Published: March 21st 2007March 21st 2007
Last night, gathered around a cigarette-littered coffee table, I asked five strangers to plan my fate.
I dont want my trip to become stagnant, so I decided to throw in a little spice. Ive recently been inspired by two books: Lonely Planet's Book of Experimental Travel and Lost Cosmonaut. The book of Experimental Travel provides suggestions for non-traditional iteneraries like closing your eyes and blindly scrawling your signature on a map, then following the line your signature makes. Lost Cosmonaut is a book detailing the adventures of an anti-tourist in the small area of Kazan in Russia. An anti-tourist! Someone who blazes their own path, off the map. How brilliant! These books together spurred the idea that while Im in Munich, Ill try to see things the tourists have no interest in. I will leave my days up to fate and chance. I will not take city bus tours or read guidebooks. Ill blaze my own trail and ask other travelers to help. I became very excited about this idea, and wanted some input from other travelers hanging out in the lounge of my hostel. Together, we devised an outline for The Munich Experiment.
No maps, no guidebooks.
THE OBJECTIVE: Explore Munich, guided only by words written by strangers.
THE HYPOTHESIS: Allowing strangers in combination with chance to guide my time in the city of Munich. I expect to find the unexpected.
THE METHOD: Three Aussie blokes, a Texan Science Fiction writer, and a Canadian chick each wrote one noun, one verb and one adjective to guide my day in Munich. We shuffled the pieces of paper and randomly drew combinations. Their results are what I had to find on my Munich Scavenger Hunt:
DIRTY GUITAR::::::TATTERDAMALION PINT::::JOG:::::REALITY DIRIGIBLE:::::HIT::::SOFT CHOICES::::OUT OF CONTROL SMILE
It was certainly a random combination of the minds of twentysomething travelers, but I was excited to start on this new quest.
THE RESULTS: I was accompanied by Joe, a fellow Texan, and German speaker, which came in very handy later in the day. We began The Quest by poking into a second-hand German Liederhosen resale clothing shop to examine traditional leather pants and frilly shirts. Though it was not on the list, it was a lot of fun trying on German clothing. Our next stop was a busy toystore, where our search for a dirigible
An Out of Control Smile
I dont know which smile is bigger: the giant catfish or the guy behind it.
was fruitless, though we did get to fly the worlds smallest remote-controlled helicopter.
Next we found ourselves in the centre of the old town. Munich's famous glockenspiel chimed out of tune at noon. We watched the wooden people dance, followed by two knights that decked each other with their javelins. Witnessing the Bavarian knight knock the pants off of the French knight definitely counted the word "hit" off the list.
We wandered the streets of Munich, strictly keeping to my no-map rule. Varioius options for "soft choices" offered themselves, but we eventually descended upon a Turkish rug store, agreeing that silk carpet was certainly a softer choice than hardwood flooring.
We ended up on the Oktoberfest fair grounds that were blanketed in snow. After viewing the grassy knoll and dogs leaping for frisbees, Joe spotted a runner. "Jog! Its on the list!" I whipped out my camera in time to take a picture of fitness girl, who managed to give us a nasty glare before speeding past.
"Reality dirigible" was up for interpretation, and we found a swank art gallery that sold a poster with a pop-up blimp floating above the city.
Perfect. After the art gallery, we found the sketchiest pub possible and ducked inside for a pint. Tatterdamalion? Just think of it as tattered, or dirty, and its checked off the list.
The "OOC Smile" was discovered in front of Munich's Hunting and Fishing Museum. Who knew Munich even had a Hunting and Fishing Museum? Check out the picture.
Our day ended successfully by discovering a used-sheet music store advertising guitars in the window. Joe picked one up to play it, and it was appropriately dirty. Excellent.
My day of chance turned into a memorable time exploring the side streets of Munich. We ran across some pretty funny stuff (predatory bird warnings) and came back with halarious pictures. The day left to fate turned out to be a success. You just cant let life get stagnant.
There are more photos below