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Published: October 17th 2006
Because the train from Berlin to Dresden had been almost completely full, I decided to pay the 3 euros to get a reservation for Munich. The first leg of the trip to Munich wasn't too full, and the train was one of Germany's high-speed ICE trains. However, we still managed to get to the transfer point (Fulda) about 20 minutes late so I didn't expect the train to Munich to still be there. As it turns out, they held that train and it was on the next platform so I ran across and hopped through the first open door. I had to walk back through a couple cars to reach my seat, and I'm really glad I had the reservation because mine was the only open seat I came across. The train topped out at 250 kph (155 mph), but for the most part we were only going 100-150kph.
I got in to Munich around 6pm and walked the short distance to Wombats city hostel. By purposely missing Oktoberfest, I had hoped that Munich would be cheaper and a lot less busy. Unfortunately, it seemed that a lot of people still hadn't left yet because the hostel was packed. Oh
Tough to see, but visible along the horizon. I had to dial the exposure down to make them appear in the bright sun.
well, it just meant that I contiuned to meet Americans and Aussies. It would be nice to see some variety, though!
That evening I walked around and stumbled upon people surfing in the English garden. Yes, surfing in Munich. I had read about this at some point, but I hadn't thought about it, so it was cool to just run across it by chance. The surfers have a large standing wave just past a bridge that they can surf back and forth (bank to bank) on. People do this until they fall, and then they get pulled downstream and the next person takes their turn. Definitely cool to see.
I got back and crashed pretty early. I was hoping to sleep in, but the two Korean girls in the room decided to spend an hour getting ready at 7am. I've never seen someone take a shower at night and then the next morning as well at a hostel, but these two did. It's fine to get up early. Everyone has to do it sometimes, but at least be considerate of the other people in the room. I really do wonder where some people I've come across learned their
BMW has a really cool looking corporate hq.
manners. They just don't seem to understand how to play well with others.
Munich is the first city where I've had a hard time finding decent breakfast food. I guess its a problem with the area I was staying -- its too close to the station, and not residential enough. I usually go for a grocery store to get a lot of my meals, but the ALDI around the corner was crap. They didn't even have cold drinks in the store. I've seen convenience stores that sell more food. So, I ended up getting a sandwich in the train station, which had a few choices, but wasn't particularly cheap. There were a ton of kebab places around, though so I was ok for lunch/dinner.
I decided to go see the olympic park, so I took the u-bahn for about 15 minutes to get there. The weather was threatening, but it wasn't raining when I got off so I started walking through the park. It's cool to see the old stadiums, and venues, but the best part was the large hill in the middle of the park. I climbed to the top and had a 360 degree view of
Munich. I had no idea Munich was such a flat city -- the hill turned out to be an amazing vantage point. Unfortunately it started to pour just after I got to the top, so I retreated down the hill and got under some trees until the rain let up a bit. It never did stop raining completely, so eventually I gave up and walked back to the station.
That evening I went to Marienplatz, which is a large public square surrounded by shops. I went into the large bookstore adjacent to the sqaure and sifted through their english section before settling on another Dan Brown book (Digital Fortress). I also saw the (famous) Glockenspiel in Marienplatz. It's a clock with mechanical figures that go around and around acting out a few scenes from Bavarian life. It was cool for about a minute and then it got old really fast. How many times can you watch the same figures go around in a circle? I also sat around in the hostel's bar with a couple aussies until 12 or so shooting the shit.
The next morning we all got woken up early again by the same two girls.
I noticed it was a sunny day so I decided to just get up. I was disappointed with having to leave the olympic park the day before so I went back. This time, the weather was phenomenal with bright blue skies and a chill to the air that felt really nice. It's finally starting to feel like Autumn here. I made a beeline for the hill and quickly climbed to the top. I was rewarded with maybe 30-40 miles of visibility. There were large mountains in the distance to the south, and after consulting the guidebook I realized they're the northern alps. They were hard to make out because the sun was so bright and their was a haze, but it was a beautiful sight seeing large mountains for the first time in Europe. It actually reminded me of looking at the rockies from a similar distance.
On my way back, I stopped in the English Garden again to see the surfers and look at the beer gardens. I stood watching the surfing for a good half hour. It's amazing that they are able to surf on the wave there. It just looks so weird. As I was waiting
Every city that I have been to in Germany had one of these, although each one had a different version.
for the tram to take me back to the central station, an older guy approached me and started speaking german. I told him I didn't understand and he easily switched to perfect english. It turns out he wanted to tell me that the tram I was waiting for was not running because of the marathon that was going on. It was really nice of him to just walk over and let me know, because I probably would have sat there for quite a while before giving up. I've been really impressed with how nice the people have been in Germany so far.
When I got back to the hostel, two Americans had shown up: Quinn from Oregon, and Linda from Missouri. After talking for a bit, we all decided to go to the Paulaner beer hall to get some beer and german food. We took the tram over, and spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out where it was before eventually finding it. It's surprising how hard the beer hall is to find. The brewery is obvious, but the actual hall is hidden around back. Unfortunately, when we got there we realized that it was more of a restaurant than a beer hall, so we just got some beer and skipped the food. They still had the Oktoberfest brew, so I got a 1L stein, which was outstanding. The inside of the hall was gorgeous, so we sat around for almost an hour just enjoying the atmosphere. Dinner was doner kebab when we got back to the hostel, and then we sat in the room drinking some more beer. All in all, a pleasant end to my time in Munich. I really wonder what I'm going to do when I can't get kebabs any more. It's cheap, tasty food, but I think it's going to become less common outside of Germany. I'll have to wait and see.
Stay tuned for Cologne.
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