Home > Germany, Personal > Keeping Busy in Munich

Keeping Busy in Munich

The best thing about German nightclubs is that I am not the worst dancer there. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the sauerkraut, but whatever the reason, most Germans have as much rhythm as a broken metronome.

I needed the laugh after a suddenly hectic work day on Friday. There was a flurry of assignments sent my way that afternoon, which for the most part was quite nice since I like writing and now that I’ve finished going through all the press releases I’m finally doing a lot more of it. Still, it was a relief to take off in the evening and spend a quiet night reading and generally vegetating on my couch/bed with a glass of wine and turkey and cheese (gouda) sandwich.

The main reason I took an easy night was so that Saturday morning I could sleep as long as I wanted and still get up reasonably early. It didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped but by 10:30 in the morning I made it to the train for my planned day of sight-seeing around Munich. With my trusty guidebook and a vague understanding of the geography of central Munich, I emerged in Marienplatz (basically the very center of town) in time to see the glockenspiel show atop the Neu Rathaus (New Town Hall).

I can describe what I saw, but no mere words can capture the experience. I watched as a lovely tune rang out and wooden statues of Duke Wilhelm V and his bride Renata of Lothringen (from the 16th century) watched a joust where a Bavarian wooden knight jousts and defeats a wooden knight of Lothringen.  As if this were not enough, the show continues with medieval coppers (also wood) performing their celebrated “let’s prevent the plague” dance. The small golden bird atop the building chirped three times, and the show was over. I imagine that’s what being in a cuckoo clock is like, only even louder because of the bells ringing in all the nearby churches.

And wow, are there a lot of them. Wandering down the pedestrian corridor I went to five separate churches (the ones mentioned by Rick Steves) and gawked at the elaborate architecture, the exquisite paintings and sculpture, and the sometimes spooky crypts and coffins. My favorite art is in St. Peter’s church with the huge fresco on the ceiling. My other favorite, in a “boy that’s amusing” way was the Damsenstift Church, whose life size wooden replica of the Last Supper was so realistic it actually made me hungry. Luckily it was but a few blocks to the Viktualienmarkt, a large open-air market that reminded me of Pike Place Market in Seattle, only with a lot more beer and a lot less fish throwing. Trying various goodies as I wandered from stall to stall, I settled on a turkey bratwurst and called myself content, if chilly.

It was late afternoon and the sun was setting so I caught the U-Bahn back to my cozy abode, and after a quick run for beer, there was nothing to do but hang out until 10 pm and my rendezvous back in Munich. Ross had invited me to go with him and some other I had met at Toytown on Thursday for an evening of carousing. Meeting at the train, we walked to an apartment building across the street from a rather garish rococo church which, if nothing else worked as a handy landmark. The apartment was full of interesting people, to say the least. Fraser, whom I’d met at Toytown, shared the apartment with several other fellows, but to be honest I never did get it quite straight which people actually lived there. I’m fairly certain that some combination of Klaus, Mauritz, and Sven lived there but I was really not sure. The only others I recognized were, who like Fraser was from Scotland, and Kristyn, whose strong and in my opinion adorable New Zealand accent was the source of endless humor for the Brits. She works as an Au Pair and had brought along two other Au Pairs for the evening, Eva from Sweden and Morgan, a fellow Pacific Northwesterner from Portland. An eclectic crowd, but a fun one. I learned new ways to make toasts (not above you, not below you and the five clink Swedish method) drank awful apple liquor and delicious beer, played Kings, the Roxanne drinking game and a delightfully revealing Never Have I Ever, and had in fact a merry old time. And that was just the pre-party.

Our original plan, as we wandered back out a little after midnight, was to go to some floating club that was in an old convention hall that night. We taxied there but for some ineffable reason were not allowed in, nor was anyone else in the crowd waiting outside in the chill night air. My theory that it was just too full inside was roundly denounced, but whatever the actual reason, we gave it up as a lost cause and taxied over to Club Lola Ludwig, an apparently more familiar and certainly more accessible nightclub. My favorite part of the club was the name. You rarely get nightclubs named after 19th century Bavarian Kings and their Irish mistresses in America, not even in L.A.

Inside the club was about what I’d expect in any dance hall in the Western World. American pop/hip-hop blasted over speakers, making my clothes vibrate as we walked over to the bar, buying and splitting a bottle of vodka. We all took a shot of Sambucca, which led to one of the funnier moments of the night as Morgan, wanting to get the awful taste out of her mouth, took a big gulp from the glass I was holding thinking it was water. The relieved look on her face quickly metamorphosed into shock as the vodka hit her esophagus, but at least it cleared her palate.

And then we danced. And we danced. And we danced some more. As I mentioned, I didn’t feel like the worst dancer there, a nice change and after watching Ross’s impromptu break dancing, Fraser’s cool-guy shuffle, and Jamie’s general wild gyrations (apparently leading to him actually biting a guy later on), my own modest skills didn’t feel awkward at all. The man dressed in a police costume taking people’s blood-alcohol and giving them a  certificate about it was a nice touch, as was the fishnet and leather garbed waitress dancing on the bar and pouring shots directly into people’s mouths (I’m wondering why I’ve never seen this in America but have now seen it twice in a week in Germany).

Ross disappeared around 2 am. Literally, I think I saw him swallowed by the crowd and when it parted he was gone. As it turned out later, just to go home, but it was disconcerting at the time. I burned out around 4 am, long after the U-Bahn stopped running, but Fraser, gentleman that he is, had graciously offered his place for all of us to stay at. He and I left at the same time, drifting through Munich to the luckily quite close apartment where I lay out on the couch until everyone else (minus Ross) strolled in a little after six in the morning, quite fatigued. Kristyn, Jamie, Eva and I shared the quite wide couch/bed, while everyone else found other places to sleep (I have no idea where). Frankly, no one slept very much, Kristyn and Morgan leaving fairly early for their own trips and others wandering in and out of rooms all morning. Sometime around noon, Eva and I betook ourselves down to the center of town for a delicious pizza brunch. Returning to the apartment, we found Jamie and Fraser up and together tried to piece together all the experiences of the previous evening as best we could, not the easiest task.

All good things must end, so about 16 hours after I arrived the night before, I went back to Garching to dispiritedly pick at a script draft and go to bed early.

This work week holds a lot of promise and I cannot wait to see how the webcasts are done on Wednesday. There may also be karaoke tomorrow which I am looking forward to. Sadly it is Simon’s last week here, so Roberto and I must say goodbye to our roommate of two weeks.  Next weekend I plan on doing more of the tourist stuff in Munich and I am starting to plan how I will do the various daytrips around Bavaria I want to take. Boredom on the weekends, day or night, doesn’t look like it will ever be a problem.

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Categories: Germany, Personal
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