Monday, September 24, 2018

And Then We Went to Munich

People don't take trips - trips take people --John Steinbeck
I marvel sometimes about time... You can spend a lot of time looking forward to something in the future, and then all of a sudden, you find yourself on the other side of it, remembering the thing you looked forward to all that time. A couple of weeks ago, I was here on my couch. A couple of weeks later, I'm back on it again. In between that time, I was on the other side of the world. Now you see me, then you see me again, a bit older and a bit weary.

After being in Belfast the week before, seeing familiar things and visiting with familiar people, we boarded a plane and flew to Munich, a city we only knew from its massive airport from past trips. Travel by plane is predictably blah and tiresome for me: the banality of having to stand in a queue for everything really gets to me: lining up to check in, lining up to drop off bags, lining up to go through security, lining up to get on the plane, to go to the bathroom on the plane, to get off the plane, to go through customs, to get on a train... I know this is what civilized society looks like, but it's during these times that I can see myself running screaming through the crowd just go change it up a bit. Man. Get out of my way.

We stumbled off the train in the centre of Munich and trundled along the streets towards our Airbnb which we couldn't check into until later in the day. The hubby had researched a place to stop and eat and hang out until then, since neither of us were particularly interested in dragging our bags around the city. And well, the beer was predicatbly good, but the food was even better. And, while we're at it, I may as well get all the food shots out of the way. Here's dinner the first night:


Dinner #2:


Dinner #3:


Afternoon tea and cake on Day 2. We had more on Day 3, but I was too famished to take a photo of that. More on that later:


Having never spent any appreciable time in Germany before, I didn't really have any huge expectations about what Munich would be like. I knew it would be a European city, so I had some ideas of what I would see. The streets were lined with bicycles absolutely everywhere, as well as bicycle lanes adjacent to every sidewalk. Being a relatively flat city, it means that many people cycle to and from work and school. I liked that a lot. I'm not super comfortable on a bicycle, but maybe I would be if I had a protected bike lane and a flat route:


We decided to walk to one of the town plazas, Marienplatz. It was about a half hour gentle walk from where we were staying, with plenty of sites to take in:








We knew we were close when we came upon the Viktualienmarkt. If you follow this blog at all, you know how much I love a good market:






Just past the market was the plaza, complete with a gothic cathedral (St. Peter's) and mounds of tourists everywhere:



We had no agenda, so we just wandered around and took in the sites, stopping in at shops and in museums along the way:







The next day, after much deliberating, we decided we'd make our way out to Neuschwanstein Castle, which is the castle upon which Disney modelled Cinderella's castle. I say we deliberated because it was going to be a two-hour train journey to get there, and we weren't sure we wanted to join the hordes of tourists in pilgrimage to it. But how often do you get to see a fairy tale castle?

So, we got onto a very full train full of very aggressive Japanese tourists (they're supposed to be the most polite of all tourists, but man, NOT TRUE on a train), and travelled out to the little town of Fussen. As soon as you step out of the shuttle bus, you can see the castle in the distance:


On the way up, we learned that big, imposing castles are pretty much normal in Bavaria. This is Hohenschwangau Castle, the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. It was just after the ticket centre for the other castle, and I felt a bit sorry for it looming off in the distance, as everyone was clamouring to see "the big one." If a centuries-old castle can't get any respect, I mean, what's the point?


But King Ludwig II decided he wanted a bigger castle, and so he decided to build one, and unlike many other kings in history, built it out of the funds from his own pocket, just because he could. The hubby and I started trudging up the hill to Neuschwanstein, as we'd elected again to avoid the hordes and forgo any tours. And as we approached, it just got bigger and bigger:



As did the crowds:


When we got to the foot of it, I stood there and thought, "Well, how's that for a fairytale castle."


There was scaffolding up around parts of it, because we all know that big houses always need a lot of work, and this was one hell of a DIY-job:





But the views required no alteration:



So, after all that, the hubby and I looked at each other and said, "Well, we've seen it. Now what do we do?" After getting pushed around by the masses, we really didn't feel like hanging around with them for much longer.

So we took the train back. And it was honestly the best part of the day because the train was virtually empty:


And we got to properly enjoy the landscape, which is way more my style:








I was so tired and hungry by the time we got back that all I could do was gobble up some tea and cake and lay down for a nap, hence no photo of the second tea break.

We arrived back on Vancouver Island late on Friday night after a series of flight delays and sleepless travel, and while I am grateful to have had the experience, I am even more grateful to be home. I don't have any knitting to share today because I'm fighting jet lag and a bit of a cold, but it's just as well since crowded trains and cramped airplanes are not my favourite places to knit. I've also learned that I think I'm coming to a point in my life when I have no desire to follow the masses on holiday anymore. I think the next vacation will involve a bit more relaxing and a lot more naps...

...as demonstrated below. I think I'll join him. Have a great week!


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