Interrail with my brother (Part 4)

Neuschwanstein castle photo by Mario Alberto González Robert
Neuschwanstein castle photo by Mario Alberto González Robert

In Lyon we were hosted by a very cool German/French guy who was hosting at the same time a friendly and cheerful Chinese girl.

We did our usual long sightseeing walks around the city and at one of them the Chinese girl went with us. We climbed a long uphill path to get to a big cathedral and enjoy the view under the rain, carrying our backpacks as we were planning to take a train from there and it is definitely not pleasant to walk with all the weight of your stuff, sweating under your coat.

One afternoon, the Chinese girl asked us if we would like to go with her to do some bouldering at a place near our host’s flat. We thought it would be nice to do something out of the usual “walking like crazy all day” thing so we agreed. It was my first time trying it, but I enjoy a lot doing exercises using my own weight and hanging on stuff so it was a lot of fun. At one point, the Chinese girl was climbing a difficult wall which continued towards the ceiling. She swung her body backwards to try and reach the next rock, failing and landing straight on her face, fortunately all the floor is cushioned so she didn’t hurt herself, although she felt very embarrassed about it, but well it’s nothing to get shy about, sometimes you fail and fall, then just got to get up and try again.

The day we were supposed to leave to our next destination, we went to the train station which was incredibly crowded. We approached the desk to ask for our trip only to realize that all our options were completely sold out. We sat for a while at the station trying to figure out what we would do next, checking more trains on the super slow phone and even slower wi-fi, but there was nothing available. Therefore, our only option was to send an SMS back to our host and ask him if he could host us one more night. He was perfectly fine with it, however, there would be more couchsurfers staying there as well. Turned out it was another Mexican guy travelling with his mom. They were from a city in the north of Mexico called Monterrey and they were quite nice. Apparently, the guy studied in France and his mom came to Europe for a short visit so they decided to make a small trip together.

The next day we could finally get a train to our next destination which was Strasbourg. There we just walked around the whole day and took an overnight train to Munich.

In Strasbourg everything was very relaxed and just a normal sightseeing trip, walking around talking about random stuff. One thing that made us laugh though, was when we were walking along the river and my brother stepped on a big dog crap so he then tried to clean it against the corner of a rock of the path, when suddenly an old man came by, staring at him with a weird disapproving and shocked face but as soon as he passed him, his expression went completely blank as if nothing had happened and just kept walking normally.

One thing that was a pity, was that we just missed the Christmas market, which is famous for being one of the most beautiful in Europe, probably just by one day as there were still some remnants of it that the workers were still dismantling.

From Strasbourg we took an overnight train to Munich where we were hosted by a young American couple. The guy was working at Google as a programmer and the girl was looking for a job and learning German, but as she told us, she was not enjoying very much being there and wanted to move back to her country. She said that life there could get really boring because there is too much order and some people can be incredibly square-minded, even to the point of pressing you to walk on your right lane on the sidewalk and getting upset if you didn’t, or other trivial things like that.

Another strange thing that she complained about and that we could experience ourselves was the terrible customer service they had in a lot of places. From a guy shouting at us while paying for an entrance ticket because he didn’t pay attention to how we paid separately and thought that we hadn’t given him enough money, to an old waitress getting really angry because we ordered one dessert for the three of us to share and she said it wouldn’t be enough for all of us.

The thing that was pretty fun and weird was to see the Munich’s surfing scene, which takes place below a bridge in the river, where they put a big concrete slab under the water which makes it form a continuous wave that people can take advantage of and surf on it.

We were really close to Neuschwanstein so we decided to make a daytrip and go visit the beautiful castle which inspired Walt Disney to create his fantasy one. The place is very mountainous, surrounded by forest and the castle offers a surreal view. We preferred to see the surroundings of the castle instead of going inside as the entrance was expensive and there was a huge line. They were also doing some renovation works so they closed big areas of the forest and some paths to go to places like the bridge with the best view were off-limits but most people were ignoring the signs and fences and just passing through. We asked a policeman if it was possible to cross and he just said “it’s closed for works but you know, I can just close my eyes and not see that you went through, if you know what I mean” so we just jumped the small fences and went to the bridge where we could admire the landscape and take some gorgeous pictures.

That was our first but not last stop in Germany.

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