Finally back to Germany! It had been a while since Hot Blonde Cousin and I ventured anywhere around Europe as a team. Visa issues and life uncertainty created an unstable time which was difficult to maneuver. Happily, we got our lives and schedules together for a long weekend to wander in and around Munich. While Cousin has been to Munich several times for Oktoberfest, I was aching to see the city and had recently become entranced by the idea of visiting the castles of King Ludwig.
We arrived at different times on a Friday evening with different agendas to look forward to the next day. Cousin decided to go to Salzburg since she was already familiar with the hot spots around Munich proper. I, on the other hand, took the opportunity to see what I could in such a short period of time. To that end, I booked a bicycle tour in the morning and a beer tour in the evening. I figured this was the perfect way to see the sights and experience the highlights of local culture in just a few hours.
The morning ended up providing beautiful weather for a cycling trip around the city. Blue skies and fluffy clouds reigned from above and guided us throughout the morning. As luck would have it, the rest of the tour consisted of 5 older gentleman, 4 of which were Aussies. Go figure. With the British tour guide setting the stage, it was me and the boys for the next three hours. We generally rode outside of the city center, evading the throngs of tourists around Marienplatz. In addition to seeing some intriguing and historical sights, the highlight of the tour was cycling through the Englischer Garten. There, we flew past the Chinese Tower and stopped for a beer beside a gorgeous open lake. Along the way, I also began bonding with the fellas by my side, as they would also be my beer companions in the evening.
Between the two tours, I actually got the chance to grab lunch with a friend of a friend living in Munich. One of the best parts of being a world traveler is having friends and connections all around the globe. It was great to have a local lunch with a native speaker and chat fondly of our mutual acquaintance. The weather started looking a little grim in the afternoon but before I crashed for a twenty minute disco nap, I spent some time perusing the Marienplatz. Amidst the swarms of tourists and trendy shops lining the plaza, I was able to admire the Rathaus-Glockenspiel and Altes Rathaus, the old town hall.
Finally it was back out on the town for a night of traditional German beer. The tour group was much larger this time around and we were all encouraged to get to know each other as we were treated to a beer at the meeting spot and given a bit of history before we embarked. The guide was incredibly knowledgeable in addition to being a hilarious Scotsman. We learned a lot about German beer as we went from the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum to the Hofbräukeller restaurant, ultimately landing in front of the legendary Hofbräuhaus. Going into this renowned beer hall was not officially part of the tour, so I bid a hearty auf wiedersehen to my compatriots before heading home for the night.
We went from early morning to early morning on our whirlwind trip so after quickly reporting on our day's activities, Cousin and I fell fast asleep for our next adventure the following day. On to the castles!