Saturday, July 30, 2011

Arriving in München

Days Eins und Zwei

I realize that I have gotten to be quite spoiled. Not everyone is able to take major vacations every six or so months, and I really had planned to spend the entire summer slaving away, hard at work. But that really is not my ideal, so at the beginning of summer I planned a short vacation to Germany.

As always, I began my journey in San Francisco, prepping to leave the country and buying gifts for the friends I would see. The plane ride was a long one, four hours to Chicago from which I had an hour and a half delay on account of the airplane requiring to be fixed (worrisome in anything situation) and then another eight to Munich.

While I have traveled abroad often this was my first time being truly alone. The summer before, I met a friend in the Tokyo Narita airport immediately after going through customs and all other times have been with exchange groups or family. But finally I was alone, following German signs for the underground train line into the very heart of the city to find my hotel.

Upon my arrival, I was informed that I was too early for check-in but if I left almost immediately, I would be able to make it in time into the city square for a free tour.

The tour was just a walk to some nearby recognizeable landmarks, starting in Marienplatz, the city square, by the beautiful new town hall.

From there, it was a roam around, each stop containing history lessons about the city.

One of the stops was the church Frauenkirche that was said to be built with the help of the Devil as it took a mere 20 years and the inner columns create the illusion that there are no windows.

No windows! Except the one in the back, but that was added on after the church was built.

Oh look, a window.

The footprint of the Devil! Who was supposed so furious when he found out there were actually windows that he stomped his foot and left that imprint.
Not that big, probably a size 10... Genuinely, it it most like the footprint of the architect.

We stopped by what is supposedly the most famous pub in the world, the Hofbräuhaus, and were told about how customers used to urinate outside on the street between beers (O_____<), the site of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, the opera house and such.
Hofbräuhaus. On the second day, Iris, her father and I tried to go inside and get a table but....

Too many people. And there are three floors that we saw, an outside garden, a patio... all full. Noisy like you cannot imagine.

The inner outside garden...

So we went to a smaller pub/cafe just across the building, got a table right away as a group left...

They left their glasses behind so I snapped a photo.

Black current juice~! Not too bad, being a non-drinker in Bavaria then..

Cannot read German menus... At all. Luckily, Iris and her father translated things for me when we ate lunch together. So nice of them *____*
I will buy them dinner even if it kills me...

Area around the pub.

The tour stopped by the Royal Residenz building and the rain clouds that had been building all day finally released their hold after a loud clap of thunder, soaking the streets heavily. I walked back to the city square station in the rain, getting rather wet in the process but without an umbrella.

I went to sleep early (having been awake for almost a full two days because of the travel) set to meet a friend from the Netherlands the following afternoon.
Unfortunately, my phone turned out not to have switched time zones properly and when I awoke at what I believed to be seven am, it was actually ten. I did not realize this until I checked my watch an hour later and saw, to my severe shock, that it said it was actually eleven in the morning O___O

Getting everything together very quickly after that, I went for a quick and rather delicious pastry breakfast and then headed out to find my Dutch friend, Iris.

The interesting thing was that Iris and I had actually met only a year before, while we were both visiting Osaka, Japan. We happened on each other by chance at a concert and in truth, we were both planning our trip to Germany due to the same musician touring in Europe. A silly dedication, some might say, but it is what has brought me to have so many friends around the world.

The day was spent by walking around the city casually, visiting a couple of places I had stopped the day before, eating German food and then some very non-German food, stopping by stores which purses that cost as much as the cost of my entire trip, and chatting… a lot. Then again, I am a very talkative person and the day went very quickly.

Lots of cute tourist shops

The metro! Which is actually extremely easy to use, goes everywhere, not too expensive... I love a good metro system.

Lot of construction but...

They covered a lot of the buildings in tarps that look like the building? So it's kind of cool. Not unsightly, at least.

Market area

Hehehehe, seems excessive, doesn't it? I mean, really? One was not enough?


Beer garden. O____o Does the beer grow on trees?

More stalls

Totem pole thingie... I forgot what it is called.
But apparantly towns steal them from each other. The last major was stolen in 2006 (?) from the airport. The airport called the police. The police cracked up because... they were the ones that stole it >_____<

During WWII, a lot of graveyards were destroyed. And after, matching gravestones that survived to their sites was almost impossible. So they put the tombstones on the church walls.


The most expensive street in Munich!

Not too many photos because it was rather intimidating... and we were too *___* Looking inside the stores, wandering inside LV, Gucci, a couple others. Iris got starry eyed over wallets while I looked at fur coats. So Russian of me.

There were a few of these..

And food!

Salad and....

Wiener Schnitzel!
I had to try... Pretty good. Although the potatoes were really the best *___*

For dinner (took us quite a long time to find a place that was not booked)

Guilty pleasures... We found a very small but very authentic Japanese restaurant.
I missed ramen so much so.....

Iris and I got to practice our Japanese with the waitress. So exciting~
*needs to remind self that I am in Germany*

Also, over the day and a half I have been in Munich, I have heard about and seen more beer than I have ever before in my entire life. Yet, I do not drink so while I do feel like I am missing out a little bit, it is rather more fun to see the young men having their bachlor parties, so drunk that they almost cannot tell that their friends have dressed them up as women.

(Photos will be added later)