Munich – Auf Wiedersehen
Posted on January 7, 2014
All good things come to an end but we managed to make it a soft landing. The drive from the far reaches of the country’s Alpine border to downtown Munich was only a couple of hours long. Because it was Christmas Eve, the autobahn was relatively free of traffic and we could enjoy the scenery along the way.
Because I was leaving on a train for the airport before 5am the morning after Christmas and Suzi was leaving on a bus for Prague a couple of hours later, we elected to stay a block from the main downtown train station in a hostel catering to a younger age set. WiFi is usually excellent at hostels but here it could be received only in the small lobby on the first floor. Suzi discovered that we could get a signal in our fourth room if we opened the window and positioned our computers toward another nearby hotel.
The lobby was usually crammed with Chinese and Japanese student types seeking good internet connection, but on Christmas morning a homeless guy wandered in, settled down in one of the easy chairs and took a long nap, snoring contentedly.
We had two potential dilemmas at the hostel. Our six bunk room, which we had had to ourselves for several hours, eventually filled up with four Chinese technical students from Aachen U. Suzi immediately befriended them and they became as quiet and cooperative as possible. On the second night, we made our get-away at 4:30am in the dark, as quiet as mice, having stashed most of our things the night before in locked storage downstairs.
Our second more modest dilemma was that we would miss breakfast on our very last day in Germany. Miss a ritual. Dang. The baker makes his delivery at 6:30 and the breakfast room opens at seven, but we were long gone by then. So here’s a shot of Christmas brekkie.
Suzi has four first cousins in Germany. We were invited to Isabella’s for their Christmas Eve party where two of the four attended, along with Suzi’s Aunt Sibylle and Uncle Alexander, and kids and spouses. We rushed away near midnight to catch the last subway back to town.
Christmas Day we were on our own to roam new parts of Munich. However, we were not alone as many others were doing the same.
We enjoyed some outsized outdoor art and a carefully maintained tribute to Michael Jackson.
We heard some excellent music on the streets – two violinists playing duets, a pianist playing Mozart, an accordionist playing Bach organ pieces. All were highly accomplished musicians. Delightful.
Essentially every single store and restaurant was closed. Christmas is taken seriously. Church doors were unlocked. We went in a few churches to smell the incense and have a moment of quiet for reflection.
But we knew where we would have our last meal. Suzi had already found it online – the famous Hofbräuhaus. It never has a day of closure. And, geez, was it doing a smashing business. We got our fill of oom-pah oom-pah band music, shared a stein of delicious beer and pigged out on maybe the best known Bavarian fare – roasted pig shanks big enough to feed a hungry platoon.
After this indulgence, we drifted off to people watch and see the lights and sounds of Christmas on the streets.
It was a fine evening to wander the streets of a grand Old World city and bring to a close an excellent vacation for father and daughter.