On my previous travels i've often encountered a lot of prejudice towards the Germans, which is a real shame. i had the good fortune to work with some German people on a contract i was working on this spring & my experience is that they are friendly and helpful, and this is also what we encountered travelling in Germany. i think their bluntness can be mistaken for rudeness. They just don't have the time for small talk which is ok with me because i can't stand it either! Somehow it doesn't seem to matter what they are saying to each other, it seems like they are angry, which can be quite amusing. But as i say, i've never experienced anything but niceness from Germans.
We stayed just outside Munich, it was about a 20 minute tube ride into the city centre. Their tube system is really efficient. Marienplatz is the old town and the architecture is beautiful there. i'm surprised that so much of it has survived.
There are cool buildings pretty much all over Munich.
Near to where we were staying was the Bavarian Film Studios, the biggest studio in Europe. Being the film geek that i am, i couldn't miss out on the opportunity to do a tour. It's a working studio, and Germany's major tv channel film a lot there, so the only way to see the place is on a tour and they do an English one once a day. Our guide was hilarious. We ended up doing the tour with around 40 American Exchange High School students who totally didn't get his sense of humour, which just made him all the more funny. There's a 4D cinema experience and the tour lasts about 1 1/2 hours. Quite a few major German films have been made there including Das Boot, and The Baader Meinhof Complex. Probably the most well know English Speaking film to have been made there is The Never Ending Story. And i got to ride Falkor the luckdragon! heeee!
The convenient thing about having a British passport is that you can travel through Europe without any hassle. And so we took a day trip to Austria for the day. Much to my despair the main point of the trip was to do a Sound Of Music tour. Urgh! i may love films but i do not like musicals! Take me to a theatre to see one, when they're on the big screen they are just too cheesy for my taste. She Who Must Not Be Named was desperate to do the tour and Dad expressed an interest to so i was dragged along. i'd never even seen the film so watched it a week or so before our departure and it was as hideous as i had expected. Knowing this you think i would have remembered to take my iPod on the tour with me, but i didn't. Massive fail. They played all the songs and the tour guide tried to make us sing along. As much as i despised being on the coach, it was rather lovely to see the Austrian countryside. And we did get to spend some time in Salzberg too which is also very beautiful. Although they are a little crazy about Mozart there and totally pimp him to sell anything from chocolate to umbrellas!
One of my favourite things we did on the whole trip was go to Neuschwanstein. It's the castle that Disney based Sleeping Beauty's castle on and it is magnificent. It's in such a beautiful area and there's an entire resort built for it, which is quite quaint if you ignore the tourist shops. There are actually two castles there, the first King Ludwig lived in until he was 17 and the second he had built but only lived in it for 172 days before his mysterious death.
It's a total tourist trap, but it's bearable. The only way to see the interior of the castles is to do a guided tour, which they are very strict about the timings of. If you ever end up going there, pre-book or you tickets. i am so thankful that we did because we avoided an hour + long queue. They are both over the top ridiculous inside, the interior of Neuschwanstein is entirely based on the music of Wagner. But the tours are interesting. You can't travel in Bavaria without noticing how crazy the people are about King Ludwig. It's surprising that over 100 years later he is still so dear to people's hearts.
Being a vegetarian i found it quite difficult to find food that didn't involve meat in the land of the sausage. i basically lived on pretzels, cheesy pasta and potatoes for a week. They also like their food really salty! But i did become obsessed with Spezi, a mix of coke & oranegade which strangely tastes like neither.
Yes this is a chocolate covered pretzel! And no i couldnt' eat it all!
So that just about sums up my Bavarian adventure. Germany was nice but i think i would have liked it better if there had been some more sunshine. Austria on the other hand, i adored and would love to go back! i now have dreams of living in an Austrian house in the countryside and prancing around in traditional dress all day :)