We’re really making a good habit of arriving into cities and countries well beyond midnight. In Munich, we stayed in another AirBNB home. Munich was silent when we got off the platform and headed for a taxi. Our AirBNB host was gracious enough to hide our key outside for us since we were arriving so late and he couldn’t come open the door for us.

Our first full day in Munich was spent wandering the city and getting our bearings. Again, it rained. The storm must be following us across Europe. This was the seventh day of rain for us. Wet jeans and soaked shirts and jackets were as normal to our wardrobe as socks and underwear.

We spent the night getting lost in Marianplatz, where a lot of their beer gardens like Hofbrauhaus, Schneider Wies Hauss, Ayinger Wies Haus and Augustiner Wies Haus are located (where we had a sausage platter for lunch. Sounds appetizing, right…?)

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We woke up on Friday morning to the strangest thing—the sun! We were actually skipping down the road to the train station we were so excited. With the weather finally on our side, we took a 2-hour train ride to Salzburg, Austria.

Coming around the corner from Germany to Austria was breathtaking. A mix of snow-capped mountains, forested mountains and an ancient city that reflected the sunlight off its tiled roofs lie ahead of us.

The city of Salzburg can easily be crossed in a matter of 20 minutes at a leisurely pace. We made our way across the newer side of town and across the Salz River into Mozartplatz. Street musicians, vendors and markets filled the square and just above it sat Hohensalzburg Castle.

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After climbing what was easily over 700 steps and 15 euros later (yes it costs that much to climb to a building), we mosied around the castle. The views from atop a watch tower had us aching to get back down and experience the same view but from a mountain.

Once at the bottom again, we picked our way through a crowded cheese and fruit market and bought the largest pretzel we could find so we could have a picnic up in the mountains.

On a whim, we hopped on a bus that took us to a town called Fuschl. We really didn’t know anything about it besides the fact that it took us into the interior of Austria, up into the lake district, where the mountains all meet at the base to form several lakes.

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Right when we couldn’t stand the confines of a bus, we hopped off at a random bus stop and walked toward a lake like insects to a light. The smell of the freshwater, the sun beating on our bodies and the breeze blowing through the evergreens was enough for us to lay down for a half hour and soak in the new scenery. We took to the mountains like we’d been there for years. The mountains have some sort of power that can’t be explained unless you’re sitting in the meadow of one, looking at the reflection of the mountains in a lake that no motor or chemical has contaminated.

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Houses hung to the side of the mountains above us while more homes circled the lake, and built a fortress around the base of the mountains we were looking up at—each with its own dock and fishing boat.

We didn’t want to leave Austria. The warm weather and the mountains were all we needed.

Sine we got off at a random bus stop, we had to find our way back by chance. We hiked a trail along the lake; the sun was setting and cast beautiful shadows across the trees and the fishermen out on the lake. We eventually found a side road that crept up the mountain and back to the main drag where we caught our bus back into Salzburg.

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On the train ride back to Munich, we sat across from a print graphic designer. It was fun to talk nerdy about fonts, the end of print and the rise of digital media.

By the time we arrived back to Munich, we finally had the pleasure to meet our AirBNB host, Ben. He was extremely gracious—even offering to do our laundry while we were out on the town the next day. His apartment is on the top floor of a little cottage looking house on the west side of Munich. It was pretty normal besides the fact that the bathroom was extremely odd. To take a shower, you had to do a constant squat because there was no shower head, just a hose that de-tached. The toilet was weird, too. The hole where the water (and everything else) goes into the sewer was in the front and the back was like a little shelf and when you flushed everything went zooming down like a waterfall. It was weird, but the place was only about a ten minute train ride into downtown.

The next morning we woke up early to catch a train to Dachau, a concentration camp that was built as an example for the rest of the concentration camps. We got there right as it opened, for awhile we were the only ones there. It was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky, being at the concentration camp almost felt ironic and disrespectful to those who had suffered there.

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Dachau was originally built to hold 6,000 prisoners, but by the time the American troops liberated the camp, it was holding more than 32,000 prisoners.

As soon as we left the camp around 10:30 a.m., it began to rain. Of course. Our plans to go out to Neushuanstein Castle were squashed but Ben and his wife did offer to drive us to the Andechs Abbey—a monastarey that has some great German food and brews their own beer— for dinner.

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Driving in Germany is terrifying, Ben said traveling at 80 m.p.h. is slow. The Germans love their cars but they have no regard for the brake pedal nor other cars, we whipped around corners, smashing us both into the windows and cut off more cars then we can count. We were both about ready to write a “good-bye” note to our families. Luckily, the conversation with Ben and his wife was distracting enough to not notice the lights we ran and the u-turns we pulled.

They asked us how far we lived from Little House on the Prairie, probably the oddest question we’ve gotten so far. They also asked about our health care system, the farms in America and Arnold Schwarazenegger. They also said they were afraid to travel to the U.S. because everyone has guns. We told them otherwise and hopefully stifled their worries.

The German roads are lined with these yellow plants/flowers that Ben called biofuel. Apparently it can be made into oil, but if you turned every crop spanning the globe into this biofuel, it still wouldn’t be enough to meet our oil consumption.

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It was raining when we arrived to the Abbey, so we immediately booked it to the restaurant to order some warm food and bread. When our waiter set down our meal in front of us he said, “You have to cut it open from the belly.” Red flags.

Ben insisted on ordering for us—a steckerlfisch (or, as we later referred to it, “shitty fish”)—fish on a stick (for fifteen euros!). Cori thought it was pretty digusting, considering we were both picking fish bones out of our teeth. But we ate what we could and Ben finished the rest. They weren’t joking when they said Germans eat a lot. Its almost gluttonous. And they waste nothing. Considering the fish was staring at us with his lifeless eyes, we didn’t quite feel like eating all the scales and sucking the meat off the bones like Ben and his wife. Yuck. Needless to say, our stomachs were turning the whole ride home.

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After a meal like that, all we wanted was some bread and beer to actually fill our stomachs. Since our train left at 22:50 for Switzerland, we packed our bags and headed down to Hofbrauahaus and Schneider Wiess Haus to kill some time before our train.

As expected, Hofbrauhaus was packed. There wasn’t a single table for us on the main floor where all the merriment and celebration was. We wandered upstairs to find a table, again, to no avail. As we were walking back down the steps, a guy who was wearing what looked like a group t-shirt stopped us and asked us to join him and his friends at his table. We followed him back downstairs and saw that he was sitting at a table with ten to fifteen other men wearing the same shirt. We just walked into a bachelor party of a bunch of twenty-six and twenty-eight year olds. They were in all types of competitions like who could get the most kisses and who could drink the most beers and chug their mugs the quickest. The usual bachelor party antics, except with Germans.

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Most of them were already well on their way to hammered when we joined them. Keep in mind it wasn’t even eight yet. They bought us a round of Hobrauhaus Original beer and proceeded to attempt to teach us German songs so we could sing along with them. Most of them were extremely vulgar once we learned the translations of them. The Germans are very forward when they wanted something, especially when it comes to anything sexual. They assumed that all Americans are extremely religious. They acted as if we’ve never heard the word “boob” before. Yes, that immature. They were loud and belligerent, but besides that, really a lot of fun. One guy already took his shirt off and was dancing around on the table. Needless to say we (they) began to attract unwanted attention and we (they) were kicked out.

We all headed outside, something about the fresh air caused their blood alcohol level to double, their drunkenness hit a new high. In a matter of a split second, we found ourselves in the center of what I can best describe as a mosh pit. They were chanting and jumping and throwing us around in between all of them.

One of the guys (who we were told was the group drunkard) pulled down his pants and mooned/flashed another restaurant across the street. Not once. Not twice. But three or four times. Another friend decided to join the pantless party and he too dropped trousers to moon and flash the restaurant. So we moved to another street corner where they could proceed to chant and jump and do their “hometown” dance, which basically looks like a dying fish (the man would lie on the ground and flop around…it was strange). They even built a pyramid in the middle of the street, everyone outside applauded them.

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As they headed to a club, we parted ways and went to get pretzels and beer at Schnieder Wiess Haus. We kept running into our bachelor men peeing on the streets and hanging off street lights. At Schneider Weiss Haus, we ran into Ben and his wife again and had some beer and pretzels with them before we caught our late train to Switzerland…onto our next adventure.

As we left for our train, the boys were chanting “ole ole” in the background for all of Munich to hear.

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Always craving spontaneity (and more German beer),
C&J

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