Day 37, Part I – Goodbye, Barcelona; hello, Munich!

Day 37 – Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Travel days are such a bear. As usual, the cheapest flight was the earliest flight, so we got up at 4:10 AM since the taxi guy was arriving at 4:30. We left Christine on her own in Barcelona for a day, since her flight home wasn’t until the evening. (Goodbye, Christine! Thanks for spending the week with us! See you in Ireland in a couple of months!)  The taxi guy was so efficient that we were at the airport by five; he did not talk, but the music on his radio was pure 70’s goodness.

This flight on Vueling was the antithesis of our last disastrous flight (into Barcelona).

  • Instead of being thwarted by Ryanair, we were allowed a personal item each!
  • Instead of sitting in the last couple of rows, we got seats in Row 5, together!
  • Instead of leaving six hours late, the plane departed on time!

We had no idea how lucky all of this was before that other flight.

Not all of us arrived completely unscathed, however. Where Ryanair had merely damaged the new red bag, Vueling ripped the entire wheel carriage and wheels off, which meant that our previously-rolling bag would now have to be carried. (That’s what we get for a 25-euro bag – 2 uses.) My new plan: put the bulk of the weight into the big black rolling bag, strap the red bag to it, and wheel them together as one.

We landed in Munich at 9:00, and our lovely host Herr Bremerich said we could come check in directly. Hooray!  We took the s-bahn from the Flughaven to Ostbahnhof, transferred to the U-5, got off at Innsbrucker Ring and walked two short blocks to the apartment. It was very cute and had everything one could need: toilet paper, oil, salt and pepper, and dish soap. Hooray again! It was good-sized, too: the apartment could have slept seven people, if we had had seven people and they were very friendly about sharing beds.

We knew that most of the day could be spent traveling and getting settled, so instead we dropped the bags, repacked a daypack, and headed for Dachau. None of us had eaten, so we raced to get a bit of food – lovely pastry and incredible onion quiche – before catching the bus out to the camp.

Talking about broken luggage and drinking beer in the same post as going to a concentration camp seemed uncool, so I have put the Dachau photos and text in a separate post.

On the bus back to the train station, we spoke with a group of school kids on a tour from Canada, and with a man and his son from Seal Beach, right near where I grew up. We took the train to Marienplatz, the very heart of Munich.

The plan? To take Quinland to a wonderful dinner at Weisses Bräuhaus. The reality? To dine along with a zillion Bayern München fans (as the side was playing Real Madrid that night in the Champions League semi-final). In fact, the place was booked, but we managed to squeeze in to a “Reserved” table if we promised to eat and be out of there before the reservation people showed up.

I was so happy to be there. Besides having my favorite Schneider Weisse beer, the food is amazing. (When we lived on the Chiemsee, this is where I asked to go for my birthday dinner.) We introduced Q to the wonder that is Semmelknödel (Bavarian bread dumplings). Yum…

 

We dropped by Kaufhof for some food for the morning, then went home. ‘Twas the night before steroids, so while D and Q watched some of the soccer game, I read, took a dose of the drugs and a sleeping pill, and headed off to bed.

Expenditures: Taxi to airport in Barcelona, pretzel for Q in the Munich airport, transit passes, quiche lunch, museum entry, spendy wonderful dinner at Weisses Bräuhaus, groceries at Kaufhof.

Experiences: A good flight, for one! Quinland’s introduction to Germany: visits to a concentration camp, to the center of Munich, to my favorite Munich restaurant, and to a German grocery store (and a chance to hear some wild and LOUD German football fans!).

Real Time: Trying to plan this trip on the fly is a serious pain.

Just a little glimpse into our Real Lives here on the road:

I have spent all the time I could get on the internet in the last 36 hours (sitting here with The Claw and its screaming children) trying to find a place to stay in Paris… starting the day after tomorrow.

I have immersed myself in every site on the internet that offers apartments for rent. I can sum the results up for you in a few words: Tiny. Inconveniently located. Unavailable. Every apartment I have found is one or more of these things.

Lest you wonder why we are not going for hotels or hostels, let me clue you in. Hotels in our budget are located out near the airport, about 45 minutes away. Hostels can be cheap, but once you are talking about paying for three people, an apartment is cheaper.

But, man! They are small. Some have an ironing board-style “dining table” laid over the half-size refrigerator. Others have a “kitchen” that is an electric hot plate on a counter and a microwave in the living room, beside the sofa. I read reviews for one that said the bathroom was so small that if you carried any extra weight on your frame, you wouldn’t be able to use it. That rules me out!

I must say, regardless of their small size, some are quite charming. I have a newfound respect for the ability of Parisians to live in small spaces and to adapt those spaces into beautiful, livable homes. I only wish that the owners of one of those would contact me and say it is okay for us to stay there. So far, all my favorites – which said they were available when I looked them up – were unavailable by the time I heard back from the landlords. Argh.

So, for any of you who have suffered the trials and tribulations of trying to find a place to rent on a vacation, picture us trying to do it for the 11th time in 16 weeks. I’m sick of the entire process. The beauty of the pre-packaged tour really comes to light here.

I know, I know – this is like complaining that my diamond shoes are too tight. The “pain” of trying to find a vacation apartment in PARIS is better than all the other kinds of pain in the world. Don’t worry – I never lose sight of our good fortune. Just wanted to share a little of the day-to-day so you don’t think we are sitting at sidewalk cafés with beer and pastry all the time!

Love and hugs to everyone – Lori

Toto, I don’t think we are in Portugal anymore…

I am so far behind on this blog, I may never catch up, but I’m going to do my best!

Here’s a real-time update:

  • Left Portugal for Barcelona back in April. Spent a week in Barcelona with my friend Christine from Ireland.
  • Flew from Barcelona to Munich, where we spent a week with our friend Bryann from Portland.
  • Drove from Munich to Hannover, to spend a week with our friends Mitch, Nicole, and Maude.
  • Train to Brussels to drink Belgian beer for a week and then catch a flight to…
  • Pula, Croatia! Hung out for three weeks, did homework, went swimming, and went sightseeing with our new friends Johanna and Kristinn from Iceland.
  • Flew to London, baby! Three weeks of London fun with our friend Liz and her boys, including much yoga and various adventures with my cousin Clare (who took the above adorable photo in Bath).
  • Took the ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland, then drove to Nijmegen, the Netherlands, home of our friend Dick, after a quick stop in Amsterdam with our new friend Anj.

Internet here is iffy – I just cajoled the guy with keys into letting me stay on a bit longer – but I am going to make a concerted effort to post more often. I love keeping everyone in the loop, and it helps me keep the memories alive.

xo – Lori