Food, Beer and World Cup - You Can't Get Better

Trip Start Feb 01, 2006
Trip End Jul 22, 2006

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Flag of Germany  ,
Friday, June 16, 2006

Well I made it to Munich without any travelling mishaps. Iona and I went there by plane since it was the cheapest way. If you have ever seen any pictures of Germany with people sitting around drinking steins of beer and Germans in their funny little outfits, then Munich is the place that you will find all this. It's a beautiful city that has plenty to see.

The first sight we decided to see was Dachau, the first ever Nazi concentration camp. It was first opened in 1933, when Hitler first took power. One interesting thing is that the first prisoners in the camp were from the opposition political party, not Jews. Dachau was designed to hold around 2000 prisoners but when American troops liberated the prisoners, there were around 30,000, so conditions were atrocious. Not only were the living conditions atrocious but the prisoners were also used for experiments. One example was testing the hypothermic effects the human body by placing a prisoner in an icy bath. Another was to see how long a human can survive by drinking nothing but salt water. These are just a few.

All the other Nazi concentration camps were modelled after Dachau, hence the term the 'Dachau Model'. The feeling you get from this camp is very depressing and it is hard to believe around 30,000 people died there. The worst part of it was the crematorium where people were gassed, hung and shot. The pictures of the piled up dead bodies really hit that point home.

Then on a lighter note we headed to Nymphenburg Castle after the camp. This castle is one of the few that I have seen that is still in original condition. We met some Arabic guys there who are from Syria. They were very interesting and I got a small insight into some of the Arabic culture. For a fact, for an Arabic person to leave their country and get a visa it will cost them about 10,000 Euro and they have to wait outside for 3-4 days just to hand in the application form. Syria sounds like a very interesting place to visit someday. Not every place in the middle east is as bad as the media portrays.

I heard that there was a great science and technology museum in Munich. The next day, we accidentally went to the wrong museum. It was still called a science museum but it was boring as hell with nothing worth noting.

After that we headed to a place called the Englischer Garten. This place is the largest metropolitan park in Europe. From top to bottom it is about 30 km long. Contained in the park are 4 of the largest beer gardens in the world. We went to one called the Chinese Tower, the 2nd largest beer garden in the world. It can hold about 17,000 people. The beer in Munich is magnificent. Munich is famous for it's weissbeer(white beer). It was first brewed by monks in Munich and I have never tasted a better beer (although I haven't been to Belgium!). Munich is the first places in Germany that I have found beer sold in steins (1 liter). For me, there was nothing better than kicking back in the afternoon, drinking beer out of a stein, eating a huge chunk of pork off the bone and watching World Cup soccer.

It was interesting when we came to Munich because we only booked our first nights accommodation since most places were full or charging ridiculous prices. So Adam was in Munich as well and he booked his accommodation many months ago. We snuck into the hostel and stayed in his room, on the floor for 2 nights.

Adam and I decided to hit the town that night but we ran into a big problem. Adam was wearing his Wallabies jersey that night and none of the clubs would let us in because of it. Yet people in Brazilian jerseys were quite happily let in. We were getting frustrated so we snuck in through the back door of an 'invite only' party. It actually wasn't bad and we stumbled home.

The next day was a day that I have been looking forward to for many months: Australia Vs Brazil. It was the day that all the Aussies came out of hiding and green and gold could be seen everywhere. In the streets there were more Austrlaian supporters than Brazilian supporters which is a good effort considering every man and his dog jumps on the Brazilian bandwagon. It got frustrating at some point because some people in Brazilian shirts were saying how they were going to beat us and when we asked where they came from they said any country but Brazil. I found the real Brazilians to be very arrogant supporters, having no respect for other teams. To put it simply, some of them deserved a punch in the face. We seemed to be more relaxed and enjoyed ourselves compared to the Brazilians who have to win at all costs.

Anyway we headed to the Olympic Park to watch the game. Once again there was a massive TV screen and it was well set up. There were about 40,000 people at the park, so it was the next best thing to being in the stadium. It was fantastic seeing all the Aussie supporters, some were hilarious. It was a mad day and of course we were disappointed with the loss. I personally think we deserved at least a draw but in the end we didn't take our chances. A supporter we met later said whenever there was a crappy ref decision (of which there were many) the Brazilian fans made gestures to suggest the ref was payed off. Wouldn't suprise me with what happened in the Italian league. Anyway it was a great day and we only have to draw with Croatia to go through.

The next day we went on a bike tour. It's run by Americans, for Americans but it was still a lot of fun. At least we got a full view of the city and some of the history behind it. After that we just killed some time before our flight by kicking back and drinking lots of beer with some Scottish guys. By the way, I wouldn't recommend trying to find a check in terminal while drunk. Not fun.

So that was my experience in Munich. Austrlia play Croatia on Thursday in Stuttgart so I'm going to try and head there. Adam said that when Australia played Japan there were plenty of scalpers around so I'm going to try and get some tickets at the stadium. While all the tickets have your name on it, they do not check your passport like FIFA proposed so it's worth a shot. Ciao
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