Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday morning I got up, had another coffee and a chocolate croissant, and headed back to the airport to return to Munich. I checked into my hotel which was by the Hauptbahnhof this time, just off of Bayerstrasse (Goethestrasse 11.) The Hotel Dolomit was a very convenient location in a neighborhood I had stayed in before. (http://www.hotel-dolomit.de/)
The room was small, but I was not to be there for long. The bathroom was incredibly orange.
My first mission was to do what I had forgotten to accomplish before I left Munich for Paris two days ago—buy this year’s Oktoberfest mug, bringing my total collection to three.
After a couple of focus groups that evening, I finished the night at the Augustiner Keller near Marienplatz, having one more Oktoberfest Mass before retiring for the evening and returning to Atlanta the next day.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Jonathan woke up extremely early to take the train back to Stuttgart to catch a plane back to Atlanta. I went down to meet others for breakfast at 6:30 am, then retreated back upstairs to catch a few more hours of sleep before flying to Paris.
Where we had warm, sunny weather the whole time we had been in Munich, Tuesday was rainy and cold. A great day to pack up and leave!
I got to Paris and headed into town. I stayed at a very nice hotel, the Radisson SAS Champs-Elysées, on Avenue Marceau. I could see the Arc de Triomphe from my window.
I was cold and wet from walking from the station and trying to find the hotel, so a hot shower was in order. That evening, I strolled the Marais, and checked in on some of my favorite Paris bars before returning to the hotel.
Wednesday, September 26
After waking up and having un grand croissant chocolat et café, I decided that I would tour Paris’ famous cemetery, Père-Lachaise. I had read much about this final resting place of so many famous people, and had determined after seeing Julie Delpy’s film Two Days in Paris that I would visit it.
I took the number 3 line to Gambetta station, which is enters the cemetery near the rear, the highest point in the 118 acre cemetery, not far from the tomb of Oscar Wilde. From there, I made my way to the grave of Edith Piaf, along the way, passing many tombs of those killed in the Holocaust, as well as those killed during the end of the Paris Commune. After Edith Piaf, I found the tom of Marcel Proust, then Honoré de Balzac. Then I found the grave of The Doors’ singer Jim Morrison. Here are pictures of their final resting places:
Honoré de Balzac:
Earlier, I had seen the beginnings of a gathering near a funeral tent. I noticed a few TV cameras, but there was not a sizeable crowd gathered. Returning towards that area, more people had crowded around the tent. I asked a guard whose funeral it was, and she replied, “Marcel Marceau.”
The funeral was just about to begin, so I stayed to listen. The former head Rabbi of France, René-Samuel Sirat led the ceremony. By this point, it was raining, and a cold wind was blowing. I could understand some of the French and very little of the Hebrew. After the Rabbi spoke, there were some prayers, and then music, which I discovered later was the cellist Roland Pidoux playing Bach’s Sarabande. Then, the coffin was lifted, taken right by where I was standing, to be interred. I couldn’t believe I had stumbled unto the funeral of Marcel Marceau.
Before leaving, I found the tomb of Molière, then returned to the hotel, grabbed a sandwich, and checked some emails. After dark, I once again headed out to the Marais and Les Halles, grabbing some street food along the way. Before going back to the hotel, I walked past Hotel de Ville towards the Seine, to a point where I could see Notre Dame and Hotel De Ville and enjoy the beauty of the lights and the river… one of my favorite places in the world.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
We started the day in Stuttgart with breakfast at the hotel—one of the things I really liked about this particular hotel. Breakfast is served in a sun room, with a nice selection of hams, cheeses, fruits, and breads.
We checked out of the hotel, saying goodbye to Phillip our desk clerk, and headed to the train station to catch the 10:54 train to Munich. From the Munich Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), we took the U-1 Wettersteinplatz, where we checked into the Hotel Wetterstein on Grűnwalder Strasse 16. There, we had a note waiting for us from our friends who had arrived earlier, instructing us to meet them at the Paulaner Keller, where we would begin the festival honoring Munich’s beers (or otherwise, honoring the anniversary of the wedding of King Ludwig to Therese.) After a couple of beers and some sausages at Paulaner Keller beer garden, we headed to our traditional first beer stop, Augustiner Keller beer garden.
Paulaner Keller Biergarten
We rode lots of rides including one we’ve dubbed “the shoeripper,” as well as the Tobaggan, which zips people up on a conveyor belt before they slide back down. I also rode one that looked harmless enough, called the Hupferl. It spun around and throbbed and had no seat belts, sending me hurling into the middle of it. Jonathan thought I would come up bleeding. In general, the rides seem much more thrilling than US rides do, twirling in spinning in ways that would probably be illegal in the US.
Sunday, September 23
The next morning, I slept in, then Jonathan and I headed to Marienplatz to do some shopping before meeting the others back at the hotel. We had 6:15 pm tent reservations at Hacker-Pshorr, so we left again for the Theresienwiese to do some more rides before entering the tent. This time, Jonathan, Mark, Lisa, Geoff and I rode the huge Ferris Wheel, giving a great view of the fairgrounds and the city.
The view from the Ferris Wheel
Inside the Hacker Tent:
After leaving, we once again ended up at the great pizza place, but luckily did not stay as long this time. However, we did end up hanging out in the lobby bar of the hotel for a bit upon our return, where we met a group of Danes as well as some Swiss who, coincidentally, had been just tables away from us at the Hacker-Pshorr tent.
Monday, September 24
I got up much earlier on Monday, headed down to breakfast with the gang, and then we left for a day of bike riding. We rented bikes from a place just behind the Haufbrau House downtown, and spent the day biking along the Isar, the river running through Munich.
One of the amazing sights—people actually surfing on the rapids.
We had a nice ride, that started out relaxing, but by the end was pretty exhausting. Along the way, we stopped at a couple of beer gardens, one along a nice lake. The other was the Hofbräuhaus Keller.
After once again trying on Lederhosen (for future reference, I need EU size 50), we headed to see what tent beer gardens we could all be seated at. After many trials, we settled upon the Ochsenbraterei tent, which serves Spatenbräu, and specializes in roasted oxen (the meaning of its name). It was quite tasty.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Only Munich breweries serve beer in the Oktoberfest tents, and the beer is served in glass liter mugs with the name of the brewery written on each. (One asks for "ein mass".)
Friday, September 21, 2007
Jonathan and I arrived in Stuttgart this morning at 8:30 am, and took the train from the airport to the main train station in Stuttgart. Since I really didn’t know where I’d be flying, I didn’t have reservations. But having stayed in Stuttgart two years ago, I knew of a nice, small, and fairly inexpensive hotel called City Hotel that was away from the station, in a bit of a more residential area. I have no idea how I stumbled upon it last time, but after some searching I found it again. (For future reference, it is located near Charlottenstrasse, on Uhlandstrasse. [http://www.cityhotel-stuttgart.de/]
Courtyard to the Castle Württemberg (right)
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Later that day, the whole family (Mom, Dad, Angela, Catherine, Rhonda, Johnny, Melanie, Eunice, Robert Lee, Betty Jane, and me) took a tour of the city via horse drawn carriage.
Some of us walked to the market, where we met the carriage, and others took the rickshaw.
We had lunch at Hyman's Seafood, one of my favorite places to eat in Charleston. Afterwards, mom, Robert Lee and I had frozen drinks ( Robert Lee and I had a "call-a-cab" and mom had a "chocolate thunder."
After returning to the Francis Marion to clean up, we headed to Middleton Plantation for the wedding. The ceremony took place under this magnificent oak:
Other scenes from the Middleton Plantation: