O'zapft is!

Trip Start Aug 05, 2009
Trip End May 29, 2010

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Where I stayed
Manni's House

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A guest blog entry by John

(I apologize in advance for being the verbose one!)

“Oh crap, where's my wallet?”

No, that's not a very good way to start a blog entry. Let's back up a bit, yes?

Munich (in German, München—though we have taken to calling it “Munchin'”) is a city designed for pedestrians. Or, at least, is very accommodating to them. The streets are lined with various and sundry shops and restaurants, many of the latter with tables sporting umbrellas that announce a brand of beer or two (and thank goodness, not a “Budweiser” among them). Most sidewalks are wide enough for four persons astride, as well as another portion intended for the myriad cyclists who pedal their way from one point in the city to another.

With our departure from here less than 24 hours away, we have reflected on the city and both of us deem it to be a city providing an excellent lifestyle. “I could live here,” we two have agreed. From the ages old architecture, to the eminently friendly Müncheners, to the 16-day festival devoted to that beautiful beverage derived from hops and grains, to Maximilianstrasse which is lined with Hermes and Dior and D&G and Jimmy Choo and Chanel and the many, many other flagship names in fashion (this being much more a draw for my dear friend than to me, but impressive nonetheless), this is a city that I suspect most of its denizens are more than honored to call home.

I arrived at the airport in Munchin', exhausted and odorous, to a tall beautiful woman holding a sign announcing the guest whom she was awaiting, “JohnJohn”. What a joy it was to see my old friend here in Europe. We reflected later on how neat it was that just a few months ago, this was little more than a casual idea, and now it was coming to fruition.

After trying desperately to decipher the gobbledy-gook on the transit ticket machine, we finally boarded one train, and then another, and found our way to our waiting host, a charming and gentlemanly professional musician named Manni Rabenow. Our room is a small and cramped bedroom in a very pleasant and accessible part of the city. It is equipped with a equally small television, a pot for heating water for the instant cappuccino provided, and a selection of books (printed, of course, in German should we decide to take up the language).

Like many to whom we have spoken in the city, Manni apologized for his English, and then proceeded to converse as though he's been speaking it all his life. Oh sure, he will pause for a moment or two while he searches his brain for a word...say, onomatopoeia. But in the end, his English is better than some teenaged Calgarians who grew up in that city.

The first full day in Munchin' was spent searching for a place to have lunch. We sat down at one restaurant, decided it was a bit more than we wanted to spend, so walked to another. Then dearest Shelley queries, “where's my jacket?” We walked the several blocks back to the first restaurant to find it still hanging from the chair that she had sat in as we perused the menu. We continued on looking for another place to eat, and then got a little lost. And then found ourselves! And then realized that we still had no place to eat and went straight back to the very first place we sat down.

The rest of the day went decidedly smoother, ending up at a beer garden in the middle of the massive English Garden . With a brass band playing, we enjoyed a tasty pretzel, sipped on a couple of half-litres of beer, and enjoyed the scenery and the people. Shelley mocked my choice of headgear (a standard ball-cap) which she said made me look like a tourist.

The second full day began with a lovey breakfast in the centre of Munchin' (munchin' in Munchin' we like to say, thinking we're oh-so-clever) and then shopping for a new pair of boots to get the female half of our team through the cooler autumn weather ahead. And then it was time to see what all the fuss was about by visiting the largest beer festival in the world. We met up with a  group of people that had arranged to get together—some travelers and some locals—via a website called Couchsurfing. There was Michael, our Munchiner, two gals from Quebec (one of whom wasted no time in telling me how much she disliked Calgary—and based upon her demeanor, also Calgarians), a very talkative chap from Minnesota, cute lil' Chloe from France, Pasquale and Eduardo from...hm...here I think?...and a few others. We thoroughly enjoyed the oom-pa-pa band in one of the massive tents, the litres of beer, and the good company we were fortunate to have with us.

We later continued on to a nightclub to complete our merry-making. We arrived home fairly late, and retired for the night. The next day (earlier today), we packed up our things to head out for an afternoon of wandering. Into my backpack it went.  Sunscreen...check. Watch...check. Rain jacket...check.  Wallet...che...........Oh crap, where's my wallet?

The rest of our day today was designed in great part by the lethargy caused by consumption of beer sold in quantities of litres, and my desire to find my wallet and its various contents (driver's license, bank card, credit card). However, no amount of calling around (thanks to Manni, whose German is decidedly better than mine. I mean, seeing as how he's German and all) nor visiting the nightclub of the previous evening turned it up.

I may be enough of a dullard to lose my wallet in a foreign country, but I'm wise enough to separate the extra credit-card from the main credit card, and thus will still be able to enjoy myself without having to arrange for an emergency card to be flown in (Credevac?).

Miss Shelley sleeps a few feet to my right as I write. And it is probably a good time for me to turn in as well. Munchin' has been an excellent host to two Canadians for the past few days. We'll see if Ibiza is similarly accommodating! Somehow, I suspect that it will lack some of the personality, charm, and welcoming of this age-old city. Then again, it will have another personality distinctly its own, and I'm sure what it may lack in majesty, it will more than make up for with flat-out good times. I'll be sure to let you know!
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