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killing time in munich

Day 39 - Munich




Munich is bitterly cold. I am still getting over laryngitis. I spent the day before in bed with tissues, medicines, and Hulu. Rob was in Salzburg, Austria. Nothing, not even that day in bed, really prepares me for touristing and a 9-hour overnight train while sick. I give myself frequent pep talks, along the lines of, You got through your three-day destination wedding with a killer flu. This is NOTHING.



We're unceremoniously kicked out of Hotel Dolomit at 11 am. We have to kill time until an 11.30 pm night train. This wouldn't be so bad if, for example, the shops were open. I can kill time stone cold dead when shopping. But on Sundays, every single shop in Munich is shut tight. It's like living in Wellington before the mid-90s. At least the restaurants and beer halls are open.

The night before, we asked Google "where are the hipsters in Munich". It answered Glockenbachviertel. A Design Sponge article backs this up. Pro tip: where there's hipsters, there's awesome brunches. We find exactly that in Cafe Tractenvogl. There's a jam of rickety and mismatched vintage furniture, a barista wearing a vest and fedora, and the requisite ironic antlers on the wall. If you took this cafe and plopped it somewhere on Cuba Street in Wellington, it would be right at home. We both eat the "Mountain Breakfast" which, simply put, is a heckload of cheese, a coterie of sliced deli meats, and eggs. As I'm eating, I get a whiff of feet in the air. I realise it's the wildflower cheese on my plate. It shocks Rob back to reminiscing about Stinky Feet Mosque in Istanbul. 


When I first asked Rob what he wanted to do in Germany, he said "Drink beer. Eat a sausage. And Nazi stuff." Rob has hit the first two out of the ballpark and into the atmosphere within our first few hours on German soil. Even with laryngitis, I refuse to leave Munich without drinking beer. 

To fulfill the last one, we toy with going to the concentration camp in Dachau but declare it a "downer" with the greatest respect. I once visited Tuol Seng in Phnom Penh and had scurry into a corner by myself to have a nervous cry. As a vanilla option, I make Rob read an internet article from a semi-dubious source about Konigsplatz and take him there. I remember the first time I stepped out of the Kongisplatz U-bahn station. Without knowing the history, I knew in an instant that this place had been central to the Nazi era. I'd unwittingly absorbed this visual knowledge from pictures and films of parades. The square is also surrounded by former SS buildings


On an autumn day, locals are whizzing around on their bikes, sunning themselves on the steps of marble buildings, and walking their dogs. It's an idyllic Sunday and hard to imagine what Kongisplatz used to be and what it witnessed. Next year, a documentation centre and museum will open there.


At the Pinakothek der Moderne, we look at old computers, Playstations, and cellphones because, I guess they're museum pieces now. Last time in Munich, I gorged myself at the Neue Pinakothek and the Alte Pinakothek and don't have the strength to do it again. Luckily, Rob is all for skipping those museums too. Even if they are all 1-euro to get in on a Sunday. 


The gap after our dinner at the Augustiner beer hall until we board the overnight train is interminably long. We're tired, achy, cold, and impatient. Neither of us are looking forward to the 9-hour trip on non-reclining seats, having missed out on all beds. I've never missed out on a bed in an overnight train and the memories of our horrific nine-hour bus ride from Goreme to Istanbul is still fresh. 


Thankfully, we make it on board after some aimless wandering, bar-stooling, and hotel lobby creeping. The overnighter passes us by without too much stress; there's only four of us in a six-person compartment, you can stretch your legs out, there's room to come-and-go, and my cold & flu medication knocks me out cold. However, I'm not so sure the burly 6-foot plus American guy in our compartment would agree with me. 


We wake up the next day to Italian train stations, a warm sunrise, and Venice streaming past our window. It's my third time in Venice and the approach to Venezia Santa Lucia does not get old.

there's never enough time in venice

salzburg substitute