Munich

We woke up bright and early to head to the train station and catch our train to Munich. The walk to the train station wasn’t extremely far, but the whole thing was uphill and we had all of our luggage with us, so by the time we made it we were dripping in sweat and exhausted.

(Old Town Hall and the Christmas market)

The hostel where we were staying in Prague didn’t have a printer, so we were counting on getting to the train station and printing out or ticket there. When we got to the station we looked for those computer things they have in airports to print our tickets, but they were no where to be found, so we headed to the ticket desk and asked if they could print them for us. Apparently the ticket people do not have Internet or any access to our ticket information, so the only option the lady offered us was to buy another ticket. The ticket lady also told us there was Wifi on the other floor, but she said there wasn’t a single printer in the entire train station, so basically we were in trouble.

(The Christmas tree in the market and the moon!)

Sarah and I ran upstairs and, planning to take a picture of our tickets, found a Burger King with Wifi. Obviously their Wifi didn’t work, so I went wandering through the station looking for Internet. Luckily I found an Exchange place with an Internet station and printers (looks like the ticket lady was wrong!), so we downloaded the tickets, printed them, and made it onto the train just in time.

(decoration stand)

As I said in my earlier post, our train to Munich was the Hogwarts Express! The train wasn’t literally the Hogwarts Express, unfortunately, but it was made of cabins just like the ones on the Hogwarts train, and Sarah and I ended up with an entire cabin to ourselves. The train from Prague to Munich is 6 hours long, so Sarah and I closed our curtains, stretched out on each row of seats, and napped for about half the trip!

Once we made it to Munich and checked into our hotels, we headed straight for the Christmas markets. I thought Prague was full of Christmas markets, but Munich seems to have even more! From our hostel it was about a ten-minute-walk to the first plaza with markets, and from there markets stretched out in all directions.

(ornament stand)

We walked around looking at all the pretty decorations and Christmas ornaments, but once again I put my money towards food. First, I stopped and bought a few cherries, which were so good, and then I got a bag of “kettle corn” (it wasn’t warm and coming fresh out of the pot like the kettle corn at the trail of lights, but it was sugar coated popcorn, so I guess that’s the same!) which I had been craving ever since we got to the markets.

(ornaments!)

After walking around for what felt like hours, it was only 7 and we were exhausted, so we decided to be super American and have an early dinner. We picked a random restaurant on the same road as the markets (I don’t have Rick for recommendations because I sent my Germany book home with my dad) because the inside was decorated and it looked really cozy.

I had Spinach dumplings, which probably significantly raised my cholesterol, but they were pretty good! From dinner we headed straight back to the hostel and went to sleep.

Our second day in Munich we woke up early and decided to cancel our third night and head to Salzburg early since besides the markets there isn’t much to do in Munich that I haven’t done, and neither Sarah nor I have been to Austria.

(another cookie stand!)

First we cancelled our hostel reservation and then headed to the train station to get our Salzburg tickets. Buying the Salzburg tickets was quick and painless—and cheap!—so we were feeling pretty good about our choice and then we headed to Radius Tours (the company my dad and I used while in Munich) to see what was going on for the day.

(ornaments…so many ornaments!)

Our good luck continued, and when we checked out the schedule we found out there was a “third reich” tour in 30 minutes, so we bought tickets and went to get some breakfast in the station before the tour.

The third reich tour was a guided walking tour that told the history of the rise of Nazism while taking us through Munich to see some of the significant sites. First we stopped at Hoffbrauhaus, which is the most famous beer garden in the world, but many don’t realize it also is the symbolical birthplace of Nazism. Hitler joined the German Workers Party, which later became the National Socialist Workers Party and held their meetings in this very beer hall. The dark history is still evident in the swastikas that are painted (although now more discretely) on the ceiling.

On the tour we walked around to a few other sites while the guide talked to us about the information and the history, but there wasn’t really much to see since Munich was almost completely destroyed World War II, so now most of the city is reconstructed; also, Eisenhower directed a “de-nazification” program, in which all remnants of Nazi ideology were destroyed.

(capital. Destroyed in WWII and rebuilt with glass to show “transparency of the government”)

Although the information the guide was telling us was really interesting, the tour was really long and entirely outside, so by the second hour I was miserably cold, so cold that I thought I would have to leave the tour early and run somewhere to get inside.

Luckily I was able to stick it out until the end of the tour where we went inside one of the last remaining Nazi buildings—the Nazi headquarters—where our guide described the events leading up to Hitler’s suicide, and then she read aloud his last will and testament.

When I heard Hitler’s will, I really understood Hitler’s persuasiveness and his talent as a speaker and writer. Obviously I detest Hitler for the terror he caused and the horrible crimes he committed, and I was disappointed when I heard about the numerous assassination attempts against him that failed, but when I heard his will spoken I actually started to sympathize with Hitler and imagine him as a nice man who was willing to sacrifice everything for his country and his people.

(English Garden)

Five seconds later that sympathy disappeared and the abhorrence returned, but I was completely shocked by how well spoken he was and how convincing he was, to the extent that it made me better understand how history occurred the way it did.

After the tour ended we stayed in the building a little bit longer so my toes and legs and fingers and nose could thaw out, and then I insisted on first stopping to buy more clothes to put on before doing anything else (I don’t know what is wrong with me but it seems like my body refuses to produce its own heat).

With a new turtleneck, wool sweater, my wool coat, and scarf, I was finally able to head back out into the Christmas markets. Sarah and I shopped around for gifts and snacked on some chocolate covered strawberries for a while before deciding to head into the hostel and rest until dinner.

(one of the entrances to the Munich market)

Once we made it into the hostel Sarah and I were overcome with laziness and we lied in bed showing each other pictures of our friends and family and dogs from home. All day it was horribly cold, and then while we were lying in our room it started raining, so we had a perfect excuse to continue our sloth-like behavior.

As we were pretending to consider heading out into the markets again and being good tourists, the rain turned into snow. With the weather change we were completely rejuvenated, so we jumped out of bed and headed out to experience the Christmas markets in the snow.

(Me and Sarah in the market while it is snowing)

We wandered around for a little while enjoying the falling snow until it got to the point that we were pretty soaked and our toes were going numb. Then we headed to one of the little food booths and got frankfurters for dinner, which were delicious, and for dessert I had my very first crepe! I had been intending to get a crepe since we got here, but it hadn’t worked out logistically until our last night, and I have to say, I saved the best dessert for last!

(Market in the snow)

For my very first crepe I got nutella and bananas, and by the time Sarah ordered her crepe and made it to our table I had already almost finished mine! I can’t even begin to describe the deliciousness that was this crepe; nutella makes anything amazing, and with the combination of bananas and it being all melted, it was heaven.

Anyways, with the dessert crepe I would say that Munich ended on a high note, and that night we went to bed early and then woke up the following morning and headed to Austria!

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