Munich was a beautiful city, with lots of old churches, gates, towers, etc. Ursula took some great pictures, and I'm sure will be posting a lot of them over the next week or so. But a big part of the experience was the culture; this was definitely a place where things were done differently than what we are used to. The feel of the sidewalks was the first major shock. These were dangerous places; people move fast and purposefully, and will mow you down if you are in their way. I walk quickly, but I still had to watch out. Plus there are bikes. They have their own sidewalk lanes, but they haul ass and will weave in with the people. Last but not least are the cars. Yes, on the sidewalk. I lost count of the times a car drove up on the sidewalk to get around an obstacle in the street and nearly took us out. We really learned to pay attention to everything around us; it was a matter of survival.
The other major difference was the restaurants, both in terms of the service and customs, and the food that was served. At most of the restaurants, you are expected to seat yourself. We did not realize this on the first night, and were basically treated as if we were stupid when we asked. After some awkward moments, we found ourselves at a table and ready to order; we had a little food glossary to figure out the German menus. When that turned out not to be enough, we got an English version of the menu. I ordered a beer from the menu that I thought I would like. The waitress looks at me and asks if I know what it is; I thought I did, but all of a sudden I wasn't so sure. She struggles for a minute trying to explain what the deal was, then basically says if I don't know what it is, then I don't want it. In other words, "very special Bavarian" beer, language that seems to be used frequently to mean "it's gross but we like it; you won't". After ordering a normal beer, we both ordered pork to eat (it was either that or veal; if you are vegetarian, fuhgidaboudit). So we got to choose if we wanted red or white sauerkraut; then she pauses and asks if we want it at all, or if we even like it. I've got to say, I've never had red sauerkraut but we decided to give it a go. It was actually pretty interesting; sort of vinegary, sweet; not like what I picture as sauerkraut. We couldn't eat the whole bowl, but the waitress seemed impressed that we ate it at all. It was like magic, suddenly she was friendly, and offering us some apple strudel. And damn was that shit good.
|Pork, dumplings, and sauerkraut. A true Bavarian supper.|
|And some serious fucking strudel.|