Trip Start Nov 06, 2012
Trip End Dec 21, 2012

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Flag of Germany  , Bayern,
Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 21 - Wednesday 28th November

Our train to Munich didn't leave until 10.36 so we had plenty of time to wander the Innsbruck streets for an hour in the morning. We grabbed a couple of croissants for breakfast and got a coffee at the local indoor market that was full of nice fresh produce.

We boarded our train later that morning for the two hour ride to Munich. On arrival we were able to check into our hotel room which was only a short walk from the station.

Hungry and needing energy for the rest of the day, we went on a hunt for some wurst (German name for sausages). They were delicious and just what we needed before exploring the Munich Residence, the palace of former emperors and kings of Munich over the past centuries.

The Munich Residence was completely flattened by bombing during WW2 but was rebuilt to be almost exactly the way it was since the war. Many of the furnishings and artworks were stowed away safe in underground bunkers during the war and were saved, so a lot of what we saw was original artifacts. Its amazing how Munich has been rebuilt after so much destruction during the war. There were some beautiful rooms, including the Ancestral Hall at the end of the tour which was lavishly decorated and has the portraits of all the kings and emperors of Munich.

The Treasury was also included in our ticket so we viewed the royal's valuable relics and jewels before leaving the residence for the famous Munich Christmas markets! By this stage it was dark and the lighting around the markets gave it a beautiful atmosphere. We sampled some local produce, including another sausage and the famous Gluhwein, hot spiced red wine. The first sip is horrid but it grows on you as you realise it's making you very warm in the freezing cold!

Lauren has been hunting for new boots since Rome and this hunt continued this evening as snow was forecast for the next day. Unfortunately we didn't find boots.

By this stage hunger struck so we started looking for somewhere to eat dinner. We passed the Augustiner beer hall. The menu looked very hearty so we followed three men who were also looking at the menu inside. It was like a traditional Bavarian venue where people are seated on big tables so we were sat with the three men we walked in with. They were lovely guys from Austria, in Munich for a software development conference. Mick, David and Peter helped us order and were great company for the night. We learnt a lot about Austrian and European culture. Ash had sausages and Lauren had a schnitzel. We really enjoyed our evening and the Barvarian hospitality.

It was time to hit the hay , ready for a big day of the Deutsches Museum and walking tour the next day.

Day 22 - Thursday 29th November

This morning we hopped onto the S Bahn (suburban train) from the central hauptbahnhof (station) out to Istartor station. It was snowing and blustery, and we were looking for some place warm. We headed for the Deutsches Museum, a technical and scientific museum (much to Ash's joy) located on an island on the river Isar. Using our student cards we both got entrance for €3 each. Within this museum we saw exhibits on the development of all types of machinery over time including engines, aircraft and boats. It was a wonderful museum and was great to see so many German school children enjoying their time there too.

After the Deutsches museum we headed back through the snow to Marianplatz, where we met up with a walking tour group of Munich. For the next three hours, we were guided by the tour guide, Lisa, around the old city centre of Munich, where she outlined the history behind some of Munich's iconic buildings and places. We were given a history of Mary's Column, the New and Old Town Halls, the Glockenspiel on the New Town Hall, Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), Theatine Church, Munich Residence (which we visited yesterday) and the Hofbrauhaus (famous German beer hall). Lisa was also able to educate us about events which happened in Munich during Hitler's rise to power. We also saw Munich's subtle memorials to the Holocaust (different to Berlin's where they stand out), one being a streak of golden coloured cobblestones on a road (see pictures in blog).

By the time the tour was finished, Lauren's feet were drenched by walking through the snow and a new pair of boots was required. After a few try ons in different stores, Lauren now sports a snazzy pair of black leather boots.

We wanted to plan ahead for our overnight sleeper train from Warsaw to Amsterdam, so we went to the Deutsch Bahn office for their help in booking us the tickets. However we found out the train we were planning to catch does not run anymore, so we would have to arrange alternate travel. So we headed back to the hotel and over a couple of coffees, and out of the cold snow and wind, investigated our options for travel by train, bus and plane. After calling the Polish railways, we determined train was not viable do we found some cheaper air plane tickets from Krakow to Amsterdam, meaning we would be skipping Warsaw. That's ok as a result we will be getting an extra day in Amsterdam, which we have only heard good things about.

We decided we liked the sound of the Hofbrauhaus for dinner, so we headed into the centre of town near the Marianplatz. We managed to find a small table to ourselves in the busy beer hall, and ordered some of the drinks of the house, their size of drink quite a bit bigger than the regular Australian glass! We later were joined by a Japanese couple who were great company over dinner, where Lauren had "suckling pig", like a pork belly, and Ash had a pork knuckle. Both we're delicious. The German band at the centre of the huge hall played traditional Bavarian sing along tunes and provided a great atmosphere. Getting towards midnight, we called it a night and headed home to the hotel, in preparation for our journey to Berlin tomorrow. Prost Munich! We've especially enjoyed the hospitality of this great Bavarian city!
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