Do you guys ever wonder where I come up with some of these titles? Most of them are really boring, I know, and sometimes maybe they are even downright self indulgent. But let me tell you, when you are sitting at a long wooden table, looking down at the bottom of a gigantic empty 1 litre glass, you get some pretty strange ideas popping into your head. And that is pretty much what Munich is turning out to be...
We left Buchs, got lost in Bergenz, Austria, and then finally made our way to Fussen in Southern Germany along the Austrian border. Near Fussen, there are two amazing castles that were inhabited by some of the last German royalty in the late 1800's. One of the castles was used by Walt Disney as the model for his castles in Disneylands all over the world. Well, the castles are in fact beautiful, but man it was pretty crowded - I guess we should have expected that with Christmas vacations for everyone. After walking around for a while admiring the views we got back into the car and headed for Munich. I felt well prepared having printed my Mapquest directions the day before. Well, forget about that, they sucked! We got turned around for over an hour on a bunch of freeways and eventually I just gave up and went with my gut. I headed or the Hauptbanhof (main train station), because they are always in the centre (Zentrum) of town, and I could find my way to the hostel from there. Sure enough, after 15 minutes, I had us there. I should know better. I should trust my travellers instincts more by now shouldn't I? Or maybe it was just pure luck. Anyway, we were both cranky after an hour of that, but the room was nice and the bed comfy so that's good.
Actually, having the car for a week helped us get around fairly well to places like Interlaken that we really could not have done by train with the time we had, but otherwise, I would not recommend it for Europe. Cars are impossible in the cities (The best part of the cities are for pedestrians anyway...), the trains station is always near where you want to be, and parking costs are outrageous. Stick with the train folks... Case in point, tomorrow we have to drive to the airport with a gazillion turns, when there is a metro station 200 metres from the hostel that would get us there with one transfer. That's probably the best example I can give.
Anyway, Munich is a nice city. Lots of nice old churches (one particular Baroque one built around the apogee of that style's lifespan is superb) and great main square with city hall, and above all, excellent Bavarian culture. We ate bratwurst off the street, and eventually found our way to the hofbrauhauss, a gigantic beer hall built back in the 1500's if you can believe it. Inside, it must hold 1000 people, and everyone is drinking gigantic 1 litre beers and wolfing down pork and potato plates. In the background, the oompapa band plays on for hours. It was about as German as you would expect. And that's when it got surreal. Kristine said to me "Hey, did you notice that absolutely every man in here has the same moustache"? I said, "Yeah, you're right!" And then, having downed most of my "Dunkel", I drifted off into lala land, and everyone started to look like my Uncle Frank! Yes, as you guessed, Uncle Frank is of German origin, but one should not play on the stereotypes should one? But it was uncanny, they all looked like him! On my way to the toilets, I almost turned a guy from his shoulder and said "Hey, Uncle Frank! What are you doing in Munich!?!" Weird things happen.
Then I walked into the bathroom, where there were at least 65 urinals. Makes sense, I thought, as I deposited a good 25% of my beer back into the pipes of the proprietor.
And so ends our European adventure - standing over a urinal. Better than under it. I guess that's how a lot of adventures end, at least for men. Tomorrow morning we are airborne again and headed for (drum roll) Egypt! We're really looking forward to the change in culture back to something less familiar, but at the same time we are afraid of what the food will be like. Just spoiled Europeans now, we are! I'm sure it will be fine... We are joining a group with Gecko's again, having had a good time with that company in China, and there are a tonne of sights to see in Egypt and Jordan, the two countries that are a part of this tour. I'm not sure what the computer access is going to be like for the next couple of months as we cover this ground and make our way down Africa, so, please bear with us - We will always be here, and we love having you with us!!!!!