Germany's Unexpected Gregariousness

Trip Start Mar 01, 2012
Trip End Apr 30, 2012

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Where I stayed
Leto Hotel

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 24:

After a 1 pm to 12 pm travel day--four trains and one metro later--we finally arrive at our place where I am asked to fill out a form with various questions on it. As my dazed and confused self goes through all the questions with Bridget and the hotel manager staring at me, it is inevitable that there would be a couple of mistakes. While at the time, I thought I did my best under extreme pressure, I guess someone judging from the outside would interpret my mis-print of "Caucasian" under Nationality as a sign of someone that should not be allowed to travel, or better yet tie their shoes…. I deserved a dunce hat and velcro shoes after that mishap

March 25:

Bridge and I sleep like bears so we start the day a little later than intended.. After finally getting out of the hotel, we bounce down to the local bakery that was fanning bread pheromones up through my window all morning.. We buy a sandwich big enough to feed a village and then head off to the most historic medieval town in the country--Rothensburg!! 

I would definitely identify this place as a town where knights cheered their german beers after a success victory and where people who inhabit the town have never seen beyond the towering walls (which visitors can actually walk along to peer in, very cool). Apparently, during christmas, this town is as picturesque as you can get. Shops and little boutiques were still sporting Christmas goods (its late march mind you), making even Bridget and I consider the travel to Germany for a couple of days in December a worthwhile travel. It was a perfect town to start our German excursion, and an even better place to try my first German beer, cheers!

After our perfect day in the medieval town, Bridget and I are feeling content and apparently overfriendly, because somehow we managed to talk our way into grabbing a couple drinks at the famous Munich beer Garden Haufbraushouse with the train conductor--the image still seems a little fuzzy to me to, hard to picture. While waiting for the extremely nice Vanessa to meet us after she clocked out of work, we plan on just drinking one beer between the two of us (Bridget as you know doesn't like alcohol and lets just say I took three sips of my first German beer at dinner and thought that that was a couple sips too many--rough life being a wine girl). We then metro our way over to the HUGE mess-hall beer garden, talking about anything under the blue sky and how amazing Seattle is--she studied abroad there, so we had to find some common ground since both Bridget and I have never really been in the train business. Since our friend spoke fluent duestch, her and I just moved through the entire night like doe, accepting the situation for what it was and taking pictures along the way. One of the consequences of our deer in the headlight disposition was the ordering of three pints of beer (two too many) and porks ANKLE with potato dumplings--a Bulvarian delicacy we're told. Here I am, barrely touching chicken let alone pork, and this chick just starts cutting up the pork meet like I am 5 years old again sitting in my high chair, so I had to take down my vegetarian flag that I've been causally flying for the past couple of years and burn it because this pork ankle was taking no prisoners. While even the thought of eating this obscure meet might sound even a tad risky to a meat-eating carnivore, I must admit…it was good. She did not need to ask me twice to finish the bits she had pre-cut for me….except for the pig cartilage she insisted on me eating since apparently that was the best part---she must have had me mistaken with a Viking to tell me such a lie. In the end, we made a great friend out of it, and both Bridget and I rolled out of our first beer garden with full bellies of beer and pork ankle, humming the Bulavrian chants that Vanessa chanted throughout the meal…a local german band (more like 1800's yodeling club) was playing at the garden, Vanessa wasn't completely out of her mind for yelling absurdities during the meal. It was a successful introduction to German cuisine and hospitality.

March 26:

Today is the day when the line between reality and dreams faded, a result that is bound to be expected after visiting two of the most beautiful castles in Europe, one of which being the sole inspiration for the castle in the opening Disney movie credits. 

We trained to Fussen, the town right below the castle-filled mountain, grabbed a cheap and delicious bite to eat at the local indoor market where we grabbed 4-7 handfuls of the "free sample"…. If asked to stop, I was ready to lie that it was an American Rule of Conduct to take multiple samples--always a good go to I think. 

After a quick bus ride, we walk our way up the steps to Lord Ludwigs boyhood home (castle #1), take some snap shots, and then make our way up the 45 degree incline to Ludwig's personal creation that he started planning when he was young (castle #2--Disney's inspiration). After taking a tour, which required us to be there promptly at the gates at 225 before a guard herded us in to the castle like cattle for a quick but AMAZING 30 minute tour. We got to see his throne room, bedroom, man cave, dance hall and the many walls that were decorated with tales of princesses, princes, and knights. It was a true delight that I would recommend to any individual who wants to see what it looks like when a man with too much money does to recreate his boyhood dreams. We then ended with a great meal that included a sweet bread dumpling that is comparable to the Hawaiian sweet roll minus the pork, add cinnamon sugar in the center and drench in vanilla glaze and poppyseeds. We would have gladly failed a drug test for this dessert.

March 27:

To end our stay in Germany, we decided to leave on a more serious note by visiting the concentration camp, Dachau. On the way we met a english teacher that asked us how to properly say "Which person has a better reason to hurt someone else?" There was a situation where a girl and her friend were getting in a fight over someone else, and the way she was teaching english to the 2nd graders was by posing the questions and forcing them to translate. Here's a challenge for you: what is the best way in English to ask who has a better reason to cause physical harm to someone else? Both Bridget and I struggled for a little bit, telling her that that question is not a natural phrase, but we finally came to the conclusion that the best way to put it is "Who has the most motivation?"… It sounds like an easy task now, but I assure you it was challenging in that moment of pressure. We continued to talk about the education gaps existent both in Germany and America, sharing philosophies and the such--great conversation and very interesting. 

Once we get the concentration camp, the day changes and evolves into something that cannot be explained. Both Bridget and I planned on only staying for 1 hour and then coming back to Munich to tour around the city a little… Three hours after stopping at every point of interest identified on the Audio guide, we quickly walk out of the borders speechless and ready for a change of scenery. It was a great experience that left a memorable impression.

We get back to the main station before our train and I have my first wiener with fries and ketchup…I am happily a carnivore now--sorry PITA

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