Spent the majority of the last day in München by myself, wandering wherever I wanted to, doing whatever I wanted, saying hello to anyone I wanted to (omitted). I did find it fascinating though that there was a certain intrigue I acquired within myself. It wasn’t so much as following the group or seeing what everyone else wanted to see and I just tagged along (even though that really did not happen in the past). This was the moment where I could do whatever I wanted, me, just myself. I had to figure out how to get places, which stops to change trains at, which exit I needed to take, which direction I needed to go in order to know where I was. I started with the first destination: Olympiapark in Northern München.
Apparently this was used during the 1972 Olympic games, but the architecture is still way above its time. I honestly thought it could have been hand-in-hand with the Olympic games in Beijing.
I tried my best to take a decent picture of all the structures, but it was difficult because they were so spread out with the same type of covering. One fact I learned from Manfred was that the entire Olympiapark was actually built on top of the ruins of München after the bombings. The rubble they ended up placing on a hill that was far away from the inner city, a perfect place to set up an Olympic Arena. I didn’t really do much except spend some time sitting in the pool area and on top of the hill. Really a beautiful day, but outrageously hot again. I waited for a spot on the bench in the shade.
There was a bench next to this nice couple that had a great spot in the shade, and I sat there. I don’t think I did it on purpose, but I continually looked over at them, longing to be in the shade. I’m baking over on the one side while they were enjoying the pleasant breeze and protection from sun. Every few minutes I would look over there (probably with some immature puppy-eyed looks) and hope they would leave. After about five minutes, they left.
Then I sat there for about an hour because I really had nothing to do and I had no energy to do anything else. I just needed a solid rest from running around from Freiburg to Basel to Rheinfelden to Karlsruhe to Stuttgart to Frankfurt to Bad Nauheim to München to Neuschwanstein. I needed a stop, a break, a calm.
I remember I was writing in my journal on that bench for a while and a breeze hit my back and I think I was relaxed in that moment. I was sitting on a bright green hill staring over a nice lake without any sort of pain or urgency. Is this what peace feels like?
After, I went to Marienplatz to grab some dinner by myself. At first I thought it was kind of weird that I was just going by myself, but then I found some sort of comfort being in my own mind, just rethinking about all the adventures I’ve had with friends so far this trip. The weird faces Sam would always make when I would try to take a picture of her, Everyone making fun of Joel’s name just shouting “Joooooel” in a hushed scream, listening to Zach say “Hallo” and “Auf Wiedersehen” to almost everything, and Jon just trying to keep us together with his endless supply of Rye Crisps. The waitress sat me at a table meant for four and I just pictured each of them there. I honestly was getting emotional because I don’t really know that many people here and it’s been a little hard trying to get around without anyone to hang out with or talk to. But then I remembered that I will be with Annika in the coming days and I felt better about it, or at least a little better.
I ordered a plate that had five different types of sausages, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes. Heaven, really. Right as the nice server sat it down in front of me, the lady next to me said, “What a great choice.”
We started chatting and found out this couple was from Australia and are just visiting for a few weeks. It sounded like they didn’t really have an end date of when they were going home, but I could tell immediately that they were in vacation-mode, just like I was. We talked about the class and sustainability in Germany, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Australia! It was really an interesting discussion even though I felt like I could start growing gray hair. I was engaging in a political discussion with Australians in front of the Staatoper in München and I was enjoying myself. Am I 80 yet? I never would have thought that I would be having such a great discussion about the coal, renewable, and nuclear energy production in three different countries. So, yeah, I guess I learned something this past month.
At the end, I asked for my bill, but before the lady could give it to me, the man nicely took the bill and said, “I’ll pay for you,” in his thick Australian accent. “You’re a poor student.” I tried to grab it from him because I haven’t really paid much in München anyway because Garth has been nice enough to pay for everything as well. This was my turn to actually pay. He said he enjoyed the conversation we had and wanted to pay for me.
I walked away a little tipsy. I couldn’t tell if it was because it was the .5 Liter of beer I had or just because I was in pure shock from their amazingly kind gesture. They paid for my meal. I still can’t get over it.
Then I went to the ballet. They played Scherezade, Les Biches, and Once Upon an Ever After. It was really quite the show! It started off very traditional with Scherezade and moved on to a more interesting Les Biches, which had dancers dressed like girls from the 20’s and 30’s. Very interesting, especially when that portion ended. The main female dancer came forward and looked more emotional than the rest of the troupe (are they called dance troops? Army Troops? Dance Troupe?). This turned out to be her last performance with this company in München and she had been with them for the past 18 years. Even the woman in front of me was emotional, assuming that she attended many performances of this dancer’s in the past. I could here some sniffling around the theater and I didn’t know how to feel. Should I feel sad? Should I be surprised that she’s leaving? They showed a video of her throughout her entire dancing carrier, including some when she was just a little kid. Too cute, standing next to tiny trophies dressed in small tutus. Everyone was emotional.
During that intermission, the nice lady next to me handed a flier and started speaking some German that was incredibly fast. Most words just went over my head either with her Bavarian accent or my lack of German knowledge. On this piece of paper was several images of cats. At first I thought it had to do with an adoption agency she must be working for or trying to advertise for, but then when I tried to clarify she was just “Nein, nein.” Then I got scared. But she knew right away that I was not native at all. She just looked at me and said (in German), “Were are you from?” Whew. She knew that I was just struggling so hard. Then I told her that it’s hard to learn German, and she just laughed. “That’s the same with me and English.” We had a great laugh that was more uncomfortable because of the very apparent language barrier we had, but it was an interesting cultural experience anyway. She then explained in easier vocabulary what on earth this flier was all about. Turns out it’s just advertisement for a café on the other side of town that allows cats to roam free throughout the place. A Cat Café. I tried to tell her that cats are my favorite animal, but I don’t think she really cared because the final show started.
This third piece was very modern. There were a lot of weird things happening that reminded me of Black Swan with Natalie Portman. And I might even say that the ballet Natalie was doing in that movie was actually Once Upon an Ever After. There were two characters dressed like swans, one in white and one in black. Terrifying really. But at one point in the bllet, the women took off their tutus and placed it on their heads. Nothing like a good hat tutu to keep the show going, or? Very interesting.
After enduring the two fifteen minute intermissions not talking to anyone but the voice inside my head, I was able to leave fully entertained. Each show was special in its own way and it was very interesting to watch and pick apart. Good job, München. Way to go
Now I’m off to have a few adventures with Annika in Hannover. 😀