Tag Archives: first world problems

Bavaria Day!

The very best day of my trip to Munich was actually spent mostly outside of Munich.

On Saturday, we dressed up in authentic Bavarian dirndls. As I told Andrea, if the the five-year-old version of me had known that I would someday dress up old-fashioned to visit a fairy tale castle, she might have died first of overexcitement.

Andrea borrowed her dad’s car so that we could visit Neuschwanstein Castle, which you may recognize from the children’s movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The drive there was a treat. We passed through some quaint German villages that conformed quite closely to my expectations of quaint German villages. Better yet, I finally got my first glimpse of the Alps that took my breath away. I had seen them from Switzerland and France, but on those occasions, I was, frankly, a bit disappointed. They lacked the grandeur I expected from growing up on The Sound of Music. (First World Problems.)

Germany changed that. The weather was gorgeous, and the scenery was so incredibly beautiful that I could have been in a living postcard.

The hills were definitely alive with the sound of music, so needless to say, I burst into song.

We were disappointed to learn that we wouldn’t be able to tour the castle. It was sold out until the evening, and we had other plans back in the city. (Stay tuned.)

The bus ride up the mount was a challenge for someone as terrified of heights as I am. My knuckles were white as I had daymare visions of the bus rolling out of control down the mountainside, crushing down giant pines along the way. And then we stepped out onto the bridge.

See that tiny thing covered with people a jillion meters in the air?

This is what you saw if you looked down. Andrea took this picture while I was busy hyperventilating.

But this is what you saw if you looked out. I pulled myself together just long enough to take one picture.

That's the original Swan Lake in the background! This picture wasn't so difficult because I was on firm ground, rather than a bridge that groaned under the weight of a jillion tourists.

Neuschwanstein was built—commissioned, rather—by “Mad” King Ludwig II, a really interesting guy, if you ask me. If he were a broad, I’d consider naming a beer after him, so it’s unfortunate for both of us that he was born male.

Ludwig II was coronated at the age of 17 when his father died. He hated kinging, and preferred the company of Bavarian villagers. He married, of course, because kings always do, but popular opinion maintains that he was gay. He was known for having strapping young Bavarian dudes come to the castle under the pretense that their muscles would be drawn for anatomy books.

Like most royals, his life tragic. He wanted to live in a fairy tale, which would explain the fact that he commissioned multiple outrageous castles. In 1886, he was declared insane and deposed. He died the next day under mysterious circumstances—it’s unclear whether he was assassinated or committed suicide.

It’s a sad story, but the happy ending is some badass architecture.

After exploring the castle grounds, we headed back toward München, stopping along the way in Germany’s answer to a roadhouse grille: a biergarten with delightful Bavarian fare. I love Europe.

A mac n' cheesey sort of thing, curry fries, and schnitzel. Pas mal!

We hurried back to the city to catch Swan Lake at the National Opera.

Lemme just say: Natalie Portman, shut up.

I haven’t seen classical ballet since my childhood, so the dance and the music were a tremendous treat. Better yet, we didn’t know when we bought our tickets that the story had been re-choreographed to tell the story of our dear leader Mad King Ludwig II! We felt a bit odd showing up at the gorgeous National Opera House in dirndls until we realized that we were more appropriately dressed than anyone else there!

The parallels in the stories were uncanny, and the ballet was incredible. I like avant garde dance, but it’s possible that I like ballet even more, because I like things that are orderly, and ballet is the most orderly kind of art I’ve ever seen.

Alps, castles in the sky, gay kings, and ballet: that , my friends, is why I’m in love with Bavaria.


Things in my apartment that don’t work correctly

1. The front door
2. The toilet door
3. The toilet flusher
4. My doorknob
5. The door from my bedroom into the kitchen
6. The fridge, which I should note is a mini-fridge entirely insufficient for two people (First World Problems)
7. The drains
8. The hot water
9. The doorbell

And now two days in a row the electricity has randomly cut off. This is really the last straw.

Loire by bike

I’m currently on spring break, which is a mixed blessing. It should be wonderful to have two weeks of vacation with all of Europe at my fingertips. Oh but wait. I ran out of money last month, so I couldn’t book tickets anywhere, and the places I’m most excited to visit are all (a) prohibitively expensive during vacation periods and/or (b) no fun to visit alone, and my friends in France are dropping like flies (that is, leaving).

I realize that someday (with any luck, soon), I will wish I could have two weeks of vacation in France with absolutely no responsibilities. On that day, EJ, please remind yourself that vacation is no fun when you’re alone in Angry Town with an extremely limited budget. First World Problems, right?

Trying to make the best of a bittersweet situation—and battle my pastry belly, you know, two birds, one stone style—I made a resolution to avail myself of the extensive Loire by Bike path that runs from the Atlantic all the way to Germany.

Like most things in this country and life, my opinion of it vacillates rapidly from high to low.

I’ve passed through some scenery lovely enough to inspire me to become an Impressionist painter, if only I had paints and a canvas and knew how to paint.

A village dripping in wisteria, for instance,

the convergence of the Maine and Loire rivers,

and this lovely lane that made me gush like Anne of Green Gables.

As wonderful as it is of France to provide such an extensive bike path, however, I’m afraid I must look a gift horse in the mouth for a moment. What kind of bike path has stairs? Only a slick, squillion-dollar mountain bike could charge up and down them safely. I have to climb off my clunky three-speed and drag it up and down steps and sharp bumps. (If I do that section of the path again, I’ll get a picture of it.)

Even more frustrating, most of the path isn’t easily accessible to me, and in addition to the ridiculous stairs, the closest segment is, frankly, not that interesting. Technically, I’m not supposed to take my municipal-issue bike out of Angers. I think it’s fair for me to take the bike as far as I can ride it, but my dear bike is kind of a fattie. She’s just not cut out for a very long trip. I like her as a friend and all, but I get irritated because she just can’t move very fast.

But she does look pretty cute against the backdrop of the Loire, doesn't she?