If someone were to ask me how I would describe Germany by color, I would say it’s brown. On board the train from Paris to Munich, you’d notice a change in the scenery from the window. German villages are just as you’d expect them to be- white buildings with tall roofs that can be seen from kilometers away, all looking exactly the same.
We took the TGV Duplex, a French high-speed train that features bi-level carriages. There are no overhead luggage racks for obvious reasons. There are luggage racks on both lower and upper level, in the middle of the car and at the end of each car. Our seats were located on the upper level and while boarding early is always a good idea, however, in my experience as soon as the platform is announced, it’s a sprint down the train. Everyone rushes to the designated platform and even if you’re fleet on foot, it can still be a bit of a hassle getting your luggage stored both when boarding. I had to take our four piece luggage to the upper level without anyone helping me. Chivalry is dead in France. Just kidding, sort of. All in all, I found boarding and disembarking the train a little traumatic which I think is all my fault for taking way too much luggage. It is not for the slow or the faint of heart.
Munich was the place I explored the least. Not because I was not interested, but I wasn’t really feeling well. It was quite late when we arrived in Munich which is the capital of Bavaria, a state in Germany. München Hauptbahnhof is the main railway station in the city of Munich. It is one of the largest in Germany and provides both the regional and international service. Armed with a map, my mother and I still got lost finding our hotel which was a good 5 minute walk. I was surprised to see snow on the tables, on plant boxes, on top of cars and on some parts of the pavement. I thought it was put there for the beer bottles since the rest of the city did not have snow. Pardon my ignorance as that was the third time I’ve ever seen snow. My first experience was maybe around the age of 7 when my parents took me to a small amusement park in Manila where the ice was as hard as rock and some crushed iced was being hosed down. My second experience was in South Korea where we had to travel three hours just to see snow at a ski resort. So you see, I have never really seen snow in a normal setting. My mom has travelled quite extensively and was amused that I was in a good mood even if I was already coming down with the flu. We encountered a few drunks along the way but I thought it was normal since we were in Germany where beer is a major part of the culture.
We stayed at the Relexa Hotel. The hotel is modern, spacious, comfortable, warm and clean. It was just two blocks from the main station.
Munich is home to BMW and various other suppliers. Audi is based 50 minutes away in nearby Ingolstadt. Most people in Munich are employed in the automotive industry. You’ll find Mercedes, BMWs, Audis and other luxury cars at your disposal for airport transfers or sightseeing. Actually, it is normal there to see these types of cars just about everywhere. Roads in Munich are some of the best in Germany and filled with wealthy Bavarians driving the latest models of German cars. There’s no speed limit on the autobahn. The Autobahn is the federal controlled-access highway system in Germany.
Munich is also home to Oktoberfest, the largest keg party or beer festival in the world. It is a 16 to 18 day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October. It is held at Theresienwiese. It serves as the official ground of the Munich Oktoberfest. The name is derived from the name of Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, the wife of Crown Prince Ludwig I. What I would really wish to witness though is the Munich Christmas Market on Marienplatz held every November-December.
I am a big fan of sausage- all kinds of sausage. Germany produces more than 1,200 types of sausages, many of them famous around the world. A Weisswurst (pronounced vicevoorsht) is a traditional Bavarian sausage made from minced veal and pork back bacon. Bratwurst is a type of German sausage made from veal, beef or most commonly pork.
Depending on how they are made, sausages in Germany are called Brühwurst (scalded sausage), Kochwurst (cooked sausage) and Rohwurst (fresh/raw sausage). I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look of shock from a sausage vendor’s face when I asked for mayonnaise. In Germany, they take pride in their sausages and you’re not supposed to drown it or even garnish with mayonnaise and especially not ketchup. Although they do have sides of sauerkraut and the like.
The other things they have around the train station were the dress shops with their National costumes and trinkets.