Munich is a beautiful, exhilarating city of lively beer gardens, ornate buildings and churches, and of fascinating historical significance. It is a warm and friendly place and crowded with tourists and travelers, especially in the summer months. I like to think that as we sat, drinking our coffee at an outdoor cafe late at night with a waiter hovering over us wringing in hands in what appeared to be anxious despair, that we were of the chosen few...that Kelly and I were travelers. We took a Third Reich walking tour and murmured appreciatively at all the truly fascinating bits of history that we had never heard before. Imagine what happened in this particular square, this uninspiring building here, that beer garden, these streets and homes and lives. Imagine the grief this beautiful city has seen.
On our own walks through the city we came upon a statue of a giant warthog. It was impressive and in fact, it had the dubious honor of being the only thing on our entire trip that Kelly actually asked me to get his photograph with. The stuff precious memories are made of I suppose...
There was one instance in Munich that I wish I would have witnessed but I chose just the crucial moment to go off in search of a restroom leaving Kelly waiting on one of the narrow, one way streets in the downtown area. What he saw was a unique example of the horrors of road rage. Two tourists were ambling down this narrow cobblestone street, guidebook and bottled water in hand and at the same time a car was trying to make its way down the street as well. The car horn honked loudly. The tourists perhaps absorbed in their book didn't notice. The car stopped and an angry man got out and stomped his way over to the unsuspecting couple, yelling and gesturing and as the piece de resistance, the ultimate lesson that they should never dare do this again, he thrust out his hand, grabbed the man's water bottle and heaved it mightily into the air and stalked off back to his car. As the water bottle fell, lets imagine in slow motion, back to the ground and broke, water droplets flying every where, this poor couple stood open-mouthed and staring in wide eyed surprise. I'm sure that day they learned a lesson that will never leave them. :)
A sunny afternoon in Mainz. Relaxing on a bench in the beautiful old city. It's lunchtime and many business men and women are sitting outside, talking quietly and enjoying their break from work. All of a sudden a group of giggling children appear from nowhere armed with spray bottles and begin to shriek with delight as they spray these business people who react with quiet embarrassment as having been the center of such unwanted attention, eyes downward, ignoring these small hooligans. That was perhaps the best reaction. Kelly and I watched and snickered because well it was funny. And then with exceptionally bad judgment, I called over to them as they made their way around the city square spraying everyone in sight and asked them what they were doing and what was in the bottle. They came over to our bench and sprayed us both mercilessly as we laughingly protested and got up, edging our way backward, down yet another cobblestone alley, hands out in front of us to ward these little demons off. They followed us and I have to admit that they actually chased us out of the the city square while we laughed helplessly. It felt a little bit medieval.
Things that happen on trains. Most trains in Germany are sleek, fast, and among the most modern in the world. But occasionally for the more local journeys between smaller villages and towns, the more charming, old fashioned trains pull into the stations. On one such train, between Bacharach and Koblenz, we sat in an almost empty compartment. There was only us, an elderly man, and a group of people across from us. The group of people across from us opened the window as it was a stifling day and the breeze blew in fresh and clean. The elderly man became alarmed, sat up straight in his seat and began patting his hair frantically and glowering. Finally after no one took whatever hint this was intended to be, he marched over to the rebel window openers and demanded they shut the window all the while brushing his hair down and exclaiming that he couldn't possibly keep it neat with a breeze like that blowing in.
Trier is the oldest city in Germany and boasts some really incredible Roman ruins. We arrived on a seriously sweltering August day and set out to find these ruins. Now I'd been in Trier before but my sense of direction is sketchy at the best of times and I don't generally use maps. So we wandered. For hours actually. I began with a positive spirit "Roman ruins, can you imagine? How wonderful! I can't wait to see them! think of all the history here!" and as the hours stretch on and we seemed to be no closer, my mood changed "Kelly...do even want to see the Roman ruins because I'm starting to think I don't...I mean, what's so special about them anyway?" (Kelly was very patient and didn't complain I might add.) We walked a bit more. "Ok, look let's just go to our hostel because I can tell you one thing and it's that I don't want to see those ruins. Stupid Romans. Think they're so great. Forget it, let's go back."
We went back, had a rest and then went out for a coffee late at night. On our way back, a mere five minutes away from our hostel, there rose before us, these brilliantly lit, massive ruins and well in all honesty, they were quite amazing after all. I guess that the Romans can think they're pretty great if they want...
We did have excellent luck though finding the Karl Marx Museum. Sadly neither of us bought a coffee cup or stone bust of the man though.
These are just a couple of sketches out of many from gallivanting in Germany with my brother. I hope you enjoyed them.
Kelly exploring the ruins of a castle on the Rhine
Me posing in the ruins of a German fortress (clearly not all ruins are "stupid", some are actually quite lovely and fascinating.;)