Greetings from Munich!

I am again writing emails from the road, and again sending them to you all without (in most cases) any warning. My trip is short, so at most I will send two emails, and at most three. My apologies if they are unwelcome. This trip will cover three cities I have visited before: Munich, Berlin and Paris, and reunions with many friends from various trips and countries.

Marienplatz - scene of the first dance!
In any case, I arrived in Munich last Thursday. I am officially registered for the Munich Lindy Exchange, which coincides with Oktoberfest, but have had little time for either. I have made brief appearances at a couple dances, including an outdoor jam in Marienplatz, Munich's main square (in my Century Ballroom T Shirt, of course!). Today I met many of them for the first time at Brunch. I met a couple other Americans, plus folks from Australia, Switzerland, England, the Netherlands and of course Germany. A Londoner asked about the outcome of Seattle's Latte Tax vote - it truly did make international news! I have not made it to Oktoberfest, keeping alive my tradition of skipping typical tourist activities to the horror of all around me. Trust me, I have still had plenty of Beer!

My first day in town was spent wandering the main pedestrian mall and doing some light shopping. I did not find any of the CDs I was looking for, but did happen across a collection of ABBA hits done as Gregorian Chants. The CD offers possibly several insights on cultural blending, which is as good a theme as any for a trip like mine, but, alas, I did not buy it. I may live to regret leaving it behind, but life is full of regrets.

Asamkirche at night
One regret from my last trip is not being able to photograph an outlandish Baroque or Rococco (my art history fails me) chuch that is lit up at night. I always have film for daytime, which means I have to pass on most night photography. This trip I have a borrowed digital camera which has allowed me to capture some great night shots, so I now have a great series of the church, plus several other locations.

Inside Asamkirche

Last weekend was spent in Ettringen. If you haven't heard of it, don't feel bad, most folks here in Munich haven't either, and it's only an hour out of town. It is a small Bavarian village where friends I met in Australia live. I accepted their invitation to spend the weekend, and ended up seeing some sights off the beaten track. Of course, the language barrier is stronger out there, as even my friends are not very comfortable with English. We ended up communicating in a mish-mash of English and German, and I found my vocabulary is much more functional than I would have expected.

Gavin at Neuschwanstien
Visiting Scholss Neuschwanstein

View from Neuschwanstein
View from Neuschwanstein
We took a day trip to the Austrian Alps, saw Neuschawnstein Castle (everyone cringes when it is referred to as "the Disney Castle"), visited various small villages, including one with a great Sunday Market, passed the prison where Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf", and whizzed around the Autobahn. The speed and driving habits on the Autobahn had my undivided attention at times, but everbody lived, and I can now say I've truly experienced it. Fortunately for my nerves, we were not close to being the fastest car. Saturday night we attended a birthday party so I was lucky enough to not only have great food, but connect with a bunch of great people I would have had no chance of meeting otherwise. Apparently I 'meow' in English, as the family cats were unfazed by my greetings. Who knew?

Wading in Therapeutic Waters

The weather here is clear and hot - hovering around highs of 30 degrees, which I think is the mid to high 70s. Very nice and unexpected. I am using my sunscreen for more than expected. Things should cool down tomorrow, but I am prepared, so it won't hurt my touring. My touring here has been at a breakneck speed, as I have so many friends to catch up with, dances to attend, and pictures to take. Later on my pace will be more relaxing. (Well, I say that now...)