Tuesday, June 30, 2009

playing catch-up EUROPE part 3

The train station in Koln

I think this roughly translates to "ass fart"

german party people

Santa in the back is backup on spoons!

river surfing in the english garden

"work will set you free" Dachau

The Munich 6

The last leg of our trip was Munich Germany. It took a looong time to get there. Although I knew rail was a better option environmentally, all other aspects of the trip would have been nicer in a plane. First, we backtracked in a train to Kortrijk, and then continued on to Brussels. In Brussels, we booked the next leg of our trip. We were traveling on a dime, so we went with the cheapest option, which was good for two reasons: 1) the trip itself cost the least of the presented options, and 2) it was an overnight train in a sleeper car, so we saved ourselves from paying an extra night in a hotel. We had to switch trains once we arrived in Koln Germany. The wait for the first train to Koln was over 4 hours. In that time we found an adapter to charge my phone, and hung out in various fast food places, poaching their electricity, and trying to avoid getting pick pocketed. The train ride was fine, and about 2 hours. In Koln, we had another 2 hour layover. The sleeper car was interesting to say the least. Our tickets were printed in Belgium in Dutch, so we didn't understand that we had assigned bunks. The German attendant was pretty impatient with us, which made this leg of the trip a little stressful. At first, we found a sleeper car that was completely vacant, this was after eveyone else boarded and found their rooms, so we thought we had scored big time. Then the attendant came, looked at our tickets and said "can't you read?!?", she walked us down to our assigned room, forced the door open, kicked two smelly half naked guys out of our bunks, telling them they were supposed to be up top, and forced us into the recently vacated spots. The car was very cramped, smelled of farts, and an empty beer bottle rolled around all night, smacking into things and keeping me awake a good portion of the evening, until I was able to locate it in the dark and arrest its movement.

When we arrived in Munich, we walked about half a mile with all of our things to Hotel Uhland, wedged on a quiet road between Marienplatz and the grounds where they hold Oktoberfest each year. It was 8am, and the earliest we could check in was noon, so we walked for the next 4 hours, exploring Munich for the first time. We checked out the grounds of Oktoberfest, and I picked up a bunch of old bottle caps to keep as souveniers. Then we walked into Marienplatz, and saw a few of the breweries, including the Hofbrauhaus. Since it was Sunday, most of the businesses were closed in town, so we didn't see or do very much interesting. The highlight of our morning stroll was when two young guys came walking up to us, shouting first in German, then in English, for us to take pictures of them. They were shirtless and barefoot, and wanted us to have a picture of them to take home with us, saying "take a picture of some german party people!" in a perfect hanz and franz accent. I of course, obliged them.

We rested the remainder of the afternoon, and then at 6:00, met up with a bunch of other tourist to take the "beer challenge" tour of Munich. We started at the Hofbrau beer garden in the english gardens, and learned the famous German drinking song "Ein Prosit!". Beers were served in mas glasses, which are a liter each. The details of the rest of the evening are cloudy.

The next day was spent touring the city a bit more with my wife's brother and his wife. We walked a good portion of the day, and then rented bikes for the rest. It was dumping rain the entire time, but we still had a good time.

The following day we did a lot less walking. We took trains and a bus to Dachau, the first and longest operating concentration camp in Germany. We watched a film about the camp when we arrived, and then took a 3 hour guided tour around the grounds. After we finished up, soaked to the bone, we returned to Munich, dried our clothes, and went back out to Marienplatz for drinks and diner. We walked a bit from restaurant to bar, and finally arrived back at the hotel later that night, in time to start packing and getting ready for the trip home the next morning.

In Munich, we drank in the following breweries: Spaten, Lowenbrau, Hofbrauhaus, Augustiner, Ayinger, and perhaps one or two others I dont recall from the "beer challenge"...

Total Munich mileage that I have a clear recollection of: 16.52

16.52 miles
604.02 miles cumulative
24.1608 total gallons saved