Landing in Munich, Germany, to teach ESL in Europe

Munich 2010

I landed in Munich on 25 March 2010. I have to say that I was not as tired as quickly this year as last during my journey, but by the time I collected my bag and got out of the airport, I was nearing zombie state. I managed somehow to find my way to the subway and board the correct train for the main train station where I then managed to board the correct connection and get off at the right stop for my hotel. I will say, however, that I totally wish I had just gotten a taxi. It would have SO been worth the extra Euros.

Because the plane had landed at 7:00 a.m. Munich time and it had taken me only two hours or so to get from the airport to my hotel, the Ghotel Munich-Zentrum. It was only 9-ish when I arrived. Probably goes without saying that the room wasn’t ready yet. But I want to state unequivocally here and now that the young woman at the desk was one of the best service people I’ve met in my travels anywhere at any time! Check-in time was not until 3:00 p.m., but she tried very hard to find me a vacant room. Alas, none were to be had. I would have to wait. However, she came around the counter and pulled my luggage behind the desk for me to keep it safely until my return. I’d highly recommend this hotel not only for the clean, quiet accommodations, but mostly because of the outstanding service.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day so I set out with only my small backpack and camera in hand to kill some time. One of my favorite quotes is from travel writer Rick Steves who stated something to the effect that Americans kill time and Europeans pass time. So I tried to approach my wait from that perspective. Aside from being dead on my feet, I enjoyed the hours between then and check-in very much.

My girl at the desk gave me some directions and I headed toward the famous Marienplatz. Between me and Marienplatz, however, was the Viktualienmarkt, a huge, permanent, daily open-air market with every kind of fresh vegetable, plant, cheese, meat, beer, you name it. Here are some shots I did in the market:

And it was the week before Easter so the Germans had set out their coolest Easter bunnies as well.

Just a couple of city blocks away, I came to Marienplatz, a huge square with a large, beautiful white Flemish Gothic building that was built at the turn of the 20th Century. The building is the New Town Hall. The square is called Marienplatz after the Virgin Mary, whose protection the townspeople were trying to win against a cholera epidemic.

In the middle of the tower is where the even more famous Glockenspiel is located.

I sat across the square from the tower at outdoor tables of a restaurant and ordered the regional specialty, Weisswurst. It means white sausage. It is served with a large Bavarian pretzel. I was so tired I almost forgot to photograph it! The Weisswurst was much tastier than I expected for tourist food, and it did not disagree with my stomach the way some sausages do. I highly recommend it.

I finished my meal about the time the Glockenspiel show was to begin. Every day at 11:00 a.m., noon and, I think, 5:00 p.m., the figures begin to move and the top tier fights some famous battle. At the triumph, the lower tier figures dance around whilst the carillon plays throughout. Ok, that’s the info for the tourists. As a photographer, I was more interested in the people:

And I call this one, “Welcome to Europe.”

Because it was nearing noon, I decided to hoof it back to the hotel to see if a room was ready. On the way, I saw this he-man construction worker operating a remote control for a crane across the street. I took the shot because no self-respecting American construction worker would be caught dead in those pants!

I also saw this guy working on a clock and liked the composition.

When I got back to the hotel, I was immensely grateful that a room had opened up. The staff there took very good care of me and I soon was in my clean, shiny room. I promptly fell into bed and slept for about four hours, which was the most welcome sleep I’ve had in a year.

Since I’d visited Munich before, I was in no rush to venture out and see any of the city that evening. I did make my way back to the Viktualienmarkt and bought some coffee, juice, bread, cheese and veggies for the kitchenette in my room, but I stayed in and availed myself of the internet connection and managed to get some work done.

So that was my first day on the Continent this year. Stay tuned…!

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