Back in the Land of Guten Tag

Note: The entry is backdated as I could only write it offline due to the lack of internet access in Salzburg – Munich.

Marienplatz, MünchenWhen I learned German in the early 90’s, I learned that there are two ways of greeting in Deutsch: Guten Tag or Grüß Gott. The latter is preferred by the Austrians – in fact, I didn’t hear any Guten Tag at all when I was in Austria. I am now in the city of Munich or München, as the Germans call it. Munich is the third largest city in Germany and is the capital city of Bavaria.

My day today started off by getting up early and having breakfast at the hotel. After checking out, I walked to the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof – about 15 minutes on foot. The train left at 11.03 from Salzburg and arrived at 12.31 in Munich. The train originated from Vienna, so by the time it reached Salzburg, many of the seats were occupied already.

I took an underground train from the München Hauptbahnhof to the hotel, one stop away at Theresienwiese. I could see that they were already erecting massive stalls from different bräuhauses for the upcoming Oktoberfest around Theresienwise. I suppose they want to be well-prepared for thirsty beer lovers from all over the world! The hotel that I’m staying at is called Senator Hotel – I picked it because it’s relatively cheap for Munich, and it’s not located in a dodgy area. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any wireless internet connection and the internet terminal in the lobby is broken. Argh!

Because I only have limited time in Munich, I looked at several walking tour brochures in case there was something interesting that I could do. I had already thought about going to Dachau to see the site of the Nazi concentration camp over there, so I had a look at that. There’s a discount given if I take the Dachau walking tour along with the Hitler’s Third Reich walking tour around Munich. I chose to take both and took advantage of the discount, because I don’t want to spend my limited time taking photos of buildings and cathedrals. I want to learn something from my trip. I opted to take the Dachau and Third Reich walk, rather than the visit to Neuschwanstein to look at the world famous castle there, because I’m still all “castled” out after Salzburg! 🙂

The walking tour is conducted by a local company called Radius Tour and is highly recommended if you are in Munich. They’re located at the Hauptbahnhof, so I walked back there at 2pm, had some currywurst mit brot for lunch at the station, and  registered myself for both tours. The Dachau walk is in the morning, so I will do that tomorrow – I did the Third Reich first this afternoon.

The walk was very informative – we all took the S-Bahn towards Marienplatz and commenced our walk from there. Marienplatz is the ‘city centre’ in Munich and was very busy with shoppers, beer lovers, tourists and locals when we arrived there. The walking group consisted mainly of Americans, there were a couple of Brits, and some Spaniards. As far as I know there were only two Aussies in the group, myself and a Sydneysider lady who is returning to Australia after teaching English in Dubai. More on that later …

We learned many things from our walk – where Kristallnacht was enacted, the beer halls that hosted the gatherings to attract people to the idea of Nazism, as well as the location of the Nazi headquarter in Munich. We walked quite a distance and was informed along the way by the guide about what happened in each spot. I’m sure that the walk that I did today will complement the Dachau walk tomorrow.

Hofbräuhaus, MunichThe tour finished at about 5.15ish – we parted ways in Hauptbahnhof. There were five of us who returned back to Marienplatz because some wanted to have a drink at the bräuhaus. We went to Hofbräuhaus because we went there during our Third Reich walk as well. There was Rorie, an American from Louisiana, who switches his accent from American to Dutch in mid-sentences. He’s a lecturer in American history at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, and is also doing a PhD there. There was also Abby, a Sydneysider who had been working in Dubai as an English teacher, a traveller to many places in the world, who will be returning to Sydney in the near future, and there was Jill, a Bostonian, who’s travelling around Europe at the moment. We had a great time together, chatting, drinking and discussing things from our travel experience to the state of the US politics. I’m not a beer drinker but because I’m in Munich, I make an exception to that. If you’re in Munich and you don’t go to a bräuhaus, it’s like going to the steakhouse and ordering salad for your main course. They sell them BIG – each beerstein contains 1 litre of beer – whoa!! I ordered Radler, light beer mixed with lemonade which was really refreshing. I didn’t end up finishing it, although I think I drank pretty much 70% of it.

Rorie, myself, Jill, and Abby parted ways afterwards, not after we exchanged our Facebook profile email … hahaha. Jill, Rorie and I went to the souvenir shop afterwards, and then Rorie and I walked together to Viktualienmarkt, because Rorie wanted to find the famous maypole there. One of Munich’s landmark apparently! We parted ways there because Rorie’s heading back to Amsterdam on a 10.00pm train – the same one that Jill’s taking tonight.

I spent some time at Marienplatz, took some pictures and then headed back to the hotel as I felt tired. Tomorrow I have to get up early again so I can do the Dachau walk at 9.00am. I will have time afterwards to explore Munich as a tourist. The following day, I will have to get up even earlier – I’m taking the ICE train (the really fast train!) from Munich to Düsseldorf at 5.00am, and from Düsseldorf to Venlo, Venlo to Roermond, and Roermond to Maastricht, my final destination. By the time I arrive in Maastricht, it will be 1.00pm-ish.

Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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