by Melinda Gallo

Only one pretzel, not two!

After breakfast at our hotel in Oberschlei▀heim, we took a taxi to our other hotel in Munich (in the Lehel) area. We assumed the taxi would be expensive since the taxi we took from the airport to the hotel was around 40 Euros. We were happily surprised to find out that the taxi only cost us 22 Euros. We immediately walked outside in the snow and went directly downtown to get clothes for the snow. We were not prepared for snowy sidewalks and a chilly breeze.

Living in Florence :: Only one pretzel, not two!

We walked to Marienplatz (in the picture I took it was much later in the day) and the streets were crowded with people shopping and drinking beer and Gluehwein (mulled wine) in the streets. Even though the weather was cold, there were lots of people outside all bundled up.

We had lunch at a beer house, filled with Germans and smoke. We ate sausages, sauerkraut, and potatoes. The woman spoke no English, but we got what we ordered since our menus were in English. At the end of our meal, we asked for the check by my writing on my hand in the air to her. She showed up and took my credit card. As she left, I wondered what I was going to be paying for. She came back and said, "Two pretzels?" (in German) and I said, "No, one pretzel." She looked at me and said, "OK, two pretzels." And I repeated myself, "Nein! Ein pretzel." (No, one pretzel!) She walked off and when I got the bill, I checked it again to make sure it was only for one.

We got back outside and bought boots that we could wear in the snow without freezing our toes off and without slipping around on the sidewalk. I got a scarf and Dave got gloves. We were still cold, but a bit better prepared.

We met up with Dave's Italian teacher, Marco, who moved to Munich a few months ago to learn German. He brought along an American friend, Bob, who lives in Munich with his German girlfriend. We went to a Bavarian beer hall to get something to eat. We were handed menus in German (and no, they didn't have them in English).

The buxom waitress was nice to us and we just picked things off the menu with our limited knowledge of German. We knew the main things, like veal and pork, but it all looked pretty foreign to us. Dave just picked randomly as did Marco and I. Bob picked the same dish he said he always gets, so that was easy.

Our dishes were delicious. Marco and I ordered the same dish and realized that it must have been turkey, just by the big bones. I ordered Kaiserschmarrn, which is like a pancake with raisins fried in butter with powdered sugar on top. It was a big enough dessert for us four to eat!

We called our waitress over to pay and she brought over a bill for 109 Euros. Since we were each paying our part, Bob went first and listed off what he ate. "And a pretzel?" she asked. And he said that he did eat one even though he didn't, but Dave and I shared one. His bill was about 20 Euros. Then, Marco listed off what he had and she said, "And a pretzel?" Marco being non-confrontational, just said, "Yeah, OK." He paid about 22 Euros. Then, I realized that our bill would be about 67 Euros, which I found hard to believe since we didn't eat that much. I told the waitress what we ordered and again she asked me if we ate a pretzel. I said, "No." She looked at me and I still repeated, "Nein." As we were paying our bill of 44 Euros (which wasn't close to the remaining amount), Bob told her that the bill was wrong. At least that's what we assumed he said since she looked back at him with razor-eyes, slammed her hands on the table, and talked over us and directly at him. From what we could make out, she made it clear that she's been doing this work for years and she doesn't make mistakes. I'm assuming also that she was insulted by someone trying to accuse her of cheating us, even though we did end up paying for an extra pretzel! She told him that the bill she had included the beers from the guys that we were sharing a table with. It's true that between the two men that were there, they had about 11 beers, but still, it's odd that the bill had them on there too.

She continued to yell at Bob and we all felt a little smaller. Bob responded, "Danke sch÷n." a few times and smiled. He was the first to get up, get his coat on, and head for the door. We got up and walked out behind him. When we got outside, Bob told us that in many restaurants in Munich, they try to make people pay for pretzels that they don't eat. I realized that at lunch that's what happened. She wanted us to pay for a second one even though we only had one.

After spending the entire day outside, we decided to call it an early night. We've got more to see tomorrow!

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