I have been looking forward to today for over a week now! Before our trip, Bob and I were discussing how great it would be to see Allianz Arena while we were in Munich, which got the whole ball rolling. I emailed Arielle asking her how much free time we would have in Munich after our city tour, and she said we should have plenty of time! I am a huge soccer fan – I grew up playing FIFA with my brothers and father, as well as watching all the Euros, World Cups, and Champion’s Leagues. Bayern Munich has always been one of the teams I looked up to, especially when they won the Champions League in 2013 (although I will never forgive them for letting go of Mario Mandžukić). So, getting to see Allianz Arena is a dream come true. The fact that the last match of the Bundesliga (Bayern Munich v. Stuttgart) was scheduled on the day we were to tour Munich made it even better!
We started our day off by heading to the train station again, where we caught the first train to Munich. At one point during the ride, I was given a message to get off the car and walk to the next one (I think it was an attempt to find seats), and to pass it along. Sure enough, at the next stop I saw the group exiting the car, so I followed and ran to the next one. The worst imaginable situation occurred – the cars closed, and the train took off. We were separated from Sonja and Dr. Feick, the two people who held our tickets and knew how to navigate around. At the end of the day we could all laugh about it, but in the moment, everyone was confused and panicked. No worries though, we finally caught up with Sonja and Dr. Feick and continued our journey to Munich.
The moment we stepped off the train and into the station, we were surrounded by swarms of red and white Bayern Munich jerseys! 25 for Müller, 7 for Ribéry, 5 for Hummels, 9 for Lewandowski, and so on. There were even specks of Stuttgart jerseys thrown in the mix.
We finally met up with our tour guide, who showed us all around Marienplatz, the central square of Munich. It was one of the most beautiful cities I had ever seen. Unlike Regensburg, Munich was littered with more modern and upcoming attractions as well as preserving its traditional European touch. Our tour guide even described for us what traditional lederhosen and dirndl look like, as well as showing us a display in a shop. I love how both lederhosen and dirndl are starting to make a comeback – I would have bought myself a dirndl if it wasn’t so expensive! Since the guide told us they are for life, maybe I will next time I find myself in Bavaria. For now, my eyes were still set on the prize – a Bayern Munich jersey.
13:00 could not come sooner. My heart was racing from seeing all the bars filled with avid sports fans and from the seas of red made up of jerseys. Bob was afraid I would actually have a heart attack before I got to the stadium. Once the time came, we hailed a taxi to Allianz Arena, which is actually isolated from the rest of the city. It took approximately twenty-five minutes to get there from Marienplatz. The moment we arrived a huge spout of energy came rushing over me. There is nothing like it! Allianz Arena is unlike any other stadium – it is covered in plastic panels that change color depending on the match (it lights up red when Bayern Munich is playing at home). There is nothing like being amongst the German fans before the match, either. Bob and I got to hang out on the patio behind the stadium and mingle around with the fans, who were all cheering, singing, clapping, and at one point formed a crowd that began chanting a German cheer (I assume). I asked Bob his prediction for the outcome of the game, and he said 3-1. It was a decent guess, I thought somewhere maybe around 2-1. We even heard the first goal being scored because the entire arena erupted with cries of happiness. It was safe to assume Bayern scored. Again, I felt a (metaphorical) heart attack coming. Really, there was no experience like it. After a few hours, we decided to head back to the city center and browse around before dinner. I finally bought myself the jersey I had been dreaming of – a Mats Hummels (#5) home jersey! I promptly put it on and joined the pool of Bayern fans around Marienplatz. After shopping, Bob and I walked back to the fountain where we met with the rest of the group who complimented me on jersey. Alan asked if I knew the result of the game, and I told him the last I heard it was 1-0 for Bayern. He looked at me and informed that Bayern had actually lost4-1. I was exasperated, to say the least. Bob had to reassure me that Bayern still won the Bundesliga and they probably were not too keen on winning this last game, since it did not affect them much. I hate to say he was right, but he was right.
Once the group reconvened, we started our walk to a burger restaurant for dinner. My legs were still angry with me for climbing up the Münster yesterday, so I would have much rather preferred to take a taxi but talking about soccer en route helped shorten the walk. The menu seemed unconventional, the burgers were not typical burgers you would see at an American restaurant. I wish I would have ventured out a bit out of my comfort zone, but I stuck to a traditional burger that was just as appetizing.
I am sorry that this blog post is extremely long, but today was just too amazing to not talk about. Before I thought this day could not get better – it did. On the train ride back to Augsburg, I was standing next to four older men (between their 50s-60s), one who was wearing not just one, but twoBayern Munich jerseys, and the other three donning Stuttgart shirts. They were commenting on my Hummels jersey (which, yes, I was still wearing), and how Stuttgart is the best team in the league. Jokingly, I replied it was the best just for the day. They seemed to enjoy my company as I enjoyed theirs, and they even handed me two Bayern Munich stickers! I gave one to Bob since he joined me on my visit to the stadium. Then, the men pulled out drinks and tried handing me one! They really wanted me to celebrate with them, but I politely told them I would have to decline. Once we arrived in Ausburg, they started screaming “Bayern!” and “Mats Hummels!” to get my attention so they could wish me a good rest of my stay in Germany. Arielle and Bob were amazed at my ability to make friends anytime we were on any form of public transportation.
As you could tell, my day was beyond exciting and filled with entertainment. So much so, that I passed out from a nap the moment my body hit my bed. I was still wearing my jersey.
As Bayern Munich fans say, mia san mia!