Saturday in Munich dawned bright and beautiful, perfect for a run through The English Gardens. Created in 1789 and with an area of 3.7 km2 it is larger than Central Park ! It’s called The English Garden because of its informal landscape arrangement distinguishing it from the more formal French gardens of the day. Man made streams and waterfalls flow through the gardens and in one of these streams there is a standing wave produced by a water pumping mechanism. It is here that surfers line up along the bank taking turns entering the water with their boards. According to the notice only experienced surfers should attempt it. I know very little about surfing but I suspect the dudes down at Muizenberg might roll their eyes a little at calling this surfing but it is apparently well known and very popular.
The atmosphere is lovely with people walking their dogs, catching the sun’s rays, cycling, running, pushing strollers or chasing toddlers. I even watched enviously as one lass rode her horse across the meadow. Everywhere there are benches and cafes selling water, snacks, and of course beer! In Germany it is permissable to drink beer wherever. After our run we sat in the sun for a bit and then headed back home. Ann and Pierre had a big afternoon planned at The Allianz Arena, home ground of FC Bayern Munich. I suspected Ann might come back hoarse.
While they went off I set about finding a laundromat. Not the most exciting way to spend an afternoon but it gave me time to mull over some of the surprises and points of interest I had noted arriving in Munich.
Firstly there is the mystery of how Münchners stay so normal sized on a diet that seems to consist entirely of sausages, bread, potatoes and beer. I suspect part of the answer is they seem to cycle everywhere within the city. (Also lots of runners) which brought me to the next mystery. We had been quite amazed that the apparently law abiding citizens kept cycling on the sidewalks. Turns out that in fact most of the sidewalks have cycle paths connecting to the cycle lanes on the road. Oops. Rather than them riding on our sidewalks, we’d been walking in their cycle lanes. And then while I know this is the land of sausage and lederhosen, I have to admit I didn’t expect to find quite do much of either. OK so as a vegetarian I may have underestimated the call of the sausage… (quite scary is that I did not see one pig! Where does the mystery meat come from I wondered) but that so many, including teens would voluntarily don traditional garb came as a big surprise. It takes a special kind of man to look, well manly, never mind sexy in lederhosen. …should I ever see such a man I will definitely take a photo for posterity. However it did add to the authenticity of this part of Bavaria.
My two footie fans returned and while the game was mediocre, from all accounts the experience was incredible and all the shopping in the Bayern Munich mega store had built up an appetite. So off we went to find a restaurant that had been recommended to us. Andescher Am Dom.
Andescher Am Dom with its red awning, chairs and umbrellas was easy enough to find but would we find a seat? it was clearly very popular and people piled out onto the street. We need not have worried as we squeezed our way into the warm foyer, we were very quickly and professionally guided to a table in the corner where another couple were sitting. The cosy fit was not a problem in this chilly weather, and I am always delighted to meet new people so sharing a table didn’t worry me either, and our dining companions were a lovely couple. More importantly, the food and service were top notch, friendly and fast. As a vegetarian I was delighted to find my options broader than sauerkraut and potato salad. My mom in law and I enjoyed a lovely cream of asparagus soup (it is asparagus season) which I then followed mine up with a delicious, fresh green salad generously sprinkled with seeds. We asked this all down with a couple of glasses of their Andescher beer. I would highly recommend visiting this restaurant if ever in Munich.
The monastery, the exclusive property of the Benedictine monks of St Boniface, with a history dating back more than a thousand years, is set atop a hill in the midst of the Bavarian countryside. It also forms part of the santiago de compostela pilgrimage route. There are two ways to get to the Andechs Abbey and it’s adjoining beer halls and garden, by bus or by foot. We chose the latter, doing a mini pilgrimage of our own through the quaint little village of Herschinger nestled at the foot of the abbey. From there it was about a 3km hike on a dirt path through the most breathtakingly beautiful forest. I believe I even saw a hoopoo bird. The path is most definitely mostly uphill with the last bit notably steep but we did it, with an occasional pause to take in the view (Not beause we needed a rest!) Lush, green rolling meadows on one side and the forest on the other this as much as the hike took our breathe away. It was a cool day with occasional drizzles which did nothing to detract from the beauty.
In fact there is nothing cosier than sitting inside a steamy beer hall, tummy filled with beer, sauerkraut and pretzels while watching the rain fall down on the bucolic scene outside the large windows. In fact I was in serious danger of dozing off after awhile. I found the apple beer particularly yummy and amused myself by noting the considerable amount of folk, of all ages, dressed in traditional garb. Considering the quantity of beer consumed and my lazy feeling we decided to take the bus back to the station to get back to Munich city centre.
Once back “home” in Munich and after allowing enough time for the fermentation process no doubt taking place in our stomachs post all the beer and sauerkraut to finish, it was time to get some dinner. The Holy Burger was just up the road and, for this vegetarian / cheagan it was indeed a blessed discovery as they have a generous amount of vegetarian and vegan options options. Thus ended our last day and night in Munich.