Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I was having an LBM hours before I took the City Night Line (those trains in Europe that could serve as hotels, budget-wise). Friday and toilet is like East and West. My “flight” was at 8:41pm and at 7pm, my Aussie colleague was still bugging me with user exits. A few minutes later, I had to bid “babay” to officemate Bill, who was online that time. I jokingly call him Watusi Bill (but he said he prefers “Fountain Bill”). I typed in, “Sige, Bill, uuwi na ako. Dadaan pa ako sa apartment at _____ pa ako”. He replied with something like “Sige, maghugas ka ng kamay pagkatapos”.
And I did. Of course. Excuse this blog but I have to share a sermon that I heard when I was in college, when I was still renting a place in Camalig St. in Palanan, Makati. The priest shared a story about a saint who was always visited by the devil in the toilet. One time, the saint was making poo-poo and the devil suddenly showed up. The saint, a lady by the way, said, “anything that comes out from me right now is for you!”. I don’t know how they document stuffs like that. That deserves a space in the FHM section about careers that suck.
But LBM could mean “Lover Boy Manny”. Hehehe. Or “Lapu-lapu Belly Meal”. Or more appropriately, “Layo Ba Munich?”. I booked for this thing called “sleeperette” which is, don’t be confused, a reclining seat. And I had to endure close to 11 hours of not so comfortable sleep. Anyway, one of the things that I learned from taking trains here is just to rely everything to the arrival time on my ticket. Train stops are sometimes irrelevant to gauge how far am I from the destination.
One hour before my arrival at Munchen (“Munich” in German), I had another uncalled sidetrip to the toilet. That was my first time to be really pleased with Euro trains (especially their CR’s). No more details, I promise. What I can share instead is how I managed to freshen up and be ready for the threat of that day’s grueling itinerary.
Saturday, 7:30am. Tita Beth, her daughter Hiyas and I were already having a nice coffee and muffin at Coffee Fellows in the station. I felt sorry for Hiyas since she had to wake up early in the morning but she looked pretty though.Before I knew it, we’re already heading to the west for Neuschwanstein Castle. Tita Beth, who was driving for us, and I talked non-stop, in a true Quezonian manner and gusto. Hiyas visited dreamland for the whole road trip. That trip, let me remind you, was a joyride with LBM. Again, kudos to all the European public toilets. They all rock!
Before lunchtime, we were already waiting for the horse carriage that will bring us to the castle (which is located a few meters uphill). Parking fee is €4. Castle entrance is €8.50 plus the energy you need to invest for the long queue. Carriage ride, one-way, €5. It was raining. And the castle accepted us like a gentle giant with open arms at 11:40am. I am not good at describing architectural pieces but let me quote what the youngster behind me had outwitted in an attempt to impress his grandma. He said, “Ludwig II was his time’s Bill Gate”.
True enough. Though only 1/3 of the “Disney” castle was shown (logically since only 1/3 was finished), the guided tour was “sulit”. Short and unforgettable. The tour guide’s attempt for a perfect English, on which he just laughed it off in front of all the visitors, was laudable for a blog. After the tour, as prompted by Tita Beth, Hiyas and I went to the bridge outside the castle. Quite a walk but it’s worth it. Mary’s Bridge is cradled by two big mountains in the area. Good pics of the castle could be shot from there. For me, it’s just another struggle for acrophobia.
Then late lunch came after. I had a beef stew in horseraddish sauce with boiled potatoes and a bottle of shandy. Yummy! The thing with a German shandy (well, that’s the only German shandy I had) is that it’s more “beer” than “soda”. Our Cali is the other way around. Tired and wet, we decided to head back to Munich after a few more minutes. In the Dachau neighborhood (from which a concentration camp is just less than a kilometer away), right before we went home straight, Tita Beth brought us to a lake called Karlsfeldsee. “See”, in German, is “lake”. We stopped by for five minutes, Tita Beth and I had a stroll while Hiyas stayed in the car, reading “Hector’s Travels”. The rest of the late afternoon was spent in a quiet German home, experiencing a genuine Pinoy hospitality and warmth.
Sunday, 9am. Tita Beth, Hiyas and I were on the road again to Munchen. We were looking for a chapel called St. Georg where most of the famous Bavarian artists and brewers’ remains were laid. It’s not in the travel books, just my whim. It was in my itinerary because of my longing to see the tomb of the German filmmaker named Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Strange to note but I haven’t seen any of his films. What I know about the man is that Lino Brocka is always considered as “Fassbinder of the Philippines”. They both heralded anti-theater and put life’s cruel reality on screen, as if you’re just walking along the street, inhaling poverty and suppression inside the cinema.
The church/graveyard wasn’t easy to find. Stressful and time-consuming. That left me with only an hour and a half to explore Deutches Musuem (considered the biggest science and technology museum in Europe if not in the world). From what I have seen so far, I can say that it’s the best of its kind. The galleon ship right near the entrance is overwhelming. Behind it was loads and loads of airplanes, suspended from the wall. My favorite section though was the room filled with cabinet-sized, old computers. A runner up was a musical instrument used by Alfed Hitchcock to record the “animal sound” for “The Birds” which is called “tautonium”. I also liked the section which houses the recreation of Galileo’s lab. Most of the pieces there are interactive, giving me a feeling that I was in a science highschool classroom again and again.
Let me end my entry there. To blog about my trip back is like taking a spoonful of bitter cough syrup.