Saturday, May 23, 2009

Recaps: Zurich and Munich

Zurich, Switzerland
When Kristina and I planned our trip, we found that there was no direct train from Bern into Munich, so we decided to take a few-hour break in Zurich first. We caught an early train out of Bern and had an uneventful train ride into Zurich.

When we arrived, we wandered up the main road to find, essentially, nothing. We wanted to find some lunch, but for a pretty long way, there were no restaurants... or anything else, for that matter. There were few shops; no churches, parks, or anything else of note jumped out at us. We finally found some food (we split a plate of spaghetti), but after staring out the window at a quiet intersection, we eventually decided that we'd just catch the next train out to Munich. So all told, we only spent maybe 2 or 3 hours in Zurich. Probably not enough time to form a proper impression of the city, but we did need to move on to Munich.

We hopped on a train and crossed the border into Germany.

Munich, Germany
When we arrived in Munich's main train station several hours later, we thought we'd be able to find our hostel, no problem. After all, my directions were clear and concise, and the hostel's owners expected us to make it there in about five minutes. So we grabbed a map from the station, only to become immediately confused because, for the life of us, we couldn't find the street we wanted on the map. After walking up and down a busy sidewalk, we finally asked a pair of women if they knew where we wanted to be. At first, they told us they couldn't help us, but after we thanked them and walked away, they actually ran after us and started examining our map - and fortunately, pointed out the street we wanted. It was QUITE close to the train station after all.

The unique aspect of our stay in the Munich hostel was the fact that they had Kristina and I sleeping next to each other in a double bed, instead of two single beds. This wasn't a problem - the beds were wide, pink, and comfortable - just interesting. I liked the hostel overall. It was very clean and pretty.

We spent a lot of our day touring Munich inside the Nymphenburg Palace, which was comprised of the main palace, as well as three or four restored guest homes and a couple of lakes covered with birds. (The video on YouTube about the diving bird, as well as one in the main palace and one showing the carriages are all from the grounds of the Nymphenburg). It was lovely, and the grounds were absolutely enormous.

That night, two things happened. First of all, we saw this awesome string quartet under a bridge, and they played excellent music. The violinist in particular was very good, moving with his instrument dramatically and playing quite complicated solos. The group played everything from classical to modern pop music, and we enjoyed standing there and listening for a good half hour or so. Secondly, we got a box of fries from McDonald's (don't judge, we needed the pick-me-up) and then Kristina lost the map in their bathroom. So we thought we knew where we were going and that we could get back to the hostel without the map, but we just ended up going completely the wrong direction. Proof that God looks out for us: We ran into a tourist who didn't know which direction to go anymore than we did, but he actually had an extra map and gave it to us! That was fantastic, and I navigated us back home that night.

Next up: Brussels.

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