Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jason Bourne Meets the Hofbrauhaus

MUNICH -- Scott and I accomplished our first objective last night, which was to stay awake.

We did it by making a trip to the world famous Hofbrauhaus, which is basically a very big beer hall. Literally the place is one large room with long tables. We had some beer with a U.K. couple named Frank and Karen (or Katie... something with a K). They live in northern England. After moving to a different table because the first was reserved, we sat with a very nice older American gentleman who we nicknamed "Pops," along with two native Germans.

If you hadn't guessed it, in Munich you can basically sit at a table with anyone you want. It's weird, but kind of cool. You just go up to a table with an open seat and say "FRY?" (Which means "free")... And you sit your butt down. A native Munich woman we met earlier yesterday told us that the natives are proud of this. In America, it wouldn't go very well.

Which leads me to a round of useless, random observations:

-- They have a lot of bikes here. I mean a ton. They have special bike lanes and you'd better not walk in them for fear of death. We saw bike racks with literally fifty or a hundred bikes.

-- Everyone here speaks English. Lucky for us, since the only words we know are "Beer" and the aforementioned "Fry"... And as you can see, good luck on my actually spelling those words the right way in German.

-- They sell alcohol on the street. It's this hot wine called Gluwein (pronounced Gloo-- VINE). It's pretty potent stuff. And they sell it right on the street. If you pay extra, they let you keep the coffee cup mug used to serve it. So there's a bunch of people walking around with these random mugs (well, those are probably all tourists). This was when we walked down the Neuhasser street market.

-- They really like pretzels here. They sell them in every restaurant. And I guess it's a nice gesture to buy a "round" of pretzels for your table at a beer hall. Someone did that last night for us. Scott made the comment that you could take a Munich native to Fenway, give them a soft pretzel and a serving from the Sausage Guy, and they would be in heaven. Wouldn't even have to go in the ballpark.

Anyway, we also saw the Christmas market here, which was nice. We met this very nice family where the husband is from the U.S. and the wife is from Munich, so they have an apartment in Munich and a home in the U.S. They directed us to a nice restaurant where we had our first taste of local fare-- sausages, sauerkraut and pretzels. In the restaurant, we overheard another family speaking Spanish. The daughter spoke German. Here I am thinking--- "I can't even speak English good."

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