Seriously. I don’t even understand what just happened. I got on a plane in Athens, which has this urban grime aesthetic that permeates every public space, to Munich. Munich is not like that. Munich as I saw it reminded me of the placid beginning of many a World War Two movie. Specifically Inglorious Bastards. It looks like cinematic rural France. At least the part of Munich that is visible from my route on the S-Bahn, their train system.
Some of the same graffiti is on the walls of course. I saw “denk” painted a couple times in Athens. Come to think of it that is pretty strange, as it means “think” in German. It must be a thing though, because I’ve already seen it once or twice here. Might’ve even been the same artist—who knows.
Anyway, I flew with our group to Munich and have since made my goodbyes. I’m in Germany for the week, and I’m excited. I dropped off my luggage in an airport storage locker (limited at 20 kg to get those cheaper rates) and carried off everything else I have with me.
I headed straight to an information/ticket booth man who explained my options vis a vis train travel pretty succinctly. I had some idea that I would take buses around Germany to get places and planned to buy tickets. Instead I bought a 5 day nonconsecutive day German Rail pass and the possibilities therein are endless. I can go to Copenhagen and Prague and basically every big German city, and even into Austria if I wanted. I can use the rail on 5 different days. And seeing as I have no definite plan as of yet besides a wish to visit a couple cities and see some friends while I can, this seemed the best option.
First on my list is Hamburg. The friendly man behind the train-station counter printed out an itinerary and I boarded the S-Bahn.
Of course I had half-an-hour to kill and I was hungry so I found a random Turkish place and bought a donner-kebab and a beer. Then I walked around for all of five minutes before getting on an Inter City Express (ICE) train north. These are ridiculously nice and smooth and air-conditioned and reasonably fast. I’ll arrive in Hamburg a little before 2 a.m. (around 800 km away according to a bewildered Christoph Waltz sound-alike manning the desk of an airport information desk). They also have free WiFi, which is a huge win.
It’s very different from Greece. And don’t get me wrong I love Greece. But the German public transport system and scenery leads me to believe that the German stereotypes are real. They’re clean. Their voices sound ridiculous (I literally choked back laughter when the train announcer came on the loudspeaker. That’s sort of a sad reflection on me as a human, but it was still extremely comical). And they’re organized (a random ticketer printed me out a schedule for crissakes).
That’s about all I got for Germany right now. Will get back to you later. Also stay on the lookout for my five bajillion incoming Greece blogs and stories. They’re a comin’.