A Travellerspoint blog

Day 71, Mainbernheim

sunny 34 °C

I woke up nervous. Today was the day we would meet Shane’s family, the day we had thought about so long. I could hardly eat my breakfast and was in a hurry to pack up and leave. We finally did around 0800 (we tried to buy 1L beer steins as we signed out but alas there were none.) We went to the train station and looked for flowers. In the single flower shop in the sprawling station there was there were no bouquet to be found. I left my pack on the platform and went to find a store. When I did stop one I had my work cut out for me. Wildflowers? Edelwiess plants? Orchids in pretty glass vases? I ended up with my favourite, two bunches of vivid coloured wildflowers.
We boarded the train to Nuremberg and I grew more and more frightened. Would they like me? Would they judge me? We left the train and ran to the next with only two minutes to spare. I became frantic. Do they even like white wine? What if someone is allergic to flowers? I was nearly crying by the time we reached the Mainbernheim platform. We stepped off the train and looked around. There was Kathrin, waiting as she promised. We said our hellos and hugs, I handed her the flowers, both obviously relieved that the hardest part was over.
We hopped in her car with our packs in the back and stopped at a bakery on the way home. The towns we drove through were picture-perfect Germany. “There is where I work, and there is where I used to work” Kathrin pointed out. “Historical site number 1 and 2” we joked. We got to her house, the place she lives with her mother, father, one brother and grandmother. It is beautiful. She showed us to our room, by far the nicest place we’ve stayed! The house is gorgeous! Wood ceilings in every room, a kitchen made by the hands of her father! We sat down at the table in the kitchen. Andi came in. “My smallest brother” Kathrin introduced, we quickly corrected, her youngest brother, Andi is tallest out of all of us.
The four of us chatted over lunch Kathrin prepared, an excellent hostess. Andi is writing his 12th grade finals and we talked about our trip. After lunch we threw in our laundry and hit the town. Actually, we drove to near by Iphofen. Iphofen is a teeny-tiny town built within the old town walls. Around it actually exists a large wall complete with turrets and gates. We wandered in and out admiring and talking. We got back home and hung our laundry to dry. As we were finishing the parents came home. We met and said hello, Tante was making dinner so we left with Kathrin for the pool. We didn’t know what this meant when we left but we soon found out. About a five minute drive from the house we stopped in front of a large garden. She unlocked the gate and let us inside. Behind the hedges erupted a large yard equipped with a kitchen a bathroom and a pool. It had a dining area and a trailer. Kathrin brought out the lounge chairs and took the cover off the pool.
Because the day was so hot (hottest recorded day of the year) we actually say down up to our necks in the pool. Then I fell asleep in a chair in the very hot sun. When I awoke I quickly moved to the shade and ate a delicious ice cream cone. At 1645 we headed home to try and phone Shane’s mom. We tried her once and didn’t get her (she is allowed a birthday sleep-in after all.) Dinner was served, tante made us a typical franken (the region here) meal with amazing braised beef and large dumplings for soaking up the gravy. It was delicious, it had been so long since a home cooked meal!
After dinner and a nice round of conversation we hit the road again. This time we left with oom, tante, Kathrin, Shane and I. We drove to Sommerach, though it was a maze to get there! We left the car not knowing what to expect. A few minutes later we were shaking hands with Daniel the owner of Then Wineries. He is a small scale producer here in Franken, the wine making region in Germany. We walked around the vineyards lined up the hills. He told us all about the wines he grew and produced, how to become trained in his field and what he does differently than other growers. We talked about labour practices and organic farming. Along the way we sampled different wines, a sparkling wine and rose, a white (Muller-Thurgau), a local grape called Silvaner. By the end five of us had drunk three full bottles of wine and few more halves!
We learned a great deal through their attempts at English and our little game of verbal charades. We finished the walking part of our tour in the Then cellars learning about the aging process of the wines and how the addition of sulphates is the difference between wine and vinegar. He handed us two little bottles of white wine “for the next train ride” he said. The tour was tailored to us and essentially was for us as we were who Daniel talked to. We ended the night sitting in the courtyard with large glasses of red wine talking about this and that. We bought a bottle of Silvaner from Daniel for a price we thought was not enough for how good the product was. We headed home.
When we got there we tried skyping mom again. This time it worked! The family said happy birthday and then she was off to work. I really don’t know what I was so worried about, Shane’s family is so fantastic. I’ve never met hospitality as kind as theirs, my cheeks still hurt from laughing so much!

Posted by s-a 22:09 Archived in Germany Tagged family Comments (1)

Day 70, Munich

sunny 24 °C

This morning sunlight was welcome after five dreary days. We had our breakfast and awaited our 1045 tour. It was a very entertaining way to spend our last day in Munich. Our Irish tour guide is the funniest we’ve had yet, by far. We learned about the rise of socialism which started here in Munich and about Hitler’s cowardly ways. We saw a few churches all rebuilt after the war when 90% of Munich was rubble. We drank a beer half way through the tour with the rest of our group. We did not enjoy however, the extremely annoying young group of girl from Philadelphia (or Philly as they kept referring to it as.) We won’t got into details but oddly enough though their old man accompaniment wouldn’t let them drink a beer (they were under age of course) he did allow them to wear short with their bums hanging out.
As we were walking back in the direction of the hostel we came upon a really nice supermarket (in a large ground shopping mall beneath a very busy road.) We walked on in looking for a bottle of wine. We finally settled (because who really knows before they open the bottle?) on a bottle to bring with us the next morning. We ate lunch at the train station, is there a cheaper place? We sent some postcards, though it was a challenge to find stamp and headed back to the hostel to chill out.
Later on in the evening we made the walk to Augastiner Keller. This is the site of a former gallow. As our tour guide put it “come for the entertainment, stay for the beer!” The garden seats 5 000 and they were full! There was both a football game and a live band playing (on the same stage.) We got our beers and dinner and found a spot where there was no view of the football game, that also meant there was not many people there. We chatted and drank and ate great food. Late that night we made our way home and crashed for the evening totally exhausted, as usual.

Posted by s-a 00:53 Archived in Germany Tagged munich Comments (2)

Day 69, Munich

overcast 19 °C

Staying in the moment is getting harder and harder everyday. We are both exhausted from this constant moving around and the feeling that we always need to be seeing something. It’s so easy to be lazy and not do anything, just dream about what we’re going to do one we get home, planting a late garden, building compost bins, baking wonderful goodies and training our dog. Walking around trying not to spend money on silly things is getting old, paying 10 euros for a castle and 7 euros for a museum we feel we’ve already seen isn’t interesting anymore. It’s the food and the drink we’re waiting for everyday and even that is feeling rough. All I want is a salad and it shouldn’t cost me 5 euros! I want cold tap water without a side of dirty looks and a cookie from my oven that is perfectly sweet. Walking in the hot sun shouldn’t be a chore, it should thrill us (like it would for you at home!) We’re taking it easy walking and resting, not rushing anywhere, trying our absolute best not to complain and to throughly enjoy every moment, in a month from now we’ll wish to be back here!
We were asking ourselves what to do this day. A walking tour? No, tomorrow. Flea markets for cool souvenirs? Yeah sounds good, and it’s a Sunday. (P.S. souvenir IDEAS ANYONE!) Now what else? We decided on a museum, the Alte Pinakothek or the Old Museum. You can imagine why it’s referred to as old, the paintings were ancient of course! Some we saw were painted in the 13th century. Because it was Sunday admission was 1 euro as opposed to 7 euros and thank goodness for that! The museum should have been called “The Gallery of Paintings of Jesus.” Very few paintings did not share this theme, if Jesus was missing Mary was there. We got bored awfully quick, we’ve seen it far to many times.
We left and got to the train station we rode all over the city until we reached our destination, a flea market. The only issue was the lack of market! We walked for quite some time poking around the address we had. Unfortunately it was not to be found and we snuck back on the train going the other way (Munich transit is EXPENSIVE and we were still within 90 minutes.) We headed back to the hostel disappointed and tired. We rested for a few hours, until we found our second wind.
Dinner was eaten at Hofbrauhaus a gigantic beer hall first opened in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria. We indulged in 1L beers and far to many pretzels! Our tour guide told us the next day that this beer hall is made of 90% tourists and the food and service were to be atrocious. To bad really, because we had a great time! We ran home because we both had to pee so bad after all that drinking and wouldn’t you know, its the longest walk I’ve ever made. Shane had another beer at the hostel and we chatted on facebook (not with each other) well into the night.

Posted by s-a 00:44 Archived in Germany Tagged munich Comments (1)

Day 68, Munich

overcast 15 °C

The journey from Salzburg to Munich (Munchen!! HAHAHHA I think it is so funny!) was pleasant enough. We arrived far ahead of time and got on the train without incident. When we got to Munich we booked the remaining reservations needed for the train. Finding the hostel was very easy, we just walked for two minutes! Woohoo for easy to get around cities! We dropped our bags and went for a walk.
We ended up all the way down the very busy main shopping street here in Munich. Since it was Saturday it was absolutely full of people. Some guy even tried to rob Shane, luckily his pockets were zipped shut, but he made it look like an accident so no one even noticed! We ate roasted chicken from the train station (far less sketchy than it sounds) and found a beautiful market selling amazing looking products. Shane had to piss me off and drag me away to keep me from buying many of the safe-to-travel goods. We walked all the way to the Englischer Garten, one of the largest urban public parks in the world.
Lederhosen AND a beer bike!
We found our way to the Chinesischer Turm (the Chinese Tower, built in 1790 originally and rebuilt in 1951 after it was heavily bombed) and the 7000 seat beer garden surrounding it. We played it easy and got the 500mL beers and a pretzel to start with. We drank it and walked away looking for something to do before dinner. We wandered up and down streets until we found a large department store with postcards and a high end grocery store in the basement. As you can imagine we were entertained for quite some time. We left with only three postcards and one bar of chocolate, that is some restraint I’m telling you. We left heading back down the street in the direction we had come.
After getting lost in the extra large park we again found the tower, this time with a brass band playing. We purchased dinner, a roasted pork knuckle, potatoes and braised red cabbage (I like Shane’s better!) Shane grabbed a 1L beer this time and somehow managed to drink the whole thing! After we were thoroughly chilled to the bone (it was a cold and stormy day after all) we started our long walk home. We spotted surfers surfing a large continuous man-made wave in a until they fell off their boards. As you would assume Shane was wildly entertained by this and we spent some time watching.
We retired a little early this night but after walking all day and drinking WAY to much beer we were exhausted. (What a life!)

Posted by s-a 22:10 Archived in Austria Tagged munich Comments (0)

Day 67, Salzburg

overcast 19 °C

The cold and damp wrapped me up like a warm blanket as we first stepped outside. Call me crazy (and you will) but the rain and cold comfort me like home. It throws me back into memories of long walks and steaming cups of coffee. Even so, we continued on. We happened across a large chess set painted on the ground and played ourselves a game. I haven’t played chess in years so I’ll blame my failure on that. We wandered inside the Salzburg Cathedral which has a long and varied history. What we see now in the interior has only been done since 1959, which lends the cathedral a modern, less ornate but still beautiful interior.
We found the Greenmarkt we had been searching for the day before and ogled the different stalls selling breads and cheeses and wooden toys. Shane got a cheese pretzel which I found disappointing (thankfully it wasn’t mine.) We walked across the river to the SPAR on the other side. We loaded up on chocolate and mustard and jam (that brings my jar total to 8!) We sat down at the snobby Cafe Bazar for their self proclaimed “best strudel in all of Salzburg!” I didn’t like theirs, or, if that is “the best” then I don’t like strudel. Coffee and cake cost us 10 euros and I am just about fed up with overpaying so much and being treated unkind just to try a treat people say is that best. I’ll be trying the small mom and pop shops from here on out, where value is good and service is better.
There is a part in the Sound of Music where Julie Andrews splashes this horse. She made it look so easy!
Shane and I decided to visit Stiegl Brewery for a tour. We walked an hour to get to the brewery, without complaining though, it was a beautiful stroll. Besides, we were enjoying the men in lederhosen and the women in dirndls. Wearing traditional clothes day to day seems to be completely legit in Salzburg, everyone is doing it, the young and the old, but I can’t blame them, if I paid 600 euro for an outfit I’d wear it all the time too! (That is the cost of the authentic garments) The museum and brewery were amazing. The buildings were beautiful and the museum was extremely informative and well put together.
After the museum we sampled our six free 200mL beers. There were pilsners and lagers and radlers! Yum! And we gorged on pickled vegetables, cold cuts and a huge stuffed pretzel. One thing we’ve noticed about all Austrian cooking is the salt content being way to high. They say smokers have a harder time tasting salt and absolutely everyone in Austria seems to smoke. I would give you 100 euro if you could find me a cook who doesn’t smoke and SO all the food is to salty for our non-smoking taste. We usually can’t finish the delicious food because there is just to much salt in it.
When we were two-thirds of the way home it started to pour, but in sheets of rain. Between the waves we ran for the next shelter. Before it even really started it was over; but we were soaked. We freshened up at the hostel and I talked to Natasha on skype for a while before we left again. We had tried the previous two nights to visit a beer garden but the rain prevented us both times. This time we left, with an address but forgot the map. We walked the length of the river twice and didn’t find the place. We settled after an hour and a half of walking on bosna (two weiners in a grilled bun with mustard, onions and curry salt) and fries with mayo (and two beers of course.) Delicious.

Posted by s-a 21:57 Archived in Austria Tagged salzburg Comments (3)

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