What a change over the past 48 hours. I am so blessed. And while blessings don’t normally include a good bourbon on the rocks, tonight they do. Cheers to you, Bro.
For those of you who know me, you know I love Christmas. And to say I love Christmas probably doesn’t fully capture my real feelings. I mean, I LOVE Christmas. The trees, the lights, the carols, the gift giving, the cards, Santa Claus, candlelight services – I love it all. So, when I started thinking about spending my year half-way across the world in
, I immediately began wondering what on earth I would do for Christmas. Yes. I am in Tanzania to study the culture and people in the ‘interest of national security.” Nevertheless, while learning how Tanzanians celebrate the holidays may have been interesting, I just couldn’t bear the thought of a hot, Christmas tree-less Christmas. I began Googling “best Christmas cities in Europe” and up popped Tanzania with its plethora of Christmas markets. Munich
That was all it took. Here I am:
|Me on my balcony in Munich|
Ok, so now that you’ve seen me, let’s get to the good part: Christmas in
My first 12 hours in
were nothing short of incredible. The plane landed just after 6 am at Munich Munich International Airport from . On both of my 5+ hour flights I had an empty seat next to me and was fortunate enough to get a bit of rest. Once I collected my bag (yes, that’s right – I only brought my backpack!), I hit up the ATM (which apparently is not called an ATM here) and found the DB machine where I was able to purchase a train pass. I studied the map for a few minutes and figured if I could catch the train to the central station and then the 54 bus, I would make it to the Hilton without having to splurge for the taxi fare. Now, I know, you may be thinking if I can afford the Hilton, I can afford a taxi. I “Priceline’d” the 5-star Hilton for my first two nights in Doha, Qatar and, boy, am I glad I did. Munich
After the train and bus, I arrived at the doorstep of the Hilton without a hitch. The young woman at the front desk was kind enough to allow me to check in early – really early – and by 11 am I had taken a very hot shower, spent at least 30 minutes applying make-up and doing my hair, and got ready to head out to see the town. I made a quick stop at the concierge to find out where I could buy a jacket, hat and gloves. I had already purchased my transit day pass, so I was off again, taking the 54 bus to the U3 train. (Little tip: When taking public transit in a
, sometimes it is best to just act like you know what you’re doing and follow the guy in front of you!) new city
I emerged from underground into a Christmas wonderland…literally. Within steps of the underground was a gluhwein stall and steps after that was another one that specialized in bratwurst. I walked from stall to stall with an unremitting smile on my face. I clearly remember my first thoughts: “This place is perfect for me! Seriously?!? I went from living on an island in the middle of the
Indian Ocean for the past three and a half months to vacationing here? Nice.” I knew right away that for the next 13 days I would be living in Christmas. Just what I had hoped for.
After wandering for all of 10 minutes, I decided it was time for some bratwurst and sauerkraut. For less than 5 euro I got a plate full of this:
|First Meal in Germany|
After consuming more meat than I had in the whole of the past 3 months, I was re-energized and ready for a little shopping. You can imagine I didn’t bring too many winter weather-appropriate clothes to
After heading back to the hotel to change and drop off my purchases, I went back to Marienplatz to explore the rest of the Christkindlmarkt. I wandered through the streets, taking in the sights. The glockenspiel and Marienplatz did its song and dance at 4:30 pm. Night falls early here and shortly after 5 pm, I took a stroll through the Krippelmarkt, where most of the stalls sell nativity scenes.
Soon, I found myself at another gluhwein stall and found that the chill of the night air gave me the perfect excuse to buy my first mug.
For 4 euro and a 5 euro deposit, I’d like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the gluhwein. Truth is, I didn’t really like it that much! However, I am happy to say I had a second mug tonight and it tasted much better. Either after one mug, I had grown accustomed to the taste or everyone makes it a little differently. Whichever it is, it is good enough for me!
This post is much longer than I had planned when I set out – and I feel like I haven’t even begun to tell you about my first 2 days back in the 1st world. For now, I’ll give you the rest in pictures:
I will be doing a bit of travelling (or should I say, ‘more travelling’) this weekend. First, Nuremburg, then
. Be back in Salzburg, Austria on Monday. Merry Christmas, everyone! I miss you. Munich