“Is this your smallest beer?”
My eyes nearly popped out looking at the glass of half litre beer that the friendly bartender placed on the counter when I ordered a glass of “small” beer. He laughed and said merrily “Welcome to Munich!”
I may have underestimated myself a bit cos as I sat on the bench at The Englischer Garten, reading Michael Crichton’s State of Fear and munching a couple of wienerwursts, I eventually emptied that half litre glass of beer. I wasn’t much of a beer drinker yet back then, so I regarded it as an accomplishment 😉
My one week in Germany was a whirlwind. Munich, my starting point, was probably one of my favorite big cities. It exuded a certain gay and lively charm. The altstadt was happening enough without being overcrowded nor over-touristy. I walked virtually everywhere, comfortably, without feeling out-of-place. The locals showed the right degree of friendliness for me, they were neither ignorant nor trying too hard to please. They knew how to appreciate distance and that suited my comfort zone well. I felt everything was of the right sense of balance in Munich.
From there, I spent the next 3 days town-hopping along the Romantic Road, passing by Fussen, Oberammergau, Neuschwanstein in Hohenschwangau, Nordlingen, Dinkelsbuhl, Augsburg, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The Neuschwanstein and Rothenburg were definitely the highlights of the trip, but the entire Romantic Road truly lived up to its name. Every single quaint little town without exception looked as if they were taken out of a fairy-tale storybook. For 3 days, I felt like I was living in a Walt Disney-created world. Thankfully, the residents were not dressed in pointy shoes and nor did they have wings on their backs 😉 Honestly, for a realist like me these towns kinda looked too good to be true. The only exception was the Nightwatchman in Rothenburg. Despite looking silly garbed in a medieval nightwatchman costume, I must say his night tour around the town was very engaging and informative. Do look him up if you’re ever in town.
The Romantic Germany ended after leaving Wurzburg by the Main river. After this, all that was left for me was Frankfurt.
Frankfurt was drab, it was boring, and it reminded me so much of Singapore’s central business district. It had to be the only place I visited in Europe that failed to get me excited about anything. Coming from the Romantic Road, Frankfurt and its skyscrapers became such an anti-climax. Perhaps I should have started my Romantic Road here and ended it in Munich instead. *yawn*
The next day, I was once again greeted with a train delay. It wasn’t a strike this time, it was a fallen tree blocking the railways. As I stared at the departure schedule on the monitor trying to find the next available train to Amsterdam, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness for the impending end. Just two more weeks to go in Europe, and then it’s officially a wrap for me.