Published: May 19th 2008May 17th 2008
Ja, vi are here in Munchen ja!!!
We took the train from Zurich to Munich where we could be take it easy for five days. We thought we might be able to recharge the batteries a little there. Yeah, about that, no, not so much.
Let's break it down to the days:
So we arrived in town, and went on a bit of an impromptu walking tour along the main pedestrianised street to Marienplatz, which is the main square. The Neu Rathaus (town hall) is there, in all its neo-gothic glory. It was next to impossible to get the whole building in the photo, so we found a church nearby where we could take pictures of the views of Munchen and the Fraunkirche. There were even views out to the Allianz Arena where TSV 1860 Munich and Bayern Munich (soccer teams) play. Very nice view, another small long stairwell to the top but worth it (only 1 euro to boot!). We then found a massive square next to it which was full of food and beer vendors. It was packed with locals!
We woke up early and hopped on a train to Fussen, a good 2 hrs away. The purpose you may ask? Well the disney castle was based on an actual castle, Castle Neuschwanstein in Fussen. The castle was built by the last king of Bavaria, Ludwig II. Fussen has the feel of a typical small town in Germany in the mountains, cozy houses, small little walking streets; quaint is the best possible description for it. It was an interesting method of getting up to the Castle from the train, first you had to take a local bus to the base of the hill of the mountain. Then there was a small hike from the bus to the ticket place where you could either hike (45 mins), horse drawn carriage (30 mins) or bus it (15 mins) up to the top of the hill. We admit we were lazy so we bused it, then there was another 5-10 minute hike and then, then we were there!
Now Ludwig the II was said to be crazy, Kif and Peter agreed once they saw the interior of the castle. It was loud, very colourful, paintings and murals everywhere! A room that was made to look like a cave, everything! Peter put it best: "It's like the St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, stunning on the outside and dark and a little ostentatious on the inside." Kif nodded in confused approval.
After the excursion back down the hill we had lunch/dinner. Schnitzel, yum! And trained it back to Munchen.
Now what to do in the evening in Munich.... the hofbrauhaus maybe? The biggest Beer Hall in Germany, or at east Munich. A very lively and very fun place with litre beers, a live Oompa band (Kif still calls it the oompa loompa band though) dancing and lots of food. We went there with some hostel friends who we met at our hostel, the European Youth Hotel, a pretty sweet hostel with nice rooms, great facilities, very helpful staff, and a stones throw away from the train station.
Day 3 -
Being guys and liking cars....and being in Germany, this day we took off to the BMW Welt (world) and the BMW museum. How to describe it? It's like Science world for BMW fanatics. Virtual reality, custome-design your own BMW, learn a lot about BMW's hydrogen powered cars, the latest models are on display and I'm sure we saw at least one car being sold. We were entertained to say the least. Peter oogled BMW's new F1 car that was on display and Kif realized that he can't drive on ice, even if he has X-drive, he will still drive into the ditch. After visiting the gift shop we left to go to the museum. We're pretty sure it's just as cool as the BMW Welt, but it's not open till June 21st, 2008...d'oh! But Peter did get some fantastic photo's of the buildings' architectures. After that we went over to Olympic Park and walked around looking at the very cool soccer stadium and also found the memorial for the 12 people (11 Jews and 1 German cop) that died during the hostage taking in Munich during the 1972 Olympics.
We decided to head over to the Englischer Gardens and the Chinese Tower. There is an outdoor beer hall there with lots of standard German fair. DO NOT have the potato dumplings!!!!! We were walking around admiring the Chinese Tower when Peter looks up and spots a couple of familiar faces...
Steve and Charlotte! The Edmontonians from Bruges! By pure luck we found them again on our travels! We decided to meet up that evening and the next to catch up and see the Munich night life. They're great people and we were very happy that we saw them again. We had quite the posse at the Hofbrau House this time. We dragged two Iowans (Maria and Kathleen) and Colleen (Texas) with us. We had more company when Steve and Charlotte joined us and then who should we see but Sheena...from Vancouver! We all got a table and swapped travelling stories for a while.
Day 4 -
An early morning this time again. We dragged our feet to the train station yet again. Reason? Salzburg! We were told that it was nice and all but all you need is a day trip there. So that's what we did and we fully agree. It's a nice town with a very impressive fortress up on one of the mountains. the old town was also very beautiful with plenty of people bussling around, but all you need is one day. We might be back because this is one of the host cities to the Euro's and Team Sweden will play some of their games here. So we might try for tickets. We'll see. But this day we did a lot of hiking! the train station was 20 mins away from the old town and the castle was 20 minutes up after that! But again, it was worth it since we were greeted with an interesting museum, fantastic views and some good exercise!
After the fortress visit we hiked down and looked around the old town which was very nice. We found a couple of Mozart's houses and snapped a couple of photo's, followed by a lunch in the Schloss Mirabel gardens. No, we did not yodel or sing the sound of music anywhere in town! All in all a nice day in Salzburg but we needed to catch a 2 hr train back to Munich before it got too late!
Back to the hostel where we did one of the greatest things ever! Laundry! Yes, you read that right, we were excited to do laundry. It was time. Apparently Kif had the most laundry skills out of the two and was put to the task. The laundry machine was ok, the dryer sounded like it was going to blow up..... or take off, one of the two. But somehow, Kif managed to succeed! and all we can say is, clean, nice smelling, warm clothes from the dryer have never smelt or felt better! We stayed in the hostel that night, mainly because there was a party in the hostel that evening. We hung out with the same people from the night before, as well as some newcombers. Jaime was from Boston, Kevin from Hamilton, Shawn from Montreal, Lauren was from Maryland and Ayellet was from New York. We had quite the posse going by this point in time!
Day 5 -
One of the reasons we stayed so long in Munich! Bayern Munich vs Berlin, last game of the season. time to get tickets!
I mean Bayern had already clinched the title, it was a mean nothing game right? So we asked at the hostel. "Try at the stadium or Marienplatz" So we tried Marienplatz, after many failed attempts and funny looks we were told to "try the stadium". So we hopped on the metro and got out to the stadium to try to get tickets. We spent the next 3 hrs trying to get tickets. Failed miserably. But we realized there was more to the game than just the last one of the season:
Bayern clinched 2 trophies, Oliver Kahn (famous German goalie) was retiring, Bayern's manager (of a very long time), and even a long time referee (fan favourite to boot) was retiring!!!
In the 3 hrs of trying to get tickets we saw a total of 6 being sold. It's hard to explain the situation we were in. The metro system had literally thousands upon thousands of fans coming in (2 1/2 hrs before the game!) People were also coming in by private buses (there were over 50 of them!). The stadium seats 66,000 but we could of guessed that there were atleast 75,000 there! Unbelievable!
Needless to say we were more than jealous that we didn't get in. But we guess we saved over 120 euro's each by not going. So we ended back at the hostel and watched it with some fellow fans who were american. One of them, Alex, was from Tampa...and he loves hockey!!!!! We were so surprised because we didn't think people from Florida actually knew what hockey was (except for Ash of course)!!!!
Bayern won it 4-1 and celebration was in store at Marienplatz. So a bunch of us from the hostel decided to join in the festivities. We rounded up the troops (Kevin, Shawn, Ayellet, Lauren, 4 others who I don't even remember the names of) and headed down to the platz. By this time (8'ish, game started at 3:30) it was absolutely PACKED. There were people, flags, jerseys, and a sea of red and white (way better than Calgary's sea of red). Kif got lost in the group and started talking to a guy from the states about what was going on. Peter on the other hand kept the group together (he is taller than Kif and easier to spot) but he started chatting with Adrien (a random German there) and his friends . Adrien and his friends are huge Bayern fans and today was a day to definately celebrate! Kif was rejoined with the group and introduced to Adrien who proceeded to teach anyone listening all the Bayern chants!
Ribery! Ribery! Ribery! Ribery! Olli Kahn! Luca Toni! Luca Toni! Bayern Munchen deutschland maesterei!
He was very proud to have taught this crowd of North Americans which Bundesliga team to cheer for. Peter bought a scarf! While all this was going on a HUGE! banner swept over the crowd with the Bayern logo and that they were this years champs! Definately a sight to see. The team came out on the balcony of the neu Rathaus one by one carrying both the German Cup and the League Championship Trophy. It was surreal to see!!!
Incredible! Peter and kif are very jealous of european culture when it comes to sports, the singing, the showing up 3 hrs before the game, everything!
Back to the hostel we went were it was karaoke night. Both Peter and Kif agreed it was in the best interest of everyone for them not to sing. But Ayellet did and she was really good! She did a little Amy Winehouse number, complete with arms gestures and swaying, but no slurring of words as we are acustom to with Amy Winehouse's live performances!
Back to the hostel cause tomorrow it's time for unchartered territory!!!!
Kif and Peter (still trying to get photo's posted)