It was a safe assumption that I would in fact make it to Munich. In what condition, however, remained to be seen. When I told Saba and Neele (my Berlin girls) that I was traveling to Munich by night train, as well as the cost, they looked at me like I was crazy. So of course I had to ask “What’s with the face?” In my mind, this was a very viable option. Not only had the Deutsche Bahn system been recommended to me by my main man Rick Steves, but it also saves me a night of accommodation since I’ll be sleeping on the train (theoretically); and, it gives me the whole day in Munich. But according to the locals, the Deutsche Bahn (DB) is a very expensive and unreliable system. A bus to Munich would’ve been much cheaper. I paid €89 in advance for my ticket, which would’ve cost me €140 the day of. Meanwhile, a bus would have been upwards of €25. Needless to say, I felt like a fool. And when you factor in that it was one of the worst sleeps I have had on this trip so far, it does not make it any better. But, I made it, thank heavens to Betsy. Lesson learned: bus first, train second.
I got to my hostel around 7 am, but check-in wasn’t until 2. Thankfully they had a luggage room so I could drop off my bags and hit the town! Trouble was, the town was basically still asleep so I figured I’d treat myself to the breakfast spread at the hostel for the low price of €3.90. Originally I had planned on taking a nap in the common room, but once I got a few coffees in me, I decided to take the free walking tour leaving at 10 am. Those of you who consistently read this blog (if there are any of you besides my parents) know that I’m a big fan of these tours. For me, I find that it is the best orientation to a new place. The next day when you’re exploring on your own, you can pass a landmark and relatively know where you are and how to get where you’re going. That might be slightly optimistic in my case, but I digress.
At any rate, it was the best choice I could’ve made on 3 hours of sleep because while the tour itself was nothing spectacular, the people I met on it most certainly were. Waiting in the lobby of the hostel, I noticed a group of four boys also lingering. Once the iconic Sandeman’s red shirted employee crossed the threshold, I knew we were all waiting on the same thing. So we got to talking as we headed out the door, casual small talk as per usual. They asked me if I’m from Canada (not uncommon because Canadians don’t take well to being asked if they’re American) and I kindly declined this nationality and told them I’m from the States. When I asked them where they were from, three of them told me to guess. Their accents were pretty thick, and familiar, yet I couldn’t quite be sure if it was Scottish or Irish. Keeping in mind that I had only had about 3 hours of sleep and was running on fumes, I said Scottish. My first clue that I was wrong should’ve been that one of their names was Gearoid, possibly the most Irish name I’ve ever heard. But these cheeky chaps kept up the ruse the whole walk to the meeting point, talking about their farms, their Scottish ancestors, how many sheep they had, the whole nine yards. And I just kept on believing. If any of you three are reading this, I’m blaiming my naivety on exhaustion.
That is until they asked me who I preferred, Irish or Scottish. Not wanting to be rude, I said Irish but quickly qualified it with something along the lines of “but I really enjoyed the Scottish people as well”. Then they all cracked up and told me the truth. It’s no wonder the Irish have a reputation for craic and banter. Although, as the fourth guy (from New Zealand) pointed out, I asked for it guessing they were Scottish when they had some of the thickest Irish accents I’ve ever heard. Oh well, I guess I also confirmed that stereotype about Americans being naive and gullable.
Once I got over the humiliation of my callowness, I saw how fun and personable these guys really were. And not just the Irish; Hamish (Mr. New Zealand) too. Cracking jokes and “taking the piss” out of one another, I was already sore from laughter. And that was just getting to the meeting point. From there, we were just getting started. Once the tour started, it wasn’t hard to realize that this would be the cheesiest tour I’ve ever been on. The tour guide was an American, but that wasn’t the problem (at least not for me). The bigger issue was her need to talk to us all as though she was a kindergarten teacher and we were her students. After we started walking Hamish mumbled to me that he wasn’t going to make it two hours with her. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could either. But the Irish took care of it and essentially turned an informational tour into a comedy commentary sideshow, which made it tolerable. I felt slightly bad for Heather (the guide) but the Irish tipped her well so it was a happy ending for all.
Once the tour finished, I went back the hostel and checked in, took a little nap, then headed back out to see a little bit more of Munich and also eat something. Though the tour was slightly disappointing, we did get some good recommendations for quality bräuhauses (breweries) around town so I went for the one Heather said had the best beer of course! And it did not disappoint in the slightest! Tegernseer Tal, as it was so named, had a very economical lunch menu so I ordered the special for the day: roasted pork, and a Weiss beer all for €11 which was a steal!
I walked back through the Viktualienmarkt where we only briefly stopped during the tour. So much to see there! Everything you could ever imagine needing in Munich, you will find here: ice cream, beer, schnitzel, candy, cheesy souvenirs. Of course they have useful things too, but I’m on vacation; vegetables are poisonous.
And the day ended about the same way it began, with the Irish and Hamish of course, along with a few British girls we met along the way; drinking Weiss beers, playing Ride the Bus, and doing a round robin of a song called Look at My Horse.
Great start at what was sure to be an epic time in Munich. If not for the tours, at least for the stories.