Monday, March 2, 2015

Munich, I'll drink to that

Hey, remember that one time we went on a vacation over 3 months ago and I just now finished blogging it? Yeah, me neither.

We trained to Munich later in the day on Thanksgiving. After checking into the hotel, we walked a few blocks to the main Munich Christmas market. It was quite large and quite crowded. While it wasn't my favorite market, I've still never met a Christmas market I didn't like. And you'll be proud to learn that we switched things up this time - instead of fried dough, we got fried potato pancakes. [And yes, three months later, I'm still working that trip off. It's all salad and pilates around here these days.]

After browsing the market, we wandered over to Hofbrauhaus, one of the most famous beer halls in Germany. You can't go to Germany and not visit a beer hall. Although this one has become quite touristy, it's still worth a visit. If it couldn't be turkey and all the fixins, at least it was a pint and pork knuckle for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a fun experience, but I'd probably be fine never repeating it again. I was overwhelmed on a relatively quiet Thursday evening. I would never survive during Oktoberfest.

thanksgiving of champions.
The next day we took a 20-minute train ride to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp site. I'm not really sure how to write about this experience. I thought it was very informative and a moving memorial site. It was the coldest day of the vacation - an overcast day with chilling winds. I was bundled up, not outside that long, and still freezing. It made me realize even more how the thousands of people enslaved there had suffered in rags without coats or shoes, starving, sick and weak. We both learned a lot, and I'm glad we went, but it was heartbreaking.

the names of everyone that perished at Dachau
On a brighter note, that night we had what was perhaps my favorite meal of the trip. Considering we ate a lot of great food (see pilates/salad reference above), this is high praise. Dallmayr is a gourmet food shop and market downstairs by day and a michelin star restaurant upstairs by night. It was so fancy and delightful. I loved every bite. After dinner we went to a smaller market where I ate, you guessed it, fried dough!

and no, i am not flipping you off. or am i? 

On our last full vacation day, we took a day trip/tour to the castles. We drove through the mountains making stops in one village and at two castles. I'll be perfectly honest, this was not my favorite day, and it was primarily due to the weather. It was (again) cold, drizzly, and foggy. I'm sure the drive was beautiful, but we couldn't see a thing. Even once we got to the base of Neuschwanstein Castle, it was completely hiding in the fog. We walked all the way up to the top, but even from there, we wouldn't have known we were at a castle. I guess I'll just have to go back someday.

We did tour the inside and that was very enjoyable. It's a somewhat modern castle, which was built to look much older. I bought a puzzle, which we put together over Christmas. I like to joke that I had to buy the puzzle so I could know what the castled looked like.

i walked all the way up that hill for this? wah wah.
We finished off our last full day with a very traditional meal at a very traditional German restaurant. And then it was time to fit everything we brought + everything we bought back into our suitcases. No easy feat, but I also feel so accomplished after a good packing job.

it doesn't get more German than this.

The next day we had a few hours before our flight left so we visited the Residenz, aka the city palace for German rulers from around 1500-1918. It was room after room after room of palace opulence - much of it destroyed and then later rebuilt after WWII. Adjacent to the Residenz is a beautiful theater that was also destroyed and then restored to how it looked in the 1750s.

There was one last stop at a market for one last bite of fried dough and sausages.

The flight home wasn't as cushy as the business class one on the way over, BUT we had one huge bonus - there was one live TV channel on our flight and it just so happened to be a sports channel that was showing the CBS feed of the Packers vs. Patriots game. I have no idea how we got that lucky, but we got to see the Packers win just before landing. If you think watching a game with me is an experience, you should really try watching a game with me on a packed international flight. It's maddening to not be able to yell during a football game. I did my best, but I think the Croatian lady next to me thought I was certifiable.

thank you, lufthansa. 

Thus ended the vacation. Now on to the next one. :)


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