Our first stop was scenic… Iceland!
Well, actually just the airport. Honestly it was not my favorite airport ever. That might have been related to the dense overcast, driving wind, rain, 40 degree temperatures, and firsthand experience we got with that weather while slowly stepping down a staircase on the tarmac. Also, the bathrooms are far from the gates. Really far. I suspect that they actually ran a tunnel to Heathrow so they could share bathrooms, but they keep it a secret because they want to keep selling flights. Ah well, I needed to stretch my legs anyway.
Soon enough we were crammed back into cattle class for a few more hours, and then arrived in Munich. I had heard that the best way to avoid jet lag is to not sleep on the flight so that you can adjust quickly when you get there. It seemed sensible, so when we finally landed in Munich I had been awake for about 24 hours straight. It was mid-day, but I really just wanted to find the hotel, drop my backpack, change clothes, and take a nap. I whipped out my copy of the trip plan, which conveniently organizes our whole trip for distracted and exhausted travelers, and looked up our hotel.
Whereupon Wendy says, “Oh no, that’s not the hotel. I changed it.”
I was nonplussed. ”You changed it but didn’t put it in the trip plan?”
She said, ”I thought I updated the plan, but I guess not.”
“Well, that kind of misses the point of the trip plan, but OK. What’s the new hotel?”
”I don’t know.”
”You don’t know... OK, where is it?”
”I don’t know.”
”Would you recognize the name?”
”So we have a hotel somewhere in Munich, but the only thing we know about it is that it’s not the one we have written down?”
”Great. That’s just great.”
Cue the giant facepalm. Regrettably there is no photo of that. I will say it took some effort to remain calm at that point. For lack of better ideas we hopped a train to Marienplatz, the tourist center of town, and spent the ride trying to figure out where we were going to stay. Thankfully there was an Apple store right at the Marienplatz train station, and we were able to use their free wireless to get into Wendy’s email account. After much dinking around she was able to ascertain that our hotel was… the one written down in the trip plan. So all of that running around and stress was pointless. Cue the second giant facepalm.
At this point we were both hungry, and I was feeling in need of a drink to drown the shame of our inauspicious start. So we plonked ourselves down at the touristy restaurant right in the middle of the plaza. This is when Wendy’s love affair with Bavarian cuisine began – it’s all meat and potatoes! I tried to out-Bavarian her by ordering beer and sausages. I think we both won.
The Marienplatz has the New Town Hall bordering it. You can tell it’s the new town hall because it’s only 107 years old. Really it’s just a baby, it might get up and wander off at any time. The actual German name for it Neues Rathaus. It amuses me to no end that they keep the politicians in a “Rat Haus.” I also has a mechanical glockenspiel in the tower - basically the 19th century version of a Disney ride. Thankfully they did not play It's a Small World on repeat.
That night we walked around near the river, and happened into a street festival with a number of bands and vendors. Surprisingly, all of the music was sung in English. In between songs the bands would talk in German, but then always sing in English.
We were lucky enough to wander up to one of the churches just as a Gothic choir was about to start singing. So we sat and admired the church, thinking that now for sure we’d get some classic German music. Nope, they sang in English too. You’d think it was an English language music festival! Anyway, after a bit of wandering about we headed back to home base for some real sleep.