Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oktoberfest 2009

We've been prepping for months. Thomas has not allowed any wine to be imbibed in the house. Only beer. All beer. All the time. In mugs. Granted relatively small mugs in comparison to the Maß (meaning "measure") liter-sized mugs we will be drinking at Oktoberfest but it's akin to starting with a 1 lb. weight and working your way up. First, a little history courtesy of Wikipedia - because there is an actual premise behind Ofest. It wasn't created just to justify guzzling massive quantities of beer.

Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival held each year in Munich, Germany, running from late September to early October. It is the world's largest fair with over six million people attending every year, and is an important part of Bavarian culture. Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. The festival is held on an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called d’ Wesn for short. Visitors eat huge amounts of traditional hearty fare such as Hendlchicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Haxn (knuckle of pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödeln (potato or bread dumplings), Kaasspotznpotato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction) and Weisswurst (a white sausage). The original Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to commemorate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburfhausen (namesake of Theresienwiese).

Alas, the marriage was not to be a happy one. Turns out Luddy was a bit of a player. I know that's hard to believe what with that styling hairdo pictured to the left. But throw in a few country houses, some jewels and an unlimited clothing allowance and dude was smokin! Ludwig's most scandalous affair was with Lola Montez who was not only significantly younger, a mere dancer but also gasp! of Spanish/Irish decent. Apparently she was a first-class beatch to boot.Did you ever hear the saying, "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets." Yeah, that's Lola on the right there.
Anyway, back to Ofest. We were psyched that our friends Trudy and Mark made the trip in to celebrate with us. Our friends, Julika, Aldo and their son Vladi were also in Munich visiting family so we had lots of great company. Since we didn't have tent reservations, we went during the day when it is a lot less crowded. Good call because we actually got a seat, instant service and halfway decent air quality.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Welcome Home Honey

Thomas enters the door after a long, hard day at work and I greet him. No, not with cocktail in hand and freshly applied lipstick. With homework in hand and crazy hair held together in a pencil bun.

Me: This makes absolutely no sense. (Waving papers frantically.) Can you please explain to me why you go "IN the work" but you go "TO the supermarket?" Why do you live "IN Holzstrasse" and not "ON Holzstrasse?" And why for the love of all that is sacred do the genders have to change more often than Cher at a comeback concert?

Thomas: Hi.

Me: Do you know I spent two whole hours trying to figure out what the difference is between "I gave Peter the book" and "He gave it (the book) to me"?

Thomas: Are you going to hit me?

Me: Hit you? How can I possibly hit you? I'd never be able to conjugate the verb "hit" correctly so what would be the point?

Feel my pain - which verb form of HIT (schlagen) would YOU pick????

Indikativ PräsensIndikativ PräteritumIndikativ Futur I
ich schlageich schlugich werde schlagen
du schlägstdu schlugstdu wirst schlagen
er schlägter schluger wird schlagen
sie schlägtsie schlugsie wird schlagen
es schlägtes schluges wird schlagen
wir schlagenwir schlugenwir werden schlagen
ihr schlagtihr schlugtihr werdet schlagen
sie schlagensie schlugensie werden schlagen
Indikativ PerfektIndikativ PlusquamperfektIndikativ Futur II
ich habe geschlagenich hatte geschlagenich werde geschlagen haben
du hast geschlagendu hattest geschlagendu wirst geschlagen haben
er hat geschlagener hatte geschlagener wird geschlagen haben
sie hat geschlagensie hatte geschlagensie wird geschlagen haben
es hat geschlagenes hatte geschlagenes wird geschlagen haben
wir haben geschlagenwir hatten geschlagenwir werden geschlagen haben
ihr habt geschlagenihr hattet geschlagenihr werdet geschlagen haben
sie haben geschlagensie hatten geschlagensie werden geschlagen haben
Konjunktiv I PräsensKonjunktiv I PerfektKonjunktiv I Futur I
ich schlageich habe geschlagenich werde schlagen
du schlagestdu habest geschlagendu werdest schlagen
er schlageer habe geschlagener werde schlagen
sie schlagesie habe geschlagensie werde schlagen
es schlagees habe geschlagenes werde schlagen
wir schlagenwir haben geschlagenwir werden schlagen
ihr schlagetihr habet geschlagenihr werdet schlagen
sie schlagensie haben geschlagensie werden schlagen
Konjunktiv II PräteritumKonjunktiv II PlusquamperfektKonjunktiv II Futur I
ich schlügeich hätte geschlagenich würde schlagen
du schlügestdu hättest geschlagendu würdest schlagen
er schlügeer hätte geschlagener würde schlagen
sie schlügesie hätte geschlagensie würde schlagen
es schlügees hätte geschlagenes würde schlagen
wir schlügenwir hätten geschlagenwir würden schlagen
ihr schlügetihr hättet geschlagenihr würdet schlagen
sie schlügensie hätten geschlagensie würden schlagen
Konjunktiv I Futur IIKonjunktiv II Futur IIPartizip & Imperativ
ich werde geschlagen habenich würde geschlagen habenschlagend
du werdest geschlagen habendu würdest geschlagen habengeschlagen
er werde geschlagen habener würde geschlagen habenschlage, schlag
sie werde geschlagen habensie würde geschlagen habenschlagen wir
es werde geschlagen habenes würde geschlagen habenschlagt
wir werden geschlagen habenwir würden geschlagen habenschlagen Sie
ihr werdet geschlagen habenihr würdet geschlagen haben
sie werden geschlagen habensie würden geschlagen haben

Get my point? I did however manage to learn the word for gun cuz' momma' has a feeling she's going to be needing one real soon. Just in case you are curious, it is die Waffe or die Pistole. Both feminine nouns. Interesting that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Feldmoching Marder Strikes!

So, waaaay back when I was trying to get a handle on moving to Germany, I was glued to the Internet trying to find out anything and everything about Feldmoching, the town in which I would be living. I found one thing. One. And this is that link. Feldmoching did not bode well for BMW's which I promptly pointed out to Thomas. And yet, here we are.

What is a marder? A marder is faster than a speeding S-Bahn train. A marder crawls into spaces molecules find to be a tight fit. A marder is stealthier than 007 squared. Marders are everywhere. Always. What do marders do? Eat. Sleep. Nest. Oh yeah, and eat through car wires and hoses. Lots. All at once. They are greedy little fuzzers. Marders are widely purported to have summer homes on Lake Fasanarie and have developed a taste for the finer things in life. Why snack on a Skoda when there's a BMW in the neighborhood?

Thomas' car got hit - or, more accurately, bit last week. Six hoses. We don't know if it was a local marder or if it happened when he parked his car somewhere else for a few hours. They are very territorial buggers. If a local marder had marked our car with his scent and then Thomas parked the car in another marder's territory, the encroached upon marder eats through all the hoses to destroy the "home" of the rival marder. The day Thomas brought his car in for service there were 16 other BMW's getting replacement hoses after marder attacks.

Whether or not another attack can be prevented is debatable but Thomas has built this nifty mesh wire contraption in our car park to thwart further attacks. Supposedly, if the marder runs across the mesh they think it is a trap and will abandon ship. Supposedly. We'll have to get back to you on that one. In the meantime, the device has given our neighbors something to talk about. Always happy to oblige.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Viva Italia

Long weekend in Germany = another country off our checklist. This time Italy. We were torn between heading north to the German coast or heading south to Italy. When we found out that our friends Nadine and Mathias were headed to Molveno, Italy for a few days, we decided to tag along for some camping and hiking. Mathias and Nadine are paragliding enthusiasts and take advantage of every weekend to feed their passion. They'd already been to Molveno numerous times - a popular place with paragliders because of its location in the Dolomites alps.

Besides paragliding, another really cool thing about Mathias and Nadine is that they own a completely restored 1966 VW Camper Van. My dream. As I lay in our chilly little tent, I zipped the flap down so I could stare enviously at the warm glow emanating from the VW - knowing that they were sleeping on a mattress with custom-made pillows to match the curtains. Sigh.

The next morning we got up early and hiked to the top of the alp that Mathias and Nadine were using as a jumping off point. It was a decent-sized hike and I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Thomas keeps me firmly on a "need to know basis" when it comes to hiking. He's big on the "It's not too steep, it won't take too long" trail descriptions. Because he knows that once he has me halfway up, I won't wuss out. Lucky for me, we made lots of photo stops because the scenery was just so outstandingly beautiful. And, of course, we had lunch at the top. But instead of Kasespaetzel and beer, it being Italy and all, we had polenta. And wine. Nice.

After lunch, we got to watch Mathias and Nadine do their thing. How one trusts a piece of fabric and some strings to hold you up when you are higher than the highest alp is beyond my comprehension. Practically beyond my imagination. They were so, so, so high. Thomas' pictures are misleading but know this - he was using a super, duper long lens. Those kids were make me sick in my stomach just watching high.

On Saturday we packed up our tent and headed to Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, to celebrate my birthday - hotel style. We spent the time seeing the sights - the Roman amphitheater which was gearing up for a production of Aida, romantic Piazza after romantic Piazza, narrow alleys, Medieval castles and inspiring churches. That night we serendipitously found a great place for dinner, shared a bottle of wine, shared our three course meal and then stopped (twice) for gelato on the way back to the hotel. Sweet.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day Zwei

Okay. I have sorted this out. The reason that I couldn't understand anything yesterday is that in my class of 18 people, there are 16 different countries represented. Each with their unique way of pronouncing German. I had not had time to acclimate myself to the individual accents. Now I am starting to figure it out. The woman from Columbia runs every word together without pause. The girl from Spain can't make the "sch" sound. I can't make the "cht" sound. And so on, and so on, and so on. It's a comedy of vocal errors.

I sit next to a girl from China who is a super-smart, classic over-achiever. She's completed the vocabulary worksheets for the entire class the first night. That's approximately 500 words, folks. I did only the requisite 25. She understands grammar. She studies grammer - oops there I go again - grammar. But god love her, I can't understand a thing she says. She has a hard time with "r's" and adds a vowel at the end of every word. This is not good as we are always together for partner exercises. It goes something like this...

China- DasE istE einE HotES Fahhat.
Me - Wie bitte?
China - DASE istE einE HOTES FahhAT.
Me - Noch einmal, bitte?
China (with frustrated hand-waving) - DASE ISTE EINE HOTES FAHHHHAT. FAHHHHAT!
We move on to pictures and pointing.
Alexia - Ohhhh! Das ist ein rotes Fahrrad (that is a red bike)??
China - Ja! Ja! Das habe ich gesagt (that's what I said).

And it goes on like that for most of the class. The girl from France can barely understand the guy from Iraq. The girl from India plays the same call and repeat game with the woman from Russia and the teacher tries to remain patient as she corrects us all. We are a speech pathologist's nightmare.

Okay, I have to go finish my homework. Yeah, that's what I said. Homework. People over 40 should never have to utter the word homework unless it is to one of their children followed by useless threats. Homework does not get easier with age. Homework STILL sucks.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lunchbox Packed

Today was my first day of German school. Four hours a day. Five days a week. My head hurts. I am old. I have not kept my brain oiled with Sudoku and such. Instead, I have petrified my brain with InTouch Weekly and such.

I do not understand English grammar. I do not even know how to spell grammar (thank god for spell check). How I ask, how??? am I to understand the difference between the Accusative case and the Dative case? And why, I ask why??? does every German verb have 50 different variables? Why do nouns have to be masculine, feminine and neuter? Why can't they just BE? Haven't we, as civilized humans, moved beyond that need to slot everything into a neat little category? And how can a Bikini possibly be a masculine noun while a tie "die Krawatte" is a feminine noun? Unless, that is, you refer to a tie as der Schlips and then we're right back on the masculine track. If you love me, you will send me Advil. Lots and lots of Advil.

I did the first level of the class at home via a self-study program. I had Nutella nearby in case I needed to kick-start my brain, I had warm slippers and hot tea, and the best part - nobody EVER called on me. That, my friends, has changed. Most of the people in the class took the first level together so they've already spent two months together. I am the new girl. So while they were busy chatting (in German) about their weekend, I was busy trying to cherry-pick out words that I know like "das Wochenende." Yup, I know, even a moron could figure that one out. I believe I am one step beyond Moron level. I'm not quite sure what that translates to on the Goethe Institute scale but I see an aspirin addiction in my future.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Berlin - Bring It Baby.

This was my second trip to Berlin. The first time, Thomas' best friend Marc gave us a great whirlwind city tour of the top sights complete with a stop for that Berlin specialty - the Currywurst. This time, we spent the whole weekend with Thomas' Aunt Gabi and his cousin, Carsten. And we had a blast.

How exactly is Berlin different than Munich? It's hard to describe except that, to me, Berlin feels more like a proper city. And Munich feels more like a postcard city. There is seemingly more diversity in Berlin (along with more poverty) but also more of an appetite for life. I felt like the energy was completely different than Munich - of course, this could have been influenced by the numerous caipis I consumed while there. But more on that later...

Berlin has a strong bohemian artist community, a great music/club scene, museums, architecture, cafes, shopping. It's bigger, it's dirtier, it's louder, it's crazier, it's funkier, it's cooler - it's just different than Munich. And I love it.

The annual Karnival der Kulturen was taking place while we were there and we spent the entire day at the massive street fair. Caipi in hand. Or Corona. Or Prosecco bottle. Pick your own poison. The event boasts a parade that lasts over six hours with representation from every continent. There were Brazilian dancers, rasta guys, Thia, Indian, you name it they had it. All along the streets (and rooftops) every kind of person imaginable was celebrating life by dancing, drinking, eating, smiling, laughing. Girls pulling up their skirts to pee behind bushes, dogs underfoot searching for dropped delicacies, kids on shoulders, crazies collecting bottles, teenagers flirting, adults flaunting flabby tattoos. Great. Just great.

We had a very NYish asian fusion dinner while there (oh, how I miss my spicy girl roll), had a coffee under the Deutscher Dom, met Thomas's sorta' kinda' cousin Franziska and her boyfriend Uwe for a yummy Italian dinner. And basically filled in all the spaces with lots and lots of walking. On our last night, we were fortunate enough to be the last group of people allowed into the Reichstag Building and despite the rain, Thomas managed to get some nice shots.

Reichstag at night.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


The last week has had it's sweet moments and it's sad moments. I was not the only person anxiously waiting for the swan eggs to hatch. There are several other people that are lurking around the nests waiting for the first crack to show. One, an older gentleman, has become a Bekannter (acquaintance) of mine. We try to piece together my poor German and his rudimentary English to make swan talk. He's retired so he's been spending almost every waking moment there - camera in hand. While I was somewhere shoving another Bratwurst down my gullet, he was there capturing every small detail of the first hatchlings. And hatch they did.

I arrived on Monday to learn that one of the mothers had four new baby cygnets. Her last egg is still left to hatch. It's was hard to get any pictures since the babes spend most of their time under the mother's wings but I managed a few.

And now the sad part. The other Swan Mother had just two eggs. Now she has just one. Apparently, yesterday some teenage boys were showing off, being stupid or whatnot and decided it would be fun to try and steal the eggs. They got one of the eggs and when people nearby tried to persuade them to put the egg back, the teen's response was, "here, you put it back." And then he rolled the egg on the ground like a bowling ball. Of course, it smashed.

When I heard this, I started to cry. I was so upset that I had to call Thomas at work. I've done that only once since I've been here. The news hit me so hard. It was just such a cruel, senseless thing to do. The egg couldn't have been more than a week away from hatching. That mother has sat there day and night, through all kinds of weather, only to have someone destroy her family. For no reason. I feel like they should find the kids and arrest them. But they bolted and my swan friend thinks they'll never find them. They better hope he doesn't recognized them around the lake because he was as mad/sad about it as a parent protecting a child. Here's the mother with her lone egg. It still breaks my heart.

UPDATE: The egg of the second swan never hatched although she sat on it for a good three weeks after it should have hatched. Finally the man I call the Swan Professor (he visits them every day, knows everything about them, names them and basically just loves and cares for them) had to remove the egg so she could get on with her life. Heartbreaking.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Family in Town.

We've had our first family visitors. Hopefully, not our last. My brother Neal, his wife Angela and the cutest baby in the world, Bennett, spent the week with us. We did it all:

Englischer Garten with a stop at Chinesischer Turm
Hanging by the lake
Kloster Andechs
Nymphenburg Palace

Whew! We did a lot. With a baby. Did I mention that he is the cutest baby in the world?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Spring is in full force on our little Lake Fasanerie. Mother ducks have already started to hatch their broods and the swans are busy building nests and laying eggs. I saw the first nest on Monday tucked up right along the shore line. The mother was sitting proudly, the father patrolling the surrounding water. Across the lake, another swan couple was canvassing the shoreline. Sure enough, by Wednesday they’d claimed their stake and were busy decorating their new nest with sticks, twigs and grass.

Besides the joy that comes with seeing nature work its miracle, the swan nests have provided an added health benefit for me. I’m more eager to get out there and exercise because I’ve become so emotionally invested in the swans and their eggs. I play games with myself. Yesterday I decided to do as many loops as it would take for one of the swans to get off her nest so I could get an updated egg count. It took me five laps (just over 6 miles) before one of the lovely ladies hauled tail and went for a little dip in the water.

Apparently, swans lay anywhere from 3-10 eggs usually separated by two days in between. My last count has one nest at 2 eggs and the other at 5. The gestation period averages between 35-40 days. So, come June, we’ll have at least seven small, sweet swans swimming around. How’s that for alliteration?

I’m personally hoping for at least nine cygnets so I can name each one after the Fellowship of the Nine.When I was an early teen and well into Lord of the Rings, reading and rereading it obsessively, a stray cat that we'd christened Gray Lady had a batch of kittens under our back porch. As I recall, it was nine kittens but a lot of what I recall is not 100% historically accurate. Shocking, I know. However, the number of nine does make for a better story so let's just go with nine, shall we? Good. I immediately declared myself Namer of all things Kitten. Fuzzy little Frodo, Gandalf the Gray (he took after his mother), Aragorn... My little sister had another idea entirely. At the time, she was reading the Big Book of Bible Stories and she thought the kittens should all have biblical names. Ruth. Rachel. Abraham. I mean really, if it comes down to Abraham or Aragorn what cat would you want covering your back?

I don't think Gray Lady and her offspring stuck around long enough for the issue to ever get resolved. It's been a gaping hole in my childhood development ever since. So come on swan moms - keep a laying and give a girl a little Legolas!

Update: as of this morning we are up to eight eggs. Thanks Moms! And Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


We went for a hike today in Spitzingsee. Thomas and Steffen battled out the best way to navigate. Thomas using the positively prehistoric hand-held map. Steffen using a high-tech, hand-held GPS. So, you just know that we spent half the hike off the actual trail. Don't you just love testosterone?


When we reached the top of the mountain, we discovered a Search & Rescue team practicing dropping rescuers on a nearby cliff face. So cool. I, of course, would have liked to have been airlifted to safety when I was huffing and puffing my way up the mountain. But, as usual, I was ill-prepared finding myself without a bullhorn, red flag or emergency flares. Next time.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Prague Anyone? Yes, please.

What can I say about Prague? How about this? GO!

p.s. I get loads of compliments on the photography on this blog. I have to fess up and admit that 98% of them are courtesy of TK Productions. As in Thomas. As in Kurz. Once in a while I can squeeze a good one in but that's the exception because TK's pictures rule.

p.p.s. Go to Prague in the off-season. Otherwise it's overrun with Americans and Germans. Wink.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Frühlingsfest - a Smaller Oktoberfest

Much smaller. But we're so psyched that our friends T & M are definitely coming to visit for Oktoberfest that we decided we better start our training now. First order of business - official attire. Now, laugh as you might, I think German lederhosen are akin to the Scottish kilt. It takes a man of a certain je ne sais quoi to don these puppies and get away with it. Here, in Bavaria, lederhosen are associated with virility and brawn – like the kilt minus the easy access. But you know those Germans, they over-engineer everything.

Thomas grew up in Dresden (East Germany) Lederhosen and dirndls (which we’ll get to later) have a Southern alpine heritage. For an East German guy to put on a pair of lederhosen is crossing a definite line. When Thomas broke out his leathers for Easter Sunday at his parents, he was none too sure what the reaction would be. Probably much the same as telling your parents that you’re in love with an American girl. Fortunately, both reveals turned out well.

Now, lest you think lederhosen and dirndls are reserved for Oktoberfest and the Hofbrauhaus, you’re wrong. They are a regular fixture in Munich. Sunday best, wedding, flea market, dinner with friends, beer garden, hiking - it’s definitely not unusual to see a pair of hairy legs poking out from a pair of hand-stitched hosen on the U-bahn. So, Thomas crossed cultural boundaries (while proliferating German stereotypes) and got himself the whole kit and caboodle.
On to the dirndl. Like lederhosen, the good ones are expensive. Some can be wedding dress expensive. And, unlike the utilitarian version pictured below, they can be fashionable. I know, I know. But really - there are boutique companies that specialize in high-fashion dirndls. Seriously. Think runway. Still don’t believe me? Click here.

So, I have not gotten my dirndl yet because:
  1. I need to lose 10 pounds before I make such a big investment and there's a half-full jar of Nutella that needs to be addressed before that happens.
  2. I'm trying to decide if I should match my dirndl to Thomas' outfit or if that is just waaayyy too Hansel and Gretel.
  3. The frugal side of me thinks I should sew my own. Out of curtains. Like Scarlett.

I’ll have to get back to you on the final decision. In the meantime, let's have a beer and celebrate Frühling. Prost!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Anno Domini - Step Back in Time

We went to Dresden to visit Thomas' parents this weekend and they took us to Anno Domini a restaurant that recreates Medieval life in Saxony. Check it. No lights - only candles. Wooden tables and benches. Cutlery - optional. But if you do tick the yes box you get a wooden spoon and a knife - no fork because presumably the fork lost the rock, paper, scissors fight.

It was an authentic, entertaining experience complete with bawdy character-actor cum servers. I, of course, understood nothing and had to rely on the accompanying inappropriate gestures to get the gist of most of their shtick. Fortunately, sexual gesticulation (that sounds very scientific, doesn't it?) is an international language.

The highlight of the evening was the parade of animals that made their way through the place. Rabbit on your table? No probs. Rooster under your feet? Deal with it. Ass's ass in your face? That's what you paid for, isn't it? Let's just hope they're not offering complimentary cases of that to-die-for Medieval must-have... dysentery.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Passing Time in Passau

A late lie-in, a cup of coffee with the requisite fresh baked pastry and a road trip to Passau – well now, that has all the makings of a perfect Saturday. Passau is often referred to as the City of Three Rivers because the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz rivers all join there. Side note: doesn’t The Inn & The Ilz sound like a great name for a What’s Hot and What’s Not blog? Tragically, life in Feldmoching has taken me firmly off the trend trail. Any of my NYC girls want to jump on that?

Anyway, back to Passau (not to be confused with Passé which is what you’ll find on The Ilz list). Passau is a colorful city filled with early Gothic and Baroque architecture that has managed to survive despite being the victim of regular floods. During those sandbag-filled days, Passau is referred to by locals as the City of Three *&%$Mother*&%$^Efin Rivers. Supposedly, each of the three rivers has a very distinct color owing to the type and amount of silt, sediment, etc. that they carry from their origin. To me, they just looked – umm, cold. The Danube is said to be more of a yellow and not the waltzy blue for which it is renowned. Clever bit of marketing the Austrian-born Strauss did with that, eh? Seconded only by Red Bull.

Boat trips along the Danube often stop here to grab a bit of German feel and fare. The most visited tourist attraction is the baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral built in 1688. At one time the church boasted (well, maybe not boasted as that doesn’t sound very Christian) the largest pipe organ in the world. There are 17,774 pipes and 233 registers. But sadly, or inevitably, the good ‘ole US of A super-sized that and now they refer to it as the largest pipe organ in Europe.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Linderhof Palace & Andechs Monastery

photo courtesy of flikr

Trudy’s in town so we took the opportunity to venture outside Munich for a day trip to Mad King Ludwig’s Linderhof Palace stopping for a beer on our way back at Andechs Monastery.

I’ll spare you my current obsession with King Ludwig II. Suffice it to say, I’m looking for a good biography on the nutter. Christmas? Dad? Anyone? Anyone? Located south of Munich, Linderhof is a tiny palace in comparison to its sibling Neuschwanstein. Ludwig spent a great deal of time there in his later years when he was in full recluse mode. Hence, it is the only palace in the world without any guestrooms. In fact, Ludwig was such a loner by then that he had a drop floor installed in his dining room so that a fully dressed and laid out table could be hoisted up from the kitchen below thereby enabling him to dine without servants in absolute solitude. Oh yeah, except that he insisted the table be set for four because he liked to talk to imaginary people while he ate. Like I said, nutter.

Unfortunately, because it is winter a lot of the sculptures were under protection and some of the outlying buildings were closed. I definitely want to take a trip back when everything is in bloom to see the gardens and the outer buildings, most notably the Moorish Kiosk where Ludwig spent days on end smoking a big hookah. Smoking what? Who knows, but remember kids - This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.

Any questions?

After a scenic drive back we stopped at local favorite Andechs Monestery in search of the particular brand of spiritual enlightenment that can only be found at the bottom of a monk-made maß of beer.