Somehow this got posted as a “page” before. Here it is where it is supposed to be:
Typed up: on the bus from Dar es Salaam to Arusha Posted from: Arusha Crown Hotel, Arusha, Dar es Salaam
We didn’t have nearly enough time in Munich. After the bus ride and busy weekend, we were still quite tired when we arrived on Sunday night. So most of our days we decided to just take it easy. We didn’t do a very good job at it, though. Monday was OK, with just a little wandering around the Marienplatz, climbing the church, and heading back. While heading back we stopped to get my hair cut. This was very easy. (12mm on the top, 9mm on the sides, and 6mm for the beard. I can say numbers, “millimeter,” and point.)
Earlier that day we had some language fun when I attempted to get a pill to help my digestive system a bit. Our travel medicine book says I needed stool softener, which Google told me is “Hocker Weichspueler.” Apparently not, because when I asked for that at the pharmacy the lady asked if it was for laundry. So I did a little mime and she figured it out. She presented several options, and we picked one and got a little bottle of pills for less than 3 euros. That night I took one of the pills, and ever since I’ve been better. I still don’t feel quite as good as I do at home, though.
On Tuesday we went to visit castle Neuschwanstein. This castle was built in the late 1800s by Ludwig II, who was later removed from power because he spent money too quickly. It is also a long way from Munich. We took a guided tour because we were tired and didn’t feel like figuring out the train and bus dance ourselves. Also, I’d just checked our balance and we somehow still have money. (As an aside, we’re so over budget in Europe that I’m afraid to see how much we’ve actually spent. Luckily we still have some last paycheck money to buffer it.)
So we took the 2 hour train ride, followed by 10 minutes on the bus. Then we wandered around just the minimum to see the lake and the “yellow castle” only to get in line for another bus. (Our guide strongly recommended taking the bus up instead of walking. It was hot and sunny, we were tired, it was probably the right thing for us to do.) Waiting involved standing in the sun for about 20 minutes, but then the bus brought us to the top fairly quickly. Quick view of the bridge. Walk down to the castle with a quick stop at another view point.
Then we waited a little bit until it was our appointed time to go inside. So far, the views and area here had been nice, but so overrun with tourists that I hadn’t been enjoying it. It mostly felt like we’d been travelling since the tour started in Munich at 5 hours ago. Because there are so many tourists, every 5 minutes they let in exactly 50 into the castle.
As 1 of those 50, the buzzer sounded and we went in. The outside of the castle is pretty nice, but fairly plain. There is not a lot to look at. The inside on the other hand is as decorated as can be. Just about every wall surface is painted with very nice murals. The ceilings are similarly painted. There are (of course) paintings on the wall too. And there is a lot of nicely carved wood. Some of it is panelling, other parts are furniture. The castle guide (who is not the guide who took us down here) made a few quick comments in each of the 5 or so rooms we stopped in, and then herded us along to the next one.
It’s really too bad we had to go at such a hurried pace, because you could easily spend an hour in each room and not see it all. The throne room has a gorgeous chandelier made to look like a crown, as well as a gold plated dome. Note that gold was not used that much in this castle, which makes it feel somehow understated but no less ornate. In the floor is a beautiful mosaic. The bedroom has a super fancy bed in it, with tiny churches and castles carved on the top of it. The interior is awesome.
Having said that, it was not worth the all day trip. We only spent about 35 minutes in the “good bit” of the castle. And then we were at the exit, which forces you to force through two different souvenir shops before you actually get out of the castle. There are some nice bathrooms, though. Afterwards, we walked down the hill with a long stop at what seems to be the only water fountain in Germany.
Then on Wednesday we saw the glockenspiel at the Marienplatz, as well as some of the buildings around Odeonsplatz. Especially the church in the latter is gorgeous. The outside looks fairly plain, but the inside has tons of fine detail. There are great sculptures, it is very light, and the alcoves are individually wonderful to see. I think this church is the prettiest we’ve seen yet, although it is not as imposing as the one in Rheims because it isn’t as high inside.
On Thursday all we managed to see was a quick run through the English Garden, which does look like a very nice place. Lots of Germans hanging out, some street musicians, sun bathers, frisbee, and so forth.
Most of the week we stayed at the Easy Palace hostel. The first 2 nights in a 6-person mixed room. It was a nice place. There was cheap wifi available (2 euro per day), everything was clean, and it was pretty quiet. On Tuesday night, after our visit to Neuschwanstein, we attempted to hook up with our couchsurfing host Max. However, due to him being very busy, and us not calling him exactly when we said we would, that didn’t quite happen. We didn’t get hold of him until after dinner, when he gave us directions to his friend’s dorm room which he had left unlocked for us.
Unfortunately, like he warned us, the bed was tiny. It’s just a 1-person college bed, and we barely fit on it. What he had not mentioned was how dirty the room was. This room hadn’t been swept or vacuumed in months. Given all that, we slept surprisingly well. In the morning, however, we decided that we needed more restful sleep. After some Internet research, we just returned to Easy Palace where we splurged on a 2-person private room and promptly took a nap. And went to bed early, too. Note that Max later fully redeemed himself when we met him. He’s a great guy and in the 30 minutes he could fit us in he taught us more local history than we have otherwise learned in our entire stay in Munich.
A lot of our time in Munich was spent doing errands, uploading pictures, and writing blog posts. We had to buy some random things (like sunscreen, and inflatable neck pillows). One of the more important things we did was go to the post office. Andy had kindly mailed us our stimulus check and insurance cards to the main post office in Munich, “postlagernd”. The idea is the post office holds onto the package and you come and pick it up. But apparently USPS now lets FedEx do the overseas delivery, and FedEx doesn’t know about the German mail system, or something. At any rate, even though we paid extra money to have the package be there on Tuesday, it was not there on Thursday when we left Munich.
A more interesting errand was to download and print out some Lonely Planet information about Tanzania. You can go to their website and download (for a couple of dollars each) chapters from their guidebooks, which you can then copy to a flash card, which in turn you take to your friendly neighborhood copy ship where they will print it for you, double-sided in black and white, for a few more euros. So without going to the ends of the earth to find the books that we wanted, we ended up with a lot of good information about the parts of Tanzania that we’re going to first, as well as a small Swahili phrase book.
I want to rave a little bit about my little laptop. It’s really very useful to write blogs where there’s no Internet and later upload them. Ditto for e-mail. And pictures. Also, using Skype when there is Internet we have made a few calls to the US with pretty good success.
As for working out, we have totally fallen off the wagon. I’m not sure when our previous workout was, but we finally did one on Thursday morning (July 31): 8 rounds of: 20s move pack to top bunk (1), move pack to bottom bunk (1), 10s rest 20s squat, 10s rest 20s push up, 10s rest 20s sit up, 10s rest My total score was 375.
Final verdict about Munich: there is soo much to see and do here. We didn’t even scratch the surface, but everywhere we look there are more things we’d like to check out. Some examples are the Residence, the zoo, some music events, Dachau, and so on. If Munich was in the US I would really consider moving there.