Dream trip Day 15   Ferry, bus to Zürich Switzerland

My bus leaves at 1 so plenty of time to have a leisurely morning.

Check out and hit post machine with correct change.

Lick, stamp cards and into the box they go. A nice walk to train, bus station. Sunny for a change.

Get a donner to fill me up all day, good and cheap 4€.

Find the bus depot, well what do you know, bus has been delayed.

Hit the restroom with over zealous woman who stalks the men’s room, mopping, wiping down toilets after each use, she holds her hand up and won’t allow anyone into a stall until it’s been wiped down a bit.

Delayed 45 min, so just walk the length of bus depot, back and forth listening to tunes.

People crush to the door upon arrival, drivers close door and talk for 10 min, hope about bus stuff but prob only friendly interaction they get all day.

Sparse bus so I get my own seat. Sleep overtakes me soon after we pull out of Munich.

Wake up and again, green and lush landscape flies by.

Each small town on the route has a clock tower in the center and houses, roads spread out around it.

Pass a brewery, large silos and hop fields near.

Lots of walking and biking trails connecting each town, see a guy roller blading in the middle of field on paved trail.

We see water now, so blue, we descend down winding roads closer and closer.

Pull up to a dock, what is this? We are allowed to leave the bus while we cross the channel on a ferry!

I venture out to the front of ship, many stay in their cars, why?! Free view and breeze, plus a chance to walk are too good to pass.

Walk all around the ship, light breeze cools my face, blue waters surrounds us.

Another hour and we are in Zürich.

Very French and Dutch style houses on mountains overlooking the city with sun blazing as I exit bus.

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Busy streets, trolley connected to wires zoom by in the middle of most roads.

Find my hostel and up 4 flights to top of the NZ Cafe.

Most prison like bunks ever, just barely fit when laying down, can feel cold steel on one side, no room to sit up in bed and I hit my head when attempting to put shoes on.

No AC so open windows which just makes things loud due to traffic below.

I’m in entertainment district so lots of scantily clad ladies and want to be ladies are on most corners looking for dates.

I walk in search of the river, I take the longest, least direct route but see many great buildings and people.

Bikers are everywhere and many smoke, or blast music from their phones as they ride.

I find the river and follow along for a while til I find a park, lots of people, couples loungin’ in the grass, cuddling or drinking.

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Head back to the area around hostel in search of food. See many donner spots but now it costs 9-10€.

Figure cheaper option is Chinese, been craving rice. Kung pao chicken it is for dinner.

Hard lesson, but I get a beer, 6€. No more beer with meals, save them € buy beer at store.

Two youths ask to join me, both speak German and I reply bitte, while extending my hand like others did when I needed a seat.

They share a similar meal, makes me realize I eat for two as they are thin thin.

Head back to hostel but still light, turn down a road and hear loud music and laughing.

I found a huge park, kids playing, couples snuggling, families eating, sketchy guys drinking or sleeping on benches.

Stay and watch awhile, sun still up.

Decide I’m close enough to find my way back and figure city opens up soon if I head west for a good dusk pic.

Sadly the city goes on and on, night falls after several blocks, been walking for 5 hrs at this point, time to return.

Stumble on some sort of park party with people drinking listening to loud music, I stand a moment and soon see its kids around high school age so I move on.

Find my way back and the street is popping, people all over walking or sitting in patio areas with bevs, especially ladies.

I walk back and forth to where street ends taking the sights and sounds in.

I head back upstairs to change and get a free beer owed me at the bar.

Beers good, only 4 people in the whole night at bar, I decide to try all beers on tap, 5€ each, they are Bier Paul.

Overhear English, table of girls are talking about guys they meet and dumb things they say and do. Bad dates and poor booty calls, I laugh to myself too.

Some bum literally staggers in and yet is served.

He turns to me and asks if I want to see his box and smoke a joint.

The bartender has enough talk about his box after about 20 minutes and asks him to leave, turns on bar go home lights.

She wants to close early since no one is drinking, but once bum leaves she pours me another and says I can drink while she cleans since I seem cool.

She is Canadian but grew up in a Zürich, she knows 4 languages, most people here do.

German and French are main languages but real Swiss speak in regional dialect in west.

I finish up after we talk more about Zürich and her schooling.

Luckily only 5 people in 12 bed room, but always a snorer, wonder how bad I snore?

I fall asleep to sounds of honking cars and people yelling.

Beer: Beir Paul 10
Song:  Imperial Tiger Orchestra  Lale Lale

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Dream trip Day 14   Laundry day, postys, Augustiner biergarten tour

Wake up at 630am, Sunday means laundry day.

Pack up all the clothes I have and walk pretty much across the street.

There’s already two uniquely Germans both shake their wet clothes then toss into dryer, maybe to make sure clothes aren’t bunched up?

Times goes by more slowly when you’re staring at tumbling clothes.

Find a bakery and get coffee and cheese bagel.

Put on my still warm clothes and head in search of postcards.

Head east through gaming halls, bars and donner spots. Everything else is closed.

Locate the train station and figure this will be best spot for cards.

Note the near black sky as I head back to hostel, postcards secured.

Famished, decide a block isn’t too far to stop and eat so try noodles from same place I had donner the day before.

” Hand made noodles,” woman working explains, “take time. Where from?”

We chat a bit about US and her country in very broken English and French.

Dish I order is like Kung pao with red peppers, not too much flavor or veg but overall good due to noodles but then I love noodles.

Make it back to hostel in time for more rain. So tired, need rest anyway.

Saw flyer for biergarten tour later that night, figured better plan than I can come up with and prob get to talk to people too. Booked!

Write postys in bar which takes some time, handwriting improving if I write slow.

Attempt to buy stamps in German from a kiosk. Learned no cards and change given only in stamps so exact change it is, which I do not have now, tomorrow machine.

Walk back to train station as that’s where meeting location is near.

Decide best to fortify myself with coffee and braut.

Meander through train station, lots of delays and people running in every direction.

Locate hostel meeting spot and wait to check in.

After check in, get a beer and sit next to another guy going on tour.

Turns out he’s from Houston so we chat it up.

He too has had train delays due to strikes, in Paris & Amsterdam.

In our group is 2 Argentinians, a Canadian couple and Australian couple.

Our guide is from S Africa but looks Greek or Italian, long shaggy hair under a kangol hat.

I chat with the Argentinians about their language, not Spanish or Portuguese but similar with new words and phrases unique to the country.

We arrive at Augustiner biergarten largest in town and revered by locals.

Augustiner isn’t shipped anywhere else, they don’t advertise and recipe hasn’t changed for centuries. 1328 is what they claim as opening year!

The biergarten seats 2,500 and usually does in the summer, 3rd largest in world.

Liters only and it’s very good.

We learn the male Canadian is missing teeth in hockey accident and his very hot wife is dental assistant, they are school lovers just married.

The inside is huge, tall vaulted ceilings, long communal benches, all wood, very much like a church hall.

Canadian buys jäger shots, yikes I think everyone is staring, it’s Sunday night.

We pour out to the next spot walking on cobblestone paths.

I saddle up next to the Aussies. Every city is a long way from each other, hours by car.

Cigs cost 20$ a pack so they don’t smoke much there but buy cartons over here.

They are in country for a month and were just in Strasbourg which they said was cool but not too big, doable in a day they said.

Our next stop was Franzenkaner brouhaus.

It’s more sedate, touristy like a restaurant.

I get a dark dunkel half pint as a liter and shot are working.

Everyone decides to order food, I only have enough € for beer.

Houston friend Garrett orders pork, basically ham and eggs. Two thick cuts with soft-boiled eggs and thick potatoes. He cannot finish so he slides the plate my way. I pick around and yup its breakfast food.

We slowly walk back to hostel I talk with both Australian who are laughing at nearly everyone out as its dark and freaks are everywhere.

Bums stagger, ladies scantily dressed are walking by, tourist with large bags struggle down the street.

The guide is walking hand in hand with the just married Canadian, her husband was awarded a nice stein and seems to care more about it than anything.

Part of our tour includes another shot of jäger and beers. I give one ticket to my Houston friend and get beer.

Everyone is wasted, the guide and Canadian girl are talking, but seems she may not like what he saying, feels wrong.

Guide leaves and Aussie goes over to keep Canadian girl company as she is very drunk.

They all soon leave, the Aussies and Canadian girl together, I don’t see the others.

I finish mine and their beers, wary of my walk home.

No issues, it’s straight walk down the street.

Immediately rains once I sit down at hostel.

I am fast asleep after mumbling hello to my bunk mates, all are also in bunks.

Beer: Augustiner

Song:  Scorpion   No One Like You

Dream trip Day 13   München, Oktoberfest grounds, Paulaner biergarten

Wake up to sun. It’s due to rain in a few hours so I walk.

Find bakery with coffee and get a couple cheesy bread things, not pizza nor sandwich but similar to both.

Find a Oktoberfest grounds and eat.

Walk the area and find a statue of a lady holding a star overlooking the Oktoberfest grounds.

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There are skateboarders and a biker turning tricks all over the area.

Stay for a while and watch biker who is also being pro photographed turn multiple tricks made even more amazing as his bike has no breaks. He stops Flintstones style, feet to the ground or sharp turn.

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Walk to the other side of festival area, a reggae fest is going on.

The clouds darken each moment so I head back to hostel.

Arrive just in time for downpour, figure I’ll lay down a bit til it passes.

After a couple of hours of hard rain it lets up enough to get out so I head to Paulaner Brauhaus down the road a couple blocks.

Find a small table and wait. Wait wait wait.

Wave to a guy I’ve seen pass several times and he smiles.

After he finishes delivering beers he stops by, I ask for liter of haus bier, Weissbier.

He delivers it in a huge stein with an English menu.

I note they have 3 beers on tap, one is named Vladimir a style I’ve not seen previous so decide to get that next.

Takes me awhile to drink a liter, others near drink much faster.

Order half from now on, vlad beer is good and strong.

Plates of sausage and pretzels pass every moment as does a large globe that I think holds soup.

Scan menu and decide to eat now and snack for dinner. I order meatloaf with potato salad and zwicklebier.

Meatloaf is not beef, maybe pork as its pink colored, and topped with fried egg.

Note it’s raining again and take my time savoring each bite.

Stagger back to the hostel, rain intensifies.

Figured I may as well sleep it off and try to go out at night.

Wake up a couple of hours later, still raining.

Shower and decide to enjoy happy hour.

Find a seat next to outlet and get a Weissbeer.

Watch a loud group play presidents and asshole drinking game, it makes no sense.

Watch a couple of girls flirt with bartender, they are mid 20s maybe and hang on his every word while they make plans to meet later after he gets off.

People shoot pool as it continues to rain, tonight is a bust, least there’s beer here. Lowenbrau.

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Tired of rain, I scan bus routes and book Zürich on Monday along with cheapest hostel, which is 55€! Gonna be expensive.

Girls return with bottle of vodka and he makes drinks and they take a shot.

Another beer, new bartender who is super excited, think coke is involved.

He lines up jack and coke shots, To me, “you want one right, of course, all get one!”

One more stein of Weiss.

Bedtime, early too not midnight, guess I’m still short of sleep from Friday’s trip or the rain is effecting me.

Song:  Peter Schilling   Major Tom
Beer: Paulaner   Zwickle

Dream trip Day 12   Bus to Munich, police stop, fire brigade

Wake up and shower with over an hour til bus leaves.

Walk back the route I arrive. It is much different in the daylight, its residential and not scary other than a few locked gardens.

Get a coffee + a box of noodles from train station and find the bus area.

Everything is late it seems but people began freaking out as there isn’t any place to post info, no TVs so they ask drivers who just shake their heads, wait.

A bus with no marking arrives and I see the driver throwing on a logo magnet for the bus company I need. This was it and only 40 min late.

Bus isn’t close to full so pick a back seat window. Take brief nap then stare out the window.

The landscape is so lush green like out of a movie. Wind farms, solar panels and small villages dot the countryside.

It begins to rain and I see more signs for Munchen.

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We suddenly pull over to rest area, I see police cars, vans are all around us.

Two plain clothes men board asking for IDs and passports. They look like Miami Vice trendy clothes, undercover dudes.

They take docs into a van with computers for 20 min or so and even give the driver the business, well loud talking so not sure if conversation or debate in German.

They give us our things back. No explanation, no information, no thanks.

One guy they keep patting down but not sure what they ask him. Soon they drive off, no reason or explanation in German to anyone why we were stopped.

We spill out to a huge bus only area, connected to the back of the rail line.

I walk down many streets as it sprinkles, passing by many African men drinking dark beers and joking around in front of hair cutters and food joints.

I walk by where Oktoberfest is held, now hosting a reggae fest, still big but not acres big like Oktoberfest tents.

I find my hostel and settle in, so good to drop backpack after a walking day.

I sit and wait to check in as a lot are checking out or milling around lobby due to rain.

Suddenly an alarm sounds, the 2 receptionists scramble comically hopping over the counter to try to turn off the alarm.

They didn’t get it turned off in time so the fire brigade were called and arrived. All for something burned in the microwave.

I see that there is a leak in our room so I get a towel and at least make the wooden floors not a slip risk, I doubt they will fix while we are here.

I go outside but soon must seek shelter, it’s hard rain and many return to hostel soaked.

Always pack a raincoat, otherwise you get to stare at the rain from your room or take a Mother Nature shower.

Rain breaks so I find a doner spot. I order in German but everyone seems to know and responds in English.

I make it back to the hostel just as it rains hard again but with thunder cracks.

Hostel bar has cheap beers for a couple of hours so I get a couple of drafts and call it a night.

Fall asleep to sounds of rain and snoring by my bunk mates.

Beer: Lowenbraü
Song: Rammstien  Du Hast

Dream trip Day 11   Karlsruhe zoo, rain, schnitzel 

Rain continues most of the morning so I wait it out at apt and search destinations.

Weather breaks and so do I for morning walk to zoo.

Find Italian coffee shop and successful order long white coffee. Milk and coffee, finally!

A bridge goes over the zoo so you can see a bit for free. Only saw boats on lazy river in the middle of the zoo, no animals.

There is another green road that is north-south near rail station I discover by following signs after zoo trail ends.

Find the trail but it’s closed halfway due to widening of a waterfall area it passes through.

Just before construction I find a tiny garden house village. It appears to be run by Red Cross but not sure how one gets to live and garden there.

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It’s a couple blocks from the train station so very much a garden in the middle of the city which is very good.

I walk down one of the main north south roads past the Santo where I spend nights.

It begins sprinkling so I head back to the courtyard near the apt for shelter and sandwich.

Back to apt to nap. Soon Hiba, the host returns. I walk down to the corner store for beer as she only has one left.

We talk as she eats fries. She’s cooked fries every day and says that’s mostly all she eats, no veg, she doesn’t like.

Of course I’ve survived on doner, least its balanced with veg and meats.

We talk about many things. She is Lebanese, physicist in school but wants to make music.

Her dad is a Christian preacher back home, she doesn’t go to mass anymore but misses singing in the choir.

Matt texts me stating its time for German meal as everyone else is with other friends so it’s just us.

We hit up the biergarten behind his hotel. Schnitzel and noodles is the plan with beer.

It’s like fried pork chop or chicken fried steak equivalent.

Our server is very friendly until the bill. She may be joking about tips and how she needs to live. I planned on leaving a tip, but she gets mad when I thank her.

As we leave she is all smiles and waves goodbye. I figured she was messing with us.

After a beer back at hotel Matt leaves but I stay with Alex.

He lives close and just recorded with a member of the band so he wanted to see rehearsals.

He has a driver and occasionally plays with the singer of Cannibal Corpse in a band.

He told us they just played for free in Argentina. A semi working vacation just fly us over, room, food, and have equipment ready. That’s how to do it.

He tells me of a van hire service that’s cheap and everywhere in Europe.

We exchange info and hope to meet him in Bonn or elsewhere.

Another long dark walk to the apt.

People are still partying along the way, I think about joining then realize I need to save $, partied all ready no need for more.

Light rain lulls me to sleep.

Beer: Black Forest ale
Song:  Can   Vitamin C

Dream trip Day 10   Karlsruhe, doner, sushi & sake 

Lazy day recovering at the apt.

I discovered how close activities are, just had to turn left and that connects to north and west attractions.

Found spot called Zoo Coffee. It lives up to its name as already 3 drunks at the bar smoking and laughing. It’s just after 10am.

I order coffee and observe. Old haggard lady gesticulates while loud talking and laughing.  Afterwards, drags off her mostly ash cigarette.

A large, disheveled man with bottle thick glasses and bushy mustache chain smokes to her left, his shirt has long rips, exposing his prodigious belly. His eyes dart all over the room but not sure he knows what he is looking for. He has a box of tobacco but still buys cigarettes and more puzzling saves all his butts.

Third guy is mid 30s with polo shirt and unlike the other 2 doesn’t look like he should be afternoon drunk. He is a joker and cuts rapid phrases that elicit bursts of laughter all around.

He looks at my way several times making side comments to me about the other two. I don’t understand but smile wide and repeat Ja or is gud and return to my coffee.

This guy is having a conversation with everyone in the room at different times. Amazing watching him turn his stool in any direction, make a statement, laugh then a quick slug off his beverage.

After 30 min I cannot stand them any longer, they are too drunk to be funny now so it’s just sad as they struggle with balance and language.

I find a route in the direction of my apt that is all parks, green space.

It passes through apartment buildings and schools, I see kids playing and kicking balls.

There are also wine drinkers that seem to come with park benches as if they were apart of the furniture itself.

The parkway ends at courtyard with fountain and biergarten. This time it’s beer drunks all over the fountain and in front of closed shops.

I spot a doner joint and get a middle eastern equivalent to a burrito. Shaved meat, lettuce purple cabbage tomatoes onions and tziki sauce are required. Optional to sprinkle fine red pepper flakes for spice but they are so finely chopped it isn’t hot.

A couple of guys stagger in my direction but never commit. I move from a long bench to a small table in front of the kebab haus.

After morning walk and food I rest for an hour or two, dozing off for a bit and researching travel destinations at the apt.

Across the street from my apt is corner shop that sells cans of beer for less than 2€, I vow to try them all.

It’s only pilsner beers here, light and good.

Matt messages me saying sushi is on deck for dinner so I walk west.

There is an art college I pass with fountain and large courtyard that should have kids studying but is now barren until next semester.

At the hotel find Matt and Jodi and have a beer.

Find the sushi spot and learn Jodi is vegan, not sure how it will work but they do have veg rolls.

Large bottle of sake is ordered and we fill our small cups taking turns pouring.

Waitress is seen twice, to take order and drop check. We had sake for the long wait.

Jodi’s rolls look amazing ! One roll has a grilled banana and the others are tempura veg.

Matt has Karlsruhe roll, intense, huge and seems to have most everything in it plus sauce that drips off the shrimp.

I got a few pieces and they satisfied me. Eel was great as was some sort of unknown hand-roll that looked like urchin. Tasted like the sea.

Jodi heads to bed as does Alex so I show Matt the biergarten behind his hotel.

Ask about bier advertised on chalkboard and uninterested waitress describes it a ‘Boring bier. I don’t like.’

We discuss Barcelona as its his last show so he’ll explore the area with Melissa after.

I hold for possibility of hanging around for 2 weeks as my planned time ends in Barcelona.

It begins to pour rain, hard rains ah gonna fall. I get a cab back and we nearly hit a car who just stopped in the road. ‘Is idiot,’ the driver stated with a wave as he swerved around the parked car, then turned onto my street.

I listened to the rain awhile and fall fast asleep.

Beer: Jever pils
Song: We Butter the Bread with Butter   13 Wünsche

Dream trip day 9   Karlsruhe, biergarten, meet Matt + band

Wake up after 9. Hope I caught up on sleep.

Aimlessly walk down a street. Very residential full of gardens houses and schools.

Locate a shopping area, pop into a grocery store with wild idea to make my own sandwich w deli slices, bread, cheese, chips and fruit

Locate a park and try to build sandwich but fail. The bread crumbles like cake. Decide I don’t need bread, chips suffice for bread like material.

Walk towards tall spiral in city centre through shops and gardens.

It’s former palace turned museum and public garden. Sit and stare at fountain for a while, decide to find biergarten.

Wander all over shopping street before I realize the garten is to the right not left.

Big wooden seats and bar upon entry. Wooden vats to one side, bar on the other.

Fail at ordering maibock, though thought I did well.

‘Un maibock bitte.’ Turns out size info is important.

Very large stein of delicious beer is now before me. I get more and more sleepy after each slug.

Decide to rest in park as I’ve seen others do.

Find a tree, place my bag on the ground as a pillow and nearly instantly asleep! What’s in that beer ?

Wake up after an hour nap. No one around. Finish chips and water.

Decided to hang around the apt vs waiting at hotel for Matt.

After 8 decide to walk over to biergarten near hotel.

Friendly waitress gets me bier and English menu.

I inquire about German noodles, spoetozel, and order so I can taste them.

They are like dumplings a la chicken and dumplings, a bit doughy vs pasta.

Finally Matt is free so I pay up and meet him at hotel. Everyone is at Indian spot eating so I just order beers.

Lots of laughs and stories. Good time and they didn’t finish their spicy chicken so I tasted some. Wonderful, very similar to sizzling fajitas.

Back to bar with guys for a few beers and stories.

Meet Jodi the actress who plays King’s grandma and other characters during shows.

Also meet Alex, interesting cat from Germany. Big dude with long dreads and rings on each finger. He lives in Koln and invites me to visit.

A couple very drunk Germans come over to chat up Jody and Alex. Too much touching and questions so we leave quickly.

Surprised Alex didn’t push them, one was very handsy and talked very flirty with him.

Again late night walk with bikers and joggers. No sign of any trouble despite the late hour.

Beer: Kingfisher
Song: Kraftwerk  Human Calculator