Monday, September 14, 2009

Munchin' in München

Yesterday was probably the most complete day of this trip, or at least in a tie for first-place with my last day in China, when I went to Karakul Lake and back, and spent the rest of the day chatting and eating kebabs in Kashgar until 2 am. Like that day in Kashgar, it was actually a fair bit better than I planned it.

First, I had a cup of bitter coffee in complete silence. Then I ran a 10k tempo from central Vienna out to the Schonbrunn summer palace, which has massive gardens whose rolling hills are perfect (and very popular for running). Europe is very cold after a year in Korea, and I barely had any sweat to show for it.

After that, I rode the Railjet from Vienna to Munich. The Railjet is well-named, a high-speed train that whizzes through picturesque countryside at 200 km/h. That's expected after paying 78 euros for a one-way ticket (it's a 4-hour ride), but the leg room and comfort was very nice. Alternating napping and reading a book by Tim Harford (The Logic of Life) made it nicer than nice.

In Munich, the hostel (Euro Youth Hostel) where I'm staying is less than two blocks from the main train station, and you can walk to the Glyptothek museum of Greek and Roman sculptures. Admission into the stately building constructed in 1830 is only a euro, and a guidebook explaining each sculpture, better than a clumsy audio device, is another euro. I spent about two hours with the book and the sculptures, writing down Greek inscriptions and scurrying out only when the museum closed.

The next part doesn't really count as something I should put in the experiences-while-traveling column, but it should because of the people I met. I went to the Marriott to watch football at their sports bar, which has the same name as the leathery, luxurious place that used to exist at Bay and Dundas in Toronto, until it closed, presumably from giving away too much popcorn. I sat next to two pilots who flew corporate jets, having just flown from Las Vegas by way of Vancouver and Iceland. We discussed the not-so-fine points of flying an airplane while watching Adrian Peterson run all over the Browns.

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