apps and software are built makes my heart beat fast with excitement to be able to be part of it.
This city has now become our home and I am enjoying everything about it.
This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 280,345+ people.
We lived the dream: a year of living in Europe, a different country almost every month.
My boyfriend Michael and I work in tech: he is a web developer and geospatial data scientist, and I am a user experience designer and web developer. This is what allows us to live anywhere we can get an internet connection.
We like to think that we are living the zeitgeist of the 21st century tech era: we don’t go to the office, the office goes with us. And it came with us to Europe.
But another thing defining this era is the sharing economy, which is what made this trip much easier, since we did not have to find hotels or hostels. With Airbnb we just rented a room in some cities and whole apartments in others. Like their slogan, we did Belong Anywhere.
So in July 2015, we took just one bag each to Madrid, Spain and thus started our year in Europe, and our year of living like the locals through Airbnb.
Madrid was our first stop in beautiful Spain and we stayed there for two weeks. Being Guatemalan, and Michael speaking fluent Spanish, we didn’t encounter language barriers (sometimes accent barriers, to be honest).
Our Airbnb there was Alejandro’s stylish flat. The place was great and our private room was nicely decorated and comfortable.
But living in other countries soon makes you realize that air conditioner is not available everywhere, and being July in central Spain, we had some of the hottest nights, with only one small fan to freshen the room a little.
The paradise island of Mallorca was our second stop. My aunt had lived there for several years and I had visited when I graduated high school. I honestly had no idea I would come back one day, but once in Spain, it seemed like the perfect destination.
Here we stayed with Aina in the capital city of Palma de Mallorca and from there we made weekend trips all around the island.
This apartment had air conditioning only in the living room, so in the end we slept there the whole month. We had more roommates here and a nice dog called Brot who would sometimes hide and surprise us in the middle of the night.
Barcelona was our final stop in Spain, and we stayed with Hermann, a nice Colombian guy who got us tickets to a Barça game.
His apartment was nice and cool. Literally. Air flowed around the apartment, and even with young teenage roommates, we had a very pleasant stay.
Lesson learned from living on Airbnbs in Spain: Don’t think AC is everywhere. It’s not. And me as a Guatemalan, when they talk about summer in the northern hemisphere, they mean Summer. I knew the word, but had not learned the true meaning of it.
The small apartment had everything we needed, a kitchen and a small table, a wardrobe, a nice shower and a very comfortable bed.
It is ideally located at the foot of Marjan Hill, with a supermarket, laundromat and restaurants only a few steps away. We could walk on the beautiful ancient streets and reach the Adriatic Sea, walk into Diocletian’s Palace and enjoy getting lost in the many different little streets.
Maybe we could’ve found a cheaper place, Croatia is very cheap in general, but we were charmed with it from the moment we saw the listing.
Ah, London. Where to begin?
Everyone asked us why we were going to one of the most expensive cities in the world when we could go anywhere. I guess I always fancied myself living in beautiful London. I had already visited back in 2012, but I was craving for a true Londoner experience, and I might have gotten it.
Careful what you wish for, cause you just my get it: many Londoners pay exorbitant amounts of money for an apartment, and if you go for cheaper, you end up kilometers away from the center and you have to commute for hours.
We rented a room in Grove Park, which is zone 4 of London and the Underground does not reach there so you have to take the train. But that was the least of our problems.
The family owned a big house, but it was far from spacious, with two other roommates and a family of three, with a toddler, living under the same roof, with only one bathroom and kitchen. On the last two weeks of our stay they started remodeling the house, which made it impossible to be at. We got our money back, but we ended with a bitter taste.
London was not ruined entirely for us, we did enjoy being there and still dream of living there. But we might come back when we’re better prepared.
Lesson learned: If we’d stayed in the center, paying more money, we would not have to spend on transport, we could’ve walked everywhere. Also, don’t trust previous reviews, ask more questions and fight for your rights. Airbnb is a service, so people are offering their rooms as a service, not a favor.
Gibraltar, southern Spain and Portugal
We didn’t leave the United Kingdom after London, trying to not spend our precious Schengen visa days.
We found a perfect place in Gibraltar, which the Gibraltar Royal Police kindly helped us find after our plane got delayed and our taxi left us in a completely wrong address at 3 a.m. in the morning. We lived in the tip of Europe for two weeks before Michael’s parents came over to Almería, in Spain, and we started a roadtrip.
We drove from Almería to Madrid to catch a plane to Transylvania, where we planned to stay for the whole winter. Our plans didn’t work out, and we were unable to find a short-term rental that worked for us. The Airbnbs were more expensive than what we knew the prices in Romania to be and that led to us to start looking for other alternatives.
We did stay at Feri’s apartment for one night, before we flew to Italy, and he was kind enough to accept our request on the same day. We hoped he had been available for at least a month, because it was great.
So we arrived in Milan to Lucia’s clean apartment for two weeks. She was a nice, but strict host, and our roommate made sure we followed the rules, like the time I didn’t immediately clean the pan after cooking and with a broken English got reprimanded. Maybe it was just that Italians are more expressive, and she was not actually upset.
From there we visited the city, saw Da Vinci’s Last Supper and visited Lake Como for my 25th birthday.
We found a whole apartment in charming town of Füssen, close to the legendary Neuschwanstein castle, with Leanne and Nicholas. He is a local and she is Australian, and they were super nice to us.
The apartment, however, was perhaps my favorite from the whole trip: it was nicely decorated, well stocked and had a balcony with views of the Alps and the river Lech. When the snow came, it was the perfect place to cozy up and look at how everything outside turned so magical.
I have family in Füssen and in the nearby town of Seeg, which made it the perfect location to spend the winter. Plus, we hiked to Austria for Valentine’s Day.
The apartment was modern on a hip building with a supermarket and a metro station right in front. The best part was that the whole city was cheap, so rentals were also cheaper.
We commuted daily to a coworking space, and we really felt we hit the jackpot with this place. Except for the time we left the key hanging on the other side of the door.
Our last stop on our year-long European trip was Ireland, where we had what could’ve been an awful experience but turned out to be the most memorable part of our trip.
Remember London? We decided that in Dublin we were not going to make the same mistake and found a place in the center of the city. But you can never really trust the reviews, because the apartment was crowded, with girls living on the couch, dirty kitchen and bathroom and random people coming and going at night. After about three days there, we found hard drugs and immediately knew we had to leave.
Airbnb was great and truly worried about our safety. They refunded the money in full and we found a new place with Patrick.
His house was outside of the city center, but not too far and a bus took us every day quite comfortably. But the best part was how incredible he was as a host and how good we felt after the previous place. He told us so many stories and took us around on day trips to the countryside.
We took a plane back to the New World and our Airbnb year ended perfectly.
Our year of living on Airbnbs taught us that there are no secret formulas. Every listing is as different as their hosts. You will find good and not so good experiences. You will encounter hosts who don’t understand the contract, and others who will go overboard to make you feel comfortable.
When you’re booking a place, ask as many questions. We were going to be staying at each place for at least a month, so it was important for us to know what the internet speed was like, if there was a washing machine or a laundromat that we could use, how easy it was to walk places and if we needed public transport, what was the best way to get it. Don’t be afraid to ask, and expect the best. We did have amazing times in most of the places we lived at.
I started telling a little about our last stop of our trip on a previous post. I talked about Dublin and its charms and how we had to find a new Airbnb.
We ended up farther south of the city, in Greenhills. If you are coming to Ireland, please consider staying with Patrick. His house is lovely, with all the comforts you could want. But the highlight was the host himself. Patrick worked for many years in the tourist industry, so he knew the city and the countryside well. He was kind to take us on several trips and we got to see more of Ireland that way.
We soon noticed that the Irish are very talkative and extremely friendly. They do not hesitate to start a conversation with you and make you feel comfortable and friendly. We noticed that with a young couple we met at The Lumineers concert, with whom we had drinks afterwards; with an older lady waiting on the same bus stop as us, we could tell she was dying to talk to us and soon enough she started a friendly conversation. And of course, Patrick our host told us so many stories that filled our two weeks with laughter and great experiences. He took us to the local pub where we met with the community, who were all so nice, and sang Karaoke. It was such an incredible night, to truly be with Irish people and see how lovely they are.
But the trips to the countryside made our trip to Ireland truly memorable.
On the first weekend we went to Blessington and hiked by the lake for the whole day and came back to town to have one of the best pub foods we’ve had.
Next weekend, Patrick kindly took us around County Wicklow and through the beautiful Wicklow Mountains. The hikes and views are outstanding and there is so much to see. We made a stop to see the “Pint of Guiness”, a lake with the characteristic black water of the region, and a small beach making it seem like a pint of the traditional beer with the foam at the top. We also stopped at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation and the German Cemetery, where many unidentified german soldiers from World War II have been buried.
The next day we went to Glendalough, a town with a Medieval monastic site and took a marvelous hike on the Glendalough National Park, through the woods and by the lakes.
On our way back we visited the Avoca Handweavers mill, a museum, factory and store that dates back to 1723, almost a hundred years older than my own country. They have on display and in use, the handweaving machines with which they make lambswood products.
Our last weekend in Ireland, we spent exploring Dún Laoghaire, outside of Dublin. It is very easy to get there by taking a train from Dublin and you can visit its most famous attraction: the James Joyce Tower where he wrote his world-renown novel, Ulysses. After that, we found a farmers market and rested under a tree, surrounded by families and people enjoying the weekend. We walked along the pier and soaked as much as we could of all the beauty Ireland has to offer.
At the end of our trip, with all the great things we saw without going too far from Dublin, I am only left with a crave to see more of this beautiful country, and maybe live there for a longer time.
If you’re traveling through Europe, you cannot miss going here. Everything from the people, the food and beer, and the landscapes will fill your heart and create very fond memories.
I knew from a very long time Ireland was calling me. I’d seen movies and the impressive countryside seemed too good to be true.
It was not. Ireland is truly one of the most beautiful countries I’ve been to.
We arrived to Dublin on a rainy night and the double-decker AirLink bus took us to the center of town. O’Connell Street greeted us with its lights and busyness, but we were on a mission to get to the bar where we were going to meet our Airbnb host to truly enjoy it. Through the rain, we got to The Church, an actual church that was turned into a bar.
We’d learned from our experience in London to try to find an apartment in the center of town so we could walk everywhere and not spend money on transport. But after a year of living on Airbnbs, we concluded that there are no special formulas. Yes, we were living in the very center of Dublin, but we were also in a small apartment, crowded with people, and perhaps that was not giving us the true Irish experience we wanted to have.
Alas, it is nearly impossible to be certain the place you’ve booked will be as fantastic as the reviews make it seem. We were misguided by people assuring us the apartment was excellent, and we ended up in what might have been a crack house. Maybe it was not as bad, but after only three days we had to get out after we found drugs in the apartment. We took our bags, and ventured out into Dublin, not knowing where we would stay the night.
I mentioned we were after an Irish experience, and maybe it was the best thing that could have happened to us, to be forced to leave our apartment, because our new Airbnb host gave us exactly what we were looking for.
But Dublin was already enchanting us with its pubs and music. We went to Mary’s on one of the first nights and soon we joined the live band in singing to traditional Irish songs and American Country songs. It seemed that the Irish truly were what we they’d told us all along: very friendly.
Being Digital Nomads, we still had to work during the weekdays. I found that the Central Library near our first apartment could be a good place to come at work. The library was inside a mall and of course it was always packed. But if you managed to find a spot, it could be quite comfortable, with high internet speeds and quiet.
I knew the library was not ideal for working, especially not knowing if you could find a spot, so I decided to take it to the Digital Nomad community and soon enough I got some suggestions as to where I could work from. Some people recommended their favorite cafes, but they also recommended I tried a free coworking space made by the Bank of Ireland, which ended up being incredible. They opened up a place so startups and entrepreneurs can come work for free. But not only is it greatly decorated and comfortable, it’s in the tech neighborhood near the Airbnb, Facebook and Google headquarters.
Dublin is a very walkable city and even if they don’t have a metro system, the buses are mostly reliable and on time. I’m not going to lie and say the buses were always on time, because they were not, but 90% of our time they were great.
It is a multicultural city, but the Irish heritage and pride can be felt everywhere. Just seeing and hearing the Irish language everywhere was a nice experience. We were there on the 100 years of the independence, so it was nice to see and learn so much about the history of the country.
The Book of Kells exhibition on the Trinity College is worth visiting, and so is Stephen’s Green park. We attended a The Lumineers concert in the Victoria Theatre and enjoyed it greatly. Of course the pubs, with the amazing pub food and great beers, cannot be missed. But there are so many streets that it’s always rewarding to just take a different path every day.
Dublin started a little rough, but in the end it might have been one of the best cities, with so much culture and charm.
Fast and reliable internet connections. Walkability and great transport systems. Friendly people. Coworking Spaces. Great beer and food. History and art.
These are just some of the things that Prague has, but we discovered so much in this city.
We had no idea what to expect when we took a bus in Munich, after spending a month in Germany, and arrived in the Czech Republic. But the city was so many things we were not expecting.
As digital nomads, we couldn’t have asked for a better place, especially for how affordable it was and how easy it was to get around.
The history of the city is unbelievable. It has been part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Nazi Germany, Czechoslovakia, and finally the Czech Republic. Kings, soldiers and saints have walked its streets, paving it with stories of valor and pain.
On our first weekend, we took a tip walking tour with Jana. I wish I could link you to the company she works for, but look for the blonde lady with the green umbrella that will tell you straight away that there is no such thing as a free tour. It was her straightforwardness that made us stick with her on what was a private and very enjoyable tour of the Old Town and New Town.
The architecture of this city will leave you in awe. Magnificent façades cover almost every building, giving you the feeling that you really are in the Old Europe. Look up at the balconies and terraces and dream of getting an apartment here.
The Jewish Quarter is well preserved and has one of the most beautiful synagogues in the world: the Spanish Synagogue. But the cemetery, the other synagogues, the Kafka statue and the shops around here are all worth a visit. If you don’t hear the story of the golem, ask some of the locals to tell you about it.
Of course, you cannot miss the grand theaters. The world famous and greatly produced operas, from wardrobe, set and orchestra, will give you a one of a kind experience.
But explore the touristic places once, and then get lost in the rest of the city. We were lucky to have a month and a half in the city, so we made the most of it.
On two separate weekends we traveled to nearby towns. First to Kutná Hora, home of very impressive cathedrals (and one chapel made out of human bones). On the other weekend we took the Student Agency bus to Český Krumlov, a small quaint town. It was a little bit too crowded with tourists, but the views and old houses are beautiful and worth a day trip.
You should definitely walk around and not be afraid of getting lost. You will find yourself in hidden parks like Havlíčkovy Sady, which has vineyards, cafés, tons of green area to run or walk and even an artificial grotto on top of a villa. Or maybe you will stumble into a film festival in the Anděl neighborhood.
We found the coolest coworking space in all of Prague: Locus Workspace. They have two spaces and we worked on the one in Vinohrady. With cool design, spacious tables, giant windows so we had abundant natural light, 40 up 40 down wifi, a booth to take calls and great people, our time in Prague has been one of the most productive.
Our Airbnb couldn’t have been more ideally located. We had a metro station just outside the apartment, but if we wanted, we could still walk to the center of town. But the best was how comfortable and modern our living space was: we had two rooms, a kitchen and diner. It came to feel like home.
The food is all you want when being on the go for so long: meaty, homey and cheap. The dark beer Kozel became an instant favorite, and the Moravian white wine was exquisite.
We were not expecting to find such good things in Prague. Honestly, we had not heard much about it, but now I just want to tell everyone traveling through Europe: GO TO PRAGUE.
The Alps. The skiing and sledding. The beautiful small towns and majestic castles, all covered in snow.
Coming from a tropical country that has pretty much the same temperature year round, the first months of the year in southern Germany were a dream come true.
As digital nomads, we’ve been moving around Europe since July of last year. We started in sunny Spain and had a pretty incredible summer. When autumn came, we roamed the streets of London and when winter finally arrived, on one of the warmest years, we decided to head to the Alps and cozy up to a slower life.
In mid January we found a beautiful Airbnb overlooking the river Lech in the small town of Füssen in the alpine region of Allgäu. I have family nearby, so it seemed like the perfect chance to be around them. During our time there we were able to hike the mountains, play in the snow (seriously, where I come from snow is almost mythological, so I just wanted to be in it all the time), and even hiked to Austria on a weekend.
There are no coworking spaces in Allgäu and internet connections was almost nonexistent in cafés and public spaces, so we had to rely on our apartment’s connectivity to work. Our office was also our diner and our living room and it was so for a month. It was not ideal, of course. It can drive you crazy to be in the same place day and night, which was why we took almost all our free time to be out exploring the town or hiking through the mountains very close by.
Füssen has a library, but like a lot of public libraries, it had weird schedules opening for only about five hours from Tuesday to Friday and always starting at different times. The library itself is beautiful, however, and has great desks and fast internet to come work. It became a refuge for a couple of hours every week.
The small town culture was welcomed after visiting many big cities. You see the same characters in the streets every day and make friends with some locals. It is also nice to be greeted and greeting every person you pass on the streets (usually with the traditional Grüß Gott!).
Other small towns surrounding it offer you the farm life experience, with tons of cows in barns, local breweries, bakeries and cheese stores. Every town, no matter how small, has their own church usually built in Baroque style, beautifully adorning the landscape.
There are ruins of old castles to visit, many, many lakes and nature everywhere. Munich is two hours away by train and it makes a perfect day trip. You can get the “Bayern Ticket” which gives you a day of unlimited travel around Bavaria and makes your trip much cheaper.
The beers, of course, are a must. You can get a six pack for about €5 of high quality beer, in nice one liter bottles. I prefer the dark ones, and Germans sure know how to brew them, no wonder they’re famous for that.
I’d started learning German back in Guatemala three years ago and I haven’t really had an opportunity to practice. Living in Germany for a month helped me dust off my knowledge and be less fearful of communicating, even though I still have no idea what nouns are female, male or neutral (der, die, das, aaaah), and probably said it wrong most of the time. However, when you come to Bavaria, you will find out that a lot of people not even speak German on a daily basis, they all have different dialects, depending on the part of the region they come from. Accents will be very strong and you will see words that are not really on the dictionary.
Perhaps it’s my German inheritance that had me longing to come back here, but it was a great pick for our year-long travel. We’re on our eighth month and it seems that every place we visit becomes our favorite. Füssen was not the exception.