München

April 19, 2013-MunichSpringFest2-4916

April 19, 2013-MunichSpringFest2-4916
Every spring, Munich has something known as Münchener Frühlingsfest, or Munich Spring Fest.  This is an event very similar to Oktoberfest, but on a smaller scale.  The carnival takes place just south of the city’s center in Theresienwiese, where there are carnival games, food booths, rides, and tents such as the one pictured above called Festhalle Bayernland.  Servers are running around wearing typical Bavarian outfits and carrying liters upon liters of Augustiner beer.  Festival goers are wearing Lederhosen and the women are wearing a modernized dress, based off what the original used to look like.  On the far right of the photo, you can see the lights from the live band, that the whole crowd sings along to while standing on benches/tables.

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Normally a 4:00am wake up call isn’t the most appealing thing for people; unless you’re getting up to catch a flight to a foreign country you’ve never been to!

Due to an impending transportation strike, we were unsure if we’d be able to catch a night bus to termini to grab another bus to Ciampino Airport. We decided to play it safe (and get an extra 15 minutes of sleep) and just hop in a cab. Thankfully ATAC (Rome’s transportation system) sets flat rates to the airports (which honestly might be more than a metered fare). While it’s obviously not the cheapest method, 30€ between three people isn’t too bad considering you have the added benefit of a worry free ride directly there. Traveling so much over the past three months has basically added another category to my budget – the sunk costs of traveling..

Initially, we intended to try out night trains for this trip, but after being unable to secure fares and receiving no help from the agency’s support centers, we were forced to fly. With 200€ + flights going directly to Munich Airport, there had to be an alternative. Ryanair flys into an airport 60KM west of Munich called Memmingen. The airport is extremely tiny because of the budget airlines that fly into it. With budget airlines comes far distances from the major city, which means the cheap flight had to have some added expense – busses. Similar to Paris-Beauvais, a bus company has a monopoly on everyone trying to go to Munich, so that was the added expense. The bus one way was 15€, which I guess isn’t terrible, but considering its a mere 10€ less than the actual flight itself, you wonder how much money they make shuttling people around.

Either way, after the short flight and hour and a half bus ride, we were standing next to Munich’s central train station a Hautpbahf. Our hostel, A&O Hauckerbrucke was a half mile down the road.

After a quick lunch at Subway, we headed over to a central square of Munich, since 1158, called Marienplatz.

April 19, 2013-MunichMarienplatz-4646New Town Hall, built in the 19th century, has rotating statues that move every hour (seen in the green part of the tower).

April 19, 2013-MunichMarienplatz1-4650Marienplatz, the golden statue is of the Virgin Mary, for which the square is named after.

April 19, 2013-MunichMarienplatzStatues-4658Little children warrior statues at the base of the Virgin Mary Statue

Andrew’s girlfriend and her roommates were going to meet us there to try a tour that they heard about. The tour was called Lenny’s Beer Tour. Lenny was a guy who happened to run into her group, and once he realized they were all college students, he invited them to join the tour.

April 19, 2013-MunichLenny-4684The man himself – Lenny.

The tour consisted of walking around central Munich, learning about some of the buildings and events that occurred around them – while drinking Munich’s own Augustiner beer. He made it into a sort of game, shouting out things like “grenade” or “shark in the water” and would have people who didn’t comply drink. There was even a small bachelor party of some guys from Britain, whom he nagged the groom the whole time. He was stuck wearing a bunny costume and was in charge of pulling around the beer cart. Definitely a great start to our trip in Munich!

April 19, 2013-MunichBavarianStateOpera-4666The National Theatre Munich, home of the Bavarian Opera, which has been destroyed due to fires and bombs at least three times since 1810.

April 19, 2013-MunichBunny-4673The Bachelor bunny during our tour

April 19, 2013-MunichGold-4676A “bronze path” used to commemorate those who would avoid a toll where people were forced to give a Nazi salute while passing a memorial next to the Feldherrnhalle seen below.

April 19, 2013-MunichFeldherrnhalle-4677  Feldherrnhalle, Field Marshalls’ Hall, the site where Hitler attempted to start his “People’s Revolution.”  The Lions were sculpted with one facing the Residenz, Bavarian Monarch’s home, (growling) and one facing a church (mouth shut).

April 19, 2013-MunichBeerCart-4696A guide pulling the keg cart

April 19, 2013-MunichSox-4707After the week’s events, it was great to see some Boston Pride.

April 19, 2013-MunichPatriciaLauren-4718Patricia and Lauren after the tour

The tour ended at a beer hall called Haufbräuhaus. German beer halls are pretty large rooms filled with long tables. A loud, but friendly environment for everyone to eat, drink, and socialize.

April 19, 2013-MunichHaufbrauhaus-4716Haufbräuhaus

April 19, 2013-MunichAndOliv-4749Andrew and Olivia

April 19, 2013-MunichAndrewGrant-4746The pretzels were pretty good..

After some of our group got some food, we headed over to the actual carnival area where Fruhlingsfest (Spring Fest) happens. The huge fairground is packed with booths of food, carnival rides, and beer hall/tent things. Aside from the massive tables in the huge tent, it almost seemed like something you’d see in a movie. Girls were wearing (somewhat) traditional dresses, guys all wearing lederhosen, standing on benches of the tables holding huge steins of beer. A live band played while everyone in the tent sang along. It was one of the cooler atmospheres I’ve experienced in Europe so far!  It was only a little weird that the drinking age is 16.. so lots of younger people there.

April 19, 2013-MunichMarkSam1-4927What are the odds.. Ran into Sam and Mark, friends from High School!

April 19, 2013-MunichSinger-4997The live musicians really got the crowds going

April 19, 2013-MunichBeerLady-4787Beer Maid

April 19, 2013-MunichBeerLady1-4844This was the maid serving us.. she got mad when we asked for our change back because she expected we’d give her over a Euro for a tip..

April 19, 2013-MunichSinger1-5093Getting the crowd going (even though the beer was already doing that)

After a while, we made our way back to the hostel in the pouring rain. The weather had been forecasted for lots of rain during the time we’d be in Munich, so I guess we were lucky it only happened later at night!

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