Munich 2015 – Day 3 – Nuremberg

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Semi earlyish start this morning, we kind of knew we had a long day ahead of us so we thought we’d just go for hotel breakfast – a mediocre selection of cold slices, yogurts, cereals, and then the usual sausage, egg, pastry affair. We kind of sat down, ate and then expected someone to come over and quiz us on our room number (which is the standard), but… nobody came over, infact we tried flagging down a member of staff and asking how do we pay, but she spoke no english, so fuckit, we left, free breakfast on them, I guess.

Train to nuremberg then, the ICE train from munich central, a surprisingly short 1 hour something trip over, where we were greeted by a rather grey traffic junction and even greyer skies. The weather was not kind to us this morn, making Nuremberg seem like a fairly dull place, accompanied by a rather annoying patter of rain. I started to wonder if we had made a terrible mistake.

But then, castles! christmas lights!
Similar to Estonia, there were random bits of castle strewn about the outskirts of the city, and the inner city itself was full christmas mode, though the lights were yet to be on, despite the grey clouds. I got thought i’d try some more german specialties, and picked up a butter pretzel from a stand (which was kind of mediocre), and a schweinesteak.. thing, which was a pork steak and the onions and juices it’s been cooked in, inside a crusty roll – amazing.

Before checking out the main christmas market in the central plaza, we took a good tour around the city, visiting a multitude of churches, as well as the imperial castle that looms atop a hill to the north of the city.
The churches were all impressive for different reasons, St Lawrence had it’s scale and some beautiful glasswork, St Sebaldus was neat, St jakob’s was literally empty and silent, and St Elisabeth was gigantic and had these amazing marble looking columns.
The castle was worth visiting for the vista alone, but also had some neat towers and stuff to check out, along with the usual gates and walls.

I got to try some black forest gateau somewhere along the way (rather horrifically named ‘schwarzwälder kirschtorte’ – which is great fun to ask for, as a foreigner that speaks no german), and we also ran into a really bizarre statue (complete with goat with droopy balls and woman with bush), and a random shed containing a camel and donkey.

After some shopping, the sun had set and we returned to the Christmas market, which was now lit up and in full bustle, church bells as usual, along with the occasional clop of horse and carriage around the outskirts really gave the place the right mood and feel. The market itself was beautiful, and much nicer than the Munich one, with a smarter layout of shops, less people, and a beautiful church and Christmas tree backdrop. We spent some fair time just looking around all of the stalls (of which there were many, and selling more varied stuff than in Munich) and of course had more food along the way – the nurnberger sausage (presumably regional type sausages), another steak roll thing, and another dish which I failed to get the name of, but it was slow cooked pork and onion, sprinkled with spice powder and covered in a tangy curry sauce and served with a crusty roll, it was fucking amazing.

There isn’t much else to report for the rest of the day, we went back to the station, found our train delayed by half an hour, wasn’t hungry enough for proper dinner thanks to street food, grabbed some food to eat on the way home, and now I’m sitting here writing this while eating this schneeball / snowball thing (huge shortcrust pastry ball coated in chocolate).

Munich 2015 – Day 2 – Residence, Churches and Beer

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After a lay in, we headed for the city and Odeonplatz, which was kind of like a rubbish Munich equivalent of that abe lincoln monument, a huge statue embedded onto the side of an equally huge building. After snapping some pictures we spied a small Christmas market nearby and so went exploring as expected, and ended up with sausage (Bratwurst this time) followed by ‘chimney cake’, made fresh for us thanks to gf’s picky ‘no nuts’ attitude – thin rolled dough, rolled around a rolling pin and then glazed and fired in an oven, the result being a hollow tube that breaks apart, warm, soft yet crispy, and a subtle sweetness that doesn’t overpower the dough.

Finding our next destination – The Munich Residence, was a bit of a trial, we couldn’t find any signs for how to get in, and google maps was less than helpful (though to be fair, the residence itself was approximate 1 mile wide, and we were already technically on it). Trekking around the gardens and wandering around the back of the building, we were eventually questioned by security who directed us back to the main entrance.

The residence itself was divided into treasury and museum, with the former being a smaller museum filled with tapestries, sculptures, chinaware, jewelry and other ornates. The museum section on the other hand was a labyrinthine path through the residence itself, going through numerous rooms with artwork, statues and preserved furniture. Many of the rooms were very impressively decorated, with ceiling paintings and detailing on even the smallest objects. I didn’t end up taking many pictures because there was just so much of it.
Oh, of extra note, SOMEONE (not me) ended up losing our combination ticket, so we ended up having to bother a staff member, who was thankfully nice enough to give us a replacement ticket for free, he must have taken pity on us silly tourists.

A quick rest break later, and we were in the Theatine Church, which was unfortunately being renovated outside – the side door lay concealed amongst the construction work. This church was gigantic, probably the biggest i’ve seen since the one in the Vatican City. I’d describe it, but you can probably see for yourself easier.

We kind of went on church spree here, hopping to Peters church (Peterskirche) back near Marienplatz, which was medium-large and adorned with gold statuettes. There was also ‘church of our lady’ (Frauenkirche) which was also pretty big, though fairly tame in it’s decoration.

We’d journey through some new christmas markets for a bit, before eventually heading to ‘Hofbräuhaus München’ a massive state owned beer hall, I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the main area as my lens fogged up completely when we came in (going from sub-zero temperatures to the warmth of the beerhouse will do that). It was for the most part just swathes of people sat at tables drinking from tankers of beer, while numerous waitering staff buzzed around carrying food and beer. We found ourselves a table and ordered food and a beer, 8 euros for a litre. The beer, named Hofbrau original, was… well, i’m not much of a beer connoisseur so it was beer (thankfully not too bitter), the food served was all traditional style, meaning I got a rather tasty slice of roast pork with crackling, served with gravy and a potato dumpling, which I assume was some sort of potato + dough combination.

At some point I think the beer started to win, i’m not a huge drinker and so started to feel rather ill and we headed home, I lost one of the gloves I bought yesterday too. goddamnit.

 

Munich 2015 – Day 1 – City Centre

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After a painful 5am wakeup to get to London Heathrow, we touched down to a snowy Munich Airport around midday. Peckish and straight off the plane, spied a currywurst van in the midst of their airports very own christmas market and couldn’t resist, had a currywurst and crusty roll, which – admittedly I assumed the sausage would be IN the roll, but no, it was just chopped up and served with curry sauce, and a roll on the side, whatever, it was pretty good.

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We needed to get to the hotel to at least drop off our baggage before going exploring, so after putting all our eggs in one search engine, we ended up taking the S-bahn to some station in the middle of goddamn nowhere – literally no station even, just a platform with some underground staircases to nearby roads. The walk to our hotel was reasonable, but made to feel way longer than reality thanks to the 0 degree weather and some horrific windchill.

Arrived at the hotel eventually, to be told we can’t check in yet – so we left our bags and headed off to the city centre to do some exploring, I forgot to take my passport out of my bag (the hotels idea of luggage storage is hiding it behind a translucent curtain in the hallway) so rushed back to get it out… only to find that my combination padlock wasn’t working and wouldn’t unlock…. fantastic. Okay then, Left the bags at the hotel against my better judgement and hoped for the best.

1 hour of figuring out travel later, and we were in Sedlinger Tor, close by to Asam’s Church, Christmas markets had settled down around here and were around the station, even though I assumed it would only really be around the central plaza, we kind of had a quick browse through (and I bought some gloves) before moving on, wandering down a nearby road in hope of finding the church.

Eventually we came across a rather grand building on our left, terraced between other buildings, we had arrived at our first tourist destination of the holiday, Asam’s Church (asamkirche). Reasonably modest on the exterior but really rather extravagant inside, and hard to capture in picture, with all walls and corners adorned with gold paint and statues, It was reasonably empty which gave us a good opportunity to take some pictures from the best angle, though i wish I had a wide angle lens.
Some pictures I’ve seen show the front gate closed, letting people only view from the outside, but the gate was open today, so that was nice, as there is a fair bit of detail on the back side.

From here we’d go north, scraping a bit of marienplatz before deciding to see the ‘main event’ later when it gets dark. To the east slightly is Victuals Market (Viktualienmarkt), which was a very large outdoor market selling fresh produce, meats, and some cooked food stalls as well, interesting, but not really much for us to browse.

We’d just kind of wander around for a while after this, passing time waiting for the sun to go down, shivering as we walk (as it’s still freezing, even with my new gloves). Browsed a few shops while taking shelter from the cold (literal polar opposite to our ‘take refuge in air-con’ during japan/singapore).

The sun did go down eventually, and we ventured back to Marienplatz and the glockenspiel (main city plaza), a huge christmas tree was set up, and the famed German christmas market was in full swing. it was absolutely rammed, assumed because it only opened yesterday and this is the first saturday since. Practically 2 city blocks just covered in christmas lights and bavarian style wooden christmas market stalls, lit up and probably viewable by plane.

We’d spend the remainder of the night just wandering the markets, taking in the lights and sounds. The smell of mulled wine every 50 meters, and the sound of church bells almost constantly ringing throughout the evening. I of course sampled another sausage of unrecallable name (Schweisswurst?), a white sausage this time in small crusty roll, and topped with a very generous slathering of german mustard, I was pessimistic at first as my first bite was just mustard and roll, but it went from 1 to 10 real fuckin fast, holy shit it was like the best thing i’ve eaten in ages – crisp bread, a firm but easy to bite sausage, and jesus christ that mustard goes well (It’s not English mustard, but a milder and sweeter version).

We accidentally stumbled into St Michael’s Church at some point as well, was a big one, though not as fancy as Asam’s, perhaps why it wasn’t even on our to-do list.

Back to the hotel after having some pizza for dinner, bag wasn’t stolen (yay!), and I managed to get the lock off my bag (it had somehow changed the combination). Absolutely exhausted, and glad to be out of the cold, now we just have to work out what we’re doing tomorrow.

 

A day in pictures – Hyper Japan Christmas 2015

Checked out the Hyper Japan Christmas Market this year at Tobacco Dock in London, the venue was pretty nice and split onto two floors, though I have to say the whole ordeal wasn’t as christmassy as I would have liked. Aside from looking around the shops we went to see the live performances by Wingworks and the incredible LadyBaby – who rocked the crowd despite being down 1/3 of the group and only having 4 songs, we managed to get front row despite being late, which was pretty sweet.

Life – October 2015

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Ah, it’s been a fairly uneventful month?

Phone

I got a new phone! There wasn’t actually a massive amount wrong with my previous phone (the HTC One) but in particular the back facing camera was just fucked and introduced a horrific purple haze to every picture that wasn’t taken outside in bright light (which, being a shut in and general boring person, means that 90% of my photos had this purple effect).
I ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy S6 for £20, plus the £20 to unlock it and some extra for phone accessories, it’s really sleek and has one of those fancy fingerprint sensors for unlocking, I like it a lot. and the camera on it is absolutely beast, it even shoots video in 4k or something retarded.

Gaming

Not been playing too much new stuff recently, all my friends have been running silent hill games but I havent been able to participate due to work and having a normal sleep pattern, which is pretty upsetting. Instead i’ve been enjoying a good amount of Beatmania on my controller – I’m now 8th Dan!
Other than that I’ve been playing in the Tree of Savior closed beta, which is essentially the spiritual successor to Ragnarok Online – loving that so far, though the server stability could be better
Finally I got addicted to a new phone game called Seven Knights, it’s one of those stupid korean character collector dungeon games, i’m not sure why it’s so addictive but goddamn it is.

Munich

Finally (?) I booked a holiday to Munich for the very end of November, the day after hyper japan london i’ll be heading over to Germany for 4 nights to see legitimate bavarian christmas markets and eat sausage and pretzels, I guess i’ll have to try some beer too. Against my better judgement i’ve decided to go with the girlfriend, essentially staying with her for a 5 or 6 whole days, so lets hope that doesn’t end in tears – I already imagine it’s either going to make or break us as I personally wouldn’t want to spend that long with me.