Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sam Explores Germany & Switzerland Pt 10

Sun Sept 6/09

When I woke up the next morning, I felt so sick. Although Pat and I were laughing about the events of last night, we weren’t feeling so great. I was the worse of the two of us. The whole time I was getting ready for our castle tour, I kept thinking, maybe I should just bow out of this one – I feel terrible. I had already paid for the tour though and I didn’t want to miss it. I forced myself to get up, take an aleve and go to it.

Pat and Margaret could tell I was in pretty rough shape. They were quite concerned, but I thought I could make it. I was still able to navigate despite it all. When we go t to our main station, we bought our tickets and suddenly the nausea came. As Pat and Margaret started to walk away from the ticket booth, I rushed to the trash can and DOT DOT DOT. I somehow managed to turn my back away from them, but you know, when you’re sick it’s hard to do it without making a sound…*awkward!!* They were very nice about it and gave me napkins and gum. They asked me if I was alright and I decided to soldier on.

We got on the train and headed to the haupbanhof where the buses were going to pick us up. While we rode the train, I closed my eyes and told myself that I would be fine and that I would not get sick again. Before the train stopped on the platform, I was already looking to see where the trash can was… As soon as we got off, I made a beeline for it and well…sorry people who saw me get sick in the trash can!! There was no time to cover it…I just sat down on the chair on the platform and without looking up much, I told Pat and Margaret that I couldn’t go anymore. They understood and asked me if I would be alright to go back to the hotel myself (the bus was leaving in 10 mins or so)…I said that I would wait for a bit and then head back. I told them to get going or the bus would leave and they reluctantly went.

I sat there, silently cursing myself for putting myself in this kind of position. I’m a Dizon…how can I be defeated by all that beer?!?!? I had already paid for the tour and what would I do the whole day other than sleep and possibly shop? After five minutes of reasoning with myself, I quickly stood up – much to the surprise of the people who had seen me make friends with the trash can only moments ago – and rushed out of the station.

Pat and Margaret were nowhere to be seen, but I had a pretty good idea of where the buses would be. I would find them wherever the buses were. I hurried outside, ignoring my stomach’s protests. I met up with them and they were surprised to see me there. I was terribly worried about being sick on the bus and our trip would take 10.5 hours!! Pat went to get something for breakfast and I knew it was not a good idea for me to eat anything, so I asked her to buy me some water and make sure to get a plastic bag, should I need it.

We all separated on the bus for several reasons:
1. I wasn’t sure how sick I would be and didn’t want to trigger their gag reflexes
2. Window seats ensured the best scenic views
3. Sitting on the first floor of the bus would make me less sick, than going to the 2nd
Pat wanted to sit at the top, so she headed up there and Margaret sat in the row in front of me. I closed my eyes, popped a candy in my mouth and listened to my ipod. Thank you, Mom , for training me to eat a candy when I felt nauseous. So off we went on a quite full bus, which would be picking up more passengers.

Michael, our tour guide, was so memorable. If only I had videotaped his voice and the way he talked. He was tall, wore a baseball cap, had his shirt tucked in his pants, carried a computer bag (but never took out a computer) and walked quickly. He was so quirky!! He was quite entertaining, as he narrated our tour with his Bavarian accent and his weird comments. Michael also apologized to us for having to take the time to do all the housekeeping things like taking our money for the tours, etc and would often take breaks from narrating to make calls to reserve our table for lunch and make reservations for our tours.

At one point, he talked about cuckoo clocks, but he said it totally different. When he said it, it sounded like CACKCOO. It was so hilarious, because he demonstrated the sound…”You know these CUCKCOW clocks? The ones that say CACKCOO, CACKCOO, CACKCOO, CACKCOO, CACKCOO, CACKCOO, CACKCOO, CACKCOO …” Normally someone would imitate the sound, I don’t know, three times perhaps, but Michael did it nine times with this totally serious expression. How could we not laugh? He also would describe these wonderful places and scenes that we could see and then follow it with, “unfortunately we don’t have time to see it today, but you should come on your own and see it.” We all kept thinking, why bother telling us then? Haaha… I guess it was like getting our hopes up and then disappointing us.

Michael also talked about may poles and how the flags on them described what the village had there, like seamstress, blacksmiths, etc. He also told us about Oktoberfest and how it was the best time for a young boy around the ages of 10-12. There are so many people and then you get drunk for the first time and meet people and things happen. There’s kissing and other things can happen…DOT DOT

Michael impressed on us that we should be on time. Once doing the tour, there was a bit of time to walk around, but we were on a schedule. He walked with us to see some of the beautiful things on the way to the castle including a Moroccan House. Because the tourists all walked at different paces he would explain what it was, pause and then repeat it again like six times in a robotic kind of voice. Pat just laughed her head off haha.

There were no pictures allowed at all inside the castle due to copyright. This was quite disappointing, because it was so beautiful!! I ended up buying a guide because it had the pictures and I wanted a souvenir.
Out of Ludwig II’s three castles, this is the only one that was completed. It was dedicated to the Sun King, Louis XIV. It was absolutely gorgeous! Ludwig spent the most time here, but unfortunately did not receive any visitors. There was a secret table in one of the rooms that lowered down into the kitchen where the servants would put food on it and send it back up, therefore allowing Ludwig to eat undisturbed.

I really had to bite my tongue during this tour, as some of the tourists with us were so disrespectful! One American lady actually LEANED on one of the exhibit tables!! There were antiques on it and she was using it to prop her elbow and the table was tipping! I wondered whether I should say something, but we quickly moved ahead. A few other tourists were touching things they shouldn’t…ack what’s wrong with people!!!

The tour ended in the gift shop, where we made a few small purchases. Then we walked through the exquisite gardens and took photos. There was another place that was worth seeing but it was a bit far off and we were pressed for time. I told Pat and Margaret that I would run to take a picture, however, while I was heading in the direction I realized it would mean running uphill. With time ticking, I waivered, but a girl from a tour told me it was worth it, so I ran over and took the picture.

-NEXT STOP, Oberammergau!-
Michael explained how the small town of Oberammergau was known to specialize in three things. The best wood carvers in Germany live there. They have Passion of Christ plays called…. Lastly they have house frescoes that are absolutely stunning. There is the Hansel & Gretel Haus, as well as Little Red Riding Hood Haus…though I’m not sure if the latter name is correct.

This place was very interesting and there were many interesting things to buy. Michael had also mentioned that this place had Hummel figures and that the last factory had closed down. All of the figures would become collector’s items. I decided to check out the prices and maybe buy one. I ended up buying two and the nice lady at the counter gave me a gift from the store as well. She gave me a bumblebee pin. How appropriate, as bees had been all over Berlin and Munich! It was very nice of her. I quickly shopped and finished on time, but I didn’t have my watch with me, so I just kept an eye on Michael. He was standing outside this other store and said he was waiting for two more passengers, so I waited around him and took pictures. Finally, they came out and we were late. Apparently people on the bus were annoyed with the tour girls and one lady gave them hell upstairs…I hope no one that it was me…no one said anything…

-Schloss Neuschwanstein-
This castle was the inspiration for Disney Castle, built and dedicated to Richard Wagner, but he died three years before Ludwig II who died at 41 (conspiracy, drowning/suicide and doctor also floating in the water). I felt a bit of sympathy for Ludwig II, who never had any visitors to his castle and didn’t see much of it finished. His bed alone, took four years to make as it was crafted to look like a cathedral. This thing was crazy…you’d have to see it to believe it. Once again, people were touching things and taking pics when they shouldn’t….oh well. The more our tour guide narrated, the more we believed that Ludwig was in love with Wagner and we just loved the way she said their names. Pat now wants to buy two dogs and name them after the two hahaha.

We had taken the bus up to the castle, but because our tour was later in the day, there were no buses going down and so we had to walk down ourselves. On our way down, there were numerous souvenir stores and food. We bought a few guides and ice cream. The ones we had wanted were sold out, so I ended with a cherry kind of ice cream that actually kind of tasted like there was alcohol in it. We also passed by a stand selling deep fried cream cheese balls. I decided to pass on that but Sandeep, one of women on the tour who we’d had lunch with, Margaret and Pat decided to go for it. I tried a small piece. Michael passed us as he walked down and we laughed about all the quirky moments on our tour, as he sped down the mountain. We made it in time and were back on the bus on the way back to Munich.
While we headed back to Munich, Michael and our driver Slotko were selling beverages including beer on the bus. I couldn’t even look at beer ahah…I bought a bottle of water.

Pat and Margaret invited Sandeep for dinner with us. She is really charismatic and was actually the person that told me it was worth it go take a picture of that structure at Schloss Linderhof. We had ended up at the same table for lunch and from there we all became quick friends. We toured Schloss Newschwanstein together as well.

Sandeep looked through her guide for restaurants and many of them did not have any stars hahaa…we did find one with one star and decided to try it. I don’t exactly remember the name, but I took a picture of it. As we entered I heard someone call out, “hey Toronto gals”…and I looked over to see the other Toronto girls finishing their meal. We talked about the beer challenge and how the morning was not so great haha. They had woken up at 11am though and we had woken up at 6am. They wished us a safe trip and headed out.

Margaret and I shared a plate of small sausages and then two side dishes – homemade pasta and rosemary potatoes. It was quite good and since it was our last night there, I ordered a Radler. Pure beer would have made me sick. I only drank half of it and Margaret kindly drank the rest. We had some really great conversations with Sandeep, who lived in New York City, but was moving immediately to Washington D.C. when she came back from her trip. She invited us to visit her. After dinner we said goodbye and wished each other a safe journey. We headed back to get ready for long journey the next day.

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