James Jackman / July 09, 2016
An Interrail Adventure - Blog 7: Munich
After a bit of a rushed departure from the train, I was in Munich! Stepping out of the main station, one thing became apparent to me – it was raining. Great. I suppose I couldn’t avoid it indefinitely, so I prepared myself for a bit of a soaking on my way to the hostel. Checking my phone for the confirmation email, to get the address of the place, I saw the travel directions. No walking directions, simply to get the tram. Plugging the address into my phone, I saw it was an hour and a half walk away. In the rain. Tram it was! Buying my ticket and hopping on the tram, I watched station after station go by, hoping I hadn’t gotten the wrong tram, or in the wrong direction. Stepping off the tram in the suburbs of Munich and walking down a few streets, I had arrived! This hostel was certainly different to my previous ones – think of a hostel/campsite hybrid. The strangest thing was that my room was shared with 99 others, in a giant tent! I grabbed a bed near the corner and set out to find some food.
The 100-bed “dorm” at THE TENT
That evening, as it turned out, was the Germany-Italy game in the Euros. Watching it in the hostel, with a few Weissbiers, it started off very light-hearted, with a huge cheer when Germany scored (obviously). However, when it went to extra time and then to penalties, it got tense. You could see the fear in the eyes of the hostel staff with every penalty that went astray. Fortunately, I think for everyone, Germany eventually came through and a cheer erupted across the site. In a testament to the drinking powers of travellers, the supply of draft beer was gone by about half-time.
It turned out that even though my room had 99 other people in it, it was very easy to fall asleep. You only noticed movements from those immediately around you. So, having rested and as I’d only seen the hostel site, some Munich suburbs and the main train station, the next day was spent exploring. One of the highlights of roaming the city was getting a drink in one of the Bavarian beer halls, which are scattered around. The Bavarian costumes definitely made a change from British pubs! Getting lost in the main park was an interesting experience as well, it was absolutely huge.
A view of Munich’s town hall from a church tower
During my time in Munich, an annual arts/music/food festival called Tollwood was taking place. I was originally informed of this by Keith, the American guy I met in Belgrade, so I made sure to head on over and see what was going on. An area near the Olympic stadium had been transformed, with stalls selling food and tents housing art exhibitions and music events. The theme for this year was something along the lines of “saving our blue earth”, so there were a fair few art pieces based on that, such as the whale made from plastic bottles below.
A whale made of plastic bottles at the Tollwood festival
That evening a few music events were taking place, so after dinner at the hostel I headed over. I soon found myself in a large tent (with umbrellas hanging from the ceiling) which was holding a silent disco. What the hell, I thought and handed over my EU driving license as a deposit. After the now obligatory joke about Brexit (can’t get enough of those), I received the headphones and I proceeded to bust a move. The music began with tango or classical, but proceeded to morph into electronic, pop (both modern and old cheesy stuff) and eventually what I was informed was Oktoberfest drinking songs. When it ended, I chatted with a few locals for a bit and we then parted ways. After all, it was a weekday, so they had work the next day and I had a train to catch.
The Silent Disco
Speaking of trains, this morning was again a quick session of packing, eating and heading to the station to catch my train. The destination? Liechtenstein! Why? As I said to the locals at Tollwood when they asked: why not?