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My first encounter with the 'Fatherland'

GERMANY | Friday, 24 July 2009 | Views [3344] | Comments [1]

In an entirely uncharacteristic move Danny woke up pretty early (10ish, virtually daybreak by student standards) and we prepared to go into Munich city centre. My encounters with public transport continued as we travelled from Danny's home in Neubiberg on various forms of bus, train and underground. I realised that I had absolutely no idea where we were or how the system of stamping pre-purchased tickets worked, which is undeniably one of the many advantages of having a local host.

Crawling out of the underground into the sunlit square I was immediately shocked by the beautiful architecture of the town hall directly opposite me. Unlike British cities strict building regulations have prevented the towering monstrosities which dominate our skylines, and the inevitable modern buildings are sensitively built to compliment the surviving older ones. Bizarrely there was some mock funeral march occuring in the square in protest to some political movement or another, however this purely added to the effect of the impressive and imposing square and its historically rich past.

Ironically our first port of call was the 'Englisch Gardens', which would undoubtedly have offended beyond belief the stiff upper-lipped English with nudists sprawled across their grasses. We took a stop at the Chinese Tower Biergarten, my first experience of this German tradition. The idea was absolutely charming; rows of benches and tables, lined with stalls selling beer and all manner of Bavarian nibbles. The sight of dark suited businessmen drinking beer at eleven o clock in the morning, an elaboration of the business conference no doubt, before biking back to their offices, seemed an altogether more sensible way of living.

Walking back into town we stopped for lunch at a typically Bavarian restaurant, where I was both amused and delighted to see waiters and waitresses wearing the typical lederhosen and dirndl. To believe that Germany was Europeanised and lacking in culture had been a naive oversight on my part as the Bavarians were riotously proud of their traditions and tried honourably to keep them alive. Unsurprisingly lots of sausage and sauerkraut were on the menu, but also other lesser known dishes such as spaetzle, a kind of Bavarian pasta with cheese. The square was lively and once again there was lots of beer and laughter (if you don't like beer, don't go to Germany!)

We were joined by an Israeli couple on the shoulder to shoulder eating arrangement.

After lunch Danny demonstrated his superior biking skills as he dialled "rent a bike". This system enables the caller to pick up a bike from any designated street in the city, call for an unlocking code, and deposit it again where desired, for a ridiculously small sum of money. It is no wonder then that bikes really do take the upper hand on the city's roads. Clinging on for dear life I got to sit on the metal child seat as we pedalled around the city, taking in the beautiful rivers, previous Nazi haunts, and the university buildings.

The best way to observe the city is by climbing the tower for 1 euro 50 cents. The muscle ache is worth the climb as the city is just as beautiful from the air. This is also a useful way in which to orient yourself and devise a route upon which to travel.




Tags: bike, city, munich, shops, travel



Hey living_the_dream,

We liked your blog and decided to feature it this week so that others can enjoy it too.

Happy Travels!

World Nomads

  World Nomads Aug 3, 2009 3:10 PM

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