The trains lately have been quite nice. A big change from those in Italy or Turkey. We rode first class from Zagreb straight to Munich with reclining seats in a cubicle type seating area. Plenty of leg room and able to stretch out. Back to high speed trains and riding in comfort now that we are further North.
We had an absolute blast in Munich and we can only accredit that to Mo and Laura. This is my second time visiting them and its always so much fun. The day we arrived we headed out on some rental bikes and ripped around the city centre. They had packed a basket full of food for dinner and we went to a Beer Garden where you can either order food or bring your own and sit outside at the picnic table as long as you purchase some drinks. It was a wonderful warm day and we sat around eating pretzel, salad and cheese dip and drinking beer. We biked down to the main river and along with 60 other young people, sat along side it drinking some more beer and Spezi (a typical German soft drink made of cola and orange soda) They took us on a bike tour around the city centre which is beautiful and majestic all lit up and glowing at night. I made sure that Mark saw the river surfers as it was a big highlight for me on my last visit. You stand on a bridge and below is a man made wave that locals like to surf. They line up along side the river under the trees and take turns riding the wave. Even at 10 o’clock at night there was about 20 of them enjoying an evening surf. We got caught in a heavy down pour on the way home and despite being drenched by the time we got back, the rain was warm and familiar so I couldn’t complain.
The next morning, we enjoyed a traditional Bavarian breakfast with pretzel, white sausage, sweet mustard (which is amazing) and wheat beer. And although the weather for the next couple of days were supposed to be grim and rainy, it didn’t stop us from spending the majority of our time outside. We drove out to Dachau, a concentration camp about an hour drive North west of Munich. I won’t go into much detail about it as most know the horrible past of these places and don’t need to relive it. This is my second one in Germany and I think everyone should visit one at least once in their lives. To remind us of the past in order to protect the future. Because we got a late start that day, by the time we finished at Dachau it was time to drive back home for supper. We walked past the field where they are setting up for Octoberfest and decided we would come back in the next year or two and make sure to take part in this festival! We ended up at another beer house (of course) called Paulaner Bräuhaus for supper. Mark and I had a traditional dish of Pork, potato and pretzel dumplings and gravy. I had been craving the dumplings since I had my first one four years ago here in Munich! When we got home we drank until about 2am, had a few shots, sat around, laughed and reminisced.
We were up a tad earlier one morning for a hike and a visit into Austria. It was pouring down rain, but we packed up a lunch and headed out regardless. We drove a couple hours south to Tagernsee and hiked about 400 meters up the mountain. Despite the rain it was a beautiful hike. Mark and I kept saying how nice of a change the weather was and to be able to get a short break from the scorching heat and to wear a different set of clothes. I couldn’t get over the resemblance to back home. Right from the rocky terrain, lush green bushes, tall trees and even the flowers and mushrooms growing in the moss. I couldn’t help but take pictures of plant life and slugs to show my parents how similar it is to Vancouver Island. I recognized a lot of ferns, flowers that we use to make tiaras out of when we were kids and even pine trees. It was quite amazing, and even though mark and I are extremely out of shape and sluggish ourselves, and regardless that its been four months since either of us has exerted ourselves like that, we very much enjoyed the hike up. At the top of the hike was a little café where we enjoyed some more beer and fresh buttermilk that comes from the surrounding farms. It was a lot more tangy than I expected and nothing like what we have back home, but it was quite smooth and delicious and reminded me of plain Greek yogurt. Laura and Mo insisted on ordering Kaiserschmarrn, which is basically heaven on a plate. Caramelized broken up pancakes with raisins and icing sugar dipped in apple sauce. Oh, so good! We hiked back down and jumped in the car and drove around the winding narrow roads passing thick familiar forests and light blue lakes. We stopped to take some photos and actually dipped into Austria for a bit, just to say we’ve been there. For dinner I made sure Mark tried the Schnitzel and I had mushroom dumplings. We all ordered dessert too of course, apple strudel with cream, topfenstrudel (a type of sweet crumbled cheese filling) and different flavours of ice cream with egg liquor. Needless to say, the drive home we were stuffed and sleepy. We had some more shots back home and had a quiet night watching a movie and falling asleep early.
We had so many laughs and are extremely fortunate to be welcomed into their home once again! The morning we left was quite sad as we felt like we had only scratched the surface of Munich. I wish we had more time to visit but unfortunately our time in Europe is coming to an end and we still have so much more to see. I cant thank Laura and Mo enough for everything they did in the 3 days we were there. We will be counting down the days to Octoberfest or our road trip in Canada, whichever comes first.