You will all be pleased to hear – no doubt – that the first few days of my travels have given forth the usual serious of adventures and misadventures. I truly to attract calamity. Or perhaps, its just that I emphasis the calamities in my story-telling… perhaps another person with the same experiences would emphasise the simple pleasures or all the good things that happened, but I think that makes for dull reading. You want to hear how I embarrassed or nearly killed myself, right?! Much more interesting… so here goes…
First stop: Munich. I arrive after a hideously long and dull flight (with a painfully long stop-over in the ever-dull Bangkok airport) in Munich, then struggle past unintelligible ticket vending machines (that even locals couldn’t decipher) and a maze-like Central station to finally arrive exhausted and sweaty at my hostel. The person working at reception is a friendly and interesting looking guy called Tom, but I am desperate to get up to my room and have a shower, so I rush along.
Once showered and refreshed, I head down to the hostel’s bar, mentally preparing myself for that most gruelling of sole-backpacker tasks: finding a friend. I was intent on having a fun night, and to do that, I needed company. So I strolled up and down the hostel bar a few times, assessing the options. It looked as if everyone was an American frat boy (urgh) or 19 year old silly-looking girls… my options were limited. I noticed a warm and intelligent looking girl at the bar with dreadlocks, and a tall friendly looking guy in a red shirt playing pool.
I eventually settled on a pretty blonde girl sitting by herself at one of the tables. I approached her and asked if she was here by herself. I knew with her response that I would grow to love this girl: “No, I’m here with a large group of friends, I’m actually from Munich. But are you by yourself? Let me introduce you to my friends!”. And you know what she did, she led me to the tall guy in the red shirt playing pool and introduced him, and then she led me to the warm girl with dreadlocks and introduced her, and then led me to reception where she introduced me to the guy that worked there, Tom. It crazily crazily crazily turned out that her group of friends there were the exact and entire set of people I had picked out as having a good vibe. Amazing! I just knew then that I as going to have fun.
We hung out that night, and it turned out Nicola and I had so much in common, she was utterly fascinating, having worked and lived in India, Dominican Republic, Brisbane etc. We really clicked. She kindly gave me suggestions for what to do the next day, which involved a walk through the city, culminating in a sunbathe in the English Gardens, a (London) Hyde Park-type garden full of frolicking people. She said everyone sunbathes on either side of the stream, but on the left hand side is for gay nude people and on the right hand side is for bikini-clad folk.
Arriving there the next day, I settled happily on my towel, and looked at the incredible sight around me… I imagined a wide stream so you could hardly see the people on the other side… but the stream was two metres wide, so you could see EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in VIVID detail. What is it about German old men and their desire to be exhibitionists. Fat old men with beer bellies stood up freely and joyfully, bits akimbo, with their arms proudly at their waists. Or they were lolling on their sides with their legs up, offering the folk across the stream direct line sight into nether regions. Umh. It made for very entertaining viewing. What was incongruous was seeing these fat naked men strolling hand in hand with little children (who had clothes on), while Daddy juggled about beside him.
Anyway, as I lay there blissing out in the gorgeous sunshine, I heard a laugh in the stream. People were swimming past allowing themselves to be swept on by the current, and I thought I recognised the laugh as being that of Nicola’s. But surely not. Shortly after, I saw them walk past me with an inflatable tube – Nicola, the tall guy (Paul I think his name was) and Tom. I waved at them as they floated down the river past me, and they invited me to join them.
I spent the rest of the day swimming, sunbathing, chatting to these fabulously fun and interesting and beautiful Germans. They popped to the local beer garden and bought some steins back to the stream-side, and there I was drinking a litre of beer (me!!) in the sun surrounded by naked men. Bliss! The gang tied their inflatable tube to a branch over the stream, so we could actually sit on the tube in the flowing stream and drink our steins. What a country!!
I ended up spending the entire evening and night with them all. Beer gardens, pub crawls, long chats on church steps… I really was blessed with meeting locals, and spared the alternate fate of spending time with very dull American frat boys. There were a couple on the pub crawl I went on (that Tom ran and Nicola joined us for), who boasted loudly that they loved bear, hailed from Chelsea in New York, and seemed to believe they were invincible. I had a hearty smirk when shortly later they were so disgustingly drunk they fell asleep at the bar and made utter fools of themselves. Aah. Nicola and I entertained ourselves by asking them questions and giggling at their incoherent responses.
Anyway…. that was my first full day in Munich, and it was delightful. The next day I decided to head out of Munich to the mountains… more on that in my next post.