Sunday, August 14, 2011

Barreling through Munich

Aaah! You know when you get really busy and days just fly by and you forget to update your blog? Well that happened to me, minus the busy part. I just didn't post.

The problem with travelling all over a beautiful country such as Germany in a short amount of time is the sad fact we didn't get to see very much at all. We had two full days to spend in Munich, one reserved to visit Neuschwanstein. The remainder of that day and the second day we saved to visit a beer hall and explore the city. Well, castle visiting went much longer than we thought (thanks to waiting for the required guided tours) and we had to leave Munich at a somewhat reasonable time to get to Salzburg early. As I will explain soon, this backfired no thanks to some shitty Google walking directions.

We arrived in gorgeous, sunny Munich exhausted from train riding and not expecting the heat. Our hotel was quite a hike away, but we didn't feel comfortable attempting the subway. So we hoofed it. Along the way, my grumpy, sweaty self was excited to see this:
In case you can't see the date, it was founded in 1397! A brewery older than the US! Long before Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue! If you're not from a somewhat "new" country like the US, it probably means nothing to you, but I cannot get over the history of the place. I knew that Munich and I would get along despite the sun. We finally reached our hostel (Hotel Nymphenburg, which I STRONGLY recommend, despite the hike) and the very sweet staff directed us around the corner for food. We settled on an Italian restaurant (a cuisine Germany is VERY good at) and were not disappointed. Something we've learned over the span of our travels: choose a place that's busy. You're almost always guaranteed good food and service, even if you're cheap like us! I had plenty of vegan options in Germany thanks to Italian restaurants and the beer purity laws. That's right, they don't see the need to add shit like gelatin, milk powder or eggs to their beer. I *heart* Germany.
And that was kind of it for our first night. I think we were both pooped from travelling and had an exciting adventure to get up early for the next day.

The train from Munich to Fussen (the town outside of Neuschwanstein) was something like 3 hours. It was a very pretty ride, but when you share the train with other obnoxious tourists, it kind of makes you crazy. The gorgeous scenery helped (and the fact you can drink beer on the train).
 We got to Fussen, bought our tickets and figured since the (required) guided tour didn't start for another couple of hours we would hike to the castle. It was about a mile up, no worse than hiking to our very own Multnomah Falls, but it was HUMID as hell. Humidity is not something Portland offers. This lady made me feel even worse about my uncomfortable hike:
C'mon, HEELS?! And a hat?! It took everything I had no to strip off all of my clothing. Well, and Jeff told  me not to. We finally made it, though, sweaty and stinky and thirsty. And it was SO WORTH IT.
I rank this castle higher than Versailles any day. Ludwig planned it as a tribute to Wagner's operas, and all of the detail that went into it was just so amazing. Unfortunately, no photos allowed inside, but you must go. Right now. And then have this after, because it is uber sticky and hot up there at the top.
Our last day in Munich was spent stashing our bags at the Munich train station and searching for Hofbrauhaus, one of the oldest beer halls in Munich. It also happens to be a site where Hitler held one of his first meetings for the Nazi party. Just the thought of being in a place where something like that happened gives me the chills.

Because Google walking directions suck major ass, we got lost. And then, like almost every other time we got lost during this trip, it began to pour. Now, I'm used to the rain. But when you're lost and the surroundings are unfamiliar and it starts to rain, it feels as if the world is conspiring against you.
Somehow, SOMEHOW, we found the right street and subsequently Hofbrauhaus. It was AMAZING. The seating was family style and the room was noisy and raucous. We sat next to a German couple from Frankfurt that didn't seem to mind our wet company and swapped travel tips (they told us about Frankfurt - good for shopping - and we told them about Hway 101 and Route 66 - good for driving). Munich, I officially want to come back.

I hope to have a post up about Salzburg today or tomorrow. In my opinion, Portland and Salzburg should be sister cities in their weirdness.


Faith McKay said...

Epic. I've always wanted to go to Salzburg (ahem, one of my fav movies is the sound of music) so I'm happy to hear you think it's like Portland and look forward to that post!

A brewery older than the US. That's so amazing to think about.

and it's so fun to see castles I've always seen in pictures, in the background of a photo of you and jeff. Awesome!

sgcorrie said...

Oh man, standing on that bridge to get the photo taken with us and the castle? It was PACKED and some cute British ladies taking our photo were swearing at other tourists getting in the way. It was AWESOME.

Faith McKay said...

That's awesome :D

Saptilladerky said...

:D Very fun looking! Though having to have guided tours with no freaking photography? BS. Also, never thought about beer having things like gelatin and the like in it.

sgcorrie said...

Oh yeah. It's gross and doesn't make sense!