The Rest of Germany and Into Austria

31 07 2009

(If you haven’t read the first entry yet, you may choose to begin here.)

In my dreams, I heard skateboarders all night long, but once I woke up I realized it was the Rhine crashing on the banks a few feet outside my hotel window. It was, I believe, the very best way to start a day. I loved what little I got to see of Koblenz, but we had to head out almost right away.

Our tour guide was a German lady named Dolly who carried a duck umbrella, wasn’t fond of the Japanese and who told a lot of lies. She was short and round with short and round hair. And she was a lot of fun (as liars tend to be).

That morning we were treated to a cruise down the Rhine* which was exactly as I would have expected. A peaceful river with its own siren surrounded by castles of many shapes and sizes perched atop hills. Growing up in a family descended from Grosshusches** with a Grandmother who spoke small amounts of German, I always identified with that part of my heritage and it did not disappoint to visit (one of) the land(s) of (a few of) my ancestors. The boat we were on was white (actually in my memory it is an American steamboat, but I think maybe I have just visited Disneyland too many times since then) and each time they made an announcement it was preceded by three notes which sounded exactly like the first three notes of that Thames thing*** they used to play at the end of every episode of Dangermouse.

That afternoon, I think, we spent in a little town which Google tells me is called Rothenburg and is the last walled city left in Germany (if that’s a lie, blame Dolly). I remember almost nothing about this town except maybe free beer (of which I did not partake) and getting to practice my knowledge of the language (i.e. “danke”). But here is a picture:

rothenburg

We stayed the night in Munich and, happily, when we arrived, my luggage was waiting outside my hotel room door. It was a large hotel. Nice, but nothing particularly notable about it. After dinner that evening, we walked some local streets. Some of the girls from the other high school were heading out to clubs to go dancing, but we opted instead for the photobooth. I was a snotty and bossy kid so I made the others give me the best of the four photos (sorry about that, by the way, I promise to be nicer next time) and you can see it here.

In the evening we were sitting outside watching the people on the sidewalk when Sofia noticed a large teddy bear waving at her from the hotel across the street. From behind the teddy bear appeared a young man who motioned for us to meet him downstairs. And because we are streetwise, smart women, we did exactly that. We stood in the doorway of our hotel for awhile talking to him – he was Italian and his name was, according to Sofia, Zaya. He was having a hard time talking to us because he was mixing up his German and his English. He did not bring the proffered teddy bear. Asshole. In the end, he wanted Sofia (both of us?) to go back to his hotel with him, but we refused. Which I think was probably a good idea. Back in the hotel room, we closed the blinds. (This was not the story about how I was a prostitute. You have to wait for that.)

The next day we spent in the city of Munich. In no particular order (because I cannot remember it) we:
~Got lost in the subway station
~Shopped at Woolworth’s, and
~Nearly missed our bus out

glockenspiel

Just outside of Woolworth’s (where someone bought a windbreaker?) there was a woman painted entirely in gold and dressed to match. She was stunning. I have no photos of her because that was her job – standing still and silent for photos. Which is pretty effing genius now that I think of it. I didn’t want to pay for one, and I wasn’t going to risk sneaking one because she was very mean about it to the one man who tried – she had a scowl I’ve not seen rivaled since. I was rather sacred.

Our bus met us in a circle, and in the middle of the circle was a little area upon which sat a couch made of grass. We all posed for photos, but by the time my camera’s turn came up, my friends were afraid we’d miss the bus and so we ran off with promises to share copies of the photo. Which. I never got. I mean, Sofia has an enlargement hanging up in her house, but I never got a 4×6. Not that I am bitter or anything. Cause I don’t hold grudges. Oh no. But I will come for it someday, Sofia. Watch your back.

Our $2,500 included airfare, hotels and 2 meals a day. The first meal was breakfast which was usually fantastically delicious bread with butter, coffee and fruit. Because we were broke, we would sneak extra rolls into our backpacks to eat during the day. The second meal would be either lunch or dinner depending on where we were and at some point in Bavaria we had meatloaf which was something Kathy had never heard of. And she told me recently that she’s never had it since, either. (If that’s a lie, blame Dolly.)

Our hotel that night was way out in the middle of nowhere. It was a tiny and perfect little cottage with four floors and no elevator. And our room was at the top, naturally. Despite that I loved it and was sad we had to leave after only one night. I think originally we had an extra day planned in Germany but with the 8+ hours of extra layovers and flight time we had to rush things a bit in the beginning.

Over the next day, or maybe two days, we visited a palace which I only just noticed on the ticket is called Nymnhenburg and not “Nymphenburg” like I have always thought. Honestly, I am a bit relieved.

nymnhenberg palace

nymnhenburg
(This photo reminds me of David Bowie and so I think there must have been a tree nearby with his name carved into it.)

We also visited Dachau which was, as to be expected, horrible and painful and important. It was a sober moment on the trip and I do not regret one second of it. We learned that they had to burn the entire place down due to disease and had to rebuild it. Out of the nails that held the original structures together was forged the memorial you see below. A quick Google on this tells me it all might be more of Dolly’s lies. WTF?

dachau

Despite the fact that this entry’s title gives promises of an Austrian nature, I think I will end this here because it is already long enough. If you would like a preview of the photos, or would like to see more of these (and to read their highly entertaining notes) you can see the whole Europe 96 set here.

*I just almost typed “Nile”. WTF?
**Honestly, I have no idea how to spell that.
***OMG I found it on YouTube, how much do I love the interwebs right now?!

Continue the story?
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And here!
Also here!

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3 responses

22 08 2009
Did I ever tell you about the time I was a prostitute? « Z E B R A B E L L Y . C O M

[…] part here. Third part here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Prayers times for […]

11 09 2009
Austria: No Kangaroos Here « Z E B R A B E L L Y . C O M

[…] Austria: No Kangaroos Here 22 08 2009 The story begins here. And continues here. […]

13 09 2009
In Which I Get to Second Base With Juliet (Italy) « Z E B R A B E L L Y . C O M

[…] you will find the rest of the story here: Part I Part II Part […]

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