So I did the thing I complained about a month ago: I travelled to Germany just to watch a movie.
To summarize: I really wanted to watch the film Everything Everywhere All At Once, and I was frustrated that it hadn’t been released in Switzerland or any nearby European country. At the time, the only option was to watch it at one specific cinema in Munich, on a Thursday night, during a busy work week where I had to be in the office. However, over time, a few more screenings were added for that weekend, and I decided to go for it.
(Meanwhile, good news: the film will be coming to Switzerland in June! Currently, there is only one cinema in Zurich that will be showing it, and only for one night.)
The train trip between Geneva and Munich isn’t too much of a slog. I left Geneva in the late afternoon on Friday, transferred in Zurich in the evening, and arrived in Munich just after 11pm. It was about 7 hours total of travel.
Interestingly, while Switzerland has no more mask rules (at the federal level), Germany is still requiring FFP2 masks on public transportation. This means that virtually no one on the train was wearing a mask when we left Zurich, but as soon as we crossed over the border from Austria into Germany (the train had one stop in a tiny sliver of Austria), all the masks came on. And the same thing when we came back: as soon as the “welcome to Switzerland” announcement was made, the masks came off immediately.
In Munich, I stayed at the Hotel Eden Wolff, which was directly across the street from München Hauptbahnhof (Munich Central Station). I was completely satisfied with the stay: the room was comfortable, there was no noise at night despite it being next to the train station, there was a decent breakfast selection, and the location was unbeatable.
The next day, I spent the entire morning at Dachau, which I detailed here.
In the afternoon, I came back to Munich via the S-Bahn and then walked from my hotel to Cinema Filmtheater, which was only about 15-17 minutes away. It was raining lightly, but I enjoyed walking around the city, which felt very green, laidback, and peaceful. I had been to Munich once before, but remembered almost nothing about it except the many bike lanes.
It is so nice to see cities build bike lanes with intention, providing cyclists with a dedicated space that both protects them from cars and ensures that they don’t crash into pedestrians.
I don’t even know where to start with the film. It was an absolutely wild 2.5-hour experience. It was like somebody threw a typical Asian American immigrant story and an absolutely mind-boggling acid trip at one another other and somehow melded it into one film. The entire theater was laughing hysterically for about 70% of it and weeping for 20%. I take my hat off to the Daniels for telling the story on their own terms. I walked out of the cinema with a completely blank mind except for the thought “uhh… what the fuck did I just watch?” And I immediately wanted to watch it again. But alas, I had to leave Munich the following morning.
The last thing I did in Munich was go to a couple of stores near the train station in search for some snacks that I could take on the train. Unfortunately the selection was quite poor, and I walked away with nothing. I also visited an Asian grocery store that had an OK selection for people who were local (e.g., frozen foods, noodles, dried goods), but the snack selection was also pretty small, unless you are a huge mochi lover, I suppose….
On the way back to Geneva, my train was delayed for 30 minutes, and I missed my connection in Zurich. I went to the SBB help desk and was able to exchange my ticket for the next one in half an hour.
It was a pleasure to revisit Germany after five years. I definitely wished I had put more effort into speaking German, especially as I was trying to explain to this lady on the train that she was sitting in my reserved seat. On the other hand, I was surprised to find that I understood a decent amount of German through sheer osmosis. Living in Switzerland, when you visit a website for the first time, it automatically takes you to the German version. And when you’re on the train, all the announcements are made in German, French, etc. (Switzerland does speak its own varieties of Swiss-German, but for websites, letters and official business, they usually write in high German.)
I’m supposed to travel to Austria in a few weeks for work, so in the meantime I’ll try to brush up on my German and try not to be the annoying American tourist. Tschüss!