Sunday, October 24, 2010

Europe - Take 2: Munich

From Zurich, we boarded a train headed for Munich.  The ride was filled with beautiful scenery of the Swiss then German countryside.  The plan was to spend our first day exploring around the city on our own, and our second day would be spent at Oktoberfest with friends.  Well those plans quickly changed when we were met on the platform by Oliver & his dad.  We put our bags in lockers at the train station and headed for the craziness that is Oktoberfest.  It was busy and crowded but so much fun.  We were lucky enough to be with friends who spoke German and English and their friends from Germany which made for fantastic entertainment and company.  They even taught us the most important phrase in the German language (at least for us) "Ein mass bier bitte" = one liter beer please.  We drank beer by the liter (I even had beer! It was mixed with lemonade, but it was still beer) and ate some delicious food.  After probably a few too many of those huge German beers, we headed off to find our hotel.  

Corey hoisting his "mass" - liter of beer

Friendly faces make for fun times!

The next day we headed out to meet up with Oliver and Claire again.  We decided on touring the city with Oliver as our guide (his father is from Munich).  We started at the Glockenspiel, headed to an outdoor market and then headed back to the Glockenspiel to see it "chime."  The market was filled with sights of fresh produce and beautiful flowers, the smells of freshly baked bread and coffee brewing and the sounds of people socializing and selling their goods.  I could've stayed there all day milling around.

The market

Waiting for the Glockenspiel to chime
Corey & I under the Glockenspiel

We then visited other sights such as two beautiful churches, the opera house, an expensive shopping street, and the Hofbrauhaus before heading to the English Gardens.  The English Gardens can be compared to Central Park, but its even larger.  We walked through the park along the lake and stopped for lunch at a biergarten on the lakeshore.  The scenery was absolutely beautiful and the weather couldn't have been better.  We sat at the shore eating our bratwurst, sauerkraut and potatoes while drinking beer before heading back to the main square.  After lunch we did a little window shopping and finished our day with gelato and coffee - we felt very European ;-)

Intricate detailing in a church

The door handles at the opera house - I want my own!

Lunch at the biergarten

English gardens
 That evening we were on our own so we made sure to see the city at night and get a bit of souvenir shopping done.  Dinner was my favorite cheap meal we had in our entire trip - we bought pizza slices, wine and beer from a little hole-in-the-wall and ate on the street watching the world go by.

Unfortunately our trip to Munich was only a short 2 days.  We had a great time, made that much better by Oliver & Claire - we got spoiled having a German speaker with us everywhere!  We've decided that we definitely want to return and see more of the historical sites that we didn't have time to visit.  And Corey would like to try more beer as well, I'm sure.

Early the next morning we boarded a train from Munich heading toward our third destination - Vienna, Austria.

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