With 4 days left to have off work before the end of February I chose to split the time between 2 long weekends. The first I booked to go to Munich, I picked this because I liked Berlin and it came well recommended from other travelers I had met while out there.
Getting to Munich was a bit of a nightmare, home from work, get changed, straight into a taxi to the airport. It wasn’t a direct flight as I had to change flights in Amsterdam, I thought nothing of this at the time as I had at least 40 minutes. Unfortunately we all had to go through a passport control despite the fact we were transiting between 2 EU countries. I has to run all the way through the airport and made it to the departure gate with only a couple of minutes to spare.
On arrival I discovered that my backpack had been left in Amsterdam, I was told that it would be delivered to my hostel the following day (which it was) and I got a 25 Euro discount off future flights. Despite this I made a note to self....don’t fly with KLM again or transit through Amsterdam. Had a couple of beers at the hostel bar and went bed......it had been a long day.
I started with the usual, a guided walking tour (pay by donation) this is the 4th time in Germany and the 4th time not in summer (will I ever learn???). Our guide was good but I did feel that his style of walking and talking at the same time bombarded us with too much information in a short space of time. Towards the end however I did think that it was very good and thought provoking.
At the end he introduced us to a friend who was a local but I thought was English because he had picked up the accent from years of living in London. It was his birthday and took a small group of us to some non touristy bars. One you couldn’t call a bar as it was a tiny back room with a man behind a window serving beer out a wooden barrel and standing room only.
It was very social and we ended up staying the rest of the afternoon before heading back to the hostel. The rest of the evening was spent at the hostel bar, the combination of several hours walking in the cold and the afternoons drinking meant that we were not going out into the early hours. I didn’t see any of that group again after that night.
I missed breakfast the following morning and somehow took a few wrong turns on the railway system taking about an hour and a half longer than I needed to.
I chose to visit Dachau because I didn’t visit Auschwitz when I went to Poland in the summer of 2001. The museum was a detailed and grim reminder of history, I believe everyone should visit somewhere like this.
After a bit of rest it was down to the hostel bar and meet a few other travelers. As the place was packed out it didn’t take long and a few of us got together and headed out to a couple of nearby clubs until the early hours. Since I missed out on this in Berlin I made the most of it and had a fairly good night out. I noticed the club seemed to be full of people who were at our hostel bar.
The final full day was admittedly a bit lazy but then again I had a good night so I wasn’t too bothered. I took a long walk round the parks before heading back.
One bad trend that I have noticed in hostels over the previous 10 years is in the common rooms. At anytime of the day you can have several dozen people hanging around. Normally it’s a great place to meet other travelers. Now it’s nothing unusual for 30 people to be hanging around in complete silence. The reason is that everyone is now engrossed in Laptops, Ipads and smartphones.
I did however meet the Australian from the previous night and he did have the idea of seeing Bayern Munich play that evening. However the thought of standing in a stadium for 2 hours at 6 degrees below freezing put both of us off. It was a quiet few drinks in the bar in the evening and bed before midnight as I had an early flight.
Getting home was more hassle than heading out, this time I had a 1 hour connection time. Even with brisk walking I still made it to the gate with only about 10 minutes to spare. Loads of people must have been missing flights because of this.
Back in Birmingham I phoned dad who had promised to pick me up only to discover he was still at home. So I got a train ticket, within 10 minutes the train had been cancelled because someone had thrown themselves in front of a train in Leicester. I was first told there would be no train for hours then after getting a refund was told by someone else another train would be available to Leicester in the next 20 minutes.
When I got home I updated my Facebook status to
“Delays, canceled trains, useless unfriendly railway staff and of course loads of rain..........yes i'm back in England”