Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Beer, Castle, Beer, Castle.


Aaah, originally uploaded by karlakp.

No, really, the beers were as big as my head.

Back from Munich. The trip can be described thusly: Beer. Castle. Rain. Beer. Castle. Wind. Beer. Castle. Wind and rain. Beer. Beer. Castle. Beer.

We had a great time, weather notwithstanding. On Saturday we had some seriously wierd weather, with winds gusting to about 70 mph, thunderstorms, hail, sleet, snow and rain....all in an hour. (We retreated into the Augustiner restaurant for a beer (the first of many) while the sky fell.) Grant was en route from Oslo Saturday morning and his plane, after attempting to land twice, was rerouted to Milan. Poor guy was supposed to get to Munich at 10am but didn't arrive until closer to 4pm. He said the landing attempts were seriously scary, and this from someone who travels ALOT. We never really got a break from the weather, except Monday when we went to Neuschwanstein, where it was merely overcast.

Saturday, after the strangeness of the weather subsided (my expensive Gap umbrella was twisted so badly by a windgust it would neither open nor looked like a strange vampire bat with a stick up its ass) we went to the Residenz, the main palace of the Bavarian rulers. It was a great palace, huge but somehow manageable, and it had a Schatzkammer (treasure house) that rivaled that of the British Crown Jewels. Holy crap what bling! After that we hit the Hofbrauhaus.

Rich and I went to see Schloss Nymphenburg (and its gorgeous rococo corollary 'summer hunting lodge' Amalienburg) on Sunday. Nymphenburg was cool, but Amalienburg took my breath away. SO gorgeous, SO over the top, but its very small size made it seem eminently livable. And the kitchen...oh the kitchen. It pushed every interior design button I have and then a few more after that. The TILES! The painting! AAAAGGGHHH! I adored it.

I am amazed that the little building has survived, it is such a specific example of a time and style of design that did not last all that's truly miraculous that someone did not rip it all out and start afresh.

After the palaces we met for more beer. The Lowenbraukeller was alot of fun...but that beer knocked me on my ass. A litre of 'strong beer' is the equivalent, alcoholically, of 4 beers in Norway. The first one tastes great and goes down smooth, and then suddenly I am snorting with laughter and hugging everyone who comes near. The boys were laughing and I will be teased for the rest of my life for being a lightweight who can't hold her beer. That night we also went to the (Schneider Weisse) Weisses Brauhaus for a post Lowenbrau restorative weiss bier. Seemed like a good idea at the time!

Monday Rich, Grant, Hans and I went to Neuschwanstein Castle. We joined a little tour that involved a two hour train ride each way.

The whole train ride you could see the Alps in the distance, getting closer and closer...until we were right at the foot of them. And there, on a promontory right at the beginning of the Alps, is Neuschwanstein, the fairy castle itself. I'd been there before, in 1986, on my crazy summer trip with my buddy Julia. But I honestly can't say I remember much about the interior except one chandelier, and I only remember that because all the tour guides (even now) always tell you that it weighs over a ton.

The interior is worth remembering, a masterpiece of craftsmanship and creativity. The interior is very Victorian Gothic, but with that nice twist of a William Morris feel. A very cozy castle, to be honest. It was a helluva hike to get up there (I DO remember that) and then even more stairs once inside, so definitely NOT for anyone with bad knees, or reduced mobility. The views from the top were stunning, and I remembered some silliness that Julia and I got up to when I was 17 and wild and free in the mountains of Germany.

And after the trip to Neuschwanstein, we were all hungry and tired and so we headed over to Paulaner am Nockherberg. This is the epicenter of the starbierzeit, the holy grail, as it were, of knock-you-on-your-ass beer. I managed to drink one and a half litres, the boys ordered three each but honestly only drank about 2 each. I ended up dancing on the table at one point. (Hey, everyone else was too!) I've got a couple of hilarious videos on my phone of us drinking beer and me being attacked and tickled by a very drunk German. I will download them and post them once I figure out how.

Tuesday we came back to Norway after some shopping and sightseeing. I think Grant got back without having to go to Milan this time, and Rich and I had an uneventful flight except for a whining child that had the MOST annoying voice I have EVER heard. The kid was about two years old and a bit too old to act the way he was, but his mother completely ignored him and he whined and whined and WHINED in this wierdly timbered voice that sounded like buzzing bees and nails on chalkboards all at once, until you could see everyone sitting near him shifting in discomfort. The plane landed and we all buggered off but FAST, just to get away from that horrible kid. Usually I feel sorry for moms having to travel with testy kids, but this mom did not give a crap and just ignored the little bugger....which sort of exacerbated the problem.

I was glad to get home.

And now...I am going to take a bath before Ugly Betty comes on TV.

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