Say you're a Masters student studying distributed systems, and you just completed 3 major project checkpoints, and wrapped up some work with a research project. So what do you do during the Easter break that immediately follows the deadlines? You go on vacation of course! So I just got back from a wonderful four day holiday split across the dreamy fields of Schwangau and the Bavarian captial, Munich. Schwangau is a must see for anyone who wants to swim in a sea of breathtaking views and experience the European countryside. It is the home to the famous Neuschwanstein castle, which was the main inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty's castle. The village of Schwangau itself lies under the protective watch of the Alps, running through the border between Germany and Austria. I stayed with a good friend of mine, and had a wonderful Bavarian Easter with her family, sharing stories of our cultures and lifestyles. On Easter Sunday itself, we went hiking up the Alps, and I'm still surprised that I made it alive at the end of a 3 hour ordeal. After years of not having any physical exercise of any form, this was indeed rather taxing, but I guess all the muscle strain was definitely worth the experience, the views, and most importantly, the satisfaction that followed taking a hard path up a 1.708km high mountain for your first ever hike. :) The latter half of the holiday involved a visit to old city of Munich. Culturally rich and with a Bavarian feel all over, it was a fun experience to walk through the city streets. One thing I found particularly funny was that the Maximilianeum building, which houses the Bavarian parliament, had no gates nor security guards on the outside, which is in absolute contrast to equivalent buildings back home in India, which can be aptly labelled mini fortresses. The last day of the visit was reserved for a trip around the Munich marketplace and of course, the one and only Allianz Arena, which I finally got the opportunity to visit as a long time Bayern Munich fan. :) As is always the case with my travels, cuisine formed an important component of the visit too. Thanks to Eva's help, I was able to compile a list of dishes/drinks I had: Apfelstrudel, Neuernberger Rostbratwuerste mit sauerkraut, Kaesspatzen, Leberkaes mit Kartoffelsalat und Spiegelei, Weisswuerst mit Suessem senf, Schweinsbraten mit Kartoffelknoedel, Schweinshaxen, Brezeln, Radler, Weissbier and Weizen. I particularly loved the German variety as far as beers are concerned. Radler from an altitude of 1.708km tastes heavenly by the way. I would have loved to stay a little longer, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Now back in Lisbon, I'm finding it a little hard to shake off the vacation mood and get back to my projects, but I think I'll pull that off sooner or later.