Munich Travel Blog› entry 14 of 16 › view all entries
June 8th, 2006 – by: alison_wndrlnd
In case you live under a rock weren't aware of it, there was a little event going on in Germany last month known as The World Cup.
Think crazy. Think madness. Think crowds. Think insaneness. Think fun. NOW, multiply it ALL by a thousand!! That gives you some idea of the atmosphere of Munich when we arrived the evening before the Opening Games.
And after an entire day of traveling, and having nothing to eat except a pretzel each in Salzburg, we decided that our first order of business in Munich was to hit the hostel bar.
By 10.00 or so that night, me, Laur, and this other girl we were hanging out with were the only girls in the entire bar, surrounded by dozens and dozens of drunk, rowdy German and Austrian and Mexican and Italian hooligans. Naturally we drew the crowd. ;) The atmosphere at the bar was unbelievably insane.
Tobias and our German boys were tons of fun though!! They taught us the key to good beer: Pitchers = Bad, Bubbles in your glass = Good. :)
I don't want to ruin the memories of that night by trying to explain it all here though, so we'll just leave it at that.
If we thought that was crazy, the next day in Munich was even worse (but really better). Germany's opening game against Costa Rica happened to be taking place in Munich that evening, and to say the fans were out in support would be the understatement of the century. I've never seen flags used so creatively as forms of clothing before in my life. And man, do people get traditional when they get patriotic. Lederhosen everywhere! The atmosphere of the entire city was just infectious...you couldn't help but get wrapped up in the excitement of it all! Marienplatz, the main square of town, was even ready for the match....big screens, a stage set up, and a ginormous temporary Beirgarten set up just in the square for the match that night (People had been pre-gaming at it since 8.
Right, World Cup aside though, Munich is fantastic. It's the prettiest, cleanest, safest city evah. It's very strange to experience it though, because on the outside, Munich looks like a very old, traditional German town...and then you have to stop and realize that NOTHING in it (save the Frauenkirche and the Glockenspiel) is more than 60 years old. The entire city has just been rebuilt according to original plans, instead of modernizing it after the war. If you came to Munich completely ignorant of modern history, you would never know that a thing had ever happened in that city. NOTHING overtly marks or memorializes the events or people of the war...yet at the same time, you're completely surrounded by it: beer halls where Hitler gave speeches, the town hall where Hitler gave orders and where Kristalnacht began, the street corner where the Beer Hall Putsch was stopped, the secret back alleys that Resistors used.
Aside from long afternoon naps near the Nude Beaches in the English Gardens, guided tours were how we spent most of our next few days anyway. The Free Tour that I mentioned above was fabulous. New Munich Tours (www.newmunich.com). Seriously, I can't recommend them enough if you're ever in Munich. They run the Free Tour on a tips-only basis, and our tour guide - this absolutley insane Canadian guy, Ozzie - was so beyond fabulous that we tipped him very well.
I'm getting ahead of myself with the Free Tour though, because the first tour we really took was a day trip out to Dachau (also with New Munich.
The whole time we were walking through Dachau, I just couldn't take it in. You couldn't believe that it could possibly have been real, and that the things you were looking at were actually used. I think I must have separated myself from the experience, because throughout the day it was "just a tour"....and it wasn't until the next morning when I woke up that it all really started sinking in and hitting me, and that I realized what it was I had just seen.
The next day we did a happier tour and went out to Neuschwanstein Castle. Neuschwanstein was built by 'Mad King Ludwig' in the 1800s, and you'll recognize it today as the inspiration for Disney's Cinderella castle. The tour company we went with (Radius Tours) was totally not worth it, but the Castle definitely was. Un.be.lievable. Everything about the whole site is like something out of a fairytale cartoon world. King Ludwig himself was pretty interesting too. He was a bit bizarre, and liked to spend taxpayers money to build weird and beautiful castles throughout the area. Neuschwanstein was coming up to be his pride and glory, but it was never finished. Half-way through it's construction, Ludwig was declared insane by doctors (without any doctors ever actually examining him), put into a hospital, and mysteriously showed up dead in a river a few days later. To this day, no one knows the truth about his death.
My favourite tidbit of Ludwig from the tour was that "the swan was his 2nd favorite animal after the peacock." WTFLOL!? The Swan though, obviously, as comes across in the Castle's name, and in the area's famous body of Water: Swan Lake.
Back in Munich...We'd been drinking for 5 days straight since we arrived, but our final night there we pulled the ultimate with a trip to what is possibly the most famous Biergarten in the world: The Hofbrauhaus. Oompah bands, big women in dresses and pigtails selling pretzels, and Beer by the Litre. It don't get much better. :] Durnk. My sister finished about 5 litres. I got through about three, I think.
We closed the place out. And then we went back to the Hostel Bar and drank more with our roomates: Naked Italian Pot-Head guy, and Earth, our new hippie, pierced, tatooed, Madonna-lovin' Cali boy. Uber durnk. Good times. ;)
The End (ish).
There were a few more experiences with people we met as we spent the night in Frankfurt Airport, and a rather strange night on the town in Galway (where we returned to so I could pick up the rest of my luggage), but really the trip ended with Munich....the absolute best possible end to one crazy month. :)
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