Three short days in Munich with so much to see and even more to do. Run Fast!
We arrived midday, with a general idea of where we were staying and some screenshots of our map to get us there. The first lesson learned while backpacking and relying on wifi, is that you don't have any during your transit between cities, or when you arrive in a new city and need to get to wherever you're staying. Queue the genius idea to screenshot your itinerary, your train ticket, and the map to get you from the station to your home. A lesson we learned quickly and forgot even quicker, but somehow we always made it.
This time however, we weren't headed for a hostel. We were lucky enough to stay with friends of friends, Sven and Sophie! Yes, actually the most adorable german names ever. After a bit of confusion on when they would be home, which button rang their front door, a few hotel hops to steal wifi, and some extra schnitzel we finally made it up the five flights of stairs to our temporary Munich oasis. Free stay, you say!? A backpackers dream. But that pales in comparison to the absolute treat it was to stay with these wonderful people. With a home that looked like it came out of an ikea catalogue, friends that cook and eat together every night, and directions to where I can purchase a dirndl for Oktoberfest, I was one happy girl.
We went to bed early and prepped for a full weekend. Although we didn't have much time in Munich we wanted to make sure we did a little tour of the city on Saturday, since Sunday was reserved for Oktoberfest. So, Saturday morning we borrowed some bikes from the neighbors and Sven, Sophie, Brandon and I took off on a cycling adventure. What a wonderful way to see a city. After having walked our way through Berlin and Prague, bikes were so much more...efficient. Not to mention the fact that Munich basically gives the right of way to cyclists. I'm still confused as to where the people walk, since all the sidewalks are bike paths.
First stop, Olympiapark. I must admit, Sven and Sophie knew so much about the history of their city, it made me question if I would be an equally awesome tour guide, if someone were to come stay with me in San Francisco. Nonetheless, I was thankful to have them and listened with open ears and a full heart, as we cycled our way through the city. Olympiapark was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics. It's located in an area of Munich known as the "Oberwiesenfeld" or "upper meadow-field" which is essentially what we biked through to get to it. My favorite part about the German language is that they simply smush words together, and are not phased by how long they become. I imagine it would make learning the language a bit simpler, since you can basically dissect each word into smaller parts. To this day, Olympiapark serves as a venue for cultural and social events. We rode all the way to the top of the hill (mountain), where Sven pointed out his apartment, as well as the view of the Schwimmhalle, park, pond and communication tower.
WHY does every city in Europe have a large communication tower? It's awesome. They all look a little different, but they all serve the same purpose; helping Stephanie navigate where the heck she is.
After cycling up that giant hill, we all agreed on one thing, we deserved a beer. Next stop was to the English Garden, or Englischer Garten, Munich's largest park area. Google says 417 hectares is 1030 acres, but I'm not buying it. Regardless the English Garden is larger than Hyde Park in London or Central Park in New York. We mazed through trees and rivers, over bridges and past tons of people seemingly headed somewhere exciting. They were right.
Welcome to Chinesischer Turm. Although I haven't been to all the biergartens in Munich, I'll go ahead and claim that this is the best one, because it was awesome. Named Chineseischer Turm for the Chinese Tower built by Elector Karl Theodor in 1790. Like most things it was destroyed in World War II, but was rebuilt a few years later. The Chinesischer Turm beer garden is the second largest beer garden in Munich, with about 7,500 seats. The food stalls offer traditional beer garden food such as Stecherlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Hendi (roasted chicken), Schweinshaxn (roasted pork knuckle, YUM!), Obatzda and Auszogne. Watching Sven and Sophie try to translate to Brandon and I was quite hilarious, but if there's one thing we're good at, it's eating.We stuck to the classics and were pleasantly surprised to find that the pretzels are actually the size of your head. The beer is only €7 and you get to keep your mug! Well, I'm not sure if you're supposed to, but that's besides the point.
Post beer and lunch, Brandon and I continued to explore the city by bike, crossing rivers and bridges to unknown landmarks and finally ending in the center of town for some shopping, and a nap on a large plot of grass. Win.
Sunday came like Christmas. Oktoberfest had always been a bucket list item but I didn't think it would happen so quickly. Now, here I was, in Munich, at just the right time and with an traditional dirndl to wear. We began the day with a traditional Bavarian breakfast - boiled weisswurst sausages served with loads of sweet mustard, freshly baked pretzels and a refreshing Weissbier. It's not often that we get to have beer for breakfast, and I was all for it!
We rode our bikes down to the grounds and explored the fair a bit before landing in the most epic 'tent' I've ever seen. We sang, we drank, we ate, and we sang again.
German Lyrics to Ein Prosit
" Ein Prosit"
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
OANS! ZWOA! DREI! G'SUFFA!
As I sat in the tent with Sven and Sophie and my crumpled up piece of paper with the phonetic spelling of Ein Prosit in my hand, part of me didn't want to leave.
Ayn praw-seet, ayn praw-seet
Ayn praw-seet, ayn praw-seet
Do we have to continue on, lets just stay a few more days! I love this place! But alas, the journey must continue, there's still so much adventuring to be done.