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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Germany!

INTRO

It's currently 11:47 PM local (German) time and I'm in the lobby. Pete has crashed out upstairs in the room. Well, I assume he's in the room. He was pretty tired. Me, I'm still excited to be up and doing stuff. Update, I was up at six something. I'm back to typing while he sleeps.



GERMANY

Tickets from Amsterdam to Germany - cost 120 Euro. Fuck the internet, go straight to the ticket booth people and be nice to them. The nice lady found us a sleeper car to Munich that was literally half price than the one listed on the internet. I take this as confirmation of my opinion that talking to people is always better than looking on the internet.

I think they call the type of cabin we had a 'couchette' - I wanted to say a couple words on that as it's information I'd have liked having previously. Here's the set up. You can get (generally speaking) either a four berth or six berth. Neither will give you enough room to sit up on - unless you are female or short. At about six foot tall, I couldn't. They will fill up the 'berth' (room). It might not all be at the same stop and you may have people coming and going at all hours. If you're thinking you will get some sleep in this room, well, you might snag a few hours but if you're a light sleeper forget it. Also, there are no other seats you can move to sit if you can't sleep. You are stuck where you are. Period. If the conductor says "Nobody else is booked" (as ours did) be advised that people can still book later. The last bit I will say is always book a bottom bunk. It is much easier to get into and out of; I had real problems with the top bunk my ticket showed, told the conductor I had back pain and he said just sleep on the bottom regardless. The top bunk is also smaller and much more warm than the bottom bunk.

Something that struck me as very curious indeed - there were no border controls between Germany and the Netherlands. None at all. No showing of passports, having luggage searched, etc. I'm sure some dirty hippy will read this and attempt to smuggle a lot of dope into Germany feeling they just can't stay in Amsterdam. Good luck to you.

While we were going through the German countryside, I pointed out the very steep roofed buildings and explained them. The roofs are built that way for two reasons. First is to have the heavy snows fall off rather than crushing the roof into the building. The second reason is Germans hate roofers. Often, they will gather together, get some beers and call a roofer to repair a home and take bets on when he falls off. In this way, the 'beer garden' was developed. This is also why Germany is very supportive of the 'Schengen Agreement' - more access to new roofers.

I'd like a photoshopped picture of a guy falling off of a steep roof while several people in traditional German garb lift their glasses in toast. That would be nice.



JAEGER HOSTEL

We were going to a different hostel that we'd found on the internet (Wombat) but ended up checking into "Munich's Jaeger's". There are some very friendly people working the desk but the lobby is full of young, screaming kids who seem to be having their first experience getting rip roaring drunk. Fortunately, when we checked in, I had specified a quiet room so ours is on the fourth floor. We'll see if it's quiet tonight. I am looking forward to one AM (if I am still up) when they shut off the loud music and hopefully send the kids next door to continue the party till five AM. If you are into partying, the drinks are 5 euros (mixed or beer) at the bar. The drink amount seems generous. I am drinking rum and cokes as I am typing this. If it seems a bit erratic, blame it on that.

For two people, one night in the Jaeger is 78 euros. This seems pretty close to average for that price. For those interested, here is their contact information: Senefelderstr. 3 - 80336 Muenchen, Tel, 49 (0) 89 555 281, www.jaegershotel.de I will say that the room is the most 'modern' of any we've had thus far. Multiple outlets and such. The only thing it really lacks is large table space to lay our your stuff on so you can sort through it and repack stuff.

In the morning, they serve an 'all you can eat' breakfast for five euros. Between not liking the taste of much and diarrhea, I'd suggest seeking your breakfast elsewhere.

The internet here is annoying. It doesn't seem to be a strong enough signal to get from the fourth floor. They promised to look in on it. I think there is as much chance of that as me running into several attractive women who want to take me out to party hard and want to buy all of my drinks. Also, the internet likes to log you out every hour or so. Very annoying.

After spending a night in the Jaeger, I am here to tell you that asking for a 'quiet room' isn't enough. Hell, I even did it in German. The bar in the hotel was open till about 1 AM so we got to hear the idiots caterwauling till a little after then. When I first went up there, I thought Pete had left the double glazed window open but it was closed.

Unlike Gummy Sue in London ("You pay now!") the Jaeger has a place you can store your luggage that seems secure. Again, I advise bringing your own combination lock. Not a key lock!



MUNICH LODGING

If you are traveling to Munich and don't mind where you stay, there are a ton of hostels within easy walking of the Hauptbahnhoff (main train station). Unless there is some special event, I wouldn't bother checking in - just show up.

Bring towels! They are included within the double room (a double room has two beds) but otherwise you pay an amazing 10 euros per towel.

When we first got to the Jaeger, we discovered that they had a tour of one of the things on our list (the Neuschwanstein Castle) as a tour. Leaving in a half hour of our arrival. So, we got off of a ten (?) hour train ride from Amsterdam to get onto a two hour bus/train ride here. Joy and happiness. The Neuschwanstein Castle tour was 35 euros not including the 9 euro admission price to the castle. Their cost took care of the guide as well as the bus, train, train transport there and the bus, train, train transport back. You might be able to save a few euros doing it yourself (as well as avoid other tourists) but for peace of mind, I'd go with the tour. I thought that Adam our tour guide (see various pictures) did a nice job. From what he told us, there are pretty stringent rules and requirements in Germany to become a guide. It sounds like a huge pain in the ass that doesn't pay well to me but he seems to enjoy it. His previous job was racing boats which he still does but not as often as he would like. We were interested in inviting him out for a beer and to get his story but his girlfriend (the reason he came to Germany) apparently had other plans for him.

The Neuschwanstein Castle tour reminded me of two things. First, why I avoid other tourists like the fucking plague. If there is some loud annoying person around, it should be me. I don't want competition. Second, anything on hills or mountains is simply not worth seeing. My leg felt like it was going to fall off. I kept accusing the tour guide of being part of the international cabal that is attempting to get me 'more fit' through taking me on a series of death marches and stairs.

On the way down, some Germans I met coming up the mountain said (in German) "Take this way down, it is shorter!" Like a fool I did that. Shorter meant straight down. Muscles that hadn't been used in years got a workout. More people of the cabal no doubt, cleverly timing their ascent.



MISCELLANEOUS EVENTS

I shocked Pete by walking while smoking. Usually, it's one or the other. Perhaps I'm getting into a bit better shape despite the smoking. I know that I've cut out needless snacking (M&M's and such) since I've gotten here. I am currently too busy.

I've also noticed that (up till the time of this writing) every day on this trip - every single day - has been absolutely blessed with extraordinary weather. Every day is sunny, blue skies and warm. I've been wearing nothing but my sweater around. Only a couple times have I felt the need to wear my windbreaker over it.

3 comments:

  1. "Die Roofers, Die."
    "No, that's German. It means 'the roofers, the.'"
    "Well, no one who speaks German could be evil!"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Logan, I have given you the Stylish Blogger Award.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you! I have no fucking clue what that means but I do like getting awards. I'd like to get 'the award for the most money legally gained by some wandering guy'. Or something along those lines. Or a locking mechanism for my backpack that doesn't stick out and say 'great shit here'! Or a midget.

    ReplyDelete

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

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