When I got to the train's platform I confirmed I was in the right place, and the train was bound for Munich. I asked a conductor where my seat was, to be sure I was in the right place. After a few misunderstandings due to the language barrier, I figured out I was supposed to board the car we were standing in front of and I was in the 5th compartment. The conductor had told me number five, I thought he meant car number five and I started walking towards it, I was standing in front of car number two. The conductor said, NO, NUMBER 5, again I did not understand what he meant by number 5. Finally, the conductor pointed, said this car, number 5, I apologized for the misunderstanding and thanked him. He lifted my bag into the car and I walked to compartment number 5.
When I got to my compartment it was empty, I only saw four bunks, one was folded up, so there was a sofa like seat area, would have been a nice place to sit, if nobody had joined me in my compartment. A few minutes later a middle-aged German man came to the compartment, he spoke no English. He seemed a bit confused, asked me some questions, his younger friend came and joined the conversation, they asked, "Sprechen sie Deutsch?" I said no, only English, they had more conversation. I thought both men were going to be in my compartment, turned out only the middle-aged man and I shared the couchette.
The German man did not set up his bed until the train started moving, he stood outside our compartment for a long time, I did not know what he was doing, I could not ask, we do not speak the same language. I made up my bed, I tried to ask him if he wanted to make up his bed, he pointed to the sofa like area where I was sitting and communicated he would sleep there, I said OK. He still did not move to make up his bed or arrange his luggage.
When the train started moving, the German man brought his luggage into the compartment, folded the sofa up and it became a row of 3 bunks, just like my side of the compartment. His friend stopped by our compartment again, said a few things to me and his friend, then left, I did not see him again until we arrived in Munich this morning.
|Me in Couchette on EuroNight Train to Munich|
I went back to sleep or into a semi-sleep state, the couchette was comfortable enough, the conductor knocked on our door around 5:45am to return our passports and tickets. The conductors collect these over night so they don't have to wake up passengers every time we pass into another country. I got up, I wasn't well-rested, I don't think anyone was, but the ride passed faster than 8 hours would have during the day. Our train pulled into Munich a little after 6:00am.
I stopped at a pastry shop at Munich's main train station and bought a ham and cheese croissant for breakfast, then I looked for the bus stop for the bus to my hostel. I asked some German Deutsch Bahn workers where the bus was, they pointed me in the direction. I found the bus stop, got on the bus when it arrived, the bus driver was no help with ticket information, in Berlin they sell the tickets, in Munich they have a machine with no English. I bought the cheapest ticket, sat down and monitored the stops until we arrived at the one for my hostel.
I went down the wrong street in search of my hostel, I walked to the next bus stop. The hostel's directions said get off the bus and walk straight ahead, it did not say in what direction to walk straight. I turned around and walked back towards the bus stop, then I was looking left and saw the sign for the hostel, I was relieved. I went to the hostel, the man at the front desk was nice and let me check in, often they make you wait until check in time, usually around 2pm. I was tired and grateful he gave me the room that early, I did not expect it, I thought I would be in the lobby for several hours or I would go on an early walking tour.
I went to my room, tried to be quiet and not wake my hostel mates. They eventually woke up, one of their alarms went off, they thanked me for not making noise when I entered the room. We talked some, both are working on their Masters at Cambridge University in England. They asked me if I was on a post-college trip, I said something like that, but it is a post-CIA trip. I told them some about my experience with CIA and FBI and gave them both my cards. When my hostel mates checked out, I went to sleep.
I set my alarm so I would wake up for the 1pm Sandemans Munich walking tour. I walked to Marienplatz, Mary's Square, Munich's main square. I decided to walk so I could orient myself to Munich and I had time on my hands, gave me a chance to see more of the city. I got to the meeting place about half an hour early, walked around, read some on my Kindle and waited to meet the tour guide.
|Lynnae in Marienplatz|
|Holocaust Memorial to Jewish Owned Shopping Center|
We also visited Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) it was built in 20 years in the 1400s and there is what is believed to be the devil's footprint at the entrance of the church, superstition says it was built quickly with the devil's help. A tour of Munich would not be complete with out beer talk and we got that too, including a stop at The Hofbrahaus, a famous German brewery, I had not heard of until today. I would probably enjoy Germany even more if I were a beer drinker.
|My foot next to the Devil's Foot Print at Frauenkirche|
I wanted to get traditional German food for dinner, really Bavarian food, there is a regional difference in Germany, like in the US. I asked the hostel staff for a recommendation of a restaurant close by, they gave me directions. The restaurant was crowded when I arrived, I did not want to get take out or take away as they call it in Europe, I wanted to eat in, a hostel is not conducive to enjoying good food. The waiter sat me at a table with two German men, in Europe it is common to share a table with strangers, population density often demands you share a table. The German men readily agreed to share the table, we did not talk much, most of the Germans I met today were absorbed in the Munich Barcelona match, my guess, that is what my German table partners were discussing. I asked the waiter what was a traditional Bavarian dish, he told me the Schnitzel, I ordered the schnitzel with cheese and ham, I call it the heart attack schnitzel. I had apple juice and sparkling water for my drink, it almost looks like a light beer.
|My Bavarian Dinner|
After dinner I returned to the hostel. I am planning to go on a day excursion to Neuschwanstein Castle, should be a full day.
Day 1 in Munich Photo Album