Saturday was a sad day. After a perfect streak of three Australian NewEurope tour guides, our run was destroyed by a Texan with a goofy cowboy hat. We were even willing to switch groups if we had to, but the only Australian was doing a paid tour and it just wasn't that important.
But despite the fact that we didn't get to listen to the beautiful Aussie accent, the tour ended up being pretty good. We learned a lot about the history there, including the fact that the Nazi party was started in Munich. The guides had a great time making fun of the famous glockenspiel that plays on the new town hall. It's incredibly boring and slow and the music is incomprehensible. There were tons of people crowding the main square, but we eventually found out that the next day was Munich's birthday. There were stages being set up everywhere. It was very hectic trying to follow a tour group with all those people. We also saw the place where Hitler was almost killed years before he took control of the country. And, of course, we saw plenty of beer halls and gardens.
Munich is the beer capital of the world. I don't care what anyone says. Not only does it have six great breweries in the city, but they have beer halls and gardens around every corner and people are drinking all day. Beer for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Men, women and children. It's great. And they don't use pint glasses much. They serve things in "masses," which is a huge stein with a liter of beer.
After our terrible pub crawl experience in Berlin, we had avoided any more alcohol related events with NewEurope. But it was our last big night and we were in the beer capital of the world, so how could we resist? We signed up for the Beer Challenge.
The Beer Challenge is basically a guided tour of four major beer halls or gardens around the city, where you sit down at each one for about 30 minutes and have a drink. It went from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and was great. Our tour guide was an Irishman named Niall who was great fun. He taught us a traditional German drinking song (that we repeatedly butchered) and even tried to teach us to sing "If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago. Unfortunately, even though many of the people were Americans, pretty much only Thomas and I knew the song. Disgraceful....
Despite the assertion by one of the other British tour guides that Americans couldn't drink, we held our own. The British guy was an encyclopedia of beer information. He could list the top 20 countries in total alcohol consumption, total beer consumption and per capita consumption (for the record, the Czech Republic drinks the most beer). And he wasn't even supposed to be on the tour! He was just there because he wanted to have a few drinks. Oh the British.... Despite his ribbing of Americans, he did have to admit that we brew the strongest beer: a brewery in Portland, Ore., called Hair of the Dog made a beer that was 29%. Impressive.
The next morning we woke up feeling nice and relaxed. I'm convinced it's because Munich has laws that force the beer to be pure, so no extra chemicals or anything like that. It definitely improves taste.
We decided to spend our last day in Munich just walking around again. We went through the main square and saw tons of people celebrating Munich's birthday after church. We saw little polka bands, old people dancing and choirs singing. Pretty cool, even if we didn't understand a thing going on.
We walked back down to Englischer Garden to watch the surfers again and then wander farther back into the park. There is a large lake farther back in the park that we walked around. Ducks and geese were all over the place, like they were trying to take over. And, of course, there's a beer garden around it. We didn't stop this time because we were on a schedule.
After running back to the hostel to get our bags, we made it to the train to Frankfurt just in time. For the first time all trip, something felt familiar. When we got off the train we knew exactly where we were going and what it was like. It was really nice. We crossed the street to the Frankfurt Hostel and checked in. A terrible storm popped up, but we decided to brave it to get some dinner. I finally had a schnitzel. I'm still not really sure what it is, but it tasted pretty good.
I was joking on the train that it would be great to see some of the people we met in Frankfurt the first time: Christina, Terry, Dan, Darko or Andy. How much of a coincidence would that be?Thomas and I were waiting for different bathrooms, when I heard him start to talk to someone down the hall.
"Corey, look who I found."
I look down the hall and see Darko standing there. I couldn't believe it. Come to find out he was flying back to Canada literally 15 minutes before we were leaving. He even got to Frankfurt the same day we did. Kinda creepy. It was nice seeing a familiar face so we ended up staying up talking for a while.
Monday was pretty uneventful. We made our train, made our plane and made our connection. They did show "Marley and Me" on the plane along with an episode of "Big Bang Theory," so that was nice.
But now we're back home trying to fight off the jet lag and I'm working on putting up pictures and videos. Look for all the pictures to be up on Facebook sometime later today and I hope to have videos done this week.
I really hope you enjoyed following us around Europe and I hope you'll keep checking in. I'll have a post where I break down the trip (best/worst cities, hostels and final conclusions about Europe and it's people) and will get back to updating like I normally do. It's not like I have much else to do (stupid job market).
Until next time!