On October 4th, I started off my 1-month trip through Germany, Austria and the Balkans with a wicked hangover, jet lag and a vicious cold. Straight off the plane to Munich, I met up with my friend, Eric, to hit the last night of Oktoberfest.
We started in the massive Hofbrauhaus tent and downed two liters of sweet, delicious Bavarian beer (at €8 a pop) before meeting up with some other friends at the real Hofbrauhaus in Munich’s old city center.
And that’s where things got blurry.
From what I remember, though, Oktoberfest was a blast. Americans would probably regard Bavarians as cold, but when you get them in a beer hall, they’re anything but. It’s kind of a strange dichotomy.
When the weather finally turned sunny, I spent a few hours on Mike’s Bike Tour (€24, including bike rental). It’s a great way to see some sights in four hours, but it’s by no means comprehensive. The tour guide was knowledgeable and entertaining, though the whole spiel felt a bit scripted. Nonetheless, it was a good time with a stop in a massive beer garden in the middle of the beautiful English Gardens.
Another €7 well spent was at the Deutches Museum, Germany’s testament to (mostly) its own engineering prowess. Many of the hands-on sights include Germany’s original U-boat, a complete Viking ship, numerous jets and planes, a Russian space capsule, and too many engines to count, including the first diesel. There’s even a Dutch windmill, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Yes, the Germans do love their machines.
Finally, I spent some time at the Munich Stadtmuseum (€4.50, I think), where they had a great exhibit full of hundreds of creepy puppets and marionettes. There was even a robotic gorilla that started freaking out when I walked by. Best of all, no one seemed interested in this exhibit, so I had the place all to myself, which just added to the creepiness.
I was also stoked to find a fairly extensive exhibit on the history of the Nazis in Munich, with items that included SS uniforms, propaganda of all kinds, Nazi flags and standards, and tons of old photographs. Much like Americans and slaverz, I sense that the Germans have some discomfort about discussing the Nazi era, and until seeing this exhibit, I found little public evidence of Munich’s Nazi history.
It was good to see that the exhibit was almost purely in German – definitely not pandering to English-speaking Nazi gawkers. There was even a map for purchase that highlights at least 100 significant Nazi events around the city.
Munich is by no means cheap, however. While it’s easy enough to get by on 3 euro kebabs as a tourist, living here is another financial matter completely. Rent rivals Manhattan, with a one-bedroom flat in the decent Schwabing area costing about €1300 per month.