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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Day 12 - Part 1

We woke up early in the morning to pack to continue our trip to Munich. The weather was really foggy this morning. Sieglinder prepared breakfast at eight, with white sausage and semmel bread. She explained that people can come to Niederthai to learn how to ski, usually around January, when there is enough snow. She also introduced us to her cat, Mitz (Finally we found out her name).

After breakfast she showed us around to the apartment that she rented out to people. The units are spacious and are filled with enough amenities (fridge, dishwasher, cooking utensils). The big apartment unit has balcony that faces the south. She explained that people who rented the apartment tend to cook for their own, and not to rely on breakfast served by her. We then said goodbye to her and Bernhard (who was still working in the barn).

The weather is getting slightly better after breakfast, and we could see holes in the clouds where blue sky peeped through. Indi took one last picture of the Niederthai church, meadows, and the slopes that are used for skiing in winter. Indi wanted to show Mas Reza that Niederthai is a nice place to learn ski for beginners.

Although the fog in Niederthai valley has lifted up, the road down to Umhausen are filled out with really thick fog. I think the visibility is only around three meters. The fog created a nice silhouette of autumn trees, mostly already without leaves. The fog became only a bit thinner in Umhausen area.

After the A12 expressway, we exited at Telfs and took the country road, since there is no Expressway that crosses the German boundary from Insbruck / Umhausen. Driving up from Telfs via Mösern to Seefeld was slow because it was really foggy and a few trucks were also passing by this narrow two-lane country road. We spent 20 minutes driving in 15-20 km/h speed because five cars were lining up in front of us and were unable to take over the truck in front.

The problem with driving in country road through small towns is that we are not sure if we are heading towards the right direction. Road signs are not really consistently put along the intersection. Sometimes the road sign says Munchen, but sometimes it is only Seefeld or Scharnitz. I suggested Mas Indi to just follow a car with a German plate (which was unlikely to be a car that roams around countryside, but intended to cross over to Germany as well). However, he does not believe my advice and suggested me to ask the person in the petrol station. I used this opportunity to buy chocolate (white Milka and Toblerone). Confirmed by the attendant at petrol station, my hunch on the direction turned out to be right, and we continued to drive northward.

At Scharnitz, which is the last town before the border, we filled out our petrol tank. As advised by Kathy, petrol price in Austria cheaper compared to Germany (where they put high tax on petrol). Interestingly, 400m later, just after the German boundary, there is another petrol station with German price (I wonder what business sense they use, since people will certainly buy petrol from the Austrian side). In the petrol station, local farmers also sell their products, such as pumpkin, for a quite cheap price.

Crossing to Germany was seamless; it really did not feel like going to another country. The border to Germany is just marked by a blue road sign; however, we saw a remnant of the old days, like old small checkpoint beside the road and the train station. The weather in this bordertown is clear and warm, and we could see the foot of Alpine range (although without snowy peak).

Entering Germany, we noticed that there are a lot of small huts in the meadows. We also saw a lot of military vehicle and soldiers walking around this area. Then we enter the town of Garmisch. We are with the impression that German town are essentially bigger than Austrian towns.

There is no speed limit for driving in German expressway. Our little 1200cc car managed to reach 160kph on flat expressway (and the pedal could not be pushed further with the fifth gear), while other Audis or BMWs were effortlessly crossing beside us with 200-220kph speed.

Just before entering the A95 expressway, I called Kathy to notify that we are on the way. Kathy immediately informed us the whole set of direction to reach their house, but I couldn't remember it. We arrived right outside Munchen around 11.00, and I tried to call Kathy again to reconfirm the direiction. But she was unreachable, her cellphone ran out of battery and nobody picked up their house phone. Hence, we were driven to a seemingly wrong direction and ended up in Dachauerstrasse. Desperate and hungry, we decided to look for city map, and stopped right beside a gloomy neighbourhood in Dachauerstrasse, right in front of the Volkshochschule.

We got off the car and walked around the neighbourhood a bit, trying to find a corner shop or a petrol station for the city map. However, when we head back towards our car, a parking controller lady was getting ready to write us a parking ticket. We tried to explain to her that we were only there for five minutes. Luckily, the lady was kind enough to cancel the parking ticket, and explained to us that we should put the time marker at our dashboard. She was also kind enough to show us where we can buy map.

We managed to buy the city map in the corner shop for EUR6.50, a bit expensive, but it was really a good and detailed map. Then we took 15 minutes to figure out where we were, and plan our routes to Kathy's accordingly. The route turned out to be pretty straightforward. In only 20 minutes we arrived at her place.

Their apartment, located in Graefelfingerstrasse, is in the uppermost floor with quite a nice view. It's spacious enough for two persons. Stefan made a copper plate manually embossed with their names to be put at the front door (Koch + Nicolait). After putting our luggage, Kathy and we decided to drive to downtown where we could stroll around the old town while she would meet her mom and settle some other business in town. We were introduced to her loyal VW Beetle "Rodriguez" which was built in 1982 but have been with Kathy for the past seven years.

We strolled around Marienplatz where we met Kathy's mum. They took us to Vinzenzmurr Metzgerei where we had Leberkäse mit Brot (some Bavarian Meatloaf), Currywurst and Green Salad with Yoghurt Dressing. Vinzenzmurr's Weisswurst (white sausage from veal) won an award just recently.

We said goodbye to Kathy and continued our stroll. Marienplatz is the townsquare of Munich, and it is also where the Neues Rathaus is located. This City Hall building is famous for its Glockenspiel clock and its dancing figurines. Too bad we did not arrive on time for the glockenspiel show. We then passed by the Toy Museum in the Old Town Hall Tower. We took a peep inside the museum but did not enter (not enough time). We continued to Viktualienmarkt (an old market in the centre of Munich). This market has various small stalls that specialized in certain type of food. There are a lot of Metzgerei. Many shops specialized in cheese, wine, dried spices, condiments, antipasti, juice, or even honey. The honey stall also sells variety of beeswax candles and Honig Wein - wine made from honey or also known as mead. We also entered a stall that specialized in meat of wild animals / game. There we could find deer meat, wild goose, boar, rabbits, wild hen, or even crocodile. Some meat has already been processed into canned product such as Wildragout.

This shop's specialty is all kinds of Goat Cheese.

This stall sells all kinds of wine and cheese.

This guy sells all kinds of marinated olives, antipasti, and preserved vegetables.


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