Let’s Go to Germany! (Part 3: The Legend of Zimmer Elf)

[This is the last of a three-part post.]

Donnerstag, March 16. Last full day in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.On the Wank

The diary reports the day was spent “in dissatisfaction”—things “went screwy.” I was packed into a car with Blake and his buddy Mitchell, and driven by Blake’s exchange father (Herr Weiderman, whom he called his “Vati,”), for a cable car trip up Zugspitze, followed by a two-hour walk around the Eibsee. It was a beautiful day, but exhausting all the same.

After dropping Mitchell off with his family, I spent the rest of the day with the Weidermans, having tea and snacks with another upscale German family. Later I was whisked back to the Hutts’, where we ate supper and ended the night watching Alex Haley’s Roots on TV.

My beautiful pictureFriday dawned with fresh snow on the ground and a clear, blue sky above. I took a hot bath and packed up, then got to the Rathaus at 10 a.m.—everyone taking pictures (photo, left to right, Blake, his German “Mutti,” Herr and Frau Hutt, Stephan) and, as the diary reports, everyone “laughed, cried, and said many goodbyes. It was a good, sad morning. I was leaving Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Barbara, who I didn’t really know, and, as [a] dumbshit writer like me would say, all its unfulfilled hopes and dreams.”

A quick overnight stop-off in Innsbruck—where Wayne and I hiked a mountainside path with champagne we’d bought, taking pulls off the bottle as we went—the bus then headed north to Munich. However while in Innsbruck I’d gotten to know more of the Fridley group: Mitch and Blake, Teresa and Jean, Jeff, “Little Bob,” Denise and Debbie, Carla, Jim and a crazy kid named “Wildman.” A coterie had formed after our first night away from Garmisch, after there’d been an epic party in Room 11 while staying in Innsbruck. I’d missed out on it (likely recovering from the champagne hike) but it became legend as the tour went from Munich, Regensburg, Rotenberg, Würzberg and back to Frankfurt. At every overnight stop, the code word for “party” became “Zimmer Elf.”

We spent three days in Munich, staying at the Hilton and touring the old part of town, taking in restaurants and discos, and the Deutsches Museum. But the highlight was a Zimmer Elf trip to the Hofbräuhaus on Sunday, March 19. “We marched up to that Hofbräuhaus so merrily, and so it’s funny how almost everyone got totally sloshed in less than two hours.” Wildman downed liters of “Dunkel bier,” Mitch spilled his and recovered—the two of us eventually talking to some Irish guys about the state of world politics.ConnorsAuto

Back at the Hilton, the big news was Lee Marvin and Mike Connors were in the house, filming Avalanche Express with Robert Shaw, Linda Evans and Maximilian Schell. We were determined to get autographs. On Monday night, Wildman made it happen: “Wildman, Wayne and I went to Mr. Connors’ suite and Wildman knocked on the door. Mr. Connors answered…Wayne and Wildman took pictures of each of us with Mike Connors. Mr. Connors was real nice and funny.” I even had him sign one of my notebooks (above right).

Caine_John_CITDMarch 22 was our last night in Munich, so the party started at a disco and ended back at the hotel with Zimmer Elf bringing beer, pop and pretzels. One of our tour leaders, John Caine (pictured at left) celebrated his 27th birthday that night, so we all chipped in and bought him a huge drinking stein. I’d been dancing a lot with Denise’s friend Debbie, and we did some slow dancing that last night in Munich.

Two more days in Europe, and we’d be flying back to the U.S. on Friday, March 24. Zimmer Elf’s final blowout was at the Hotel Strauss in Würzberg—Wildman “belting down the brew” and Debbie and I making out. I really try to not editorialize here but that had to make for one ludicrous picture.

Our plane flew out at 12:30 p.m. Munich time and, accounting for time changes, landed in Minneapolis around 2:30 or so. It was slow getting through Customs, but Mom and Brian were there to pick me up at the airport—with many questions about the trip and lots of talk. Once home, I was so exhausted “I went right to sleep…”

“I’ll swear it was a dream…”

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~ by completelyinthedark on January 18, 2013.

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