Munchen, and Fussen - OKTOBERFEST and Neuschwanstein!

Wow what a weekend. The group is still waiting for visas to be processed and for our passports to be returned to us so pending plans for doing the Munich and Salzberg combination were put on hold for this weekend. Instead, we decided to get on an early morning train to catch Oktoberfest before it got crazy and really busy. The group of 7 girls that i was travelling with ended up meeting up with a couple groups of guys going on the same train...we ended up going to Oktoberfest with quite a large group and we hit Munchen like a storm. I have to admit that Oktoberfest is a joke. We got there and just had to laugh at what we saw. I was expecting something a little more rustic and authentic and something more "bavarian"...but instead we were walking up to a carnival no different than the "Malibu Chilli Cook-off". There were rides and carnival music going on and people dressed up in leiderhosen and bavarian dresses. Beer tents were all over the place as well as carts selling nuts and HUGE pretzels. We spent a couple hours there, went on a couple rides and had a good time - but by the time it was around 1 in the afternoon, we were ready to go. We got the chance to wander around Munchen for a while and even hit up the Haufbrahaus, the biggest beer garden in Europe. I know what you're thinking, and no, i haven't turned into a beer loving bavarian! i do have to admit, the beer in germany is better than i expected, but i still prefer apfelsaft (apple juice...sometimes with sparkling water). My favourite part of this weekend was actually our trip to Neuschwanstein in Fussen. Sure, the castle was cool and i'll talk about that later - but probably the most comical part of the trip was our adventure finding our hostel in Fussen at around 10 o'clock at night. I had written out walking directions and bus directions the night before so we got out off the train station feeling ready to go. About 15 minutes of wandering around (and being taken off the right course by a couple "locals") we realized that we were lost. Thank goodness I was with a bunch of fun girls who didn't freak out...even though, now that i think back to it - it was kind of freaky. we were hungry, and lost, and it was dark in a foreign place without any cell phones. we put our heads together and went to the first gas station we saw to ask for directions. long story short - after another hour of wandering, we happened to pull some family over and realized that we were closer to our "hostel" than we had thought. it was actually, just around the corner! the hostel turned out to be a house. the family rents out their basement to travellers! we quickly made friends with the owner, a super nice turkish man named Lodo. he made up a room for us (all seven of us in his largest room!) and he made us a really great breakfast and even drove us to the train station in the morning. all for 15 euro. amazing. i just hope to continue this hostel 'good luck' that we've had so far! As for the castle in Neuschwanstein, it was AMAZING. it was a breathaking walk up to the castle, and the tour inside was really great. I didn't know people could live in so much opulence! Every room had so much detail. Instead of wallpaper, there were paintings (murals) all over the house. In the king's bedroom, he had paintings of Tristan and Isolde. The concert hall was probably my favourite part - i just couldn't imagine what the acoustics would be like in that place. probably pretty good, i would guess. :) If this place could be so beautiful, I couldn't help but wonder what the kingdom of heaven will look like. Next weekend is Cinque Terre, Nice and Monaco and i'm super excited to enjoy the warm weather in the French Riviera! It's two guys and two girls, so it's a nice and small group this time. I'm thinking, lots of beach, some hiking, some shopping, some SURF COMPETITION in Monaco? awww....yeah.

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