April 5, 2014: It’s a Holiday Post (part I)

So it’s been a couple of weeks since I last sat down and wrote a blog.  The first week of silence was intentional considering I didn’t really do much during those weeks.  But now it is time to play some catch up and talk about my super eventful week and a half or so!  Considering how eventful my travels were, I’ve decided to divide them into two posts: part I, my trip to Munich and part II: skiing.  Yeah, you read that right, skiing, but more on that later.  First, beautiful Munich!

 

Last time I went to Munich I was only able to stay for one night, and considering how much there is to do in such a big city, I decided to go back.  This time I went with Donald because he had never seen Munich outside of Oktoberfest and it was already on the way anyway.  So we ended up staying at my friend Eva’s again.  Sadly she didn’t have too much time to hang out because I was a bit late in figuring out our exact plans, but we did eventually get to hang out.  The first day we sort of took it easy and left in the afternoon.  There was really only one thing worth mentioning on the train.  When we got on the train from Nuremberg to Ingolstadt (we had to change trains there) we noticed two very obviously non-German guys surrounded by three German officials who were interrogating them about their passports in what was at least on one side, very broken English.  The officials even went so far as to search one of their bags in order to try and find a specific document, later scolding the young man for not having understood their request sooner and producing the document himself.  Even though the issue was resolved, it made me reflect a bit.  I am also a foreigner in this country.  I have to have a visa and I had to fill out a decent amount of paperwork and jump through the required hoops.  And I probably got through the process a bit more easily because I am from the U.S.  But that still does not change the fact that I am also a long term resident in Germany.  That being said, I have never been harassed by any official here.  Not when the cops pulled me over on my bike (yes, that is a thing) and not even when I went to the hospital.  Now maybe it’s because I am on a student visa or maybe there are some other factors I haven’t really taken into account and maybe there was really a problem with these guys’ visas, but why on Earth were there random officials on this train checking their visas to begin with?  I have never seen anyone on a train checking passports.  It was just bizarre and even if it was not the case, the outward appearance of the situation would lead most to believe the darkness of their skin may have come into play at some point.  It also made me think of Louis C.K.  That aside, we made it safely to Munich at around 6 in the evening and since we needed to wait for an hour or so to go to where we were staying, we decided to wait in a nice little park by the justice building.  After that we managed to navigate the public transportation and arrive at Eva’s, where her brother greeted us.

 

The next day we decided to go to the Olympic park since the weather was relatively nice.  And while the gray sky didn’t make for the best photos, the weather was nice and warm.  So once we got there another somewhat curious thing happened to us.  We were walking along and this lady in a motorized wheelchair comes speeding towards us asking if we could take her to the Olympic Tower in the middle of the park (in German of course).  Of course we agreed since we were already headed that way and so we set out.  Only I think she was in some kind of a hurry as she had her lever pressed so far down if must have been the equivalent of flooring the gas pedal of the car.  We practically had to jog in order to keep up with her.  And on random occasions she would turn around and say something, and even though we were clearly struggling to keep up, she maintained her speed.  This went on for close to five minutes before we reached the tower.  At that point she thanked us and then proceeded to speed off in the opposite direction from the tower.  Outside of that event the rest of the day was pretty touristy and unremarkable.  We climbed to the top of the large hill in the park, where we could see the entire city.  We took several panoramas along with many regular photos and then leisurely made our way around the park.  We were hoping to see a couple of paddle boats in the pond lose a few of their louder crew members to the water as they jumped from boat to boat, screaming as if they were aboard the sinking Titanic, but we had no such luck that day.

 

At the top of the hill in Olympic Park

At the top of the hill in Olympic Park

 

After that we walked around the city for awhile.  We went to one specific place Eva’s brother recommended, but I don’t remember what it was called anymore.  It was pretty neat though.  There were all of these museums there which were built in a sort of Roman architecture.  So we took some pictures and eventually made our way to a McDonalds, mostly for a bathroom break, but then we felt obligated to actually buy something and take a short rest.  So frozen milkshake disguised as a coffee in hand, we sat outside and enjoyed the wonderful view of passing cars.  After that we wandered over the to town hall and saw the clock play, which usually included several figures dancing around as the clock chimes.  Then we made our way over to a nice river with a man-made island and walked on that for awhile.  It was really pretty.  After walking around that area for awhile we met up with my friend and went to the English Garden to enjoy a nice beer with some overpriced food at the Chinese Tower.  Food was eaten, beer was drunk, and the company of friends was enjoyed.  We then proceeded to continue the party at a Mexican joint not far away with half priced cocktails (which by American standards are still somewhat expensive).  But it was good fun.

 

2014-04-03_17-53-07

 

The next day, and our last full day in Munich, we got up and after having what can only be described as a breakfast of champions, we ventured to a little castle called Nymphenburg.  And while we didn’t actually take a tour of the palace, which would have been nice but probably much like any other Baroque palace I’ve seen, we picnicked on the grounds and then wandered around for at least an hour.  There were geese, swans, and a various assortment of other water foul.  We even saw a fight between several swans on an island in the middle of one of the ponds.  The grounds were pretty nice, but not everything was in bloom yet, so it is probably a bit nicer when everything is green.  And like the previous day, it would have been nicer if the sky wasn’t the color of slate.  But we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.  Then we went to back to the center of the city and I showed Donald several things which Eva showed me on my previous trip to Munich (churches, the Residence, etc.)  We also managed to find the surfers at the English Garden.  There is a canal which runs through the park and at the very edge, there is a sort of permanent wave made by the water flowing from underneath the bridge which surfers like to practice on.  We watched for about 20 minutes, mesmerized by their skills.  Some of the surfers were even children, and trust me, they were kicking ass themselves.  Then we met with Eva and some of her coworkers for another beer.  We sat around and chatted for awhile before deciding to go eat at a burger place.  Luckily for me the list of veggie burgers was extensive.  I finally settled on a Mid-west inspired creation with black beans and avocados.  I was not disappointed.  In fact the only veggie burger I can think of that beats it is the black bean burger severed at the Hound.

 

Nympehnburg

Nympehnburg

Surfers in the English Garden

Surfers in the English Garden

 

And that pretty much sums up my second edition of Munich.  The next day we breakfasted, and then hoped on our bus to Switzerland, skis in tow.

 

2014-04-05_09-51-28Photos courtesy of Donald :)

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