Thursday, August 30, 2007


Actually, I should refer to this convivial and serene city as München—everyone else in Europe does. And we did do some serious münchin’, and gobbling and gnoshing. We started at the Viktualienmarkt… slamming down some snausages with a healthy dose of sweet mustard… and I don’t even like mustard. And we couldn’t pass up on the pretzels which were so big that we probably could’ve untied them to use as jump ropes. It was serendipitous that we stuffed our faces before we went to purchase suits for the nuptials a few days away. Why? Because I would learn that you don’t stop eating or drinking at German weddings and you got to leave a few inches in the beltline to accommodate.

That night, Michael Brinkmann and his fiancé, Daniela, opened up their apartment to these weary travelers. Even though their wedding was only a few days away, they hosted us for a dinner party, replete with cheese-stuffed vegetables appetizers and a succulent steak dish main course. We wanted to dress to the nines… e.g., Ricardo wore brand new shoes, which took two quarter sized chunks out of his heels, and I wore my best Bavarian tuxedo for the occasion—lederhosen. Prost! Yes, lots and lots of prosts… with decadent red wines and Brinkmann’s (and my new) favorite beer, Schneider Weiss. We laughed late into the wee hours of the morning. [Dear 1 am, although you might happen to be the smallest hour of the 24 hour day, you and I always seem to get along great. We should become better friends. Yours truly, Kevin] Thank you Brinkmanns! This night topped out the “sore belly” scale from all the belly laughter.

The next couple of days, we explored Germany in our souped up rental car. In a stackranking of the top recent technological advances, GPS devices have to rank somewhere in between the Internet and the Nintendo Wii. However, I would caution not to blindly accept the default settings of these devices. Case and point, we programmed in the destination and off we went… we were zooming down the highway when the stern voice of the GPS woman bellowed to make a right turn. Ok, who were we to argue? We went about 300 meters down a rural road before we ended up at a highway—kind of like the one we just exited. We merged back on… until a little while later: MAKE A LEFT IN 300 METERS. Now, we were on another small side road… which turned into a gravel road… then a dirt road… then, it was as if we were driving down someone’s driveway…. which did eventually merge back with the highway. Hmmm.

The problem… the GPS setting was on “shortest” route. oh, and of course we learned during our future adventures that the car always returns to the default settings each time we shut off the engine. The “as the crow flies” setting is for the birds. Now if they would instead offer a “maximize the amount of time on the autobahn” setting… well that would be cool!

Random thought… if I were to ever go into carjacking, I think perhaps the best way would be to hack into a GPS device. Tourists will blindly follow the mechanized directions anywhere. So instead of leading them to the Rose Bowl, for instance, they could be guided into a warehouse in Compton. Let them come to you. (I think it might be time to include a liability waiver on this blog before I start getting nailed for aiding and abetting.)

“You have arrived at your destination” austerely announced the GPS lady. The destination was a sublime castle on the border of the Alps which was commissioned by King Ludwig II back in the 1870’s. Even though the castle was never finished, the king met an untimely demise and the project was immediately halted, Neuschwanstein is still regarded as one of the most charming palaces in the world. Factoid of the day, Neuschwanstein was the inspiration and model for castle in Sleeping Beauty.

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