Segways, stupidity & schnitzel: Germany Part I

The first, and largest, chunk of our vacation was based in Munich. I say based in because we did spend some time venturing outside of Munich while we were staying there.

After a long day of traveling, our first night in Munich was rather uneventful. We arrived at our hotel around dinner time & so we figured that grabbing dinner then calling it a night was the best option. Thankfully we had passed a darling little restaurant about a block from the hotel. After dropping off our bags we walked back to the restaurant for a meal. Unbeknown to me, there are actually multiple kinds of schnitzel. I always thought weiner schnitzel was your only option. I sampled one made of pork with mustard in the coating. Our waiter was wonderful--he even made all of us order our food in German! He helped us with our pronunciation and recommended some wonderful beer (if you're ever in Munich get Augustiner beer; more on that later).

The next morning we were up bright & early to take a segway tour of Munich! No matter how you slice it, you look ridiculous on a segway. Even our guide admitted that there was no way to look good while riding one. Despite looking downright goofy, we all had a blast on our segways. The guide, Freddy, was wonderfully informative and lots of fun. It turns out segways are quite easy to ride. For most people. We did have two women we jokingly referred to as Slow and Slower that could not quite master the segway. At hour 3, Slower forgot how to stop a segway. How do you stop a segway you ask? Lean back. That's it. Yet 3 hours into our tour, Slower managed to forget this simple motion. In her defense she had failed to follow our guides instructions on how to cross gravel and crashed dramatically which lead to a 30 minute interlude of her dramatically draped across a bench moaning over a scraped elbow. Slow really wasn't much better. I got a 30 minute lecture from Slow about the fact that there's no ice in Germany. Slow caused us to miss lights and our group to get divided multiple times. Slow even caused Kara & I to both deploy our emergency brakes (I.E. sit down while holding the handlebars).

As annoying as they were, Slow and Slower provided comic relief throughout the tour. Munich, as we found out, is a wonderful city. On our tour we hit majority of the major sights, including the English Gardens. The gardens themselves are stunning and contain a beer garden in the middle of them. The only downside to the gardens? There's a section where old German men like to hang out completely naked. That's right. We saw nude German men. Wrinkly, old nude German men. But they were counterbalanced by the very talented younger German men surfing in a part of the river running through the gardens. We stopped to watch the surfers for a while. We didn't stop to watch the naked men.
After the segway tour, we grabbed some lunch and explored Marienplatz and the Vicktualienmarkt. We got to see the Glockenspiel do its thing while we were in Marienplatz. Honestly, the Glockenpiel is a touch overrated. It's fun to see once, just because it's so famous. Apparently it's been voted the second most overrated thing to do in Europe. The only thing more overrated is watching the solar clock. We also got to see a German student protest while we were enjoying lunch! If you're not a big beer fan, you should totally try a Radler in Germany. It's half lemonade, half beer and all deliciousness.
After watching the Glockenspiel and strolling through the Vicktualienmarkt, we wandered through the Hofgarten and then into the English Gardens for dinner. We ended up eating at the beer garden I mentioned earlier, in the midst of tons of locals. Beer gardens are a ton of fun. Everyone just hangs out, drinks, eats pretzels & has a good time. The Germans are just fun, friendly people. They're also quite active; they walk or bike everywhere! Since they're just so darn active, the Germans seem to be able to eat as much schnitzel and pretzels and drink as much beer as their hearts' desire without gaining a pound.
One of the best things we saw in the gardens was the bike thing in the middle on the right hand side of the collage. It was actually a tour of the city! The people around the outside peddle the bike while one person steered and two people stood in the middle serving beers.

Our first day in Germany was an amazing success. We learned to ride segways, hung out in a beer garden & got a good taste of life in Munich.

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