Friday, April 23, 2010

Munich, Germany

Alright, so I left off at riding at rain for 10 hours. We arrived in Munich and went to a friends house where we were going to sleep. Which is really lucky that we were staying with her because after the volcano incident, beds in hostels went up to about 90 euro per night. Jerks, taking advantage of people in their time of need. Anyway we got there, went to the store and made some pasta! I have realized pasta is the universal cheap thing, which is alright with me since I love it!
The next day we headed out early and, after a two hour train ride, ended up in Neuschwanstein Castle around 11am. Frank and my mom had been to Neuschwanstein before and really recommend it to me, which is fortunate because it's such an amazing place. The castle itself is not very old, it's younger than America, but it is the castle that Disney's Beauty and the Beast castle is copied after, as well as the castle in Disney World/Land. It was nestled high up in the mountains, which means it rained on us around 1pm. I was so soaked after that, so I figured we might as well walk around since we are already wet! It finally cleared up around 3pm and then we headed back down to the train station in the town of Fussen. Also, since I saw this castle, it means I have been in and seen the Alps! That day was like a two for one! We didn't get back to Munich until around 6pm and we were all still so wet so we just went back to our friends place and watched a movie and made pasta AGAIN for dinner.
Seeing this castle means we only had one day in Munich though, which is fine since we basically saw everything in that day! First we went to the Olympic Stadium, followed by a visit to the English Garten (yes it's spelled that way, and I know it's wrong). The gardens were very beautiful and in one spot we saw a river section that follows a dam, so there is a huge wave, and 4 guys would rotate and surf the wave on the river! It was really weird to see it, since they were surfing on a tiny river. Actually it was more like a creek. So take that river size in your head and shrink it down to creek size, then put a surfer on it. It was really odd.
After staring at these people for 10 minutes we went to the palace and walked through it's gardens. The place is right in down town Munich though, so it was really odd, because after the palace we went and were right by Old Town Square. The square holds New Town Hall and the giant Glockenspiel, which we luckily made just in time for the new hour. It's a huge clock, that also has the little figurines dancing around in a circle every-time an hour strikes. I think Manhattan could use one, because it was AWESOME! Then we joined some free tour group, and headed to the church where the devil left his foot print because he was so angry. It's a long story, but basically it explains how the church was built so fast and why there is a huge foot print in the middle of the entrance of the church. The devil comes to Munich one night and sees this new Church, he walks in and doesn't see any windows in the church, so he goes to the architect, says to put no more windows in the church and he would help fund the church. Then the devil sent his minions to work on it at night, which is how it is done super fast, and comes back the next day to find the inside of the church light and sunny inside, instead of a church of darkness, which he figured would be the perfect place for him to be worshiped. He goes to the architect and says, "Hey, you said you wouldn't put in anymore windows! What's with all the windows?" The architect says, "I did not put in more, you were just looking at the inside of the church from a different position." Then leads him to where he stood that night. From where he stood, he could see no windows, but saw all the light shining in. These huge columns were in the way of all the windows, which is why he didn't see them at night. He was so angry he stamped is foot and vanished back to hell, which is why there is a huge foot print there now, and from that exact spot you can see no windows.
Hope you enjoyed the story and now back to the rest of Munich. Then we went and saw where the Old Brewhaus was that Hilter tried to take Munich over in. There was also a plaque there during Nazi times commemorating the people that died there. It is now taken down, but it's creepy because you can still see where it was. An alley before the plague is called "Dodger's Alley", which you can find by a gold band running though it. During Nazi times you had to stop at the plaque and give the Nazi sign, but some people hated the Nazi's and did not want to so they "dodged" through the alley. A spy was kept by the alley though and wrote down everyone's names that walked through and how many times a week they did. If you seemed suspicious, you were taken in as a person who committed treason, and taken to Dachua. Sad times.
After that we left the tour and went and found the famous BREWHAUS, the largest beer hall in Germany, and drank one of their fine ales. Then we went to a market place, then to an awesome church, and then to the University which is famous for it's rebellion of the Nazi's. We sadly did not find the monument commemorating the students.
After we went and got ice cream with the friend we were staying with and then went back to watch Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Every time, literally every time, they said philosopher I freaked out! It's Sorcerer, not Philosopher! What's wrong with these people?! It was very funny too, because our friend only watched it in German, and she had such a tough time understanding people with heavy English accents, like Hagrid. Then it was time to head to the bus station and drive the five hours back. Luckily I had 2 seats all to myself so I could sleep the whole way! Besides getting wonderful pictures and memories from this trip, I also got very sick! My friend Heidi was sick, and now I am sick because of her... Hopefully I will get better soon though!
So tips for traveling in Germany:
1. To travel cheaply from city to city, travel by train on the weekend using a pass called the Happy Weekender Pass, but in German of Course. You can ride on a train with up to 5 people for only 39 euro. As opposed to buying your own ticket during the week for around 75-100 euro. If you take the faster, more direct train, then prepare to pay the difference. It's a lot more expensive.
2. I recommend for both cities to buy a subway pass. You could get away with just biking around Munich though, but defiantly need one for Berlin.
3. If you are in Berlin and want to see the Reichstag, get there at of slightly before 8am, because if you get there around 9am, you will have to wait in line for about and hour and a half or so.
4. Skip the museums that cost money. There is so much to see for free, that you will be wasting money and time with them. The only thing I recommend paying to go into is the TV tower in Berlin. It's a lot cooler than any museum!
5. Do not take sick friends, unless you want to get sick too!

Well, I think that's enough for one day. Maybe tomorrow I will finally fill you in on my life in Prague again!

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