Munich and Athens (so far)

Our backpacking trip started only three days ago and so far it’s been pretty exciting. Our first stop was Munich. We took a train to Munich from my cousins home with relative ease. Our train traveled at 200 km per hour. Just when we thought we had the train system figured, the conductor told us we apparently took a slow train and that we should have taken a faster train! We didn’t mind the slow train, we enjoyed the scenic route between Ansbach and Munich. When we arrived in Munich we ate at this lovely little Italian place on the corner of our hostel. I had the most amazing ravioli! We tried checking into the Wombats Hostel (which was next door to the Jäger Hostel that I stayed in years ago and nowhere near the Cocoon Hotel we stayed in last time we visited Munich). Wombats said they were undergoing renovations so we could not immediately go to our rooms so we hung around the hostel and watched Argo until check in time. Check in involved getting a key card that let us get into our rooms and lockers, a free beer pass, and grabbing fresh clean sheets for our beds. We went up and made our beds like good little hostel dwellers then went downstairs and waited at the bar for anyone to talk to us. A few Canadians were at the bar but we found our home with a group who had met earlier in the day (some even met at different cities previously). Understanding that we all would only know each other for the one night we all identified with each other through the names of where we were from. There was Texas, Argentina, Estonia, and three Australians: Sydndey, Melbourne and Adelaide. All of us enjoyed Happy Hour at the hostel before wandering the streets of Munich to the Hofbrauhaus. The beer hall was less busy this time and we all had a great time absorbing the German tourist trap. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and I went straight to sleep.

IMG_1401The next day Gavin and I decided we would go on the four hour OZ free Tour of Munich, and boy did we make Fantastic choice. Our tour guide Ozzy was the most charismatic and interesting person. Our tour was not just looking at sites with his commentary it was learning about local culture And customs while relating the history of Munich to everything around us. Ozzy was hilarious, insightful, and informative. After the tour he took us all out for a beer at a local beer hall. We laughed at jokes and got to know other people on our tour. After the beer hall we went to another beer hall where we met some of Ozzys friends. Before long a tour that had started at 11am turned into a hang out that lasted until 7pm. After hanging out with Ozzy we went to the hostel grabbed our things and journeyed to the airport where we would grab a shuttle to our airport hotel.

The next morning we woke up at 4am to catch a shuttle to the airport for our Air China flight to Athens, Greece. We expected the flight to be terrible, after all we got the tickets for $123cdn and all the reviews online were unfavourable. Shockingly enough the flight was great! It was two hours, they served us a delicious hot meal, I could watch a tv show, it was good. WAY Better than any American flight I have ever taken and better than some Canadian airlines *cough* Air Canada *cough* .

IMG_1413

We landed in Greece and were immediately given tourist cards that gave us a 50to 20 percent discount in Athens, which despite the economic crisis is expensive. It was strange going from the country with the top GDP in Europe to the one with the lowest. As we were driving into Athens from the airport we noticed every large billboard was in disrepair and that there was graffiti tags and litter everywhere. We arrived at our hotel (which had a nice lobby) and found ourselves a little disappointed after leaving Munich on such a high. We looked out of our hotel window and saw tons of smog, the mountain view was not even enough to bring our spirits up.

After a quick nap we wandered hoping to find a cheap food stand because we could see Athens getting expensive fast. Taking public transit was easy enough, given that the Greek alphabet is shapes and letters that we could neither say or read without confusion. We ended up at the public shopping centre where our spirits started to glow a bit. We saw so many mini markets and exciting food vendors and stores that sold local goods. The shop keepers we spoke to were all so kind taking the time to speak English to us and explain things to us. We ended up at a restaurant where the owner showed us photos of each dish and made suggestions. I ordered Calimari which came back crispy and flavourful whilst lightly battered and free of oil. Gavin got Lamb souvlaki which was juicy and flavourful. We even got a free desert, Semolina. After we went to a fruit stand and bought the juiciest strawberries we ever tasted, juicy tangerines, kiwis and bananas all for 5 euros. We walked around Athens with well treated taste buds and finished our evening with coconut candy. We went back to our hotel wondering what we would do next….

Munich Part Two: What We Did!

After checking out of our cool hotel we ventured off to Marienplatz to do some shopping! Unfortunately we kept missing the Marienplatz Glockenspiel , a famous clock in the Munich City Hall that is very elaborate. My cousin and I did a little shopping and bought some jewelry, then we headed off to the world famous centre of Oktoberfest, The Hofbräuhaus. The Hofbräuhaus is a gigantic beer hall which seats hundreds of people and serves them classic Bavarian meals while musicians in liederhosen played traditional Bavarian music (Gavin’s favourite Pork Hocks and Sausage and Sour Kraut for me), as well as one litre glasses of beer.  I ordered a wheat beer with lemonade and Gavin ordered the darkest beer they had. After about two hours Gavin had three litres of beer.

The First Litre

The First Litre

The Second Lite

The Second Litre

The Third Litre

The Third Litre

My cousin had just turned 18 so we wanted to take her clubbing for the first time so we took her clubbing in the world famous Kult Fabrik District which is a huge complex of  30 to 40 nightclubs.  In Germany night clubs open at about 11pm and the night life doesn’t start until 2am. We got to the club at about 1am and after a night of loud music and bright lights we went  back to our hotel at 4:30am.

The next day we went to the English Garden, one of the largest parks in Germany. While we were there  we visited the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower), a 25 meter high wooden tower. Later we went to see the Olympic Stadium and tower from the 1972 Olympics. Afterwards we went to the BMW museum (which is across the street from the Olympic Stadium). The BMW museum was an incredibly huge building.  We sat on sample motor cycles and Mini Coopers, and even got to see Rolls Royce phantoms.

Our trip to Munich was fun and exciting. It was nice to see a different side to one of my favourite cities. I missed out on Ice cream fondue… but I am going back in a month so we shall see….