Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Castle a Day

Part 2 of the European vacation extravaganza started out in Munich. It was actually kind of nice that we’d both been there before. You feel so clueless when you go somewhere for the first time. When we got to Munich on Monday afternoon, the first place we went to was the Residenz Palace. That was somewhere that I’d wanted to go to the last time I was here, but didn’t get the chance to.

I was pleasantly surprised by this palace. It was a lot bigger and had a lot more stuff to see than I was expecting it to. This was my favorite room- trust me, it would make you want to dance too.

Here’s some of the other pretty rooms. It was fun to just wander around. We didn’t even take the audioguides, so we just wandered at our own pace.

We paid a little extra to also see the Treasury. Basically, it was a lot of gold, jewels, fancy porcelain, and other various fancy things. I enjoyed picking out some new jewelry. My birthday’s sort of coming up, just so everyone knows.

Here’s the outside of the Residenz- not particularly impressive. But, it is close to the center of Munich. The Rathaus and main city square were just about 5 minutes away. 

As we got closer to the Rathaus, it was clear that something special was going on...all of a sudden we were seeing more and more people wearing crazy costumes. I mean, I know that Munich is kind of a party city, but this was in the afternoon and I assume that most people weren’t drunk yet haha.

In front of the Rathaus, there was a fun concert going on, and there were food booths set up all around it. And there was confetti EVERYWHERE. I found some still in my shoes a few days later. Eventually we figured out that it was a Mardi Gras party. Or in German- a Fasching party.

It was fun experiencing the atmosphere there! I mean, don’t you love when you stumble upon a random German holiday? Here’s some pictures of the crazy crowds, the party, and the Rathaus and the buildings around it.

-This Photo Courtesy of Olimpia Angela ‘Hinken’ Escamilla-

We stopped in a few churches close by that I remembered from my last trip- the Frauenkirche and the Theatinerkirche. Pictures aren’t allowed in the Frauenkirche, and the outside isn’t pretty right now because of construction...which explains the lack of pictures from that one. I still got one illegal one though, so go me.

For dinner, we went to Munich’s most famous brewery/restaurant- the HofbraĆ¼haus. 

I remember that it was fun going there with my family because pretty much it feels like the most German place on earth- complete with lots of German food, beer, lederhosen, and a polka band.

We almost caused an international incident as we were leaving because the Germans next to us told Olimpia that it was the law that you can’t leave until your beer is completely gone, and she hadn’t finished her (non-alcoholic) beer. You should have seen the shocked looks on their faces as we left.

The next day, we spent pretty much the whole day going to the fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein. I almost feel guilty that I’ve already gotten to go there twice in my life, because this is one of the most amazing places in the world- and everyone should try to get there! 

We rode the train there, and much to our excitement it started SNOWING during the ride!!!!! I know that to all of you in the Polar Vortex U.S., that probably sounds terrible, but it hasn’t snowed one. single. snowflake. since I’ve been in Europe. I did have snow while I was home for Christmas, but that’s it. Plus, I am obsessed with snow and cold. It’s my thing. Thankfully, most of the people on the train with us were tourists from Asia and South America who hadn’t seen snow before, so they were sharing our excited feelings. There were no downers to complain about Californians (the foremost complainers at BYU). Yay! And yes, it was so exciting that I took a picture from the train window.

After getting our tickets for the castle, we took a carriage ride up the mountain. I mean, come on. A carriage ride to a castle in the snow; it doesn’t get that much more magical than that. Me and Olimpia like to joke that we’ve been in so many more romantic ‘date’ situations than most actual couples haha.

When you get out of the carriage, you have this view. Then you walk about 15 more minutes to get up there.

Snowy mountains.

Snowy castle.

The tour in the castle is actually pretty short. The king that built it Ludwig II, died before it was finished. What you do see it pretty great, though. He was clearly an eccentric guy with way too much time and money on his hands. Pictures aren’t allowed inside. I stole this one from the internet so you can get a glimpse of what it looks like.

The tour guide had the most stereotypical German accent ever. It sounded like a comedian making fun of Germans. The whole time I could see other people trying to hold back laughter when she said certain words. It was a good effort though.

Afterwords we had to do some more posing for pictures. I pretty much had to trample a pack of Asian tourists to get a turn to stand in this prime spot. Those people don’t mess around with picture taking, let me tell you.

Here’s the view on the other side of the mountain. No snow down in the valley!

Olimpia took the carriage back down the mountain because she was suffering from cold feet syndrome. Not the metaphorical kind, the real kind! I walked down alone because I wanted to see the pretty views. And because I am 99% immune to cold.

I felt like it looked pretty artsy to get a glimpse of the other castle, Hohenschwangau, through the trees.

We didn’t go to Hohenschwangau, but I’m pretty determined to come back someday. Now that I’ve seen this place in spring and winter...I’m thinking fall would be a good time to come back. I would really love to see Ludwig’s other castles someday too. I just get along really well with castles.

After getting back to Munich, we tried to go to a restaurant near the Rathaus but there was major partying going on and we felt a bit out of place haha. This was around 7:00...there was already a lot of bottle carnage. There was glass all over the ground too.

It was a little entertaining to see, though. I can’t imagine what this looked like as it got later, because it was already pretty insane at this point. Gotta party it up before Lent! So we took the safe way out and got some take-out to could eat at the hotel while watching How I Met Your Mother. Always a good choice.

The next morning, I jumped on an early train to Vienna. More stories of European adventures to come!

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