Friday, March 16, 2012

Munich, Germany

Another pretty early morning, we had to get up, eat, and walk to the train station. The walk wasn’t too bad, even with our big bags, especially because it was all downhill. We made it with plenty of time to spare, relaxed a bit, and boarded the train. We managed to get double seats to ourselves again which is fantastic because the extra room on a 6 hour ride is essential to keeping your sanity. We are currently on our way to Munich, and I am so excited to get there. It seems like our hotel is in a great location again, and we should be able to walk most places. Our goal for today is to see a few things and head to the Hofbrauhaus for some food and drinks. It probably won’t be a crazy night because we have a tour early tomorrow again, but we shall see where the night takes us! 
Kim at the Irish Fest
Once we arrived in Munich, we found that our hotel was about 2 minutes from the train station, which was very convenient. We checked-in, cleaned up a little bit, and decided to walk to the city center. Munich is a very interesting town with lots of people. When we got to the city center, there was an Irish festival going on with live music and lots of beer. We quickly joined in the festivities, and two beers in decided that it was time to get some food, before things took a wrong turn! We headed to the Haufbrauhaus and along the way, we went through Marianplatz, where there was another big festival going on. There were people everywhere and we didn’t even know which way to go!
Fun at the Hofbrauhaus...the face was for effect....I promise!
We made our way to the restaurant, where we were served liter sized beers by an interesting looking waiter. It was a huge place and you just had to find a table area with enough room for you and your party, and join in the festivities with those around you. We sat with two Taiwanese men and an older couple, who were friendly enough. We ordered a couple different kinds of sausage and took in the atmosphere. After two beers and too much food, we were being bombarded with guys trying to talk to us, people staring and asking if Kim was famous. It was almost more than we could handle. The waiter and one of the managers told us that if people were bothering us, we could let them know and they would keep the others away. It was quite a scene.
We decided, after spending 3 very interesting hours at this landmark, to head to another bar. The waiter recommended one, but we never found it...Maybe it was the beer, maybe we just weren’t meant to find it. Whatever the case, we decided to head to an Irish pub, where we were told there would be karaoke and fun times. It was packed!! We found a spot near the front, grabbed a couple of beers, and sung along with whoever was brave enough to get up on stage. Soon after arriving, these guys started talking to me. They were harmless and there was a big group of them, so I went with it. We were all having a blast. Then these girls at the bar started talking about Kim and I. They were staring and making comments about us, things that were very inappropriate. Just before I was about to confront them, because enough was enough, they left. Thank the lord. We continued having a good time, met more of the guys in the group. They were from Northern England, in for a bachelor party. They were a blast. We actually all drank and sang until we were kicked out of the bar because they were closing.
The fountain in front of the Munich City Center
Along the walk home, I decided to get one of the guys to run through the big fountain in front of one of the city gates with me. It was stupid, and I froze the entire way home, but it was hilarious! There was a group of teenage boys walking by and they all stopped to hi-five us, saying we were awesome! Whatever, just another night in Munich right?

After leaving the boys to head back to their hotel, Kim was on a mission for french fries and BK. We got both and went back to stuff our faces and pass out before our tour the next morning. What a great introduction to Munich!

Country castle of
King Ludwig II
Neuschwanstein Castle
Tour day! Yea, we were up early and hungover! OUCH:) We did manage to get up and moving in time, it was a quick walk to the meeting place and we boarded the bus just to sit by a bunch of annoying people. There was a woman and her three daughters who wouldn’t stop looking at pictures, where the camera made noise with every button you pressed. The people behind us reeked of smoke, and everyone else were just a bunch of idiots who couldn’t follow directions. With that being said, we were headed into the German countryside, which is absolutely beautiful. Mountains everywhere and just scenic views. It’s easy to see why people would want to live there. We first stopped at a smaller schloss of King Ludwig II. It was larger than it appeared, but perfect for one person and it was hidden back in the woods, which made it a beautiful location to relax. It was complete with a giant fountain and beautiful gardens all around. We then went to a small Bavarian town...(Oberveron???) where we could take pictures and we learned about the passion play that they put on once every ten years. From there we went near the Neuschwanstein Schloss and had lunch. (I”m done with frankfuerters)...walked up a huge hill, and entered a magnificent castle. It is the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle (Disney) and is perched high up in the mountains. You could walk up, take the horse carriages, or the tram. We decided to avoid the long lines and save some money by walking. What a walk it was. Good exercise though. The tour was nice, annoying people trying to take pictures when they aren’t supposed to, but nice all the same. We were able to see all of the castle that is complete,which is only about 1/3 of the original plans since the king died before it was finished. We then took the same path back down the hill and waited for the bus ride home. There was another castle on the other side of the small town, but we did not have time to visit that castle. It was an older castle than the Neuchwanstein.
German Countryside
Neuschwanstein Castle
Our tour guide was an interesting fellow. He was dressed in all black and clearly took his job very seriously. He had a soft voice and he didn’t move his mouth much when he spoke, but his voice was a bit shaky and squeaky, which was interesting. He spoke much like you would think of a vampire talking, with all v’s instead of w’s...which greatly amused me. He spoke very highly of everything in the castle, walked and moved very slowly, and lightly gestured to everything in the room with a sweep of his hand. He had a ton of information, which was great, and he always paused long enough for us all to take in what he was saying and see what was around us. When he walked, he held is arms straight down, slightly in front of his body, almost like a tired zombie. Also, very amusing. He made me think of a creepy old butler in a big castle from the movies. It was cute and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Olympic Park, Munich
The bus ride home was long enough an we were exhausted by the time we got back, but we needed to go out and eat some food and make the best of our last night in Munich. We found a great tex-mex restaurant called Zapata, which was a little ways from the city center, but we found a new cute part of town. The food was great and the atmosphere was a lot of fun. Dark and relaxing, but could turn into a rowdy time if permitted! On the way home, we stopped at the Augustiner beer garden, went down into the wine cellar where they had live music, and had another beer with the locals. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day or night, how old you are, or where you are from, the best way to be like a local is to just drink beer! They love their beer and they love to sing along while they drink. It was a blast. Prost!
Nymphenburg Schloss (Castle)
After all of that, we headed back to the hotel to check emails and get some rest. We were in for yet another long day and needed some sleep!

We got up early this morning, grabbed a croissant, and headed out to do the tourist thing. We had decided the night before that because of time and energy, we were just going to take the hop-on/off bus and try to see as much as possible. We took the first bus which showed us Nymphenburg Schloss and Olympic Park. Both were very neat. I’d love to have the chance to get back and spend some time in the park. Munich is actually putting in a bid for the 2018 Olympics as well, which would be very cool. So there is a lot of renovations happening right now throughout the city. After we returned from that circuit, we hopped on the City Tour and looked at the major sites around the city center. It was hard to take many pictures because we were too close to many of the buildings and the bus was packed. But it was nice to learn about the history of the city and see where some things were.
After going for both bus rides, we headed back to the city center on foot to hit up the market. The fresh fruit looked amazing, so I bought a couple of pieces for the train ride. After spending about 50 minutes walking around, we headed back to the hotel to grab our suitcases and work our way towards the train station. We grabbed some goodies from the bake shop and got on the train.
This train ride is going to be about 8 hours long and we sit in little compartments with space for 6. The problem is, is that there is no room for luggage. So it was entertaining to see people struggle to climb over ours, while we patted ourselves on the back for getting on the train before the rush. We had two other people in our little car, but they were off the train within about 1 1/2hours. It seemed like there wasn’t going to be anyone else joining us. We brought our luggage in out of the way, spread out, and laid across the seats. It was amazing!! We were so comfortable, and I took a short nap before it was snack time again. Then, with about 3 hours of the trip left, another woman joined out cart. We had to pick everything up quick and move our things to let her in. We apologized for the mess and did everything as quickly as possible. She just sat down and kept to herself. Fine, nothing wrong with that. Then Kim moved towards the window and put her feet up and the lady yelled at her to put her feet down. Kim rolled her eyes and said no, and the woman started saying a bunch of stuff in Italian or German or something, so she finally put her feet down. They lady was just obnoxious...mind your own business. So here we are, trying to finish journaling and enjoy the rest of this long ride after a busy morning, and we have someone’s mom trying to play god. Fantastic! Ugh, can’t they move her to another seat or something!? I figured she would try to move and I almost wanted to be rude just to push her out, but the bigger person right? 
Neuschwanstein Castle
Oberveron, Germany
Beyond that, the train ride was okay, nothing much worth noting besides the beautiful scenery along the way...

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