Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reunion in Munich

This past weekend was the weekend Josh has waited his whole life for - Oktoberfest.  Second only to the birth of his children, this is probably the highlight of Josh's time in Europe or for that matter, on Earth ;).  

Just a quick side note before I go into our trip to Munich.  A moment of pride if you will.  On the way to the airport, the cabbie took us on a bit of a joyride so to speak, probably assuming we were tourists.  He claimed he got the wrong terminal (even though I clearly stated Terminal 1) and then got "lost".  Our normal cost to get to the airport is 25 to 30 euros depending on traffic and at 5AM you can be assured there is NO traffic in Barcelona.  So when the meter came to 41 euros you can bet I fought it tooth and nail IN SPANISH.  AND I WON!!  Ok, there's my moment.  I'm happy :)

We arrived in Munich first thing on Friday morning after an uneventful flight.  Like in Barcelona, the train and metro systems were very efficient (thank you German engineering) and we quickly found our hotel.  The hotel was in a perfect location albeit with very weird see thru bathrooms - yes after 18 years of being together, I do still like to have my privacy and so I found it a bit awkward.  But given how little time we spent in the hotel, it was worth it.

Josh demonstrating how see thru the bathroom is....

One of the first things I noticed in Munich was the cars.  Yes, I know that Germany is the home of the BMW, Mercedes and Audi, however, I also recognize that doesn't necessarily mean that all the inhabitants here can afford them.  But apparently that's not true because the crisis most definitely hasn't seemed to have hit Germany because 3 out of every 4 cars was one of those.

I've digressed again, sorry.  But part of travel is about experiences and observations, right?  The best part about our trip, aside from being Oktoberfest, was that our awesome friends Kyle and Kelly, made the trip out to meet us in Munich.  We met up with Kyle and Kelly shortly after checking in to the hotel and since Oktoberfest didn't start til Saturday, we did the touristy thing for the day.

Munich is a beautiful city with a haunted history.  It was a mix of old and new, mostly new though with a European flair.  Founded in the 1100s but likely inhabited long before that, Munich was a hub for artists and inventors and the like for centuries.  In the 1500s it became the capital of Bavaria (for those that don't know, Bavaria is a state within Germany).  However, it also was the place where Hitler and his Nazis hailed from and only 10 miles from Dachau, the first concentration camp.

Because it was a hub for the Nazi's it was also heavily damaged during WWII and was hit by 71 air raids over 6 years.  Which means that the city was essentially rebuilt after WWII.  Hence the mix of old and new that I mentioned.  What I also noticed, which I found a bit strange, was the chicken wire on many of the buildings, covering many statues.  I googled hoping to find out the reasoning for it but can't seem to find one - my guess is a pigeon problem, but it would have to be pretty excessive to chicken wire EVERYTHING!
Don't actually know what this building and statue are but I liked it and so here's a pic!

As we are walking to Marienplaz (big center city square)

I thought this was your typical market kiosk but had yet to see the big market

Cool statue

I think we just saw this guy on Barceloneta Beach a few weeks ago!!  I guess in some cases it doesn't matter where you are - a bachelor party is still a bachelor party...

We spent the afternoon doing the touristy thing.  My favorite had to be the markets.  Primarily food markets, they were quaint little stalls that looked nothing like the huge open markets that we have here in Barcelona.

New town hall at Marienplatz - stunning!  And I loved the flowers along the building too!

May pole in the distance

The start of the markets

Gorgeous food booths 

Chestnuts both opened and still in their pods.  At first I will admit, I thought they were sea urchins til I noticed the little nut in the middle...

Um Botox????

May pole closer view

We like to keep our bicycles locked up with our historical treasures!

Cute little fake animals

Lunch was at a biergarden near the markets.  Delicious beef stew, pork and more.  Pork and veal definitely are the popular meats of choice here in Bavaria.

After lunch we went on a mission... leiderhosen for the boys and dirndls for the girls.  Yes, we were going to Oktoberfest in full costume.  When in Rome... or I guess in this case, Munich.  And we weren't the only ones looking which only helped to get us in the spirit of the festivities.  You'll have to wait for the next entry to actually see pictures of us decked out though :)

Having found our costumes for the next day we headed back to the hotel to drop off our winnings and then back out to hit the pavement some more.  We stopped for our first beers (ok, everyone else had a beer, I had water since I still wasn't ready to jump on the beer-wagon yet) and just hung out for a bit enjoying the scenery around us.

Freaky gargoyles at the New Town Hall

This is the Frauenkirche, a Cathedral known for its 2 brick towers and onion style domes at the top. 

This picture is for Aidan... GAME STOP!!!

Dinner was very typical German / Bavarian fare - and at a very old restaurant to boot.  When we called for reservations they told us they were full but we had to pass by anyways on our way back to Marienplatz so we just stopped in and surprisingly, they had a table!!  All the restaurants we went to over the weekend we found had fresh pretzels instead of bread with meals, just one more thing to remind us that we weren't in Barcelona any more!!

Kyle and Kelly

Big beers with some fresh pretzels

Theme of the weekend...mmmmm Beer....

Next up... Oktoberfest!!!


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