Saturday, July 26

We headed to the train station (the "Bahnhof") early this morning so that we could have a full day in Munich. It took about one hour from Marktoberdorf and the scenery along the way was quite lovely-rolling hills dotted with small villages and pastures. Each village could be clearly identified from a distance by its church steeple and classic green Bavarian domed top.

I recalled the layout of the Munich train station from having been there with my father. It was well organized and exceptionally clean. We immediately found a bookstore with books in English (we needed to purchase a guide to Munich) as well as the station's water closet (bathroom). The kids were interested to learn that many travelers actually take showers in the train station. We were impressed that the facilities were extremely clean and set up like a salon. We all had a chuckle when we saw that women and men were charged different prices for the type of toilet they needed!

We left the train station and headed toward Marienplatz-considered the old town center. The neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (new town hall) towers in this square and we enjoyed watching the Glockenspiel (clock with wooden puppets) which played at 11 AM to the delight of many people who had gathered. Although there were many tourists to see this short display, we felt there were not many tourists in the other places we visited. We were able to mingle among the local people in the parks, outdoor market and beer gardens. There was also a movie being filmed in Marienplatz and we had fun watching the numerous takes.

We spent over an hour wandering through the Viktualienmrkt open outdoor markets and were surprised to see locals not only making purchases at the numerous butchers, bakeries and fruit/vegetable stands but also many eating bratwurst and drinking beer at 10AM! We enjoyed our first German brew and bratwurst here as well but waited until noon.

We continued to stroll through the old town and visited several of the old churches including St. Peter's or Peterskirche, Heiliggeistkirche and Frauenkirche. These churches were different from the churches we had visited in other areas-the outside and inside architecture was simpler. Several included Bavarian domes and the insides were bright and airy.

We spent the afternoon walking in the Englisher Garten-a large park in the city with a stream and lake, areas for picnics, and open lawns for sun bathing (to our surprise, many people sunbathe in the nude!), and beer gardens. There were also people biking, playing soccer and bowling (what we call "bocce ball") in the park. The kids enjoyed renting a paddle boat on the lake and eating in the beer garden. We were easily amused by the large number of Germans drinking huge mugs of beer and some singing at the tops of their lungs. We had a wonderful, very large and freshly baked pretzel, grilled ribs, chicken and of course beer in the park for dinner. We didn't order any "fish on a stick"! David and Katie got a chance to sip their first beer and decided they liked wine better! They have been tasting the wine we have at dinner (like traditional European children) and seem to have taken a liking to red wine already.

At dinner we discussed how impressed we were of the Germans we have met so far and of Munich. We have found everyone to be friendly and helpful-often going out of their way to assist us. They laugh kind-heartedly at our attempts to speak German but most know at least some English. The city feels small compared to Paris or London (and in reality is much smaller)-easily walked, with relatively little traffic congestion. Everyone (including pedestrians) follow traffic signals. Almost everyone appears to ride a bike and use them less for recreation and more to just get around. The streets, subways, parks and even public bathrooms were exceptionally clean. We feel quite comfortable and safe.


Before leaving Munich, we had large ice cream cones in celebration of Steve's 43rd birthday. The train home again was graced by a beautiful sunset over the small Bavarian villages. When we arrived in our hotel, a German wedding was taking place and traditional fireworks set off. It was a fun way to end the day. ~Paula









"Katie's Komments!"

And the topic for today is…. *City Life in Munich*

We noticed many interesting things about city life in Munich, many of which are different from U.S. city life.


- Many people ride their bikes with children on busy streets - no helmets!
- There are lots of means of transportation ranging from taxis to carriages pulled by professional bicyclists. They looked awesome!
- There are tons of Catholic churches, all different from one another.
- People seem more laid back - no one is in a rush.
- People like to sunbathe in parks nude!
- People spend lots of time at beer gardens, purchasing enormous mugs of beer. We saw some men dancing in traditional German cloths and singing loudly. It was quite the scene!
- The sidewalks and streets are incredibly clean and comfortable to walk on. There are also several trash bins with separate sections for different materials.
- It is a very livable and relatively easy place to live. The people are very kind and helpful.
- There are many different outdoor markets from which people get their food instead of grocery stores. I would love going to one of these for food!
- The population wasn't as diverse as it is in many U.S. cities. We also didn't notice many touristy places or people.

Highlights of the Day:

Katie - Watching the drunk men dance and sing on the tables, going on the paddle boat and attacking the ducks, and going to bed!

Mom - Dancing with Katie to the oompah band in the park, watching the peple ride bikes, and viewing the small villages from the train window.

Steve - Watching people in the beer gardens, walking through the open markets, and walking through the Old City and parks.

David - Watching a movie being filmed in the Marienplatz, and riding the paddle boats.

I hope you learned a lot from today's edition. Be sure look for tomorrow's reflections in … "Katie's Komments!"

Distance Walked: 7.44 miles












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