Monday the 22nd of June
This is such a typical Monday. It was such a struggle to get out of bed that literally everyone is now asleep on the coach – even Francis is stretched out across the floor snoring as though he could be no more comfortable were he in an actual bed! My voice does not exist anymore; apparently I left it behind at the last campsite and I physically cannot argue with this statement. Tall Alex greeted me this morning with a sarcastic comment on how happy I look; my attempted almost mute reply had him laughing for the rest of the morning. Snow-capped mountains rose in the distance – we had arrived in Austria. Green and serene were the tall mountains sparsely dotted with houses delicately balanced on the cliffside. Now on our way to Germany! The countryside was gradually changing and we were becoming accustomed to a new set of roadsigns in a new language once again.
First on the itinerary for Munich was a cycling adventure with Mike’s Bikes. Our first stop was at the Marienplatz where we were taught about the relation between Bavaria and Germany and were showed the The White Church. The main stage of the square portrayed each nation as individual using an embodying character and then united in its centre with another. Two lions separated the statues, the first facing the government house with its mouth open to represent that the people could speak against the government, and the other facing the church with its mouth closed showing that one could not argue against the word of God. The regal lion again made an appearance outside of either building as guardian to these institutions. These copper sculptures stood atop a stone platform that featured a plate of gold in the shape of a lion head. By rubbing the golden face, you were said to achieve luck and wealth in the years to come, but rub all four lions and you could expect a curse for being greedy. We rode through the Englischer Garten and arrived at the Chinesischer Turm, a tall oriental structure where we had dinner. This buffet style brasserie was frequently visited by locals as a peaceful dining and drinking area that had an atmosphere completely adversary to that surrounding Australian drinking culture. We enjoyed the traditional cuisine and schooners to the point that is was a little bit difficult to ride our bikes back from the tour. Our final stop on the bright blue bikes was at the Munich’s Surfers hotspot: men in wetsuits jumped on their fibreglass boards and rode the stream gushing in waves from under the bridge.
Being a tourist, it is essential to experience the typical hotspots iconic to each location – in the case of Germany this means having a taste (or a litre) of the best beer in the world. For this reason we went to the Hofbrauhaus, a traditional beer house that was as busy as the days of its golden age. The high panelled ceiling was decorated in images of gods in intricate detail, reflecting the popular baroque style and laced with leaf gold. Wooden tables lined the length of the restaurant and a folk band clad in lederhosen served as entertainment for the evening. Litre after litre of beer was consumed that evening – the best effort was made by Redhead Alex who had his 22nd birthday! I could not imagine a better way to celebrate.