We're breaking Germany into two parts; I cannot be expected to summarize this place in 1 post...if you were there, you'd understand...
I'd be lying to you if I told you this wasn't the most anticipated portion of the trip. Picking up the uber-wagon aside, I was really stoked to go back to Germany. I don't know what it is about this place but I just lvoe it. The people are super nice, the beer is outstanding, the culture in Bavaria rules, areas of roads with no speed limit, I could go on forever.
When we arrived back in Munich from our little getaway to Salzburg we checked into the hotel (another Priceline score) that was located in central Munich right near the central train station or hauptbahnhof if you're scoring at home. My sister and brother-in-law had just landed at MUC and were en route to meet up with us for a few days during their own European adventure. First night we walked down to Lowenbrau for some food and beer. The food here is probably the best we had in Munich and their bier is some of my favorite. The menus, however, were all in German so we just sort of guessed what everything was and we scored!
Next morning we packed up the car and made the quick drive to Dachau and the prison camp memorial. I did this last time I was in Germany but felt it important that the rest of the gang see this sobering place. The weather was gorgeous which felt strange while walking among buildings that were used to kill people for no good reason. Enough of the serious shit; let's get back to vacation.
Heavy stuff at Dachau
After Dachau, we drove to a little town about 35 miles away called Landshut. This was Ben & Jen's first taste of REAL German roads in the car as we cruised between 100-120 the entire way and tried catching up to a convertible filled with naked or half-naked guys...we weren't sure, nor were we sure how great it felt standing up in a convertible going 110mph. Those dudes had to be covered with bugs and cold as sin, but I'm sure the bier they were most certainly drinking made everything OK. I digress...
When I think of little European towns I think of Landshut. Cute and colorful buildings, big church, cafes lining the streets, ice cream cones, the river running through the town; perfect. The weather stayed gorgeous and we were treated to a relaxing day in this quaint German town that has the highest church tower in either the world or just in Europe...whatever it is, the thing is HUGE. We had issues with parking, however. I was sort of paranoid about the car--not quite sure where the corners were--and when you pair that with TIGHT parallel parking everywhere and narrow streets you get a real parking adventure. We drove down this dead-end street (didn't know that going into it) and had to back the car down the street with about a foot clearance on either side. 15 minutes later we were trying to parallel park in the smallest spot we could find but with the help of 3 spotters we made it work and looked like pros, jamming our car into a space with about 6" clearance front and back. Good times.
Landshut...isn't it quaint?
Driving home at 100+ mph, we arrived back in Munich around 6 and were to meet Katie's friend Sebastian at 7 for a night of fun. This is where our story gets awfully Bavarian, awfully fast...
Sebastian and Katie hoisting a litre of the good stuff
Sebastian took us to the fair grounds where they hold Oktoberfest in the fall. There was another festival (Bavarians LOVE festivals and tying them in with bier) called Springfest. This was described as a mini-Oktoberfest. There were carnival rides everywhere, food, music, you name it. Think of a county fair, but don't charge admission: vilkommen to Springfest. We ended up at the sole bier-tent and were met with a sea of Bavarians well on their way to inebriation. We sat down, Sebastian ordered the biers and we were on the same train as the rest of the Bavarians in the tent. Sidenote: during Oktoberfest there are around 12 major tents here with the largest holding 10,000 people, the smallest 2,000. Yeah, it's sort of a BIG thing.
Here's what Oktoberfest looks like...there's only 1 tent here during Springfest
There was a band playing a mix of German tunes and classic rock(?!) and everybody was dancing and singing and having a great time. THIS is why I will come back to Germany many times in my lifetime. The atmosphere was incredible. There was this buzz, this energy in the place and it just felt..GREAT! We fed off the energy and were Bavarian for a few hours. We ended up at the front of the tent right in front of the band and were dancing on the table for an hour before the party broke up and everyone had to head home. So sad.
This is early in the evening...we're about 1/2-way from the front...just as packed behind us
We stumbled our way out to the fairground and grabbed the last ride of the night on this thing called the "Frisbee" that I probably wouldn't do sober but figured with 4 litres of bier in my belly would be a great idea. For 3/4 of the ride I was having a blast but that last 1/4 I squeezed my eyes shut and focused on a happy place; a place that didn't involve me barfing and looking like a vomit-sprinkler in midair. Too much info? Sorry. We made it off the ride and safely back to the hotel (after I lost 50-Euro somehow) and passed out. Awesome night; no regrets and I'd do it again in a heartbeat...which in Munich could be arranged as Springfest goes for 3 weeks!! YES!!
What was I thinking??!!
We'll finish this story tomorrow...