Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hallo München!

I was lucky enough to have Jake visit me this past week and we took a weekend trip over to Munich to visit his aunt! The trip was a blur of bratwurst, potatoes, pretzels, and beer. Not a single vegetable was to be found with the exception of sauerkraut. It was quite an interesting culinary experience, but left me craving steamed broccoli and spinach like never before.

One of the first things I noticed about Munich was how clean it is, especially compared to Paris. There is no dog poop and very little trash, the sidewalks are nice and large, and the only smell on the streets is the pleasant one of beer and cooking pork. Jake's aunt said something along the lines of "everyone in Germany follows the rules," an idea that can be verified by the blatant lack of jaywalkers and the vast amount of bikers traveling safely in the bike-lanes next to cars and pedestrians.

Day 1 of our trip consisted solely of food. We started with currywurst (bratwurst with a spicy ketchup sauce) and fries as well as our first taste of German Helles beer. After a nap, we launched immediately into a dinner of five different pork and potatoes (knuckle, loin, knödel, spätzle) and beer followed by giant ice cream sundaes for dessert. One of the things about Germany that I could definitely get used to is their tendency to serve beer only in liters (steins) or half liters (half steins) and their idea of beer as being practically interchangeable with water. The sight of a person carrying a stein of beer and a gigantic foot-long pretzel into a beer garden on a Monday afternoon was as common as seeing someone with a glass of wine and a foot-long baguette in Paris.

On day 2, we hiked up to Kloster Andechs, a Benedictine monastery known for its brewery. The concept of hiking up a mountain to drink beer brewed by monks was exciting in and of itself, but the scenery along the hike was also gorgeous. It was great to witness the mountains of Munich transitioning from summer into fall.

Cutest puppy I've ever seen. It looked like a cross between a squirrel and a teddy bear.

On the final day Jake and I did some typical tourist things. We went to the Marienplatz and wacthed the Rathaus-Glockenspiel display at noon, ate wienerschnitzel, visited the Viktualienmarkt, and wandered around the Englischer Garten. At Jake's aunt's suggestion, we rented bikes and biked around the city with a paper map (how people did it before GPS and smart phones I guess, sadly a first for me). Biking in Munich was surprisingly easy and very fun, especially because the weather was cooperating and it wasn't bitterly cold. 

At the Englischer Garten, we saw a pond with ducks in it right when we biked in, so we stopped and fed them with our leftover giant pretzel. The ducks were extremely friendly and swam right up to us to eat out of our hands. It was a charming experience and probably my favorite moment of the trip.

Unfortunate placement resulted in a photo with the bright green construction crane at the Marienplatz.

A stall at the Viktualienmarkt

Surfers at the mouth of the Eisbach, the man-made brook that runs through the gardens.

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