The morning blurs by out of focus, rushed and messy. Sooner than any of us wanted we’re out on the sidewalk with our bags. The chill air is waking me up a bit. A guy named Irmus is en route to pick us up outside Munkenhoff to take us to the Tallinn airport and the prospects of Plan B.
We can see kids sitting in classrooms in the buildings around us making our Thursday morning hangover seem out of place and stupid. “Who’s idea was it to get drunk in a brothel?”, “I didn’t know it was one!”, “Oh we got gooned way before then”, “We Depeche mowed down a ton of G&Ts”, “We look like shit”, “Let’s go to Germany.”
It’s a short and quiet drive to the airport which is only 15 minutes away or so. Nice, modern spot, we take our e-passes and slide into a super short security line. For some reason it’s taking forever though. Maybe it’s the hangover crankies but there is no way this needs to be taking this long. Or any time at all. Every single person gets searched. Oogie gets the full bomb check treatment.
We go through the mandatory duty free out to the concourse and start scouting for way overpriced airport breakfast options. Find a spot with full English breakfast. Perfect!
The seating area isn’t that large and one of the places in here is a juice joint that has it’s blender on blast the whole time. “Is there construction happening somewhere?”, “Think it’s the blender”, “Worst sound ever.” Add some backing up beeping sounds from an airport cart, a crying baby and some grinding coffee and now we’re sitting in sonic hell. MacKay can’t take it. We’re way too hungover for this noise. He gets up in a huff, “I’ll meet you….. over there somewhere.”
It is terrible but Oogie and I sit through it anyways. The FEB and coffee are both decent. Afterwards we head towards MacKay and the gate but we’ve still got over an hour until boarding. “Airport lounge?”, “How?”, “Got a Priority Pass. Let’s check it out.” Yep, it’s a go. Nice lounge. Should have checked on this before getting breakfast. There’s a good continental style spread, coffee, ohhh beer, nice. Oh even better, free booze, and some of the good stuff too. “Coffee and Cognac?”, “Whooa, fuck yeah. Why fly hungover?”
We grab a seat and chill with our delicious CogCos (does coffee and cognac have an official name?). An announcement declares that our flight is delayed. Ahh whatever, this is a good place to hang. I hit up MacKay on the wizzles to see where he’s at and tell him to come to the lounge. Nah, he’s good. K, suit yourself.
Flight is delayed just long enough to nab another CogCo. They tasty. We meet MacKay at the gate and file down the ramp to the plane. Sheesh it is boiling in here. We get seats and I twist the air knob for some relief. There is none. With no sleep, two drinks, and this heat, the droopy lids are calling curtains.
I’m out the whole flight. It’s just a short hopper to Stockholm and then down to Munich from there. Looks like the other detectives crashed out too.
Bit of time to kill in the layover too so I get us into another airport lounge called Norrsken. There’s a good spread of sandwich meats, coffee, beer and wine. We snack and slurp and are down to the gate soon after.
Another uneventful flight and we’re landing in Munich around 330. We sit on the tarmac just off the terminal for a while. What’s happening? There’s an announcement that the gate bridge operator isn’t here to extend the gate. We all just wait. It takes another 20 minutes. So much for German efficiency, airports can crack even that.
Speaking of inefficiency, we now have to wait for MacKay’s enormous bag down at baggage claim. He was sitting beside a Korean girl on the flight and chatting her up the whole time. Tiny Asian girl in a face mask as you’d expect. She sees his big stupid bag and starts laughing. She wants to see if she can lift it. She can, “Oh! Not so bad.” It’s half the size of her haha.
Her name is Jiwon. She starts walking out with us. On the way I book three beds at a hostel called Jaeger right in the heart of downtown Munich. “Oh! That’s where I stay too!”, “Great! You want to split a taxi?”, “No no too expensive!”, “It’s around $70, we can split it”, “No no no. That bus goes to Central Station. Only 11 euros.” She points out the entrance to a bus across the street. Alright, this girl is on it. Only problem is we don’t have any Euros.
Jiwon gets on the bus and pays the driver at the front. I come up next and say hi to the guy, “Is it cash only?”, “Yes, cash only”, “Hmmm, when do you leave”, “Ahhh 3 minutes. You may make it”, “Ok, I’ll be right back!”
It always turns into a race..
I leave my bag with the guys and take off back into the airport running down the hall looking for a bank machine. It’s lightly raining outside and the water on my shoes is slippery making me do this awkward skip run like Jeff Goldblum (when he runs normal). But there’s no time to waste. I’m hustlin. I spot one. Yes! Full sideways slip shoe slide right to the touchscreen. Start speed punching buttons. English. Yes. Denomination. ah ah ah I dunno 300? We’ll be in Euros land for a while. Get it. No receipt. I’m out.
Slipblum back to the entrance and I can see the bus still waiting outside. Don’t pull away, don’t pull away.. Nice. Made it!
“Well done”, approves the driver. I pay him and we climb aboard. Jiwon is super surprised to see us again, “Yay! You did it!”
It’s a long bus ride across the city from the airport. Ahh yes, things are looking a tad familiar. This is my… third time to Munich? Yeah. Oh maybe just second. Oktoberfest in 2008. Insanely fun (but that’s a story for another time). I remember loving this city last time I was here, excited to be getting another crack at it. I think the guys will like it.
We get out at the central station and start walking towards the hostel with Jiwon. It’s raining a bit and the umbrellas are out. We’re scurrying passed monuments and historic landmarks while dodging traffic and navigating sidewalk construction zones. Suddenly Jiwon is heading a different way than us. Oh I thought we were at the same hostel, guess not. We say good bye on the street and wish her a good trip, “Nice meeting you, have fun!”
We start walking down a side street when the little blue dot that we’re navigating towards suddenly just jumps over a few streets to our right. Ahhh ok. Guess the GPS doesn’t have a good bead on us. I spin us around, waving my finger, “Nope nope, this way”, “You sure?”, “I think so. The little guy keeps jumping around.”
We start down a street and I can see the banners for the Jaeger Hostel unfurled against the building up ahead. Sweet! Found it.
We walk in and Jiwon is at the front desk checking in. Looks like we are at the same hostel after all. “Heeeeeey!”, “Uhh! You are here?”, “Yeah we went the wrong way”, “Ahh Stupid!” Haha shit, this cracks up everyone in the lobby. The front desk peeps and some travelers on the couches are all laughing at us. “Yeeeeah we’re idiots”, another front desk dude looks up at us smiling, “Do you idiots have a reservation?”, “Haha, nice segue. Yes we do….”
We get a 4 bed dorm to ourselves w bathroom en suite. Nice. We were in such a rush this morning that MacKay didn’t have time for a shower so he hops in. While he’s doing that Oogie and I decide it’s time for a beer now that the travel day is done.
We go down to the hostel bar that’s just around the corner from the front desk. It seats about twenty and there are other booths and a couple pool tables beyond. This is great, don’t even have to leave the hostel. Tons of Jaeger bottles lining the top of the bar. Makes sense, this being the Jaeger Hostel and all. Some of them are really cool versions with place names on the labels. The New York and Hong Kong ones look really cool.
A bartender comes right over, “What’ll you be having, boys?”, “A couple of those giant beer steins will work”, “Good decision. It’s happy hour and you can get two for 5 euro”, “Pfffffffffft ok, that’s just silly”, “Indeed it is. Cash only, I should add”, “You from Scotland?”, “That obvious huh?”, “Haha pretty recognizable accent…”
We shoot the breeze with the bartender over some incredibly good Augustiner Helles. His name is Ben and he’s just travelling around at the moment. He was in Berlin for a month and now he’s living down here. Says it’s way more expensive in Munich than Berlin. He’s just graduated but didn’t really like what he was doing so he’s gonna travel around and figure it out. Solid plan.
A clean MacSpongeBob comes to join us and a blonde girl grabs a seat beside us too. Her name is Simone and she’s from the UK. She lived in Australia for a bit though so MacKay and her swap stories about their experiences living there.
We get another round. Oogie can’t believe how good the beers are, “Holy shit! These are like, the best beers ever dude”, “Well yeeeeeeeeah. We are in Germany haha. Augustiner’s been around since the 14th century or something”, “How the hell do you know that?”, “It’s right here on your glass”, “Haha oh yeah. It’s soooo goooood!”
I tell him about the time a server snuck us into the sold out Augustiner tent at Oktoberfest through the kitchen. We walked into a full brass band playing an Oom-pah version of Summer of ’69. We had a blast in there, met a ton of people, and I’ve had a special place in my liver for Augustiner ever since. Very happy to find it on tap right here in the hostel.
Ben tallies up our bill so far and it’s only 15 euro. MacKay is impressed, “15 euro for four giant beer? Doesn’t get much better than that”, “Actually we’ve already had two. So six giant beer for 15 euro”, Oogie is all grins, “And they’re the beeeeest! Hey Ben, is there a cash machine nearby?”, I’ve already got the bills in my hand, “I’m the closest cash machine there is”, “Can you be my cash machine?”, “You know it, big boy.” <tickle fight>
Jiwon swings round the bar too. She comes right over to us, “I’m going to the restaurant”, did we discuss going to a restaurant with her? Maybe James did. “Wanna join us for a beer first? We’ve just poured these”, “No, I am going. Bye bye.” And she’s off. Super abrupt. Would have been fun to all go to dinner together. Ah well.
We ask Ben what he’d recommend for places to eat and he gives us a few traditional German spots that sound decent. The Augustiner-Keller Beer Hall is one of them so of course I’m game for that.
Ben is a super nice fella, quick witted and personable. We’re joking and going on the whole time. Simone definitely has her eyes on him. One of the front desk girls comes over and she’s being very playful with him too. Eyes darting back and forth. Bit of a love triangle going on here. Simone seems oblivious but there’s definitely history with that front desk girl. Ahh young love.
Front desk girl brings over some birthday balloons and now we’re helping blow them up. I don’t know what’s going on. Oogie’s right though, these beer are outstanding, “Hey, let’s go find that Augustiner beer hall”, “YESSSSSS!” Alright it’s on.