Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Introduction to Bavaria

In Germany, there is a special deal when you take the train in the weekend. Sch├Ânes Wochenender ticket it is called and it gives up to five people unlimited travel in Germany, on the Saturday or Sunday of your choice, for only 40 euro! It’s a steal, especially when you know that taking the train from Berlin to Munich usually costs over 150 euro. So, our decision was quickly made. The catch? You are only allowed to use regional trains, which is why our journey took nine hours…

Traveling by train is relaxing and fun, even with the many stopovers and changes. Mark and I were lucky no delays took place and we were welcomed to Munich by our friend Sabine. She took us to her spacious, comfortable and worldly decorated apartment, where husband Michael had prepared a tasty dinner. We “fell with our butt in the butter” as the Dutch expression goes, when you get lucky and spoiled! We hadn’t seen our German friends, whom we met and traveled with in Mexico and who visited us in the Bahamas, for four years, so we had a lot to catch up on. Our cruising life and their current overland travels in Africa offered enough story material for weeks, so the nights grew long.

Our first full day in Bavaria was filled with stories and picture gazing during the rainy daytime hours and later in the afternoon, our friends took us to Jachenau, near the border with Austria, where the Alps begin. We were to spend a night in a cozy and typical Bavarian B&B, starting with a very hearty dinner: fried onions, fries, slabs of pork meat and a massive dollop of butter on top. The setting was very picturesque and the enjoyable scene was repeated during breakfast the following day. Bellies full of dark and sour German bread, pretzels, eggs and lunch meat we were ready for a long day of hiking, to burn off all those calories.

It was a grey day, so the views had a cloudy lining, but the cool mountain temperature was perfect for hiking. For about three hours, we climbed one of the nearby peaks, where we had a simple, but delicious lunch. Picnicking in nature with only the presence of cows and each other; life was good! The walk back down took a couple of hours as well, since we were all suffering from one or another ailment. For me, it was my right knee, which was in excruciating pain with each descending step. Playing sports is healthy one says, but years after, the body suffers… Getting old(er) is no joke!

Regardless, we all had a nice time in the mountains and after the scenic route past a stunningly beautiful lake, we arrived back in Munich and were ready for more eating, drinking and sightseeing. Michael showed us around the touristy center of town, where we spoiled ourselves with a sushi lunch. In the afternoon, Mark and I walked back home past a few other sights to finish the day on the sunny balcony with yet another home cooked meal and delicious wine. 

Our last day in Munich was spent in peace for Mark and with Sabine for me. The girls walked along the Isar River, gossiped about all things important and Sabine, the color consultant,  figured out “my colors” (I am a summer – winter mix) after lunch. In the evening, the four of us biked to the massive beer garden in Englischer Garten, to conclude our stay the Bavarian way: with German sausages and liter draught beers!


Day hike in the Alps


Michael, Sabine, Mark and I made it (sweaty) to the top!


The pretty Walchensee lake


Historical buildings in Munich


The beer garden in Englischer Garten: Prost!

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