For those who are confused, Munchen is not the land of the little Munchkins of Wizard of Oz fame. Although I would be freaked out if I was surrounded by extremely short people. Hobbits however, I would be fine with. It’s just a thing I have.
Anyway, I’m going off way off tangent. Yes, Munchen is the german spelling of Munich, their Bavarian Capital City, on the south-east part of Germany, not far away from the Austrian border. I was there in July 2011 for a holiday before I underwent the knife to have my head spliced open – see my Cochlear Implant Journey.
So for 5 days I was spent there all in the name for some German History and Culture. So what’s the best way to tell you about my experience there by starting off about getting there!
Munich (Munchen) Trip Day 1 – 27th July 2011
Newly arrived at Redhill Tube Station in London, I looked out for my friend and old uni housemate, Ann. She gestured waving at me from across the road and I trooped over to give her a hug. We hadn’t seen each other for ages. A couple of years to be precise and we were to re-discover our friendship through our ‘holiday’ to Munich. Or rather, our mutual love for Take That, the best manband ever! We wanted to see them in the UK but thanks to our busy timescales it was impossible to do so…until we discovered that Take That was touring abroad in Europe! Discounting Copenhagen, we decided on Munich that landed on the time BOTH of us were free. Score! How about holiday out of it as well? So we booked 5 days covering over the concert as well. After all, both of us really needed a holiday. I’ve just had the most intense time at work followed up by charity functions as well, one of which I’ve just come from and I was ready to get out of the country.
After quickly catching up, we set about our first task. The luggage. When we booked out flight with EasyJet to fly from Gatwick to Munich, quite rightly we poured scorn on their policy to charge considerably the luggage that we were to take so seeing as we were there for less than a week, surely one luggage is can be done between the two of us? In a dark and dank corner in Sainsbury’s car park, we emptied both of our luggage and tried to figure out the best way. She didn’t exactly want me to see her smalls and I sure as hell wanted her to see mine. But then came the perfect solution. My suitcase was a lot smaller than hers so simply popping in my suitcase in hers with her stuff on top, it was easy. I’m not sure what the security people were gonna think when they see the luggage pass by on the x-ray machine. One luggage in another? Suspicious much?
So onwards to the airport after a brief stop at the post office to exchange my money into Euros, we checked in just fine. There was a weird security system where you had to stand on marked footsteps, look up in the retinas display and swipe your passport over the scanner before it agreed and opened the gates. I was determined to get this right so I stood on the marked footsteps and immediately the gate opened. I hadn’t even looked into the retinas or swiped my passport. Blind panic set over me and I leaped through the gate with gusto and crouched down like a ninja expecting security to come piling on top of me at any moment. Weird huh?
Boarding with EasyJet, a budget airline, it was the first time I flew since 2008, so my expectations about this airline was pretty low. But actually in fact, I was rather impressed! It was the first time I flew with EasyJet and with RyanAir used before, I was tempted to switch favourite budget airlines. Particularly that the stewardesses were even hotter. I had to laugh with one who was demonstrating the safety guidelines with an another making faces at her.
The journey passed by rather quickly but with good reason. Ann and I were catching up over wine. Then before we knew it, we’re in Munich or Munchen as we should call it.
Feeling pretty tired, we wanted to get to our hotel. We wanted to keep it cheap so we decided to go to catch the rail network from our stop Flughafen (Airport) to Hauptbahnhoff (Main station) where our hotel was just round the corner. But it became clear to us that we had to navigate the ticket machine. It was all in German and basically it didn’t occur to either Ann or I to learn German. After pouring over for a good few mins, a German couple approached us and asked if we wanted to share a group ticket with them.
Now this is a complete revelation to me and make the Yorkshireman in me extremely proud. All throughout Germany, there is a train ticket called the PartnerTicket (valid for 5 people) that you can buy and travel in a group. However, if you are on your own, you can use this an opportunity to find other solo travellers or couples to share the ticket. It impressed me because it was cheap and also allows you to make friends pretty easily. In our case, the german couple (a lesbian couple) asked us if we could join them. Suspicious at first, we headed with them on the train displayed the name of the main station. We got chatting with them and we had to had to laugh when one of them slipped off the seat on her arse with a loud thump as the train went round the bend. Sorry, I forgot to ask for their names, but they jumped off the stop before ours.
With just a brief walk away, we found our hotel, Hotel Eder. Down a side street off a main road, we were pretty happy with our location as we consulted the map. Everything was so close by but as it was night, we wanted food and a shower.
It was a pretty old-fashioned hote. This I liked. I want character where I go and we were impressed with our room. Ann was pleased with the sliding wardrobe and I was extremely pleased for having a bidet!
Grabbing a pizza at a local Italian at this late hour, we observed the activity surrounding us on the street. It was really warm and Ann and I did what we liked to do best. People-watch. I imagine people were concerned about us as we kept falling over ourselves laughing about the people around us, particularly as we saw a fast-moving step in step couple that brushed past us. You just HAD to be there.
But as it was late, we headed to bed, to get ready for the sightseeing ahead tomorrow! We SHALL be German tomorrow!