Munich, home to Oktoberfest

Munich Hbf is a busy station and possibly the largest one we’ve been to so far (at least from our perspective) and we weren’t sure about the exact location of our hotel, only that we needed to exit towards a particular street. Munich has trams, buses, cars and bikes, you can cross at a pedestrian crossing without lights or at crossings managed by lights, I’m still not used to them driving on the right and head straight for the pedestrian crossings. Marty is regularly telling me to drift right when walking and watch out for the cyclists.

Kings Hotel Center is only a few minutes walk from the station, as usual we take longer to get there because we don’t know the area and easily miss the street signs. The hotel caters mainly for business people, the environment and staff are all very well presented, the two chandeliers in the foyer catch my attention and the furniture and art are very formal in nature. Our room is not huge, but nicely furnished with a large flat screen television hanging in the corner, sadly the only English speaking channels are BBC and CNN, at least we can keep up with world news and get weather forecasts.

Munich was destroyed by allied bombing in WWII, rather than rebuild the city in a contemporary style the city chose to rebuild it as it was prior to the war, Hitler and his cronies had documented and photographed everything providing an excellent reference point for the architects and builders. Marienplatz in home to the town hall and hundreds of shops, it is pedestrianised and being a sunny Sunday afternoon the square is filled with buskers, beer drinkers and friends hanging out. The streets seem dirty, more so than Paris and Amsterdam and there is no public seating and very few rubbish bins. All the shops are closed, only cafes, beer houses and restaurants are open, the noise and crowds are a bit of a shock after our quiet, peaceful stays in Baccarach and Rothenburg. Wandering up and down marienplatz we settle on sandwiches for lunch and eat them in the square whilst listening to buskers play classical versions of pop songs. Munich is not at all familiar to me, I’ve read plenty of guide books, watched dvds and travel shows however they’re all mainly focussed on Italy and Paris. Around the corner from Marienplatz is the Residenz and Hofgarten, not sure how close or far they are, we decide to keep walking and turn back if our feet get sore. Coffee has been ordinary in Germany, Starbucks makes a nice break for us and the coffee is okay although it seems expensive at 3,60 euro. We didn’t make it into the Residenz, took a peek only at the Hofgarten and then spent a short time gazing at a loggia style building in a nearby square. On the way back to the hotel we accidentally came across the Michael Jackson memorial, two small groups of people had set up blankets next to the memorial, one of the women wearing pale makeup, a red jacket, ankle length black pants, white ankle socks and black shoes – definitely a fan. The memorial itself was covered in flowers, candles, pictures and messages of love and loss. Quite odd really, probably no different to what happens at Graceland and Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris.

Our mission that evening was to find a restaurant where we could have a meal that included vegetables, the past two weeks we have been living on a diet of bread, meat, cheese and salad and both of us craved broccoli, corn and carrots. The White Ginger is a Vietnamese restaurant just down the road from our hotel, we gave the Turkish, Thai and table dancing venue a miss and sat down to a feast of mini spring rolls, duck in a chilli, coconut cream sauce, beef and broccoli, fried rice with shredded chicken and vegetables and steamed rice. This very appetising and flavoursome food didn’t stand a chance, we virtually inhaled the meal and claimed we could eat there again (and we did). With 30 minutes free internet, courtesy of the hotel, Marty was able to log on to Facebook and organise our activities for the next day, we would be catching up with his mate Joe, seeing Neuschwanstein castle and joining Joe’s family for a meal.

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