Sunday, September 02, 2007

And continuing through the state of Bayern...

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We left Bamberg and drove the short distance to Nuernberg the next morning. Our bus was parked near the castle and we were given two and a half hours free in the town - to have lunch and see whatever we wanted. In most stopovers like this we had a city tour, but not this time. It was really nice to be able to cover what we wanted instead of lingering too long on one thing at the expense of another - although I did miss the extra tidbits of information one can normally get on a tour.

Nuernberg Aug 2007

Our guide warned us not to use the restrooms in the castle, and I had to go, so we checked on our map for the next closest public one, which was in the little medieval section of town right next to the castle. She'd told us to go to a cafe instead, but we didn't need anything from a cafe. So, I used the public one, which was of the toilet-seat-free, cold-water-only, soap-free variety. Ugh. Nuernberg is a major tourist should really have better places to pee than that. I would have been willing to put a coin in to use it if I could have gotten a seat and some soap!

We stopped at the market and bought the typical tourist fare, Lebkuchen. What can I say...they taste damn good. We hit the three major churches, all of which were amazing and definitely seem to be the highlight of this city. The center was a little boring, with a broad street filled with all of the usual shops one can see in a German city of any size....Kaufhof, New Yorker, Deichmann, etc etc. We ate a quick small lunch in a super-crowded touristy restaurant near one of the churches, then it was back on the bus for the trip to Muenchen.

Muenchen Aug 2007

We had a bit of free time before going to a concert in the evening at the Residenz, so Damon and I explored the area around the hotel. It was pretty seedy. Mostly strip joints and hotels. I did find an art supply store, and had been looking for calligraphy supplies, so that was great. We grabbed a bite, then met up for the concert. Afterward, a few of us had drinks at the Augustiner, which wasn't bad, and conveniently located. (No one really wanted to hang around at the places near the hotel...)

The next morning we had a tour with a Munich tour guide on our own bus. She was really terrible. It was okay at first - we went past some museums and such, and out to Schloss Nymphenburg, which had some beautiful lakes and gardens (though we were of course only there very briefly). Then we drove around a bit more and stopped in the center so she could walk us around a few places. She stopped inside a mall and spent at least 15 minutes, probably 20, yapping on and on about a stupid picture on the floor of the mall that can't really have been of any importance. About half of the tour group members peeled off during that time, including our guide! We ended up leaving the tour and heading over to the Viktualienmarkt for lunch. Most of us had been to Muenchen before anyway so it wasn't a major loss. Damon and I ate at Buxs, a vegetarian buffet restaurant near the Viktualienmarkt, out of curiosity. The food was alright but really, surprisingly uncreative for vegetarian food. It was mostly potatoes. Where are all the crazy meat substitues, beans, and nuts? I did like the style of some of the food - small pieces of things, like American appetizers. This style of food is hard to find in Germany.

We went through the market some more, then made our way over to the Asamkirche, the only major church we hadn't made it to on our last visit to Muenchen. As you can see in the photos, the Asamkirche is a Rococo hater's nightmare - or a Rococo lover's dream. When I stepped in, another woman came in beside me, and after a glance around, just looked at me with the universal "What in the hell!?" face, shrugged a tiny shrug, and left. We went shopping for a gift for our tour guide from the group, and I looked again for some shoes to replace my broken ones, with no luck. (As of now I still haven't replaced them and really must...) We also checked out Schwabing, which had seemed like an interesting neighborhood when we went through it on the bus. It had a nice variety of restaurants which would be good to remember for our next trip there!

We met up with the group for food and beer at the Chinese Tower in the English Garden. It was raining so everyone was crowded under the Tower. Afterward, the guide convinced a few of us to go also to the Hofbraeuhaus, Munich's great shrine to tourism. It was hot as hell, loud, and unbelievably crowded. The room was pretty cool, though. And we noticed that the mugs that can be easily stolen from the English Garden cost 8,50 EUR in the gift shop. I think that people in our group stole at least 10 of the mugs from the Garden.


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