Munich, Germany, with Friends: Hofbrauhaus, BMW World, Viktualienmarkt and Olympiapark

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 Yes, I know it’s been a while since I posted a travel journal, but if you were really THAT into reading my stuff, you would have bought one of my latest books, either paperback or ebook, and be deep into that! I forgive you, but you really should go to my website and buy one. Right now.
I was honored with a mention in Ann Martin’s All Things Paper blog this month. Ann has been instrumental in my quilling and paper art endeavors. I was thrilled she wanted to post one of my photos on her blog.

On with the show. It’s been a year full of travel, I’m happy to report. And it isn’t slowing down, so there are lots of tales to come. Let me start in Munich, Germany, where my husband flew in for a visit in April and some great friends of ours from Florida met us there for four days. I don’t think we’ll ever be the same, and I might say the same about the city!

I met my husband James at the airport early on a Sunday and we took the train to the city center. First we had a breakfast of Weisswurst on Marienplatz, site of the famed Glockenspiel. Our friends Cyndie and Bram showed up later in the day after we’d checked into our hotel. We were all staying at the same place, the Hotel Schlicker, just off Marienplatz. Cyndie had found it online, and boy did we luck out! What a great place – I highly recommend it. One of these days I’ll write a review of it!

We visited the world famous Hofbrauhaus for lunch where we had traditional German food and beer. However, although you should go there if you find yourself in Munich just because you should never go to Munich without visiting it, I would recommend a different place for food and drink. Go to Zum Franziskaner instead. The food at Hofbrauhaus is so-so and the beer rather sucks compared to the really good German stuff. But it is a great experience! Here are some pictures from our visit:

Me with the tuba guy:

He wants her!

Possibly my favorite picture of the whole trip:

We roamed the city on foot. Bram turned out to be as interested in the language as I am – he especially found the word “Schmuck” entertaining. It’s pronounced “shmook” and means “jewelry.” Since there are plenty of jewelry stores around, it is easy to spot. It’s especially amusing because his wife Cyndie is a jewelry artist! Here’s a link to her website – it’s fantastic stuff and all original designs.

Bram also asked about the word “Rathaus.” No, it’s not a house for rats, but rather the German word for “courthouse.” He asked if maybe the English word “rat” evolved because of the association for lawyers and the legal system. Maybe! But here’s a pretty funny sign for the beer cellar (“keller”) in the basement of the courthouse:

A word that Cyndie and I learned while window-shopping in Munich: “Rochenleder.” It was on tags for purses, bracelets and other “Schmuck” that had a leathery, pebbled finish. We were told the word meant “fish leather.” Ew. Even my internet research didn’t turn up much except maybe eelskin or stingray leather. Either way…

In the evening we were wondering where to have a pre-dinner drink. James chose a small place called L’Aperitivo:

It turned out to be a fantastic find! It was a small Italian bar tended by a hot young thing named Marco. Here is Marco with my husband:

We returned to L’Aperitivo multiple times during our stay and always had the absolute BEST service! Marco introduced us to the spritz: a combination of Sekt (sparkling wine), sparkling water and Aperol. He called it “the new Campari.” It’s a beautiful drink served in a large wine glass. It’s translucent orange and quite delicious. It even has ice cubes, which is rare for Europe. I’ve since seen it all over the place in the town where I live. It’s all the rage!

The next day we visited BMW Welt, and James and Bram picked out their new cars/bikes:


Cyndie and I explored not only the cars but also the fascinating artwork in the place:

Can you believe that vase is actually made of rubber? It wobbles! While the guys salivated over the new BMW models, I photographed a delicious Steinway piano that was in the showroom along with the cars:



One of the highlights of the trip for me (pun intended) was having lunch that day in the revolving restaurant inside the Olympic Tower. The Olympic Park is right next door to the BMW place. It’s where the 1972 Olympics were held. We rode the world’s fastest, seriously, elevator 17 floors or so to the restaurant. It took a few seconds. The best part was the elevator guy – he was the most proud of his job out of anybody I’d ever seen!

From the restaurant, I photographed the BMW complex and the Olympic Park below. Here’s BMW:

Here’s Olympic Park:

Cyndie and I explored a wonderful little shop called Ojala around the corner from the hotel, halfway to Marco. It had a luxurious array of jewelry, bags, textiles, incense and trinkets from all over the world. The owner, Isabella, told us she travels herself to choose the items. She said it didn’t matter if they sold because she only bought things she wanted to own! I got myself a pashmina shawl, earrings and an incense burner. Cyndie acquired some fabulous jewelry and a batik shawl. We went there more than once, let me tell you!

Across the street from Ojala was an Indian restaurant called Garam Masala. We had dinner there. What wonderful food! Meticulously clean, the service was great and the food was phenomenal. The manager took his job just a bit seriously, but the result was a wonderful dining experience. We spent several hours in there – I think we closed the place!

At one point we visited the Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s famous open-air market. We strolled around there for a while and got a free sample of German brown bread and other morsels. There were legions of straw bunnies and Easter decorations in the stalls, in addition to the vegetables, fruit, cheese, wine, meat and just about every other thing you can imagine. I’m smiling just thinking about it!

Those are the highlights, folks. Aside from laughing and drinking lots of beer and spritzes, I think that’s all you need to know. Does that seem like only four days’ worth? Me, neither.

Stay tuned for my trip to Prague to visit my wild Czech friend in May!

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