european adventures: munich, germany

Germany was a lovely oasis of pastel-colored buildings, sausages, parks, and beer (which I only started liking in Amsterdam--convenient timing). I fell in love with it very quickly. I am currently dreaming about when I am reunited with my sewing machine and able to make myself a dirndl... 

The gardens were such a treat. There are fewer greater pleasures than walking around a good park. The Englischer Garten was so wonderful because of its natural beauty, only altered by a path and some bridges. We saw a large class of at least fifty people doing some kind of exercise, which made me really happy. Also, dogs. Dogs always. 

We escaped the city for a trip to the medieval village Rothenburg and the Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen, which only made my love deepen. 
We were lucky once again to stay with someone we knew--this time a friend on the LC Munich program who was sweet enough to let us sleep on his floor with a mattress and sleeping bag. It worked out surprisingly well, and I put my travel pillow to good use and challenged my usual OCD about beds (a bed is a sanctuary, guys). I loved having a "local" (he has been there for the entire school year) show us around and translate for us. We definitely avoided some glares by having a German-speaker with us.  That was nice. 
We didn't go to any museums in Munich, but we did see some fantastic churches and they were even free!  I love when fantastic and free are in the same sentence. My favorite was the Asamkerk. It was definitely the most impressive church I have ever been in. Apparently the brothers who built it lived next door and used it as a "model church" for perspective commissioners to view all the tricks they had up their sleeves. 
Germany knows a lot about two of the most magical things in the world--castles and Christmas. We went to three beautiful castles/palaces, including Schloss Nymphenberg, the Munchen Residence, and Schloss Neuschwanstein. My favorite gardens were at Nymphenberg. There were classical statues and perfectly plotted flowers that led up to a lake with swans and I found a lovely bench--a little further back from the installed green ones--that I'd like to think was original. I like finding places where time goes away and you could be in that place hundreds of years ago or hundreds of years in the future and it would feel about the same in essence. 

King Ludwig's castle nestled in the mountains of Fussen, Schloss Neuschwanstein, was the inspiration for the Disneyland castle and yeah, it was pretty magical. However, the most magical part of the castle was the fact that we ran into our friend Colin from school just as we left our cab. We literally crossed paths! We were originally going to go to the castle a day before, but fate had another thing in mind. From that encounter I also solved all of my housing woes! What a serendipitous day. The views were incredible. I definitely wouldn't mind living in that castle, surrounded by mountains of green and furnished in such a cozy moody-broody way. I couldn't help but dream of how I would decorate the castle for Christmas and throw a lavish dinner party...
Oh yeah, CHRISTMAS. Ted and I went to the medieval village of Rothenburg for a day and it was so lovely and full of Christmas stores. We walked around the village, the gardens, and soaked up the views. In the garden I took a picture of a couple from near Seattle! Starting to miss Portland, man... We saw a lot of adorable little houses and a pretty cathedral, but I have to admit, the Christmas stores were my favorite (even though waking up the next morning realizing it wasn't Christmastime was a little painful). The Germans sure know how to do Christmas. Also,random torrential    rainstorms--we got hit with a one right as we approached the train station to go back to Munich. Ted braved the storm to get me a hot chocolate a few yards away from shelter. He's a keeper. 
I ate a lot of bratwurst, bread, and dumplings (savory and sweet). A lot. I don't think I should be allowed to live in Germany or I would turn into a lumpy knodle... But I guess that would be okay if I could spend my days swimming around warm gravy. GRAVY!!!

However, the greatest food discovery was definitely the white asparagus. They are everywhere in the Viktualienmarkt, the food market near Marienplatz, the main square with the "new" town hall. We saw them at every veggie stand, looking like albino versions of the asparagus we are familiar with. Creamy asparagus soup is a dream that I want realized at least once a week during spring. Another dream: balls of dough fried and covered with powdered sugar on a cold day at Neuschwanstein

Another dreamy German food, or should I say, condiment: mustard. I had always avoided mustard until Ted took me to a Jewish deli in Portland (Kenny & Zuke's) and had me try a pastrami sandwich with mustard. After Germany, I am now a full-fledged mustard fan. I never thought this possible. I also never thought it possible I would willingly go two days without showering, but here we are. Traveling does things to a girl.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

"or I would turn into a lumpy knodle" YOU ARE SO CUTE

also white asparagus sounds very interesting but I am intrigued

KAYLIE I have been stalking your adventures through Facebook so hard.