Day 12: A Taste of the World Cup in Munich!
After a long night farewelling my friends in Baden I caught a 6:30am train to Munich. I decided to add on the side trip (originally I planned to go direct from Zurich to Budapest) to take up an offer from a Brazilian mate Marcelo to join him and a bunch of his friends from ALSTOM for the Brazil vs. Australia match there. Andreas, one of the other ALSTOM guys, has an apartment near the centre of the city and so it was great to know I had a place to crash.
I arrived in Munich in the late morning and found the Hauptbahnhof jam-packed with Aussie and Brazilian supporters – LOTS of green and gold everywhere! I made my way to Andreas’s apartment which was close by and found the lads recovering from a big party night. It was a surprise to see Ruben (a Spanish mate from work) there as well I roused them out of bed and we walked to Marienplatz in the centre of the city, where a big street party was well underway. After a meal and a few German-sized beers we made the decision to head to massive "Fan Zone" set up in the old Olympic Park (any idea we had to get some tickets to the match were quickly quashed when we found out the going price – 600 euro!!).
We caught a jam-packed U-bahn train to the Olympic Park and found it already at capacity – there would have to have been over 50,000 spectators there surrounding a HUGE screen that showed the matches and a DJ cranking out the tunes in-between the matches and at half-time. We had to muscle our way in to the central section of the amphitheatre but it was well worth it to be in the middle of all the action – heaps of Aussies, Brazilians and Germans (pretending to be Brazilian!) dancing, drinking and enjoying the great weather.
The game was an exciting one and the Aussies were unlucky to go down goal-less: I thought the Socceroos deserved a goal in their 2:0 defeat. Still, after the game the party kept raging and the beer was still cold, so all was soon forgotten… We samba-d for a few hours after the game until it got dark, and then went back into town to continue the festivities. We ended up back at Marienplatz at around midnight and there was a great impromptu street party going on there with capoiera (spelling!) and samba dancing. We continued on into the wee small hours of the morning.
I rolled out of bed early to catch the morning train to Budapest and I’m there now with a few friends from Berkeley. First impressions are good, but I’ll write more in a couple of days.