In a land I don't speak the language...

Trip Start Sep 26, 2011
Trip End May 06, 2012

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Flag of France  , Rhône-Alpes,
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For the yule tide holidays, my family and I vacationed in Munich, Germany and Salzburg, Austria. Being there during the Christmas and New Years season is just absolutely beautiful. Everything is covered in lights and there is snow all over the countryside and mountains. However, I think next time, a visit during the summer will be best. My face had a consistent "rosie-ness" for about 10 days straight and that's not from drinking too much beer. 

And I think next time, the family should visit a country where I actually understand and speak the language. None of us know German, besides Mom's basic knowledge and understanding, however this did not limit us from getting around just fine. Like most tourist cities and areas, Munich and Salzburg was well equipped for English speakers. This did not stop many people mistaking us for Germans however. Many occasion, Germans approached me or a member of the family, immediately jumping into a conversation or question. Each time with politeness, we had to decline helping because of a lack of understanding. Humorously enough though, this did not stop each of us asking the other "What did they ask you?" What did they say?". As if we haven't caught on yet to each other's level of understanding German, we all have no idea what anyone says! Yet, convinced, we assume that someone knows what they are being asked. hahaha

And seeing as everything is closed on Christmas eve and Christmas Day as customary, we were luckily able to find a traditional Bavarian restaurant open to serve us. This is much better than the imagined holiday meal I imagined of sitting in a Chinese restaurant while the waiters sing Christmas carols to us (a scene right out of "A Christmas Story"). 

Now if you are a connoisseur of beer, Munich is the place to go. With six local breweries, the beer is amazing. However, it's a bit of a shock for an American to see kids who look at young as 14 sitting in a beer hall, drinking a pint with their parents. Even better than seeing a 14 year old hold his alcohol is watching beer hall waitresses work. My father and I were lucky enough to get served by one of the best waitresses in Munich. Probably in her late 50s, this woman still wore a traditional Bavarian dress for women with corset and all. Between her blouse and her corset, she kept her wade of bills and notepad (no need to be obvious with the girls...) and she had the patience of a small child, but looked like she could kick your ass if you said one thing out of line. Luckily, my father and I were quite quick in deciding what to order, but that wasn't the case for the group of French tourists next to us. The poor French didn't even see this storm of a woman coming! Unable to decide on what they want for their main course, the German waitress of unable to hold-in her frustration and looked to my father and I for support. After speaking with the French people, in French, no less, I tired to help them order quicker for the waitress. Nope, still not quick enough. After rolling her eyes at both me and my father, she shoved her notebook back into her cleavage and stormed to the next table to bring hell to the next tourists. ahhhh German hospitality at its finest! 

After spending 3 days in Salzburg, Austria to visit home of Mozart (who isn't even Austrian, but don't tell an Austrian that, it's their little secret) and the Sound of Music, we returned to Munich to ring in the new year. After browsing many websites to find the best location for a viewing of the New Year's fireworks, we settled on Marienplatz (home of the famous Glockenspiel). However, no no no, these fireworks are not set-off by professionals. In Germany, firework regulations are at its minimum, which means any drunken local can set-off a firework or roman candle in pretty much an open pedestrian square. Let's just say for about 2 1/2 hours, I clung to a storefront window and behind my father's back in fear of my life. Drunk New Year's Eve celebrators and explosive devices should not be put together. Now luckily, some had great aim and were able to shoot-off fireworks up into the sky, but others...not quite so much. Yes, fireworks were shot-off right into crowds of people and ping-ponging off the side of the glockenspiel. How is this even legal? I think next time, I'll enjoy watching fireworks from my couch on the "big screen". hahaha
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