Sunday, July 22, 2012

Le Grand Tour: Munich

Dan and I began Le Grand Tour in Munich, landing with the boys after barely making our connection at Heathrow. Our flight from San Francisco was delayed because the system was down and boarding passes were being entered manually, or something like that...so after landing we ran to the gate and literally were the last ones on the plane. The boys' luggage made it to Munich, but Dan's did not...this is why I always carry on. Luckily the boys were nice enough to lend Dan some essentials, and we set out for dinner at a biergarten near the hotel.

Carol & Dan
I'm in Europe!

We sat outside, and there were lots of people watching the Eurocup match on the big screen. I had my first Radler...beer mixed with lemonade...the first of many...also my first Bavarian pretzel...and spaetzle, of course. Dan's meaty dinner included a giant potato dumpling that was delicious, and fragrant red cabbage with applesauce and juniper...yum! The portions were huge. I was so excited to be in Europe that I forgot to take photos of our meal.

After a fitful night of sleep (darn jet lag), the next morning we took the U-Bahn to Marienplatz. We arrived to find a race in progress...lots of runners...and the Glockenspiel!

Glockenspiel
Glockenspiel

We had breakfast overlooking the square, where I saw runners and lots of bicycles. And we had our first kaiserschmarrn, a delicious buttery pancake studded with raisins and served with applesauce.

Boys at breakfast
Ready for breakfast

It was Sunday so all the shops were closed. I saw bolts of felted wool in beautiful colors in one shop window...I suppose we'll have to go back someday. We headed toward the Munich Residenz & Treasury, which was undergoing renovation. There was construction everywhere, which we noticed in all the countries we visited...and usually the covers over the scaffolding were decorated, which I thought was a nice touch...also it is very clean in Munich. We looked at the baubles in the Treasury and then toured the rooms of the palace.

Spatenhaus
A bike tour in front of Spatenhaus

Munich Residenz
Classy building coverings

Dan in the chapel
Dan in the chapel

Chapel
Chapel

After stopping for a refreshment, we walked to the Deutsches Museum, but I vetoed going inside...the place was massive, and it was a beautiful day outside. So we walked along the Isar River...along some stretches there was sand, where people were lounging along the banks. Then we took the U-Bahn to Englischer Garten...it is huge! We saw so many people relaxing on the grass, and tightrope walking seemed to be very popular. We even saw taiko drummers. Dan and I got ice cream, and we saw some German geese. Lots of people were riding bikes, and I wanted to rent one, but we didn't see any bike rentals.

Isar River
Isar River

Ice cream in Englischer Garten
Ice cream in Englischer Garten

German geese
German geese

Eventually we made our way back to Marienplatz to see the Glockenspiel in action. (On the way we passed the Greek festival, where we saw a polka band perform! Bavarians seem to be a very happy people, at least on a Sunday in summer.) The glockenspiel show was very charming, and the animatronic figures were surprisingly real. After the show, we wandered over to Hofbrauhuas...it is an enormous beer hall. The tables outside were occupied, so we ate dinner al fresco elsewhere. Pretzels and cheesy noodles (spaetzle), yum! And a Radler, of course. (I think I had a Radler with nearly every meal in Germany and Austria.)  Then we had apple fritters and another kaiserschmarrn for dessert. An excellent first day! Munich is lovely.


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