Sunday, August 02-09
Okay…so we arrived in Munich around 11am…and couldn’t find Ralf. We didn’t get an e-mail from him on couchsurfing this morning before we left Frankfurt, and so didn’t know if we were going to find his house or if he was going to meet us, or what! We wandered around the train station for a bit, and then decided to find the tourist information centre, as they would most likely have wireless internet (oh, and this is after we sat down on the curb beside a coffee shop to figure out that they didn’t even have wireless).
The information guy was kind of useless, to be honest…and ended up directing us to an internet cafe! He didn’t even understand what we were looking for at all. In any case, we gave up on the internet idea and called Ralf instead…after two tries and 60c later, I managed to reach him and we made arrangements to meet at his house between 6 and 7pm. I felt better knowing I wasn’t keeping anyone waiting, so we both got comfortable with our backpacks and extra bags and hiked all over Munich!
We followed my guided tour again – using my pre-printed google maps and numbered tourist sites corresponding to information and photos to match each site. (Not going to lie, I am pretty proud of my maps and information I organized!) We saw pretty much everything!! We walked and walked and walked. First of all we walked through the walking part of the town where all of the amazing shops were located. Fortunately it was Sunday today, so nothing was open, otherwise I might have done some serious shopping damage!
There are an insane number of churches in Munich and all of them were sooo beautiful. The first one was St Micheal Kirche. It was pretty cool because there was a service in progress and there was music and people singing. The churches here are lighter than the ones in France – ie better pictures – and not nearly as depressing, either!
The second church was the very famous site in Munich. It is the church with the two green towers that you see in all of the tourist information! It is called Fauenkirche. It was under construction a little bit (like most of them are in Europe) and the inside wasn’t quite as nice as the previous church, but it was nice to see.
We walked through the centre of the city and saw the Rathaus – which is where the current government buildings are located. It is the town hall (Neus Rathaus) and is absolutely gorgeous. There were wonderful stone carvings and sculptures all over the immense building. It was built between 1867-1909 and is over 300 feet in length. In the centre there was the clock tower where there is the world famous carillon. It has been there since 1908. The carillon shows parts of Munich’s history including the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V. And Renata (don’t know who they are, but apparently they are important). The other part of the carillon shows a famous dance of Munich called the “Schafflertanz” that was arranged during the time of the plague and is currently preformed every 7th year in Munich.
We walked through the centre of the town hall and continued walking towards St Kajetan Kirche. It was completely yellow on the outside, but was absolutely gorgeous on the inside, with many angel carvings and statues all in white. Here, also, there was a service in process and the music and acoustics were pretty phenomenal. We saw the Feldhernhalle – which, again, I don’t really know what it is…however, there were some neat statues there! It was right next to the yellow church and next to the Bavarian residences. They weren’t as amazing as the current town hall buildings, but they were very large and good to see, I suppose. I think they use the various courtyard for performances and celebrations as a few were set up for this reason.
Walking back towards the centre we saw the National Theatre. It is constructed beautifully, and I would have liked to go back in the evening when it was going to be open, to see inside, but Sophie wasn’t really interested and we weren’t staying right in Munich, so that wasn’t possible. It actually seats 2,100 people!! We stopped in a park to eat our random food that we had left over from yesterday for lunch and I had a nice little nap on my backpack. It was the perfect temperature.
Then, we went on a marathon walk all the way down to another government type building. We passed the centre of justice and other official government buildings on the way. We walked through a very nice park and saw a couple of other churches – but it was very, very, hot and there was a rain storm coming…so we went to the beer hall.
The beer hall, called Hofbräuhaus, has existed since 1644 and is famous for beer, food, tourists, oo,m-pah music, and Lederhosen. It was quite the hall. Absolutely huge and full of people everywhere. There were picnic-like tables for seating, and we managed to find a spot for our bags and us to squeeze in. We decided not to order food because it was a real tourist trap, however, we ordered beer and a bretzel. We split a 50cL beer, which no one ever does. The server gave us a little bit of a hard time, but we managed to only have a 25cl beer each. It was actually really good. Sophie picked out one that was mixed with lemonade or something, so I actually enjoyed it! (My rationale for learning how to drink paid off!) It was an awesome experience, actually. Definitely the best thus far – although I have a feeling it will be hard to compare experiences soon!
When we left the beer hall it had finished raining for the moment, so we wandered back through the centre of the city and to the subway to take the 45 min ride to Grafing to find our couch surfing location for the next two nights. It was absolutely pouring rain when we arrived, so Sophie put on her poncho and walked around the tiny station to find a map so that we could walk to the house. And, we actually made it without any wrong turns at all, I was very impressed. Sophie and I make an excellent map-reading team!
It was slightly awkward knocking on this random door in this town in Germany, however, Sybille (Ralf’s mom) and Ralf opened up the door and said “Hi”. Herman, Ralf’s dad came and introduced himself as well and we were shown where we could leave our bags in the room that would be ours for the next two nights. We then went down to the kitchen area and sat around the table and chatted with Ralf and Herman. Everyone was so amazingly nice and all spoke English so well. Out of the five of us, I was the only one who wasn’t speaking in my second language…it made me kind of sad! I learned a lot about Germany and Herman liked talking about the time he spent in the US. It was awesome to be so welcome in some random home.
We ate dinner out in the back yard – and the dinner was amazing! There were three different kinds of meat (I was so full by the end, but you know the typical European force-feeding concept) and salads and everything! I think it helped that we were there on a Sunday evening, because they explained that this wasn’t typical. It was sure great, however. We also met Bettina, Ralf’s girlfriend and she, too, spoke flawless English and was interested in who we were and what we were doing. It was a great dinner.
Afterwards, we walked through the town to the local beer hall to have some wine! The beer hall in Grafing is the oldest building in the town and was located right in the centre. There was absolutely no one there at all. We had a rosé, of which I managed to have about 2 tablespoons….we also had beer at dinner – I have had a serious amount of alcohol today for someone that doesn’t normally drink at all!! It was good to see around the town a bit, however, because I don’t think we will have time at all tomorrow or anything before we leave.
I can’t believe how awesome the couch surfing is! The parents totally adopted us. Ralf is super nice. They fed us. So awesome. I am going to be sad to leave in 2 days!!
Sunday, August 02-09