Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 12:40 PM
Subject: Alex Flachsbart’s Ramsey Great Ideas Tour

Afternoon, Ramsey Family!

In any case, off to Munich! So after another six hour ride on a Iron Curtain-era train, I was back in the West and roaming the streets of Munich. I must admit that Munich surprised me enormously. It was an absolutely beautiful city (which I sort of expected) with incredibly friendly people (which I didn´t entirely expect) and the most gorgeous parks I´ve ever seen (which I didn´t expect at all!). City Hall stacks up with the best of them around Europe; the Hofbrauhaus is just as cool as everyone says it is– I wound up just sitting there talking with the rotating cast of people that would come in, order a grosse, and try not to fall off of the bench afterwards. It was absolutely hilarious, and included a crew ranging from Wisconsin octagenarians to Australian packpackers to Russian doctors. It´s not a bar, because it´s not a place people come to get drunk. It´s not a restaurant, as the food there only exists to stablize those who´ve had one mug too many. If anything, it serves as the single greatest place to meet people from all over and collect stories in what is surely the most convivial atmosphere I´ve ever experienced. Cheers all around.

But Munich truly does have much more to it than its beer gardens (which, sadly enough, most of my fellow hostel-mates failed to realize). Its other gardens — these of the herbal variety – proved to be just as incredible. Nude sunbathers in the middle of a public park was certainly a first for me, but I´m certainly not one to object to local custom… In any case, spending an afternoon wandering through the gardens – and the evening watching the inevitable Euro Cup game in the park´s beer garden – was an incredibly relaxing experience – and a perfect book-end to the long days spent wandering Prague on foot trying to escape the hordes and find the tastiest local restaurant.