It always seems to be 2/3 to ¾ of the way through any trip that people inevitably begin to think about what awaits them back home. It was actually the previous night when it started for us. This was unfortunate, as I was really doing my best not to think about my problems including work throughout this entire trip. People take vacations either to get away from their day-to-day lives for a while, or to see different places/ do different things. This trip was kind of both for me. I desperately needed time away from the office when this trip began, but it is also my first ever trip to Europe.
We checked out of the Weisses Kreuz and took a train to our final destination, Munich. In Italy, we moved around a lot more. Both the Weisses Kreuz and the Laimer Hof (our hotel in Munich) are four night stays for us. This gives us a chance to relax for a bit rather than having to carry our luggage around daily. Overall, I was impressed with the Weisses Kreuz. One exception, though, were the pillows. They were crappy, kind of lacked volume. The pillows at Laimer Hof are much better.
The Weisses Kreuz is actually a really old hotel. Mozart actually stayed here when he was like only eight years old. Thinking about this, I actually speculate as to whether or not he wrote his first symphony while he was unable to sleep due to the crappy pillows at this hotel. The Laimer Hof has nicer pillow. So, under my ridiculous theory, had Mozart’s family chose to visit Munich and stay at the Laimer Hof instead, he would possibly have never became a famous composer. It is weird to think about, how sometimes little things like this make all the difference in the world, in the course of history. What if the wind happened to be blowing in a different direction the day the volcanic ashes covered the Island of Crete, disrupting the Minoan civilization, paving the way for Mycenaean takeover, which eventually lead to Ancient Greece? What if the Allied powers had chosen a different day in June 1944 to invade Normandy? One that was less favorable? All of this seems so minor when it happens, but ends up having profound implications on subsequent events, creating a world, and a history completely different from what would have been had they gone the other way.
With the desire to get my mind off of work and what awaits me back home, and back into vacation mode, we visited Hirschgarten, the world’s largest beer garden. I don’t speak German, but from years of living in Wisconsin, I have become fluent in German beer. I knew I wanted something sufficiently alcoholic but not too dark. Of course, Hefeweizen is the answer! I really enjoyed this beer. In fact, I enjoyed it enough to order dinner here, and drink three liters of it. Once it got dark we went back to the hotel, but the drinking did not stop. The hotel staff served us beer downstairs. It kind of felt like a normal night for me. There was a computer in the downstairs room where they were serving the beer, with free Internet. I logged into g-chat and talked to some people back home. In the U.S. it was still the later part of a workday, on a Tuesday in fact, so my crazy party demeanor and random ridiculous questions may have seemed out of place to the people I was talking to.
I also actually held a fairly productive conversation with some of the other hotel guests. Mostly, I talked to some people from the other side of Germany, the Northwest part of the country. Curious, and lacking inhibition, I asked them about how they viewed Greece. From which I got a somewhat expected response. But, I was kind of surprised they were not as angry as I thought they would be. I am ALWAYS mad when I end up footing the bill for the irresponsibility of others; it forms the basis of my belief system when it comes to government. So, I am glad there are no wars about this yet.
I also asked them what they thought about Bavaria, as it kind of has a separate identity from the rest of Germany. Before this trip, I had been telling people that Munich is the “Denver and the Detroit” of Germany at the same time. Denver, due to its general climate, with frequent abrupt weather changes due to it’s proximity to the mountains, as well as it’s status as kind of an island of liberalism (voting SDP) in a region considered the most conservative in the country (CDU dominance). Detroit because of the BMW factory and headquarters. But, the man I talked to actually equated Bavaria with Texas. I guess Texas kind of does have it’s own identity separate from most of the U.S. There are, of course, major differences. They drink less beer in Texas, as there are numerous dry counties in Texas. Also, Texas’s only liberal city, Austin, is nowhere near as large in size and scope as Munich. That is the problem with analogies like this. There will always be differences. When someone asks me what Chicago neighborhood equates with Astoria, or Forest Hills (both in Queens), I am at a loss for words despite my knowledge of both New York and Chicago. There simply is not an equivalent neighborhood. That is why, in a way, we visit other places, on trips like the very one I am on right now. The experience is different from what we know.