Tag Archives: munich

Drug Bust en route to Paris

Though I swore that I wouldn’t take a bus long distances again (Munich to Berlin via bus was a bit torturous!!) it was quite a bit cheaper to go by bus from Amsterdam to Paris, and supposedly only about 7 hours.  So I caved in and went via bus.  I’m “lucky” I even made the bus trip to begin with!  Not because I was late getting to the bus stop, but because there were apparently multiple signs in the train station to the bus stop.  The one pointing downstairs (the only one I noticed) was only for local busses while the one just outside the entrance to the train station was for long distances.  This post isn’t about the departure however, (I’m just throwing that info out for other travelers in case it comes in handy) it’s really about the trip there…

All was going just fine.  We got to Brussels with no issue and on time and our bus drivers traded out (we started with a quiet yet nice man and ended with an unpleasant woman who acted like she couldn’t be bothered with anything from anyone).  From Brussels we headed on and were actually making really good time!  I was just thinking to myself how nice it would be to make it to Paris on schedule- I’d be there by 3 and would be able to take advantage of several hours of daylight before turning in for the night.

I really shouldn’t have thought so soon… About an hour after stopping to take a snack break, the driver announced we had to pull over for gas.  We pulled over for gas and there we sat for a few minutes waiting for the tank to fill.

Suddenly two men in uniform come onto the bus.  They spoke in French and once translated in English they said they were there to conduct a search of the bus.  Now, I don’t know if it was standard protocol to search buses coming into France from Amsterdam or whether we were just that “lucky” but yes, we were apparently chosen by the French police or rather the French DEA basically to be searched for drugs.  The two officers started making their way questioning every single passenger about where they had come from, where they were going, how long they would be in Paris, what hotel they were staying in, what their business in Paris was, etc, etc.

Normally I never plan in advance where I’m staying, how long I will be there, etc, etc but on this particular occasion I actually did!  I had all my answers and passport ready for the drill and when it came to my turn, the officer took my passport, checked it out for validity, said “thanks” and moved on to the woman sitting next to me and her the rundown on questions, lol!!

While the officers were going over each passenger, other officers had opened the luggage compartments below the bus and were taking out each piece of luggage and lay them on the ground.  In addition, a drug sniffing dog was dispatched on the bus running up and down the center aisle back and forth.  Then out onto the luggage sniffing each one for issues.

About a half hour passed and it seemed there was particular concern over one of the trash cans of the buses.  The officers kept fussing over it and even removed the trash bag to take outside for inspection.  They then asked 4 young guys sitting just across from the “suspect trash can” to exit the bus.  They stood outside while everyone on the bus watched them get a pat down.  They were searched from head to toe, shoes off, outer clothing off; this wasn’t an airport pat down (which I’m very familiar with since I always opt out of the Wave cancer scanner thing) this was a serious “we are going to put our hands on every square inch of your body” pat down.  They asked for each of the boys bags and went through every single item.  I’m saying that if they had a can of hairspray it was uncapped and a bit sprayed out to ensure it was what the label said it was.  It was VERY in-depth.

And it got a little MORE in-depth… While they let 3 of the boys back in, two officers were escorting the 4th into the little mini-mart of the gas station… You could just hear the sound of latex gloves snapping against the officers wrists!!  Needless to say, about 20 minutes later the guy who had been escorted into the mini-mart did NOT look happy!!  While he was inside however the other officers were still busy with the bus and they had even plucked yet another man (who was sitting in front of me) off the bus for a pat down.

About two hours later all the bags were back on the bus and all the passengers were back on the bus except the one unfortunate younger guy who had been taken inside for a thorough search.  He stayed behind with his things and the cops.  His friends were total punks and I wonder if he was just the “fall guy” because they kept laughing at him from the bus and taking his picture with the cops no doubt to post them on the web.

Once we were back on the road the driver did her best to catch up on time lost but the 7 hour trip once again turned into an almost 10 hour trip, lol!

I love trains!!!! 🙂

On to Montmartre

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Munich

Munich is absolutely lovely!!!  I was very shocked on how green the city is!!  Seriously they have so many parks in the heart of the city!!  I figured it would be much like every other city: drowning in nothing but buildings with a token park here and there.  But not so with Munich!  It is individual, full of history, character and very friendly and welcoming people!  There’s the synopsis, now here are the details;)

Before going to Munich, on a whim and on a promise, I shot off an email to Nikki whom I met and traveled with through the San Blas Islands in Panama.  In fact, she was the clever woman who coined “modern day pirates” to describe our sailboat crew:)

I say on a whim because though we had exchanged a few emails, we really hadn’t kept in touch a whole lot (I don’t Facebook) and since it had been so long since I’d emailed her, I wasn’t sure first whether she even had the same email, and second whether she would respond.  I had made her a promise long ago when we parted in Colombia however that if I ever made it to Munich, I would look her up!  So, about a week or so before going to Munich I wrote her an email to let her know I would be in town for the day.

I was humbled to hear back from her and even more tickled that she too had the day off and was able to meet me!!  The good in people never ceases to amaze me and it’s a blessing to know people who, even after years of no contact, extend a hand of friendship!!

I made it to Munich early in the morning and after calling Nikki agreed to meet her at a coffee shop near the Odeonsplatz underground station.  As I made my way out from the underground I could hear the joyous music of Oktoberfest celebrations and once out on the street was greeted by a lovely parade!!  I made my way along the road trying to get somewhere to take some pictures when a very nice group of people offered me a stool to stand on so I could get above the crowd:)  Thankfully one of them spoke a little broken English and I asked where the coffee shop was (all I could see was Starbucks and we weren’t meeting there!!).  Once directed and all the pictures were taken, I headed to meet Nikki.


Seriously it was as if no time at all had ever passed between us!  She looked just the same as she did before: fabulous!  And we had a great time catching up in each other’s lives and reminiscing on the good times we had during the San Blas trip:)  We hung out for a little catching up, then she proceeded to give me the VIP walking tour of Munich!!

First stop was just nearby, a place called Feldherrnhalle, which is where Hitler began the plotting of his Nazi regime before setting up in Berlin.  What is amazing is that as he began to take on more popularity and power, it was mandatory that people walking in front of this building had to salute to the soldiers standing in front to show that they were with Hitler.  If you walked in front without saluting you would get in serious trouble!!  So, for those who opposed Hitler, they would bypass walking in front of the Feldherrnhalle by walking down the street just behind called Viscardigasse.  Down this street today you will find a golden path laid out in bronze bricks symbolizing the path of freedom.  This path was walked by all who opposed Hitler.  It was their way of rebelling Hitler and what he stood for.

Across from this building is the Residence of Munich (Residenz Munchen) where the Royal Family lives and the lions statues guarding the entrance are rubbed by passersby for good luck!

The Residence of Munich leads onto the Hofgarten where there is a lovely little building topped off with a little monument.  Here they have many musicians who come to practice their skills and even monthly they put on a formal waltz dance event!!

From there we headed past the Art Museum and headed to probably the most interesting or at least shocking part of Munich… Surfers!!!  Yes, I typed correctly: surfers!  Apparently some very clever surfers wanted a way to continue to practice their skills and keep in shape year round without “chasing the waves” so they made their own!!  In the Eisbach river, just at the start of it where it flows under a bridge, several stones were dropped to the river bottom and eventually enough were planted in to create a wave!!  And due to the natural fast current through the river, the wave is large enough to basically simulate an ocean wave!  So darn clever!!!

This little surf spot is in a way the beginning of the English Garden (Englischen Garten).  The English Garden is the largest garden in Munich and it is even LARGER than Central Park in New York City!!

We made our way past the Japanese Teahouse (Japanisches Teehaus Kanshoan)

to an area where if you choose you could sit out nude

English Garden Nude Area
English Garden Nude Area

finally to the Monopteros.  This monument was once overrun by drug addicts but thanks to an increased presence of cops wandering the streets, the momument was abandoned by the addicts and spruced up for locals and tourists to enjoy:)

From the Monopteros it was on to the Chinese Temple (Chinesischer Turm) where a little beer garden was conveniently located, so of course we had to stop for a BEER!!!!!  It was here during a bit of a passing thunderstorm where I learned the history of beer gardens… Long ago when there weren’t any refrigerators, companies cleverly decided to put kegs of produced beer under trees that provided lots of shade (hence natural refrigeration).  So much beer was being made that companies would invite people out to these “gardens “with kegs of beer under each tree to drink the beer while it was fresh and cold!  All they asked was people paid for the beer, but otherwise you could bring your own food, etc.  So these beer gardens began to gain popularity as almost a social or fun day in the park so to speak with cheap, delicious beer, your own picnic and tons of other people to socialize with:)

After a few pints we walked our way to the Siegestor, a triumphal arch that has a statue of Bavaria on top leading 4 lions!  It was originally dedicated to the glory of the Bavarian army but today it is a monument and reminder for peace.  Absolutely love it!!

On we went past the University to perhaps my favorite building of all I had seen that day: St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche)!!  Just absolutely stunning in my opinion and so playful!!  Notice the dragon climbing up the church and the timekeeper…

I could have spent hours looking at the church just discovering new things about it but alas we were getting a bit hungry, so we headed to a great restaurant, had some delicious local food then headed to Nikki’s where she graciously allowed me to crash for the night:)  However, NOT before helping her to fix her anklet!!  We had both purchased one in the San Blas Islands from the Kuna Indigenous tribe but sadly hers had fallen off.  She kept the beads and the strand however so I helped to affix it back on:)  Good times!!!

Repaired San Blas Anklet, yay!!
Repaired San Blas Anklet, yay!!

 

On to Berlin

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