Munich, Germany: Hmm … Pig or Pig … I’ll Go With Some Pig, Please

My brother and I slept in the next morning after spending all night at The Ark. And by ‘slept in’ I mean we only woke up around 1 in the afternoon. The others had already headed into town to meet Matt and Mary, but by the time we made it to the Fish Fountain, the group had been whittled down to only Mike and Bonesaw.

We walked around the city for a long time, stopping for a sandwich at a bakery/cafe. Most sidewalks were paved with cobblestone in this really nice arcing pattern. I thought it must have been quite annoying to by the bricklayer who had to do it.

I was going to meet Mr. and Mrs. Dunham at the Fish Fountain at 7, and by 6 we had finally found a cafe to enjoy a drink and wait for Ann, Matt and Mary to arrive. It was Testa Rossa cafe and it was located above/next to a shoe store. In fact, you had to walk through the stores ground and first floor to get there. It was quite funny to go from high heels to loafers to sneakers to cappuccinos. I had a prosecco, which is like a slightly fizzy version of a Sauvignon Blanc. At 7 I left the boys to meet the Dunhams. The last time I saw them was almost exactly two years earlier at Rick’s wedding, and it was great to see them before they left Munich.

When we were deciding on a place to meet Mrs. Dunham suggested the Fish Fountain and said “If you’re friend lives here he’ll know what that is”, but I thought, I’ve only been here for 2 days and I know what that is!

We walked from the Fish Fountain to the Schneider beer hall/restaurant. Schneider Weiss is another popular Munich beer and is quite good. It seems it was also the first to make the Weiss beer. Mr. Dunham had come along way with his German and helped translate the menu. I had the Schweinsbraten (spelling may not be correct on that one), which is basically roast pig. It’s a very traditional Bavarian dish and Mr. Dunham advised that if I’m gonna choose one Bavarian must-have, that would be it. It was quite good and extremely filling. We chatted and caught up and I had a great time. We said our goodbyes and got on our respective trains. I headed to the restaurant where the others had just finished dinner.

From there we headed to a bar called Sausolito’s, which was Ann’s favorite spot for strawberry margaritas. We had drinks until closing time and then called it a night.

The next day we finally ate at Al Pacino’s.

For such a celebrity though, Mr. Pacino’s restaurant was only so-so. I had the pizza, of which I’ve had better, though the past dishes that others got looked quite good. I guess going into Ristorante Al Pacino we all just expected a lot.

Bonesaw noticed that he was coming down with a cold. With the hit that my immune system had taken over the past few days, and the close quarters we were sharing, I knew that it was eventually going to hit me. Matt, Mary, Mike and Ann hit up Oktoberfest in the afternoon, but the rest of us weren’t up for it. After walking around the grounds for a while, we sat with them until we felt it was time to head back home. While were sitting, a girl stumbled through the crowds, escorted by her friends to the exit. She looked absolutely wrecked and soon spewed all over the ground. Then she kept walking out the door where she spewed again before exiting. It drew everyone’s attention for about 5 seconds, and then they resumed their previous activities … no one was phased or even bothered cleaning it up.

That night we all took this strange Nyquil-like medicine by ‘Wick’, the German ‘Vick’s’ brand. It was called Medi-Nait and for whatever reason it contained a rather potent combination of paracetamol (a pain reliever/fever reducer), DXM (found in Robitussin, it is often used by college students as a hallucinogenic) and ephedrine (banned in the US). I was puzzled by the inclusion of ephedrine, which you wouldn’t think of as something to take before going to bed. Regardless, we each downed a shot and went to bed.

And it was a huge mistake.

Remember that old SNL fake commercial bit where Chris Farley takes ‘Hybernol’ when he felt a cold coming on and it knocked him out for the entire flu season. Then he woke up with a long beard talking about how refreshed he felt? Well that was usually what I would do when I started to get sick: I’d take some Nyquil, knock myself out for a while and let the germs run their course.

This time, however, Medi-Nait did not work. In fact we all felt much much worse the next day. And not just because my throat was in immense pain and I had a head cold, but everyone just had the life sucked out of them by Medi-Nait.

Nevertheless we took a train out to Herrsching, about a 50-minute ride, where a monastery is located that brews its own beer and makes its own schnapps. The hike was quite nice and would’ve been much more enjoyable had I not been terribly sick. It was mostly uphill so by the time we reached the monastery we were all famished and quite thirsty. I wasn’t going to let a silly thing like a cold stop me from enjoying the specialties, like Apfelweiss (Apple beer) and the Doppelbock, both of which were very good. Though they had ample outdoor seating we ate inside one of their halls. We all had the pig.

On the way out I bought a couple airplane-size bottles of schnapps, raspberry and honey. I thought both were delicious. Mary bought the gift pack that had small bottles of each flavor, and discovered that there were anise and herb flavours which were apparently disgusting.

We took the easy way back and were soon on the train heading home. I nodded off and woke up just before we pulled into the central station to change trains. Just as the train was stopping and everyone getting up, I suddenly felt hot, dizzy and light-headed. I had this feeling before, two years ago when I was in New York. I told my brother I didn’t feel good and that I needed to sit down. There was a bench against a wall just outside the doors from which we exited the train. I took one step onto the platform with my brother leading me by the arm and blacked out.

When I woke up I was face down on the ground and people were grabbing me. I tasted dirt and blood and my cheek and lips felt sore. I rolled over and stared up at the rest of the group, accompanied by two station security officers. I told them I was OK, sat up and washed my mouth out with some water. My teeth had cut through my upper lip and I had an enormous gash in it that was starting to swell. I allayed the concerns of the others and told them I was OK. My brother came back to the apartment with me while Mike, Ann, Bonesaw, Matt and Mary headed out for dinner.

Not sure what happened, but I imagine it was just due to the cold. I’m sure the beer didn’t help, but hey, not like I’m gonna stop drinking them.

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