Arrival in Munich After packing up the last of my belongings from my room at Haus Erasmus and stowing them in Phil’s car, we were off to Westbahnhof for breakfast before my train to Munich departed. I was a bit sad that I would be traveling on my own again but once the train started moving and my eyes finally dried out, I was fine. The train rocked smooth and steady all the way to Deutschland and I got some great views along the way. Once in Munich, I got my bearings & a map then headed to the Jaeger’s hostel. I booked a room for the night & waited a few minutes before I could store my stuff and get settled. Once I was ready to go walk around, my energy came back to explore what was around me. I walked for at least 4 hours and saw Karlsplatz, Marienplatz, Alter Peter, Essen Markt, Maximillian Strasse (One of the most expensive shopping streets in Europe & true to its name) and several lederhosen & dirndl shops. It was fun to amble on my own an grab some Bavarian sausages with kartoffel salat and aperol spritz. After dinner, more walking and finally a phone call from my friend Mathias. We met up later and went to a friends graduation party called “Abi 2012” and had so much fun.
Since I arrived too late to take the walking tour the first day, I was determined to make it on this day. After a late wake up of 14:00, I had to scramble to catch the S-Bahn to Marienplatz on time for the tour. And like clockwork, I made it just as the guide began. We saw so much and I learned an immense amount, especially about WWII triggers, Hitler’s Third Reich uprising and Bavarian history. Just a few sites to mention are Frauen Kirche, the Opera House and the Hofbrauhaus. After walking for almost 4 hours, I was ready for some coffee and a much needed lunch. I decided to try McCafe and dodge the rain. Suprisingly, their coffee is pretty good and offered some great views of Munich from where I sat facing the glass windows on the top floor. I sipped coffee while I chatted with Phil and then headed to the Hofbrauhaus for dinner and my first liter of beer. I made friends with a local lady who holds the honor of a stammtisch (regulars table that takes 5 years to earn), hear great Bavarian music live and meet a lot of Australians. The food was good but the beer was even better! After, it was time to catch the S-Bahn to Deisenhofen, where I was staying with a German girl named Tamara. Tamara and I talked for what seemed like 2 hours then it was off to bed for early rising.
All changed into running clothes, I headed upstairs to let Tamara know that I was going for a run. Suprisingly, she was eager to join me and I was excited. We ran through the woods on trails curving every which way and past her old school. We must have been out for an hour because I was very hungry once we returned! We had breakfast together then I was off to the Deutsches Museum. I had lunch at Indian Mango (lovely curry chicken) and then headed off to wander around the city till it was time for the Beer Challenge. One of the Aussie girls I had met the previous day at the Hofbrauhaus tol me that she would do the challenge with me. And we found each other no problem! The beer challenge consisted of 5 bars, lots of beer and a shot of Jaeger…a true Bavarian experience. It was a fun time!
Since I was flying out of Munich airport at noon, I had to wake up early to pack and take the S-Bahn an hour out to the airport. I was proud to arrive two hours in advance, check in, go through security then wander around till it was time to board my flight. But there was a problem with our plane-it was kaput. So, we had to wait for a new aircraft to arrive two hours later. Once finally in Berlin, it wasn’t long before I was at the Wombats City Hostel…or should I say hotel? It was by far the nicest hostel I had stayed in and the bed was like sleeping on a cloud. Once walking around, I got the vintage grungy feel of Berlin and all the energy from the young people walking around. I made my way all the way to Meringhdam for Mustafa’s Gemuse Kebab, the best in Berlin and I am certain in the world as well. A huge bread pocket stuffed with smoked meat, sautéed veggies, lettuce, tomatoes and goat cheese is kind of my definition of heaven. IT WAS AMAZING.
I strolled around Berlin for several hours passed the river, historic churches, modern buildings and some of the most scenic views I have ever seen. I also made my way past remains of the Berlin wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Bethlehamplatz & all the way to Alexanderplatz. I then hopped on the U-Bahn one stop to my stop for Wombats then took a shower and feel asleep within seconds.
Never missing a single thing, I woke up early to catch the U-Bahn to the Brandenburger Tor, where I would meet for the tour of the city. Once there, I immediately fell in love with the area.
Finally reunited with a Dunkin Donuts bagel and vanilla iced coffee, I was ready to take on the long day ahead.
The tour was outstanding and I got to see a whole lot of Berlin. I learned so much more from the tour and seeing stuff with my own eyes than I did from high school history class-it was very profound for me. Since the tour ended at Museuminsel right in front of the amazing Berliner Dom, it was only appropriate for me to go there next. That cathedral was amazing, the royal crypts were glamorous and the view from the top of the cupola was indescribable. A definite must see in Berlin for sure.
After departing, I headed down the main drag and followed footsteps to what was called “InStyle Fashion Box.” Immediately, I was signed up to win €1,000, in line to get my hair and makeup professionally done and a photo shoot to tie it all together. I felt like a princess as I was served ice cold water and grapefruit beer while I was primped and primed. Having Aveda hairstylists curl my hair, MAC makeup artists transform me into a superstar and a professional photographer capture the moment = priceless. After the photo shoot, I was given my own magazine cover with my photo on it, a MAC makeup goodie bag and tons of current issues of InStyle to take home with me. I felt like a million bucks walking out of there and all of the stylists called me Miss Florida 🙂
Since I was rather hungry, I wandered around and then finally went back to the Wombats area and dined on pumpkin chicken curry at the delicious Good Morning Vietnam.
Arriving back at the Wombats absolutely exhausted, I was ready to call it a night but when in Berlin, do as the Berliners do: go out. With zero energy to spare, I made my way up the the Wombat Sky bar and ordered my complimentary glass of white wine and chatted with a few people about their travels. Then, I saw a pool table and immediately wanted to play. I made my way over to the group playing, introduced myself then joined in. We played a few games, learned that the girl, Kate, was from the Netherlands and two of the guys were from the French part of Switzerland with a random Berliner thrown into the mix. Together, we all decided to go out to an underground club and experience Berlin nightlife firsthand. It was an interesting time never to be forgotten…one that will be hard to duplicate in any other city on the globe.
I met Kate and the guys downstairs first thing in the morning to walk to Alexanderplatz, grab some breakfast and go out on the Berlin alternative tour. After a while, we located the tour and alternatively decided to do our own thing. We then took the S-Bahn out to the East Side Gallery, admired the art, sat at a beach bar, said goodbye to the guys and then went to get schnitzel for lunch.
Kate and I then took the S-Bahn out to the Bundenstag and Reichstag area walking along Freidrichstrasse till we reached the line to get tickets into the Dome of the Reichstag. Let’s just say the German government does not let just anyone in. We ended up making friends with two guys (one from California and the other from a small German town) then decided to make a group visit of the Reichstag after our two hours were up for scanning us for security. In the mean time, we walked to university, got a tour of the library, went to a frozen yogurt shop that had a fashion show in it (did I mention that this is when I found out that it was Fashion Week in Berlin? It all made sense now), captured some great pictures with the water and Berliner Dom in the background, drank sweet electric green Berliner beer, went on our tour of the Reichstag dome and then went out to a fashion party at Watergate. This was by far one of the coolest things I have gotten to experience!
OMG. My flight is in one hour and I just woke up. Freaking out, I leap out of bed, thank myself for packing all of my belongings the night before, quickly change clothes, sprint downstairs & call a cab. But there is another problem-I don’t have any cash-just the desperation to get to the airport. I thought maybe they would take credit cards someway somehow. While anxiously waiting for the cab outside, I am stricken with fear that my plane could take off to Vienna right before my eyes. But no, I was determined to make it. All of a sudden, two people were outside also waiting for a cab to the airport and were willing to take the same cab as me. Thank the heavens! Since they knew all I had was a credit card, they quickly eased my worry. “You don’t have to worry about anything because this cab is paid for by my company since I am on a business trip and we will drop you off at your terminal first.” What just happened? Angels were watching over me-that I am sure of. And I made it to my flight in perfect time and arrived in Vienna just a short time later. Can you say crazy?!? Once in Vienna, I got settled and slept a lot from my insane delirious lack of sleep & later met up with my friend Johanna and her buddy John to go out to Travel Shack and Charley P’s. After a night full of laughter, this was a great way to end my crazy week spent in Germany!