Munich Round One

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Friday, July 11, 2008

When you think of Munich you think of noisy beer feasts where enormous beers are consumed by the truck load, pork knuckles the size of your head are served with mountains of sauerkraut and hot salted pretzels and where loud 'oompha' bands play their rhythmic tunes. This is exactly how we experienced on the first night in Munich. The evening started with a few complementary and happy hour drinks at the bar in the hostel before a small group of us made our way down to one of the biggest and busiest beer gardens in Munich, the Hofbrauhouse.
The atmosphere in the beer hall was amazing with waiters running up and down clutching dozens of beers in each hand and plates of delicious food stacked all the way up their arms. We were lucky to get a table almost immediately in the packed beer hall and once seated soon had our food and drinks order in. The beer and food that arrived a short while later was fantastic and soon loud traditional toasts of "prost" where being made all around our table. We were having such great time that we decided to form a tri-nations (SA, NZ & Oz) greeting party and went on a "prost" lap around the beer hall to make sure everyone else was also have a great time. We had a wonderful time sampling what Germany and especially Munich is so famous for and I can just imagine what 10 days of Oktoberfest must be like! Wow. (Note to self: must come back for this!)
The following day got of to an oddly slow start and we opted to sleep in rather than join the early morning cycle tour around the city and to the famous 'Disney' castle or rather Neuschwanstien and Hohenschwangau castle. This decision we were later to regret as it was not possible to postpone the trip as it wasn't offered on the few days we had remaining in Munich. We instead decided to explore the city on foot and find a good restaurant for lunch. Mother Nature had other plans for us as not long after we set off we got caught in a massive downpour and got drenched, needless to say we left the hostel totally unprepared, not something you would expect from almost seasoned travelers.
We rushed back to the hostel which was a few kilometers away to get warmer clothes and raincoats before continuing the search to somewhere to have lunch. The hotel guide book suggested a traditional style restaurant which we had no trouble finding. We sat at a long common table and waited for a waitress to come and take our order. We were quite close to the bar and therefore had many waitresses passing by to collect drinks but after numerous attempts at trying to make eye contact to let them know we were ready to order we realise we might have been invisible. We moved to another table and even our waving, gesturing, jumping up and down didn't seem to attract the slightest interest of a waitress. After 35 minutes of this we decided to admit defeated and stood up and left, unnoticed thirsty and hungry. I still do not know what went wrong that day but I am determined to make sure it never happens again.
We did eventually find a nice little German restaurant around the corner that miraculously had waitresses that could see us and had a pleasant meal and some great Weiss beer. The afternoon was ended with a long walk through Munich's massive Englischer park and then zigzagging our way through the cities back streets to our hostel.
Something else I found quite odd was that on this same day the city was also hosting a gay pride parade, not sure if this is the gay month or we are being stalked.
We found after a few days in Munich that the city was extremely cosmopolitan and if it had not been for the beer hall it might have been any other city in Europe. It might be that the best sights lie outside of the city which we sadly did not get time to explore.
On our last day in Munich before we flew back to South Africa we decide to visit the highly recommended Deutches Museum a science and technology museum which if explored in its entirety would require two full days. The museum was mind boggling and had amazing displays on just about everything from space travel, flight, medicine, chemistry, a host of manufacturing techniques, photography only to mention a few. We even attended a live chemistry demonstration which was like watching a hilarious magic show that had us in oohing and aahing even though it was entirely in German. The museum is a must for anyone who wants to know how anything works!
We could have spent more time at the museum but with the though of flying home had us so excited that we cut the visit short and diced to get to the airport a little earlier and make sure there was no way we would miss our flight. Our trip back to South Africa was squeezed into our busy European schedule to attend Andre and Sandri's wedding. We were extremely lucky that we were both able to find flights back to SA to attend the wedding and the see family and friends back home. And since this was almost exactly half way in our 14 month trip it could not have come at a better time.
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