I arrived in Ramstein Germany on 10 September '01. This is what my ride across the Atlantic, a C-17, looked like from the inside. Not fancy, but lots of legroom, and the price was right.
I spent the night recovering from jet lag and got on a train to Munich on 11 Sept, now known as 9-11. When I arrived in the Munich train station I saw a crowd of worried people underneath large television screens showing two skyscrapers on fire. Narration was in German and I didn't recognize the buildings, so I didn't have a clue what was going on. It wasn't until I checked into my room that I found out about the World Trade Center. My room had a TV with BBC News. I went to sleep watching the news.
The next day I verified that the dollar hadn't crashed, got an English language newspaper, and sent e-mails telling family I made it to Europe all right (something of a surprise since I was heading to Costa Rica). I then e-mailed friends to ask if anyone I knew might have been a victim in the Pentagon. I considered this unlikely but not impossible. I later learned I had no personal acquaintances among the casualties. I also let people know I could be reached by e-mail if anyone needed me. I was kind of hoping the Air Force would decide to recall recently retired officers, but I knew this was a long shot.
Having no idea how I might do anything useful, I looked for a cheaper room--the one I had cost 139 Marks or about $65. I got an adequate room in Pension Armin for 75 Marks, about $35. Not fancy at that price, but comfortable, safe, and convenient.
That reminds me, they don't use Marks anymore in Germany, they use Euros. If you divide the number of marks by two you will get about the right number for Euros. Since at the time I'm writing this the Euro is worth about $1, the dollar prices in these places are now about 10% more than what I paid.
After the e-mail I wandered around and took pictures. The first two are of the Neues Rathous--new town hall, and an interesting street, I don't remember where. The building in the third photo is very famous building that I can't remember the name of. I didn't take very good notes--sorry. The last picture is one of the many 9-11 memorials I saw in Germany and the Czech Republic in September.
The next many photos are of the Residenz, the palace of Bavarian rulers from the 14th to early 20th centuries. It is not too impressive from the outside, but the interior has some amazing rooms and works of art and craftsmanship. The Residenz went through many changes during its existence, then was bombed to bits in World War II. What stands now is a very good reconstruction. The last photo is of pictures of the buildings before reconstruction.
The last set of Munich pictures are of the Englisch Park. This is a huge park near central Munich with fields, trees, streams, ponds, meeting places, and all the other things a park in a world class city should have. It is really nice. The last picture is of a dog about six months old having a showdown with a swan that wouldn't back off. The pup was certain that all birds should panic and do entertaining things when he barked at them. The swan had other ideas and frustrated the naive pup to no end.
I checked out of the pension on 14 September after paying for a room during Oktoberfest. The best thing about Pension Armin was that they did not take reservations for the days of Oktoberfest, but did allow me to pre-pay for a three day weekend, October 4 to 6, for 240 Marks, about $110 for all three days. If you've ever tried to get a cheap room in central Munich a few weeks before Oktoberfest, you know it isn't easy. I was pleased. From Munich I headed towards the Czech border.