Sunday, January 14, 2018

Christmas in Germany: Day 6...Bamberg...

For the most part, Ken and I have had fairly decent luck with traveling.  Sure, the first time we went to Europe we had small flight issues and then there was the time in 2016 that we missed a connection, but we have always considered ourselves pretty lucky with things when we were actually in Europe.  I guess all good things must come to an end, right?  Enter Bamberg, Germany.

We woke up on Monday, had breakfast, I ran, and we made our way to the train station.  Upon arrival we realized that our train was delayed by 40 minutes.  We had never experienced such a thing before so we took it in stride.  We figured we were originally going to get to Bamberg at 11:40 and now it would be 12:30, no worries.  Ha, ha, boy we were wrong.

Ken had grabbed a sandwich for lunch and when we realized the delay, he suggested I grab something.  Thank goodness he did.  I grabbed a chocolate croissant that was so delicious, by the way, and I preceded to get it all over my face while eating it.  It was that good.

Our train was delayed more than 40 minutes and quite honestly, I lost track.  We boarded and were on our way.  Since neither of us really speak German, we try to observe and stay on high alert to hear any announcements in English.  There was an announcement that was happening in German and we kept hearing Bamberg and we kept giving each other the thumbs up, knowing we headed to Bamberg.

After the train stopped in Nuernberg, we heard a German announcement and Bamberg was stated.  Since our tickets said we had a direct train to Bamberg, we assumed that Bamberg was the next stop.  Ha, we assumed.

Once the conductor came by, he kindly informed us that this train was not going to Bamberg.  I smiled and politely told him that our tickets indeed stated that we were on the correct train and that it was direct to Bamberg.  He frowned and told me that with the delays that the trains were messed up and the train was no longer going to Bamberg.  It was in that moment that Ken and I realized that the announcement was telling us to get off in Nuernberg and go to Bamberg via Nuernberg.

This was the first time we have ever had an issue with trains and announcements not being in English.  The conductor told us to just get off at the next stop and take the train to Nuernberg and then to Bamberg.  Simple enough, right?  Well, he failed to mention that the next stop was over an hour away.

Clearly, this was news to us since we were thinking it would be like 15 minutes.  Once we finally arrived, we got off, regrouped and boarded the train like a boss.

Fulda, Germany, an unexpected stop on the way to Bamberg.  

Once on the train, we went straight to the bar cart.  I mean if anyone knows how to make lemonade out of lemons it is the Jackson's.  Plus, what else solves the blues besides a cocktail?

In the middle of nowhere in Germany

We finally arrived to Nuernberg and the trains were a disaster.  Apparently, there were several delays there.  We boarded a train that was on a track that should have been to Bamberg, but alas, it was not.  We only figured this out after looking on GPS and seeing we were heading in the opposite direction.  Yeah, bad travel day.

Obviously, we got off at the first stop possible to head back to Nuernberg.

Us in Schwabach, Germany, which is some place I never thought I would be.

At one point Ken mentioned just going back to Munich.  We being so stubborn, I insisted we continue on to Bamberg.  It was in this moment we dubbed it to be the unicorn city.  Did it really exist?  

We continued on and were finally on the train to Bamberg.  Sadly, the sun was setting so my hopes of seeing Bamberg in the daylight were gone.  Finally, we got off the train and were in Bamberg.  It was 5:40 pm, only 6 hours late.  Seriously, I cannot make this stuff up.

We had a whole plan of a walking brewery tour and then stopping by the Christmas Market.  Clearly we had to prioritize since we had 9:30 pm train tickets back to Munich.  We started walking to the first brewery and went in and had a seat.  We were starving and were delighted to see we could order some dinner.

We ordered biers first thing and a man sat down next to us.  He started speaking German to us and we kindly responded that we did not speak German.  He spoke a little English and we ended up speaking to him the rest of our time at the brewery.

Biers at Spezial Brau in Bamberg.  A smoked dunkel for Ken and a smoked weiss bier for me.  Bamberg is famous for its smoked biers.

Me with our new friend Wolfgang.

Wolfgang was so kind and asked us to write in his journal our thoughts on Germany.  He also gave me a business card where he signed his name and also drew me a flower.  He was so sweet.  

After we left Spezial Brau, we made our way to Brauerei to try a Marzen.  On the way, we found the Bamberg Christmas Market, so we stopped for a little gluhwein and to shop around.

The stalls at the Bamberg Christmas Market

Yummy treats as far as the eye could see!

We ended up leaving with a Christmas ornament and another nutcracker.  The market was not busy at all on a Monday evening.  We also came home with a mug that was in the shape of a boot. We brought home a mug from each city and they are something that will always make me smile when I see them.

Drinking gluhwein in Bamberg

The breweries in Bamberg were a lot different than the ones in Munich.  It is difficult to explain, but they were just different.  Ken was super excited to try a Marzen at the next one.  On our way to the brewery, I was so disappointed that we were not seeing Bamberg in the daylight.  The old town looked adorable.

One of the beautiful buildings in old town Bamberg.  Try to picture it in the daylight.

Ken enjoying his Marzen

Having fun in Bamberg despite all of the travel issues.

Ken bidding the brewery farewell.  Mark my word, we will see Bamberg in the daylight at some point.

The Christmas Market stalls in old town

We stopped off at another brewery, that I forgot the name of.  It was not our favorite by any means.  It was so bizarre in fact.  I walked outside to a covered area and there was a group of men standing there and one of them farted the loudest fart I have heard outside of the hospital.  Yeah, it was awkward.  Plus, there were staring oddly at me.  Ken enjoyed his bier and we left.  It was very odd.

Ken enjoying bier in Bamberg

We walked back to the train station, got a bier and some wine for the train ride home and ended up on some random train to Munich.  Everything was so delayed that the conductor did not even come by to check our tickets.  

It was by far the worst travel day we had ever had, but we took it all in stride and enjoyed our time together.  It was vacation after all!!  I would have preferred to actually get to see Bamberg, but alas, it was not meant to be.  

Up next, our last full day in Munich!  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Christmas in Germany: The Krampus Run...

While we were planning this trip, Ken came across an article about the Krampus Run that takes place in Munich every year.  We knew this was something that we absolutely had to see, so we planned our trip around making sure we were in Munich on this day.

A little history about Krampus:  He was created as a counterpart to Saint Nicholas.  Saint Nicholas would reward children with sweets while Krampus would swat wicked children and take them away.  I guess I am a wicked child at heart since I got swatted and taken away multiple times.  :)

The costumes were so elaborate and cost thousands of dollars.  Some of the people in the costumes had neck braces on so that they could have neck support while wearing the masks.  Now that is commitment, my friends.

I mentioned in my Munich post that we saw all of the Krampuses before the actual run began.  It was so loud and very cool to watch a sea of Krampuses walk by!

Pre-Krampus Run Krampuses

Once the actual run started, we were not sure what to think.  Almost immediately I had one walk up to me, take my stocking cap off, and rustle my hair.  I no sooner got my stocking cap back on before it happened again.  This was basically then theme for the entire run including a lot of swatting and taking of Keri away.  It was pretty funny.  All of the people around us were laughing at how popular I was with Krampus.  I will let the pictures and videos do most of the talking.

A little Bavarian whipping

The start of the Krampus Run and we had no idea what to expect for the remainder!

From my point of view

From Ken's point of view

Putting my stocking cap back on for about the 10th time.  They loved to come up and take it off and mess up my hair.

Krampus taking me away

A Krampus family selfie

Negotiating with Krampus

Each group had a leader with a sign that stated what area they were from.  Each area has a different idea as to what Krampus would look like.

Krampus and me

A little Saint Nicholas sprinkled in for a pallet cleanse.

Watching with delight.

Ken had to pee at some point so he walked over to the Augustiner.  During this time I ended up getting whipped by Krampus so many times.  I even had two of them take my stocking cap and play keep away.  I have no idea why I was so popular other than the fact that I do not take things too seriously and am not afraid of laughing and having fun.  Maybe Krampus can tell that I am easy going?  Either that or the Krampus are perverts.  Either way, this was so much fun and I know it would never fly in the States.

Me and my gluhwein mouth squealing with one of the scariest of all of the Krampuses.  He was terrifying and sure to give you nightmares.

They were taking off with me.  I guess I would be one of the kids they take away.

Say bye-bye to Keri!

There was a game of keep away taking place in there with my stocking cap.

I made friends with this Krampus and even impressed him with my telling him I did not speak German in German.  He began speaking English to me and told me they were bowing down for the other Krampuses in front of them.

We had so much fun during the Krampus Run!  We laughed and laughed during the run and afterwards when we talked about it.  I never could imagine that it would be so much fun, but it sure was.  This was my favorite thing from our entire trip.  I wish there was a way I could attend every year, but that whole 9 hour flight thing kind of gets in the way.  I hope you enjoyed watching the videos and pictures!  I have a ton more and it was hard to choose what to post.  Thank you so much to Ken for finding this and of course for taking me to Munich!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Christmas in Germany: Day 5...Munich...

We both woke up excited on Sunday!  We were going to spend the entire day in Munich.  In case it is not painfully clear, we LOVE Munich.  I ran and then we enjoyed breakfast at our hotel, complete with champagne. 

We started our day walking to Englischer Garten Park,  We had visited the park on our last trip, complete with its biergarten, but this time the biergarten was turned into a Christmas Market!  The Chinesischer Turm Christkindlmarkt was such an amazing place. 

Chinesischer Turm Christkindlmarkt

Shortly after arriving to the market, it began to snow.  Of course it did, right?  I seriously felt so special that all I had dreamed of was drinking gluhwein in the snow and here I was getting to do it for the third day in a row. 

So very happy about the snow and the gluhwein, of course!

Enjoying my gluhwein like a boss

The market was even more festive with all of the snow falling

In the summer this area is full of chairs and tables for the biergarten

Ken enjoying his gluwein and the snow

This market was full of a lot of locals and had a ton of food choices.  I would definitely say that the food options outnumbered the other stalls at this market.  It smelled amazing.

I did order a crepe to enjoy while I chugged my gluhwein.  It was absolutely delicious.

On his way for a refill

A full cup of gluhwein and ready to shop!

Lots of different options at the Christmas Market!

St. Nicholas even arrived!  Which is a really good thing since we saw Krampus later.

A summary of our time at the Chinesischer Turm Chriskindlmarkt

Isn't the market beautiful?

Enjoying the Chinesischer Turm Christkindlmarkt!

We walked around, shopped, drank gluhwein and called it a day at the market.  It was snowing pretty hard and we had about a mile and a half walk back to our hotel.  I am not going to lie, this was the one time of the trip that I actually got cold.  

I might be smiling on the outside, but in reality I was freezing.  I was so cold that I stopped talking.  You all know that never happens.

We went back to our hotel and warmed up a bit.  I changed out my scarf and hat and we walked over to the Dallmayr for a little shopping.  One of my favorite things from our last trip was getting lunch at the Dallmayr and taking it to the park for a picnic.  Alas, it was clearly not the day for a picnic!

After we got our goodies we stumbled upon many Krampuses getting ready for the Krampus Run.  It was pretty entertaining watching them walk by and quite loud.

Getting ready for the Krampus Run

Watching them go by really did not give me any indication how they would behave during the actual run.  We were pretty excited to have gotten to see them before the official run. The Krampus Run was probably the most interesting and fun thing we did on this trip.

We dropped off our Dallmayr goodies at the hotel and went to get ready for the Krampus Run.  The Krampus Run was so unique that I feel that it deserves its very own post.  

A little pre-performance before the Krampus Run

One of the department stores by our hotel.  I thought it was so beautiful.  

One of my favorite areas by our hotel.

Ken was armed with gluhwein and ready for Krampus!


I look terrified!

A sneak peek of the Krampus Run.  Apparently I was very naughty since Krampus took me away.

The Krampus Run was unlike anything we had ever experienced before.  It was so much fun!  We laughed and laughed.  Afterwards, we went into the Augustiner for some drinks ad then to the Residenz for the Christmas Market.

Inside the Residenz Market

I absolutely love the Christmas Pyramid


We grabbed some dinner at the market.  Ken had some sort of sausage and I had a pizza thing.  Both items were delicious!  

Workers serving up gluhwein

The blue and green lights added to the ambiance of the market

Having such a fun time at the Residenz Chriskindlmarkt

As we were leaving the market, All I want for Christmas is you came on overhead.  Obviously I started singing and dancing.  Ken was so proud.

We walked back to old town and decided that we should stop of at the Hofbrauhaus to finish off the day.  I have to admit, this place is a lot less busy on a Sunday night in December.  

The biggest smile out of this guy all day.

Enjoying my white wine

Ken's model pose

The Hofbrauhaus

Clearly we have been drinking all day when pictures like this get taken.

We left Hofbrauhaus and walked back to our hotel through the Marienplatz.  The market stalls were closed, but the Christmas cheer was still abundant.  

Me in the Marienplatz

We got back to our hotel and talked and talked about our day.  We had so much fun.  I cannot even put into words how amazing of a day we had.  I did not want the day to end, that is how wonderful it was.  I will never forget this day in Munich and I will always smile thinking about Munich at Christmas time.