Kickball, bachelor parties, and beer
04/13/2014 - 04/14/2014 55 °F
The Sunday that I arrived in Munich turned out to be a fortuitous string of great luck and happenstance that seems to only truly happen while you are traveling. Days like this make me marvel at how small the world really is sometimes.
I arrived into Munich at 7:30 am after taking an overnight bus from Koln. Though I did sleep a good amount, I knew the day would be a rough one to power thru, but I was determined to. I made my way to my hostel, a short walk from Haupbahnhof, and went to check in. Check in wasn’t available until 2, which was fine, so I bought a ticket for the hostel’s all-you-can-eat-breakfasts - that plus wireless internet was pretty much all I needed at that point .
As is natural in a hostel, I met a few different people during breakfast, many of whom would play a role in the rest of my day. Ian, a cheerful English guy about my age, was the first person to sit at my table. This was impressive as I learned that he was here as part of a bachelor party. I met a few other members as they filed down for breakfast. In all I met Ian, Ian, John, John, David and Graham, the groom-to-be. I love this idea for a bachelor party - being able to quickly zip over to some other country and spend one last wild week with your closest buds. It sounds like they had been enjoying the beer halls already and we became fast friends. I didn’t feel like starting my drinking at 10 am, so I wished them luck and hoped we would meet up later.
By the time I found out that the 10:45 free walking tour I was planning on was only Monday - Saturday, it was almost 10:30. Knowing I was going to be meeting a CouchSurfing group in the park at 1:30, I set out to just wander and explore Munich with Jeff, a Long Islander working in Sevilla who I met at breakfast. We wandered around the main squares and quickly came to the English Gardens - the biggest city park I believe I’ve been to. Jeff and I took about 25 minutes to walk to the Chinese Tower, a large beer garden in the park, and when I checked the GPS, I was amazed to learn that we weren’t even a quarter of the way thru the park. On the way, one of the coolest sites we saw were the surfers. That’s right, you heard me - surfers in a park in Munich. They are apparently out here every day, rain or shine, surfing this standing wave.
Goodness the water has got to be cold! I felt it further down the river and it most definitely was. Jeff stuck with me to the beer garden, we had a beer together, and then he headed to his bus.
While I was waiting around for the CS group, what do I see walk by but a Sagacious Consultants T-shirt. Small world! What are the chances? I start talking to the pair and find that there’s a group of them on their yearly international excursion! I had met up with Trevor Fink in Amsterdam and knew some group of them were over here, but I didn’t realize they would be overlapping me in Munich! I met the group of them, including their CEO, and exchanged travel stories until 1:30, when the CS group formed up to go play kickball!
I love these CS events. For a traveler on a more casual schedule, they are great ways to break up the tourist routine of sightseeing, museums, etc. When I had initially seen it and signed up for it, it hadn’t occurred to me that most Europeans don’t have the slightest idea how kickball is played, especially since most of them have never watched baseball either. Steve, the organizer of this and a fellow Western NY’er from Buffalo, was very enthusiastic about meeting me and excited for another American who knew how to play and could help teach. This was the first game of their 2nd “season” of weekly kickball meetups, so a handful of returners knew how it was played, but the majority of the group hadn’t a clue. This continued to delight me as, during the game, groups of people gathered along the foul lines watching this “foreign spectacle”. The game went on for more than 3 hours before we decided it was time for beer, and back to the Chinese Tower it was.
They all got the hang of it pretty quick, and it was some great fun. I got recruited to the "team" and heard disappointment when I told them I'd be gone in a few days. They, especially Steve from Buffalo, did a real good job of convincing me that I should just stay in Munich. Not just for the rest of my trip, but beyond that. It's tough not to see the logic in it, but I'll leave that for another post.
As I was enjoying beers with this great new group of friends (2 of them ended up hosting me for a few nights later on), who comes to sit down at the table RIGHT NEXT TO US, but the bachelor party from the hostel! Struggling to believe the coincidence, I finish my beers with the CS folks and exchange info, get a beer with the bachelor party, and decide to join their crew for a night of beer halls and debauchery.
That's me, then Ian, then one of the Johns (there were 4!)
Me and Graham - the stag
I will spare you all the details but, after arriving into Munich at 7:30 am, my day finally ended around 3 am, when I finally checked in and got my sheets - haha! It turned out to be one of the more expensive nights that I’ve had after a delicious dinner at an Augustiner beer hall, complete with many beers and shots of pear Schnapps (apparently also a Munich thing?). A kareoke bar, another beer hall, where we got Graham up on the table in his leiderhosen (sp?). All in all - great night. Hope all you English boys got back safely!
Some other pictures from the English Gardens: