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Where the dirndl are

Filed in Blog, Germany, United Kingdom by on April 30, 2014

Over my month-long Easter Break, I went backpacking in mainland Europe. Before I left to go backpacking, I was under the hopeful delusion that I would be able to successfully avoid all the typical tourist tropes: getting lost, mispronouncing every foreign language word I attempted to utter, conspicuously taking pictures of everything, being generally in the way, etc. I was wrong. This is what tourist Haley did in Munich, Germany:

  • I took pictures of really tall buildings. As many pictures of as many tall buildings as possible. Yes, Munich is a big city, so yes tall buildings are normal there, but I just couldn’t seem to suppress my girl-from-a-hometown-with-no-buildings-taller-than-six-stories urge to take pictures of every building I saw that was taller than six stories (which was all of them). Another essential part of the girl-from-a-hometown-with-no-buildings-taller-than-six-stories compulsion to take pictures of every tall building is to do your darnedest to get the entirety of the tall building into the picture so that you can remember just how tall it was. This, of course, goes against the very nature of tall buildings. Oh, the irony.
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    Tall building #1: The building that was too tall to fit into the picture

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    Tall building #2:  The building that was also too tall to fit into the picture

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    Tall building #3:  The building that I got almost all of into the picture

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    Tall building #4:  Success!

Needless to say, these tall buildings also happened to be important landmarks — except #2, which I took a picture of because it had a balcony with a tiny tree on it — but mainly, they were just tall. Anyways, more things tourist me did:

  • I marveled at amazing graffiti. While Münchners cycled nonchalantly past these stunningly beautiful and unique pieces of art, tourist me stood and stared and took pictures and stared more and took more pictures and almost got hit by bikes.
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    Cyclist and graffiti

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    Cyclist-less graffiti

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    Another cyclist and more graffiti

  • I window shopped for dirndl. (Who wouldn’t?)

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    My new wardrobe

  • I saw an extraordinarily long reflecting pool. The tiny speck at the other end of it is Nymphenberg Palace. It seems as if Bavarian royalty felt the length of their reflecting pool was an apt way to convey their power and authority. They had me convinced.

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    The never ending reflecting pool

  • I sat in a park (Munich’s English Garden, which is essentially their version of Central Park. Or maybe Central Park is New York City’s version of the English Garden…). This was probably my least touristy moment, because sitting is a pretty universal thing.

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    Going incognito at English Garden

  • I spent time in a room full of pianos. This was at the Deutsches Museum, Munich’s incredible science and technology museum. I was happy to stumble across this room with live organ music, which, according to the sign, was furnished by a piano kleptomaniac.

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    Pianos and pianos and pianos (and an organ)

  • I sat in another park, because it went so well the first time. This one was the Olympic Park, so as I sat and did NOT look like a tourist, I imagined talented athletes running around and being active. I think I could be an Olympian if sitting in parks was an event.

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    Olympic Park

  • I went to Dachau Memorial, at the site of the former concentration camp. This was, needless to say, a somber tourist activity, but I’m very glad I did it.

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    Dachau Concentration Camp memorial site

  • I sat more! This time in the famous Viktualen Market, which houses a beer garden and food stalls. Here, I hid my true tourist nature under cover of darkness.

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    Munich’s famous Viktualen Market at night

  • Then I went back into full tourist mode and went to see the Oktoberfest grounds, which looked like this. Well actually, I didn’t purposefully go to see them; I stumbled across them when I was lost, which, if you didn’t know, is the No. 1 touristic activity of all time. At any rate, the Oktoberfest grounds were not looking particularly  Oktoberfest-y, but in the off-season they make a great site for rollerblading, sunbathing and emergency airplane landings!

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    Oktoberfest 2014!

I did some other things in Munich too, but I can’t mention them here because I don’t want to sound like too much of a tourist. Up next: the Bavarian Alps!

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