It is now fall in Germany, and even at 10:30 on a Sunday morning this means a rather empty city, frost on shaded grass, and the sun’s rays still low in the sky. Thick fog earlier that morning had made the actual sunrise impossible to see, but after more than two months, finally: a day spent visiting a German city.
True, I’ve been to the IAA (hardly apt to say I’ve visited Frankfurt) and other various cities for trainee conferences, but the majority (more than 3 out of 4, in fact) of my weekends have been spent in other countries. My excuse? I’m working overtime to use my tourist budget equal to the US’ education spending to get this world out of a depressed economy. (Someone’s gotta do it!)
Sarcasm aside (but not over… just you wait), I have been meaning to go to Munich, and we ended up leaving Stuttgart on Saturday afternoon to spend the rest of the day and part of Sunday doing the world’s quickest tour in what turned out to be a charming Bavarian city. Munich’s excellent U-bahn made our lives a lot easier — even when I stepped on a train before two of my friends and I noticed that I had disappeared from the platform. Unimportant, considering that a large station (Marienplatz) was designed by a University of Illinois alumnus (or alumna)! I was tempted to write I-L-L- on the wall but stopped myself.
We went to the Hofbräuhaus for dinner. The place really lacks a devoted clientele, and it took us half an hour to pounce on a table as soon as its patrons so much as twitched for a jacket. When it wasn’t tourists occupying the beer hall, regular customers would retrieve their personal Maß from a small room. (n.b. This image stinks. I’m not good at taking pictures in private areas to begin with and am even more nervous when waiters and waitresses carrying twelve liters of beer are about to trip over me!)
On Sunday, we went to Munich’s site for the 1972 Olympics. I like early mornings because other people usually don’t get in the way of photos and because the light is still good, and even though it was getting later in the day, Sunday morning in the park was still remarkably tranquil.
After a few hours of wandering around some more and a surprisingly good slice of pizza, we headed back via the Disney-inspired castle of Neuschwanstein. (I had to think about it, but it couldn’t be the other way around.) I think this place takes the cake from Prague for most tourist-dense, but even in the dull, boring light of late afternoon it was not difficult to see why. The place is positively radiant (truly the stuff of fairy tales), and I’d love to go back in the winter and get a picture with the Alps in the background.
Speaking of the Alps… I wonder when my next trip into mountainy goodness will come. ;-)