RRRR: brau's before frau's

We embraced goodbyes at the Keflavik airport. ​We hadn't known each other for long, but I felt a certain sadness as our Iceland chapter closed. ​ We ​shut down the bars in Reykjavik that morning and met again ​at KEF​ about three hours later. Marco ​then ​returned to Stuttgart​,​ and William continued on his path home to Sweden for the holidays. I flew to Munich, as I previously mentioned, with a plan to finally get some sleep under the full December moon.

I was super excited to have a stranger connection waiting for me in Germany. A college friend of a guy at my office; a guy I hardly knew when he overheard me talking about the trip one day and subsequently ​offered me his friend's couch. ​Of course I would love a local's couch when I got to Germany (and a lodging discount!), so I was certain to follow through with his offer.

The German gent Joseph met me at an Italian restaurant near the Munich Central Station, where I had effectively built a nest over hours of food, coffee, wine and journaling. We made our way back to his flat, which was conveniently located about four blocks from Augustiner Bräu. I highly recommend this​ ​landmark of a​ beer hall to anyone passing through Munich. My only regret is that I don't live in a barrel there.

After dropping off my luggage and chatting over some mossy Icelandic tea, Joseph took me to the city center, where a Christkindlmarkt was in full swing. While taking in the gorgeous buildings, ​I had my first cup of Glühwein,​ and met a few of Joseph's friends. We walked to one of their flats and chatted for a couple hours about the usual stuff ​ ​- work, travels, surfing, infected cysts -​​ before Joseph apologetically reached the end of his rope. He had been feeling ill all day and needed to head home to rest. I assured him that I didn't mind,​ ​seeing as how I ​was overdue for a good night of ​sleep after all that​ ​crazy Iceland action.

And so ​​I cozied up in a sweatshirt and leggings and brewed one more cup of the mossy Icelandic tea, while Joseph checked out. I was a mere ten minutes from drifting away into a deep, full night of sleep, when there was a knock at the door. Joseph emerged from his room to open​ ​it ​ for his flatmate, who was unintentionally locked out.
No more than a few sentences into meeting Jürgen, I knew that my sleep was going to be compromised. We wound up opening a couple​ ​bottles of​ Augustiner Helles, and took our conversation into the wee hours. I finally fell asleep at 7 AM, after Jürgen and I watched the Rodriguez documentary, Searching for Sugar Man.

I spent the rest of the week and some change about Germany (except for a weekend dip over to Salzburg​, which I'll write about separately​). The ​woodsy ​hike to Andechs monastery was peaceful; and rewarding was the ​fresh ​Kloster Andechs beer and lively times with drunken locals inside the brew hall. The Theresienwiese (where they hold Oktoberfest) Christmas market was a short walk from the flat and also promising of​ warm booze,​ ​saucy sausages, ​friendly folks​, and ​a visual feast​ upon every visit. ​

Breakfast consisting of sausage, pretzels, mustard and beer is tough to beat. But my favorite slice of Munich was the Eisbach River, where a man-made wave creates an opportunity for surf. Any season, all night and day. I had no idea that there was surfing in the middle of Munich, but I was beyond thrilled and mesmerized watching surfers take their endless turns at the river wave (vid below). ​

​Christmas Eve was spent on a train west to Heidelberg, where the gorgeous cobblestone town was alarmingly alive. Local brews and schawarma were Xmas Eve dinner, followed by a late-night church service at which I attempted to sing along to some of the German hymns, and failed. I'm more of a romance language kinda gal.

I was nearly done with Germany on the train ride to Brussels after Christmas.
But then not according to plan, I found myself back across the border for two more days, for a mini-adventure in Cologne.

how 'bout some more photos!

at Augustiner Bräu

Munich city center, Marienplatz Christkindlmarkt

Theresienwiese Christkindlmarkt - right after I took this photo, the woman on the right sauntered up to me on her stilts, until her dress was touching my face


Heidelberg, Christmas Day

on a hike up the hill overlooking Heidelberg

Cologne Cathedral at sunset

Arriving to Andechs after the long hike, ready for beer and Christ.

random Munchen'ing

vid I took of the Munich river surfers

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