And as we were walking down the Marienplatz (main square), it started to thunderstorm and it hailed (!) and we took shelter under neat roofs

I was really looking forward to the museum...darn it

We were there for a long time

I was bummed that it wasn't as crowded as when I went there before b/c I loved that atmosphere then, but it was cold and drizzly :-(

I gave the passport to the were in bed

Munich: Day 2

The next morning we woke up to more rain. Rain rain, frickin' rain. That had become a normal part of our lives for the past week. We never went anywhere without our trusty £13.50 umbrellas we got in London four years earlier.

The first stop today (after a breakfast of meat sandwich, pastries (!), and coffee) was to drop off our bags at the train station. Tonight we were taking an overnight train to the Czech Republic, destination Prague!

Denied! And in the rain even.

The next stop was to be the archeological museum. Much like trying to find a hotel, we walked up and down the street it was supposed to be on, with no luck. We entered a gated parking lot, and almost immediately a professor-type guy asked us, in an English accent, if we were lost. After informing him of our intent, he got us on the correct path. Unfortunately, the museum was closed for renovations. We hung our heads, and umbrellas, in sadness...

So if we can't tour that museum, we went instead to check out the family jewels of the House of Wittelsbach. "The family jewels?!" No, not those, the crown jewels of the family of King Ludwig. They were at the Residenze, the palace home of the family in Munich. They had a deal for tickets, so you could tour the palace, and see the treasury for one high high price, so we went with that.

Inside the palace grounds

The palace was quite fascinating, which each room more austere than the last. I was way into the treasury room as well, but Lin-Wei found it a bit boring. But that's cool stuff man. And a tad expensive too, if I could hazard a guess.

We had noticed an all-you-can-eat sushi place across the street from our hotel, so we once again had fun plucking plates of cooked / raw sushi from the conveyor belt, while downing some expensive coca-cola. Delish!

Look at those happy vacationers!

After lunch we walked through the English Gardens (or Englisher Gaten as they call it). Lin-Wei had used the park as a napping ground for an entire afternoon when she was sick on a previous trip to Bavaria many years earlier, and she was eager to check it out while healthy (always a subjective word with Lin-Wei, but at least she was alert this time). The park was very nice, though the rain (ahem) damped the mood a bit. The English Gardens is the largest municipal public park in the world (larger than Central Park), so we didn't see all of it, thankfully. But we did see a Chinese Pagoda where we did not stop and have a beer.

Man, it had been nearly a day since we saw a river!

Afterwards we finally made it to the river and some bridges, and stared once again in amazement at the high water levels. They had really gotten a lot of water in that region this spring. In fact, a month before we left we heard of some pretty bad flooding in central Europe, including Prague.

The walk through the English Gardens, to the river, over some bridges, over by some monuments, and back to the city was once again an epic hike that took its toll on both the feet and the spirit. The only way to recharge was to make another stop at Hofbrauhaus. While it didn't cure all ills, it did a pretty good job, and Lin-Wei even got some of her applestrudel. I left there in a much better mood.

That evening we spent what seemed like forever looking for dinner, finally winding up in some crappy mall eating semi-decent Greek food (what the hell? I hated the food in Greece, and here we were eating it twice now in Germany. I guess that says something about German food...) We had to kill some time before the train, so we spent it on the internets near the train station. Around 10pm we collected our bags and spent time in a very hot and stuffy waiting room before finally being able to board our train.

Train to Prague

Bonneys at the Munich train station

We got into our cabin without any problems, and I proceeded to claim the top bunk, since I wouldn't be getting up to go to the bathroom (which was down the hall) 3x that night (or 2x or 1x). While putting our stuff away we heard a very heated argument between the conductor (in very broken, Czech-accented, English), and a young man of Asian decent who possibly had a mental handicap. The conductor was required to take the young man's passport due to the fact that he had some weird ticket, and although the conductor explained that he'd get it back after they crossed the border, the young man was freaking out. And the conductor was getting angrier and angrier trying to explain what was happening. And this went on for like 15 minutes! Eventually some lady helped the kid understand what was happening, and the conductor was able to go back to work. Walking past him, I saw (and smelled) that he had been really sweating up a storm talking to that kid.

The train rolled out as we turned in for the night. We were told that the border police would need to see our passports when we crossed into the Czech Republic. Looking at the map, I estimated that to be ~3am, and I was correct. A knock at the door woke me, and bleary-eyed, I opened it and handed our passports to an extremely large and burly man. It was surreal to be sure, but we had no problems.

The next morning we woke to the sites of Eastern Europe gently rolling by our cabin window.

Behind the Iron Curtain

Copyright (c) The Sticklers 2006