I ♥ M
Whew, I can't believe it's taken me more than a week to report on this year's Whiney Expat Bloggers in Germany Meet Up. I seem to be running on emtpy these days. But anyway, after Marburg, Bonn, Dresden and Bremen, we decided to choose something in the deep south this time. And what better city than Munich?
As usual (well, except for Bremen which is just a stone's throw away), it took absolutely ages to get there. Had I been travelling alone, I would have taken the train. But this time, surprise, surprise, Mr. M expressed interest in coming along and insisted on driving down. The BMW is pining for Bavaria, he said. Fine with me, I said. I'll just pop a travel sickness pill and pass out for the entire six hours while you and the BMW fight with the 18-wheelers. I do not love the Autobahn.
We made it just fine - lovely weather, no traffic jams and only a few annoying construction sites that prevented Mr. M from driving at the speed of light for some of the time. I didn't need to slam on the invisible break even once. World record.
After checking in to the Holiday Inn (no complaints - clean, friendly staff, great breakfast, the usual "hey, this could be anywhere" atmosphere) we did a little sightseeing on our own before meeting the others for dinner. Armed with only a city map, the official Whiney Expat Bloggers Meet Up Munich 2009 Guide for Whiners and a giant pretzel for sustenance, we managed to find our way around pretty well.
Dinner was a very German affair at the Zum Franziskaner restaurant. While Mr. M dug into his Schweinshaxe with potato dumplings, I enjoyed the Würstelplatte - five different kinds of sausage accompanied by sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and freshly grated horseradish. Very nice. Not to self: sauerkraut and Diet Pepsi don't mix. Next time drink beer like everyone else and wear your dirndl.
Halfway through the evening we all took possession of our Munich souvenir kit kindly put together by the meet-up organizers who shall be named later.
Our Munich team managed to get hold of these nifty carry bags from Käfer a fancy German delicatessen and catering company based in Munich. We were gifted with two bags,one red, one pink and before I knew it Mr. M had stolen the pink one and is now using it to shop at Aldi. This amuses me on so many levels.
Saturday found us up at 7 a.m. breakfasting in the hotel dining room with the rest of the tourists who also wanted to get an early start. And then it was off to round up a bunch of bloggers at a local cafe so we could start on our tour of the city.
Wow, what a great tour guide we had. A sweet German woman who spoke perfect English and filled us in on some of Munich's fascinating history. And boy could she walk fast!
I think you can get just about anything at the Viktualienmarkt and I really wish I had taken more pictures. Next time I'm in Munich, that's where you'll find me.
The maypole at the Viktualienmarkt
The Rathaus Glockenspiel (chimes) at the New Town Hall, Marienplatz
The National Theater
With people outside choosing to ignore culture and drink beer instead.
If YOU want to rent a beer bike, click here.
More interesting architecture
And plenty of beer gardens on our way around town.
After the tour ended, our goal was a particular beer garden in the Englischer Garten. Along the way we were entertained by the Eisbach surfers. Yes, indeed, you can surf right in the middle of Munich. These guys are incredible!
Munich's second biggest beer garden, with seating for 7,000 people, is located at the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower)
This was my lunch. Did you know that beer and pretzels contain the four major food groups. No? That's because I just made it up.
Later that afternoon while everyone else was taking a nap, Mr. M and I took in a bit of the Deutsches Museum and then decided to have a little snooze ourselves. All that walking!
Saturday's dinner was at an Ethiopian restaurant, something new for us. There are no Ethiopian restaurants in Dullsville. None. Mr. M was a bit sceptical but ended up enjoying his meal, and I loved all of it and would definitely go back again.
The plan for the rest of the evening was to follow whiney expat blogger tradition and go to a gay bar after dinner. I have been on two of these excursions and had lots of fun, but this time we were so tired that we wimped out and went back to the hotel to get some shut eye before the long drive back on Sunday. I heard it was an eventful evening.
Sunday morning we got up pretty early and had breakfast surrounded by French people. A woman at the table next to ours suddenly started sobbing, but my French being what it is, I was unable to understand anything more than petit déjeuner, croissant and du café. I'm hoping she was just hungry, poor thing.
A stroll around the neighbourhood and along the banks of the Isar river was just the thing to walk off breakfast and we still had a little time until our brunch meet-up so off we went.
Our final destination was the Alte Messe a beer garden and restaurant close to the Theresienwiese where Oktoberfest takes place every year.
Since we had already had breakfast, Mr. M enjoyed his final Bavarian beer and I chose a little snack - Reiberdatschi - potato pancakes with a choice of either apple sauce or sauerkraut. Where I live these are called Kartoffelpuffer and you may also hear them referred to as Reibekuchen as well as a couple of other names according to region. So confusing! They were really good, though, just like Mr. M's granny used to make.
The six hours back to Hannover just flew by. Not. We were pretty tired when we got home and the kids (who had been shipped off to Oma's for the weekend) were happy to see us, especially since we came bearing yet more of those delicious giant pretzels.
Oh, I guess you might want to know who all was there. It was a large crowd, with some people attending every gathering and others just popping in to say hello on one day or the other.
Bloggers I had met before (some by blog name or nickname) :
Deutschland Über Elvis (organizer)
Bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time:
No Apathy Allowed
Various husbands, wives, significant others and one cousin were included and it was great meeting all of them, too. If I missed anyone, please let me know. What a fun group. One of these years I'll get to have a decent conversation with each and every one of you. Sort of like slowed down speed dating blogger style. And a huge thank you goes out to the organizers of this event who helped things run so smoothly and made us all feel right at home in their adopted city.
So, yes, we had a wonderful time and we really do ♥ Munich. The last time I was there I was only 11 years old, so it was about time, and Mr. M wants to go back soon and do some more exploring.
Apparently Munich also likes us back. This is the logo they came up with a couple of years ago.
So, after the meet-up is before the meet-up and I'm sure some bloggers already have suitable locations in mind for next year's extravaganza. If you want to be in on the action next time, you can register at this site and get all the important information in a relatively private setting.