Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Munchen is where we party

...It's not like we didn't party in Heidelberg...but...anyway.

Sure this post is about 6 months late, but I always fulfill my promises and finish what I started, not matter how absurb. So we rolled into Munich on a Sunday, I think. And let me just say that if you ever get a chance to take a summer train ride from Heidelberg through the lush hills of Bavaria to Munich, you should at least consider it. So we arrived at the train station, excuse me...the Hauptbahnhof, around noon and found our hotel. Almost a little too easily if you ask me. Once again we experienced the greatness of being on the top floor of a hotel without elevators (yea us!), but it was only the 4th floor. Well, except for the fact that they don't count the first floor, so it was actually the 5th (yea Germany!).

We had already decided that Sunday would be a rest day of sorts, no actual activities planned, but we wanted to get a lay of the land so embarked to grab something to eat and see what we could see. We quickly discovered that our hotel was mere feet from Karlplatz (yea us!) and not much further, obviously, from Marienplatz, home of the famous glockenspiel. We found a restaurant, Italian, and returned to the hotel by way of gelato (yea gelato!). We begrudgingly decided we needed to do laundry (boo dirty!). Unfortanatly, being German not only means you can't give decent directions in English; it also means you can't properly write an "X" on a map. After about 45 minute of wondering around in the hot sun (boo hot sun!), we decided we would try again the next day. After some rest, we undertook the daunting task of not only finding a suitable place to eat, but one where we could watch the game. By the game I meant the Brazil-Austrailia game, of course. By the time we wondered in and out of several establishments, including the famed Hofbrauhaus, tensions were rising. Luckily my keen ears honed in on the sound of sports announcers and we realized we were standing right outside just the place for which we were looking (yea me!). A good German beerhouse with good German food and bitter German women serving us. I feel like I should mention this was the first time on our trip that we encountered the "What language are you speaking?" face. We had heard Bavarians were hard-core about their Germaness (it's probably a made up word, but you can deal) and we found that to be true as we encountered this over and over again. We settled in with our food and our litres (that means beer) (yea litres!). We had a decent viewpoint of the makeshift screen and plenty of interested fans. BTW, and I guess I send this out to all the single guys, there are worse places to be than the same room with a number of Brazilian and Austrailian chicks...just sayin (yea hot chicks!).

**We must now take a break from our normal trip coverage to play a round of "Gay/not Gay":
You're in a foriegn land (Germany), in a public restaurant and you decide that your "mate" (you're Austrailian) needs face paint. He needs it now. And you need to give it to him. And by give it to him, I mean you need to sit on his legs while stradling them to make sure you have the proper angle to apply said face paint.
Yeah, I know. It's the supergayest thing I've ever seen. BTW, taking that picture and not getting beat up by a bunch of drunk Aussies was not easy.

Where were we? Oh yeah, Brazil won and that was that (yea Brazil!). Day 2 was the day of the (fanfare) walking tour (yea walking tour!). First we did our laundry, but then we got right to the walking tour (yea walking tour!). We saw Karlplatz, Frauenkirche, Marienplatz (see photo above), Neues Rathaus (New town hall - same photo), and Altes Rathaus (Old town hall). Of course we had to stop and have some lunch at the Marienplatz, but we got right back on the horse. Next was Peterskirche, where I actually stopped and prayed. Oddly enough, we walked out the church and almost immediately came upon this woman. Now, I want to be absolutely clear and say that in no way did my prayer have anything to do with photogenic woman who happen to be scantily clad in traditional German garb. But who am I to question God? I've been told He works in mysterious ways (yea God!). We went on to see Alter Hof (it was actually under complete
construction so all you could see was scaffolding and plastic sheets), the National Theater, the Residenz, Feldherrnhalle, and then Theatinerkirche. I must say, that eventhough all three churches we visited that day were impressive, this was by far the best. From there we headed through the Hofgarten to our final destination of the day, the Chinesischer Turm beer garden in the Englischer Garten. We made our way through Englischer Garten, which is no easy task considering it's bigger than Central Park and features such distractions as cricket matches, nude sunbathers and surfing. Yes, you read that right, I said surfing. Anyway, we and our weary legs finally made it to beer garden (yea beer garden!).

What a sight, I'm guessing there were between 500-750 people settled into picnic tables under the cheastnut trees enjoying soccer and beer, not necessarily in that order (yea soccer, yea beer!) We found an empty table and then quickly found some beer (yea beer!). As you might be able to see from the picture, the beers were quite large(yea litres!). So we enjoyed our heffes, the game, and I made eyes at some girl a couple of tables over (we would have had a picture of her if the only member of the traveling party who supposedly wasn't drinking hadn't forgotten all the sudden how to focus a camera). Ok, so we had some beer (yea beer!) and I also had the greatest roasted chicken and potatoes ever created (yea food!) So, after about 2-3 hours and 2 beers we had our fill (for the time being). Keep in mind those beers were a litre in size. Let's just say that fact, in combination with my fairly short drinking resume my have resulted in a an all-time first. But you have to wait to the end of the post to decide that for, now, don't jump ahead. I might have also confiscated a litre mug as a keepsake(yea stupid American teenage girls who don't know what a deposit is!). I then lead us back to the hotel by way of gelato (yea gelato!) despite my alcohol intake(yea superior orientation skills).

Oh, I should mention that on the way back we had a couple of other encounters. One, all throughout town that day we continually ran into lions. Not real ones obviously, but the fiberglass variety in various stances, colors, and commercial allegiences. Lisa had decided earlier in the day that someone one have to pose with each one we saw. It seems like we found about half of them on the trek back. Here's some pics so you know what I mean:

The other encounter occurred when we came about a smaller beer garden and some people leaving after the game. As we approached I first noticed the three fairly attractive ladies. I then noticed that they were Australian(at this point in the trip it was pretty easy to do). I also noticed they were with some guys, but who cares about that. At that point I decided to start a cheer and see what would happen. So I (possibly with some influence of the two litres) yelled, "Aussie Aussie Aussie!", and on cue and without pause the ladies replied, "Oi Oi Oi!" I raised my stolen glass and gave a final "Woo-hoo!" in salute as we never broke stride. Unbeknownst to me, at the same time two feet away, a debate was raging when Bryan thought about doing the same thing. Unfortunately for him, he ran it by Lisa. And since the debate on my side was between me and myself (with some fine points from the two litres), I blurted it out before a consensus had been reached.

That was day two in Munich. I proclaimed then and will do the same now. The greatest day of the trip. No question. The next day wasn't bad either. We traveled to Prien am Chiemsee home to one of Mad King Lugwigs castles, Herrenchiemsee. He attempted to build an exact replica of Versailles, unfortunately he ran out of money. I was still cool. We also got close enough to see the Alps (yea mountains!). We headed back into town and after dinner that night and watched the Germans root against England at another beer garden closer to the hotel.

Day four was a little more somber, at least early on. We went to see Dachau. Nothing says happy day like a visit to a concentration camp. I'm glad I went. I think it's something everyone should do. I just don't know if I ever need to do it again. To follow that up we wondered aimlessly around the town for about and hour and half. That could have been my fault, but I'm going to give a big assist to the street signs "pointing" to the train station. If only they had all been pointing the same direction. We dropped Lisa off at the hotel and then headed for the Fan Fest in Munich just to prove that they all were lame. Success! Bryan and I then made the decision to try to recreate some of the magic of days past and returned to Chinesischer Turm (yea beer gardens!). We each had a litre but it wasn't the same. Mainly because we had to leave, I think.

We then returned to the hotel and hatched a plan to have dinner at Hofbräuhaus and then possibly watch the game that night at a separate hall or beer garden since we didn't think there was a TV there. We left and were confronted with quite a rain storm. We got to Hofbräuhaus relatively unscathed and discovered that finding a table might not be a given. Despite its size, we realized there were no empty tables in the main dining hall. Since that's where all the action was, we found a booth with only 3 people (they would seat between 6-8) and asked if we could join. They obliged and we soon found out that not only were they Americans, but were from Austin ("It a Small World" starts playing in the background). We enjoyed hours of eating, drinking (yea more beer!), conversing and singing with our new friends whose names we never got (boo us!). Because we were having such a good time, and because it was raining cats and dogs, we never made it anywhere else. We took one last walk trough the Marienplatz since it would probably be our last day in Munich as the next day we would be traveling to Nuremburg to watch the U.S. lose (that's all I'm saying about that day).

Obviously, Munich was great. I hope to go back. What else can I say? I just whipped you with like 10,000 words about it. What's that? Oh yes, the "all-time first". Well, I usually use this space to impose my will and poke fun and kick others in crouch. But today, for you dear reader, I will take assume the position and take a wide stance....Enjoy.

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