Germany Munich 2000.10.07 - 10.17

In and Around Munich

We reached Munich just in time for the flu. Oktoberfest attracts tourists carrying viruses from all around the world. Circulate them through millions of drunken hosts, and you have the annual post-Oktoberfest flu. Ironically, Masami experienced the flu without the party, since we arrived a few days after Oktoberfest ended. Surprisingly, Wes remained healthy. He may have been the only healthy person in Munich.

We were hosted by friends Vera and Tanja. Since their mother was on a month-long retreat, and we were able to stay at her apartment. It was the perfect place for Masami to rest.

Vera and Tanja worked during the week, but really extended themselves to us on the weekends. Upon arrival, they met us at the airport. Driving into the city, we felt like VIPs. The following day, they drove us to Neuschwanstein, the decadent white castle built by King Ludwig II that Wes had wanted to visit for over a decade. The following weekend, they took us to Nymphenburg Palace to stroll through the gardens.

The sites were fabulous, and so was the discussion. Vera and Tanja, like Wes, are half Japanese / half German. Although we were raised in different countries, we shared several experiences in childhood - like being thought of as Asian in Germany/USA and as Caucasian in Japan. In addition to their native German, Vera and Tanja also speak English and Japanese (and many other languages...). We could freely mix languages in a garble that was possibly only comprehensible to ourselves. We talked about religion in schools, the German feminist movement, Japan, and making friends. Some of the discussion is included in the Germany - Personal Impressions page.

A Shiatsu place was recommended to us. This therapist knows what he's doing:
Physikalische Therapie
Rindermarkt 16, 80331 München
Tel: 26-8125 (Int'l +49-89-26-8125)

We passed the München Rathaus (city hall) nearly every day on our way to buy chestnuts, produce, and antipasti at an outdoor market called Viktualienmarkt.

The main building of Nymphenburg Palace stands impressively at the entrance to the gardens. Several smaller palaces located in the gardens are less crowded.

Accompanied by our hosts, Tanja and Vera, we pose in front of Apollotempel in Nymphenburg Garden. After consecutive overcast days, this day was abnormally warm and clear.


People from around the world travel great distances to visit Neuschwanstein. The day we visited was no exception. Along the 30 minute walk from the parking lot to the castle, we made a game of guessing the nationalities of people approaching from the opposite direction. We'd try to confirm our guess by listening to the language spoken by our unassuming game pieces. The Japanese, Italians, and Americans are the most obvious. The Japanese travel in herds, the Italians speak loudly and use their arms, and the Americans are (generally) fat and (always) wear sneakers (actually, we saw a Canadian who we initially mistook for an American before reading his sweatshirt: "I'm Canadian!").

Neuschwanstein rests on a hill about 500 feet above the nearest parking lot. Our entry time was 2 hours after our ticket purchase. Had we come during tourist season, what would the crowds have been like!?

Hohenschwangau, where King Ludwig II lived as a child, is adjacent to Neuschwanstein. The walk between the 2 castles takes about 40 minutes.

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