Highlight: Running into Mike Brimner in a beer garden.
Lowlight: Not being able to travel with him and his friends to Vienna.
Money spent: 33.5 Swiss francs + 17 Euros
Pairs of clean underwear left: 7
Another crack of dawn morning for me, as I grabbed my bag and hiked down to the train station for a 7 am ride to Zurich connecting to Munich (arriving at 1:30).
On the train, a friendly Swiss man stopped me to tell me that the Oilers won last night. I love being in a country that has hockey fans. I just put on Oilers cap and I get instant updates. In England, France, and Italy it was impossible to get hockey updates without an internet connection (well, a few Canadian tourists gave me updates). And I can’t believe the Oilers are still going. Go lucky hat!
I had a little nap on the train and when I awoke I was afraid I forgot Ben. Still not used to this solo traveling deal. I don’t have a new book yet, so the train rides are getting boring. There was a book exchange at Balmer’s, but they wanted to charge 2 SF and there was nothing I liked.
The train from Zurich to Munich went through Austria, so I made sure to get off at the Bregenz and at least have my feet touch Austrian soil. It took a moment to get off the train, because a couple was saying their good-byes in front of me. When I finally got off and stepped on the platform, all the doors closed. And then my heart stopped beating – all my stuff was still on the train. Luckily I still had my money and passport on me, but I really didn’t want to be stuck in Austria without my pack. I madly grabbed the door handle and it opened for me. I started breathing again and my heart kicked back in, beating at a mad pace.
When I arrived in Munich, my first stop was the tourist info office. I found a brochure advertising a free walking tour of the city, so I decided it would be a good way to see the city, especially while traveling alone.
The tour was pretty good, and gave a quick overview of the main sites and a bit of history. There were interesting tidbits about the devil’s footstep in the cathedral – a point from which you can only see one window; alcohol consumption – Munich is home to Oktoberfest and Bavaria would have the highest alcohol consumption per capita if it was its own country; Hitler coming to power in the city; and the National Socialist Party (which wasn’t socialist at all, but rather a extreme-right party). Hitler was given a 5 year jail sentence for trying to start a revolution in Munich. Had he been a socialist or communist he would have been given life. As it was, he used his trial as a press event and only served 12 months in jail.
After the tour, I hit up one of the many beer gardens we passed – Hofbräuhaus, one of Munich’s best known. I felt odd drinking alone, but I couldn’t pass through Munich without trying the beer and I needed something to do to kill time.
So, I ordered the fish meal and a half litre of beer, which was the smallest you could order – almost everyone else was drinking from 1 litre steins. I had just finished my fish and was working on my beer when I noticed that I knew the people at the table beside me. They were all from Waterloo and Mike Brimner (from my class) was sitting there too. At first, I was so surprised, I just sat there staring and laughing to myself. Then I calmly got up and sat down beside Mike. They were shocked to see me. Small world.
It was nice to have someone to talk to and drink with. I spent the evening at beer gardens with Mike and his friends. Their itinerary was very similar to our and I think Ben and I were only a day ahead of them most of the time. Their next stops were Vienna and Hungary, and they asked me to join them, since I was traveling alone. I wanted to take them up on their offer, but I had a night train reserved to Prague and couldn’t get on the night train to Vienna they were booked on. It was a shame, because I would have loved to have travel companions again.
Instead, I’m now bound for Prague,a foreign city with a foreign language, and with no one to enjoy it with.