Our trip(s) to Munich were unfortunatly imposed on us, but in an effort to be good travellers we used the opportunities to our advantage and set out to explore Germany’s southernmost City.
On our first leg of our trip to Salzburg we were to be dropped off at Munich and after a hours stopover we were to be taken the rest of the way. Unfortunately, our bus service hadn’t counted on Agatha’s inevitable clumsiness, leaving her passaporta and purse on the first bus and potentially leaving us stranded (Due to the ‘Migrant Crisis’ Austria had been tightening its borders, and with Agatha being Mexican there could have been problems). So after a grovelling apology to the bus company and a promise they’ll get the passport back for the next bus (in 4 hours) we were off.
After picking up two Italian style cornetti (don’t be fooled, non Italian readers- they’re croissants, not ice cream) and a couple of awful coffees, we set out to find the city centre. A very urban and concrete city (certainly near the station), I was drinking in how…. British the place looked. Honestly, scrap the signs and forget driving regulations, I could expect a pub round the corner.
After about half an hour my moral compass starting rebelling against my decision to accept a terrible coffee, and I subtly steered Agatha towards the nearest good looking coffee shop- Fellow’s. Our first real test of German loomed, and Agatha was ready. I decided to order a Hot Chocolate with marshmellows, to fuel my ‘A’ game language skills for later with a sugar high, and Agatha decided to calm her nerves with a Chai tea (probably in preparation for my sugar high).
After a successful operation (even with Agatha going back to ask “Sorry, do you have any WiFi?” In perfect English) we settled down to plan our next move. Unfortunately, we hadn’t thought to do any research on Munich so we decided to wander about and get a feel for the city. Sightseeing was out of the question, with us needing to go collect the passport too. One more thing to do before leaving the coffee shop though- we wanted a picture.
We espied a nice, not murderous looking man sitting near us, and I went up and timidly asked “Können Sie ein Foto von uns machten, bitte?” Can you take a photo of us please?, to which he replied….
“Sorry, I don’t speak German. Do you speak English?”. Bastard.
After getting our picture taken and uploading it to Facebook with the caption “Exploring Munich because of reasons” (those reasons being related to my then-lost passport and wallet), we set out to walking around the surroundings without getting too far from the bus station. And when it was time we returned to the information office where we collected my wallet and then waited for the bus to depart and our Salzburg adventure to start.
But little did we know that on Sunday we would also spend more time in Munich, and even stay the night.
It all started back in Salzburg’s bus station. We got to the bus stop just 10 minutes before the departing time and waited in line with 8 other people for the bus to arrive. When it was time, we saw a bus with a sign to Munich coming towards us but on the other side of the street (to which I thought “Oh it’s okay, it will just go to the end of the street drop off the other passengers and then turn around and pick us up) and drove past all of us, standing next to the bus stop.
So we waited 10 minutes, then 20 more and then we asked the couple in front of us if this in fact was the bus stop for the bus to Munich at 3 in the afternoon, fortunately they spoke English and we started talking about the delay when the man suggested to call the bus hotline and ask what was going on. The first two times he called they couldn’t give him an answer or a solution to what was happening, mainly because it was Sunday and they couldn’t contact the driver.
Our original itinerary was to board the bus on Salzburg at 3, arrive in Munich at 5:30 then wait for an hour and take the other bus to Merano (the last one that day) but it was 5:00 PM and we were still in the streets of Salzburg waiting. Half an hour later we saw another bus with the same sign and one of the guys in the group told us that we should cross the street to board it; when we got on and told the driver what had happened he listened and then carried on collecting tickets outside the bus, while more and more people got on.
To make a long story short, we didn’t go on that bus either (the whole 3 o’ clock bus group) since that bus was all booked out, so the company paid for train tickets for all of us as compensation for what happened. While on the train we were trying to figure out what to do, since it was obvious that we wouldn’t make it to our next bus, another guy from the group helped us make a phone call to the bus company and ask if there was any other way to get to Merano that night, but unfortunately there was not.
So we would have to spend the night in Munich and take a bus the next morning at 10 AM. Then we called our host families to let them know what was going on, that we would be home tomorrow and that everything was okay.
When we reached the central station and got out of the train, there was an ad for an insurance company with the slogan “Shit Happens” and decided it couldn’t be more right, considering our situation. After that we set out to find a cheap place to spend the night and then something to eat, we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast.
A cheap place to spend the night, we wanted. What we got was a 20 minute walk round the city trying to find a hotel room for under €120, and then when we finally staggered into a budget hotel with a loud and drunk clientele, we found out that a posh place 2 minutes from the station and with a tonne of free extras was cheaper. Nevertheless, we gave each other a weary look and signed the forms. It had been a long day.
Our next mission after leaving the bags in the room was dinner, so we got out of the hotel in hopes of finding something good and near because we were also really tired. The first place we stumbled into was a very big, very crowded and very loud,typical German Beer Hall. But seeing there were no seats available, and us not being big fans of beer we got out and kept looking.
A few streets away we saw an Italian place, and since Ryan hadn’t eaten a proper Italian pizza since he arrived to Italy we decided to eat there. It was with a mixture of Spanish and Italian that we made ourselves understood (how that waiter knew I speak Spanish, I will never know) and ordered one of the best pastas we had ever experienced, the irony of this in eating it in Germany, and an amazing chocolate soufflé. The original plan was to get a pizza, but then we read the pasta options and couldn’t resist ordering that, we could have pizza any other time, we’re living in Italy after all.
Our Munich experience finished with us coming back to the hotel for a good nights sleep, and (finally) taking the bus home on the next day. Although we visited this city under less than fortunate circumstances, we got a little taste of German culture (this was my first time in Germany, second for Ryan) and would definitely like to go again and experience all this city has to offer.