How to Meet Women on Trains

Trip Start Sep 15, 2006
Trip End Oct 10, 2006

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Flag of Germany  ,
Sunday, September 24, 2006

MOOD: Anticipatory
SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD: "Masquerade" by Berlin
TIME/PLACE: 9:22pm, 9/26, top berth of a "coachette" on a train from Munich to Paris, arriving 6am.
LAST FOOD CONSUMED: Half a roll, cheese and salami I bought at a Turkish store this afternoon. The package of meat actually says "Islami Salami." Great band name, if I were Muslim. I also had a Brezen mit Kase (pretzel with cheese baked onto it) and some Evian that I bought at the rail station just before getting on board, none of which I would have bought if I had remembered to ask Andrea at the Kost Bar where I had a glass of Rielsling to fill my water bottle. Oh well, it was a good pretzel.

I'm slouched up on this top bunk, having just met my berth mate Maoru from Brazil. His friend is on the lowest bunk, totally red-faced and passed out from the beer tents. Their other friend, Maoru tells me, didn't come with them, having met a "very beautiful blonde girl." Ah, Oktoberfest.

I arrived in Munich the night of Saturday the 23rd, having taken the 4pm train from Vienna. I met Ed from Philly on the platform and we sat together for part of the journey. He and some friends started out in Ireland and made their way to Oktoberfest, so it was two weeks straight of beer consumption for Ed. Nice guy, except his Phillies are neck-and-neck with my Dodgers for the NL Wild Card. Since my next time in Philly will be when the Dodgers are in town, hopefully he and I will make it to a game.

The night before taking that train I had done some hand wash at the hostel, and my underwear wasn't yet dry. So, not wanting my skivvies to mildew, I stuffed them in the zipper of my back pack, which I had up on a top rack above the seats where Ed and I were. After Ed and I stopped conversating and he drifted off to sleep, I moved back a couple of rows to stretch my legs out and write. Later on, I needed to get into my pack, and I noticed that my underwear and towel weren't quite where I had left them. It turned out that they had shifted and fallen on he lap of an older woman sitting below my pack.

She gestured to me while smiling (thank God), explaining that the fell right on her lap, so she was embarrassed and put them back up. I covered my face with my hands and said, "Enshuldegong, enshuldegong, enshuldegong." (Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me.) She touched my arm softly and indicated for me not to worry, and I was relieved. I then went back to my seat, opened the Milka hazlenut bar that I had and offered her the first piece, but she declined. I then offered some to Ed, the German couple next to him/us and others back at my new seat, and all was right with the world.


Upon arriving at Munich station, I was greeted by Oktoberfest in full swing. I mean, there weren't 10 steps between my getting off the train and total insanity. First of all, all I really knew about Oktoberfest were beer tents and carnival rides. I didn't know about the Bavarian costumes that went along with it. Everywhere I looked there were men in vintage shorts with suspenders, and women in very pretty traditional dresses. And this wasn't just for the nighttime -- people were wearing these clothes all day every day while I was in Munich. Young, old, little kids, college kids... it was great. It was such a great thing to see, and I just love the tradition of it.

And then there's the heart-shaped cookies that people wear around their necks with messages in white frosting that say "I love you" or "You're my sweetheart," or what have you. Very charming.

Right when I got off the train I saw this woman carrying three tall cans of beer, and she was with a guy and two policemen. I wanted to get the cops in the picture, but I did get the couple. They were bemused by my request for a picture, but really, the best place for picture taking during Oktoberfest is at the train station in the evening. Plenty of drunks in costume and they don't care if you want to photograph them.

It's nigh-impossible to land a bed in Munich during Oktoberfest, but I got absolutely lucky. (Deep breath) My ex-girlfriend Megan's parents' exchange student for a year from Munich Simon agreed to put me up as his roommate was visiting Cuba during this time, so I could have his room. Simon sent me instructions to take the 58 bus to his home, and the bus was easily found right outside the station. I got off at the stop he told me to go to, but when I called, he said that I was supposed to meet him at his work. Fortunately, the same bus went there as well, and I found the bar he works at fairly easily. (I actually misheard the name of the stop that Simon said to get off at, but spotted the bar from the bus and quickly jumped off.) At the bar I avoided Simon's extended hand and hugged him (which I think embarrassed him) and he gave me the key to his place with instructions on how to get there.

Finding his address was no problem, but I forgot what he had said about entering through the driveway. Instead, I went through a doorway, which turned out to be a bunch of offices. After trying the key on a bunch of wrong doors, I reluctantly called Simon and he set me straight and I found the door, though it still took me some time to get it open.

I pretty much just collapsed soon after getting there, ignoring the frivolity I could hear outside and getting some much needed sleep.

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edg126 on

The night in Munich
After leaving you at the train station, I ran into another traveler from Texas looking for a place to stay. We checked out a few hostels and found private room for 60 euro, so we split the bill. Worked out well, we went to a few bar's and I had enough sleep to make the transition back home ok. Just a suggestion if you are back in Munich, the trains and airports are way to crazy and loud to get any sort of sleep in.


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