Arriving in Munich (Saturday Afternoon)

I’m an airplane window type. I love to look out the window and see things from the sky. I think I still enjoy flying as much as I did as a kid on my first flight.

Flying into Munich, I noticed that many of the houses had solar panels. I noticed a few wind turbines and lots of farms. It didn’t seem very densely populated, and didn’t look to have a lot of sprawl. It seemed odd to me for the third largest city in Germany (1.5 million in the city proper; 5+ million in the metro area).

The airport was clean and neat. We did not have to go through passport control or customs since our flight came from France. We picked up N’s bag at baggage claim and headed to the main terminal where we converted some US dollars to Euros, then tried to decide how to get to the hotel.

After some discussion, we decided to take the S-Bahn since I had directions for how to get to the hotel from the S-Bahn station. We did have a small issue buying tickets for the train because N tried to use an ATM card and failed due to the S-Bahn machines at the airport only taking chip-and-pin ATM cards. We picked the final destination, selected (2) passengers, paid with a €20 bill, and the machine spit out two small rectangular paper tickets.

munich
munich

We followed the signs to the S-Bahn entrance nearby and watched someone else go through, putting his small ticket into a machine that stamped it with the time. We copied him, punched our tickets, and went down the escalator to the trains. Just like metros in other cities, trains arrived on either side of the platform, each going in opposite directions. I motioned to N that our train would be on our righthand side and we noted that the digital sign above said the train would arrive in 15 minutes.

At this point I turned my cell phone back on, forgetting that I had not turned off twitter SMS and data sync and data roaming before I turned it off in Seattle. When I turned it on, 30 $.40 SMSes came pouring in. Crap! Ah well. Vacation expenses! T-Mobile was everywhere in Munich and my phone had a strong signal everywhere in the city.

After 10 minutes, the train arrived and we all clambered on. The S-Bahn was very clean and empty at this point. I pulled out the map of Munich I had packed and pointed out where the hotel was to N. The train had luggage racks above the seating but N’s luggage was so large and heavy he did not put it up there (infuriating many people in the process, I am sure — I was embarrassed). No one checked our tickets at any point but I guess they could have.

Once we were a few stops from Marienplatz (at Ostbahnhof, I believe), the train got very full. The trip time from the airport to Marienplatz was about 40 minutes. At Marienplatz we hopped out and made our way up to the street from the station.

We came out into the center of a huge festival and pedestrian center. It was packed and hot and smelled delicious. I saw people wandering around eating pretzels topped with cheese and bacon! We eventually made our way to the hotel. N had some issues dragging his huge rolly bag across the cobblestones.

hotel
the hotel

We checked into the tiny but clean hotel room on a very quiet street (Hotel Falkenturm), showered our travel funk off, and headed back out into Munich.

room 104
room 104

We walked and walked. I was so incredibly grumpy and cranky. It was my worst day. I just shut down and didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to eat or drink or take photos. I was incredibly thirsty but when I tried to drink anything (water, beer) I just felt so full I couldn’t finish it.

half-metre
half-metre

N finally stopped at a street vendor and bought two half-meter weissewursts on baguette with spicy mustard and handed me one. I pushed through my crankiness and ate a bite. It was delicious. N finished his long before I finished mine, but finish mine I did!

deposit
deposit

Then he bought me a bottle of water and the vendor explained to him that when he bought the bottle of water, he was paying a deposit for the bottle. The vendor handed him a paper ticket (other vendors used plastic coins or other items) and told him to bring it back with the empty bottle to get his deposit back.

We wandered back to Marienplatz and took up residence at a beer garden so N could get a Paulaner Salvator. I had one as well but I actually did not like it at all — too sweet for me. He also ordered a snack from the menu that included a few pieces of dense dark bread, butter, and a spiced-herbed Camembert. It was the color of salmon (paprika?) and was quite delicious with some slices of onion on top.

At this point I was still very tired and grumpy and N was tired of dealing with me, so we went back to the hotel.

We lay down on the hotel bed sideways “just for a second” and we both just passed out for three hours! We woke up for a while and then went back to sleep for a full night’s rest, which I thought was a good plan for waking up and having a full Sunday in Munich.

What do you think?