I just got back yesterday from a weekend in Munich, although I really only spent Saturday there. I ended up meeting a couple great friends from middle school, the first time we’ve been together in probably six years! I never thought being in Germany would bring us back together. (: Saturday started off a bit rocky, I waited until morning to buy my bus ticket (for a bus which left at 6am) and once I got to the bus station, I found out that I’d bought my ticket for the wrong day! So after only sleeping four hours, I had to head back home for another two to wait for the next bus. It was an interesting ride over, the bus was fairly empty the whole way.
I should probably explain why I appear to be such a poor planner for this trip. On Friday night, there was a shooting outside of the Olympia shopping center in Munich. All transportation into and out of the city was suspended, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to travel. This would probably also explain the ghost town that was my bus on Saturday morning, as some people might have cancelled travel plans. This has been having an effect on other cities, such as the cancellation of an open air concert in Nuremberg on Sunday. This attack was one of four that occurred in the past week in southern Germany, though only one has been claimed by ISIS. The other three attackers are said to have been mentally ill. Last Monday in an event claimed by ISIS, a 17-year-old attacked a family on a train in Wurzburg with an axe and knife. Friday’s attack in Munich was by a teenager with a fixation on school shootings. On Sunday, a man blew himself up outside of a music festival in Ansbach, and later that day, a man killed a woman with a machete in a town in Baden-Wurttemburg, apparently in what is being considered a crime of passion. These attacks are drawing concern because three of the four attackers were refugees, which has led some to question the process for vetting and accepting refugees. While these attacks have come as a bit of a shock, especially due to their quick succession, I still feel safe in Germany.
Now that that has been explained, let’s get back to events of the weekend. Kara, Grace, Ross, and I wandered Munich for the day, passing through the Marienplatz and climbing to the top of a church tower to get an incredible view of the city (very tight spot, not for the claustrophobic!). At nighttime, we wanted to go out and dance, so first we headed to the bar to use of free drink coupon before heading out (pros of booking the hostel early). In the lounge we ran into a group of people from all over, such as Montreal, Wales, San Fran, NYC, Costa Rica, Belgium, and a couple other places. Everyone wanted to go out, so we all started walking towards an Irish bar. Just about every bar was closed though, as was most every club, and it wasn’t even midnight yet. We’re not sure if that was because Bavaria closes up early, or if places just weren’t willing to stay open that night due to Friday’s events. After wandering our corner of the city, we ended up all heading back to the hostel and played cards for a couple of hours. Though we couldn’t go out, the crowd still made for a pretty fun night.
On Sunday, Kara, Grace, and I split up. As Grace visited a friend and Kara visited the art museums (which definitely look worth the visit!) I headed out for a day trip to Mittenwald with one of the guys from San Francisco who was looking for travel buddies for a day trip. Mittenwald is in the Bayerische Alps in the very south of Germany right near the Austrian border, and the mountains are absolutely beautiful! We ended up taking a cable car towards the top of the Westliche Karwendelspitze and then hiking a bit to reach the peak. The last bit of the hike involved heading up a stretch of rock where you had to hold onto a steel rope for stability on the narrow path. It was so curious to be on top the mountain as the fog rolled in an out, when the fog was thick it wasn’t even possible to see the steep drop on the side of the trail! The view at the end was worth it though, and I definitely need to make time for a longer hiking trip through the alps region.
I’m slowly coming to learn more German, and Munich was a fun place to catch up on some regional terms. “Servus” is a greeting, one which I finally understood once someone who was not a waiter said it to me (I definitely thought the guy was saying “service?”). Speaking of language, we crossed paths with a guy from southern Germany towards the mountain peak, and he said I don’t have an American accent while speaking German! It’s apparently more eastern European according to him. Hey, maybe that will help me in Slovenia. (;