Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bavarian beer bellies

I'm in Munich, capital of Bavaria and also of beer. Doesn't sound like too bad of a place to stop over for a couple of days. How can you go wrong with delicious beer (yes, I know to some this is a contradiction) and lederhosen. And yes I've seen plenty of people (who weren't tourist) wear them. In fact just last night at a beer garden, the guy running sound for the band onstage was in full garb. Just amazing.

But alas I didn't come to Munich just to see awsome garb and drink a delecious brew. I was interested to see a fully rebuilt city that had been pretty much destroyed by the second world war. Not only rebuilt, but rebuilt the way it was. It has been interesting to walk around, surrounded by what appear to be rather old buildings, but in all honesty are only 50 or so years old. It's an interesting mix of old architecture with a rather new, unscathed by time, petine.

After traveling all day from Switzerland, which took a cable car, bus, and 4 seperate trains, I decided to head out without a map and explore the cloudy city of Munich. Low and behold the street that I happen to stumble upon is the main shopping strip, and what a strip it is. It's a good two miles long, and filled to the brim with every loud, screaming, in your face store that they could find. It was a bit dissapointing. But then out of the corner something caught my eye. The double steeples of a nearby cathedral. I stopped on by, found it open, and was awashed with the sound of voice and organ. I had stumbled upon a rehearsal for the next evenings concert. This was a little more like it. I stayed until the building closed. I then proceeded to stumble upon the ritziest and expensive street in Munich, the street sides lined with pricy sports cars. And finally I ran into the famous Hofbrauhaus, the biggest tourist attraction for those seeking out beer houses. Not too shabby for randomly walking around.

Yesterday was filled with a free tour, museum visit, and an obligitory visit to the Hofbrauhaus. The free tour was a bit disjointed as my guide was battleing a cold, and every cough got her a bit off track, but still a decent overview all together. Afterwards I found a marketplace filled with delicious looking food, and got myself a 'mystery meat' sandwhich. I only say mystery meat because it was labeled in German. It was good and I'm still alive.

After a lot of walking and a visit to one of the many art museums I meandered over to the beer hall, hungry for a hearty meal and a food brew. Both of which I got. And while sitting down at my bench, I met a semi-local German (from an hour north), here For one night. While his English was a bit disjointed, it was much better than my German, and he ended up being a fun character to talk to for a while. Again, I'm always amazed at how many people speak English. I feel as though every German I've met speaks a good bit of English.

Afterwards I spent way too long last night trying to find and book hostels for the next few places (Salburg, Vienna). After little luck, my credit card not working, and places literally booking up as I was searching, I just gave up and went to bed not sure of the next nights accomidations. Just generally I have been frustrated with the whole online booking process, as hostels charge a booking fee (that adds up after 30-40 of them) so I try to call, but they make you go through extra work to find thier phone number. In the end some hostels don't even book over the phone, and sometimes Skype just doesn't work. While when I started I worried little about finding a place, but it's still the height of the tourist season and places fill up. Anyways, I have my qualms, but I awoke this morning first to a but of panic but then determined that everything would work out.

And it did. I found a random hostel in town and decided to stay two more nights (my current hostel was books full, my original plan), and on my way to the random hostel I stumbled upon a pretty well know franchise of hostels (with a good reputation). Pretty sure that they had no space, I decided to give it a try anyways. Sure enough, space doe two nights. Not I only did I find a place and was able to stay two more days in Munich, I also have been able to book a place in Vienna through them (and can get a place in Berlin as well). Eveything worked out better than I could have imagined. Now I just have to see about Salbueg for one night, but I'm not worried.

So after solidifying a sleeping spot, I went back into Munich to see more of it. I spent most of the day at museums. One in particular, which was a technology museum. I spent amost 5 hours there, and didn't see a good third of it. It has to have been the most comprehensive museum of it's kind. It traced the engine from wind turbine to steam to combustion to jets and rockets. All in more detail than I've seen out fourth anywhere else. But that was only one subject. There was aviation, space travel, bridges (and all the different kinds of construction), optics, physics, chemistry, building materials, glass, photography and film, printing, paper, and on and on. I'm glad they didn't chose I translate half of it into English, because I would have seen even less. One thing I did walk away with was a renewed desire to learn out to fly an aircraft (which I've always had).

After a long day of wondering an museuming, I decided to treat myself to another hearty Bavarian meal, which consisted of meat anda potato dunpling in a mushroom gravy. Mmmmm. This time I visited another, smaller beer house, with even better beer. It has been a good day.


wow, i never knew Munich had been completely rebuilt! that's amazing.

(mystery meat- ha! watch out, one of my friends got some meat Jello in a sandich over there.)

that museum sounds incredible and mind-boggling. what was its name? and what first inspired you to try flying someday?

can't wait to read about Vienna and Salzburg. (!) say hello to Beethoven for me.

The Sci museum sounded wonderful!!
How about we both learn to fly a plane?
I would love just a wee taste of Munich the way you have 'tasted' it.
I am looking forward to your response to Vienna. It is such a special place in my mind....what could have ever inspired the Jungenstil to create those marvelous pieces of 'home decorum'. Was it the air, the landscape, the sea,fire, or god breathed inspiration' to create now!
Blessings on your travels.
love you much,silverstreak