This post is a continuation of a series documenting our travels to a small part of Central Europe. It was our last day in Munich, we had spent the whole morning in the wonderful Residenz Palace of Munich (The Residenz, Munich – A lesson in Bavarian History & German pride).
As we got out of the Residenz it was afternoon and the weather was beautiful, sunny with some clouds to break the monotony of the blue sky. It was ideal weather for a long walk in the park. We were lucky that the famous English gardens of Munich were close by to do exactly that.
We walked to the far end of the Hofgarten, which was dominated by a huge building. This was the Bayerische Staatskanzlei / Chancellery of Bavaria, an impressive glass and stone building which I found out later houses the offices of the Chancellery.
As we moved to the front of this impressive building and started to take photos of it, I realised something was off about the symmetry of the building. I tried to change position but to no avail. Then I realised that the whole building was at a slight angle to the gardens making it impossible to get the statue of the Duke riding his steed in the centre of the building itself.
The statue of the duke looked impressive enough to warrant changing lenses and taking a photo or two before moving on.
We crossed under the busy road bordering the gardens by a pedestrians / cyclists only subway and we were there! The English Gardens cover a huge area & we knew that we had neither the time nor the energy to walk the whole gardens. So we decided to stick to the part around the stream passing through the gardens, that way we could see the best parts of the garden without spending the remainder of the day here.
The garden has huge lawns which are well manicured and dotted with picnickers enjoying the atmosphere. It also has a stream/ man made river, which is famous for the surfers which frequent one part of it. We didn’t make it to the part with the surfers, but walking along the stream with the woods on either side was a peaceful experience. There were tourists & locals with their dogs of myriad shapes and sizes, all enjoying this wonderful green haven. It seemed like a world apart from the bustling city around it’s edges.
Where there are trees and streams there will be birds. Though these were relatively fewer than those I saw in Nymphenburg, there were water birds in the streams. Mallards & swans here were so used to being fed by tourists that the city had put up a multi language advisory asking people not to feed these birds. ( Not that this stopped the people from doing so!)
Common wood pigeons frequented the flowering lawns. These bigger and better looking cousins of the irritating pigeons of Mumbai gave me some good poses in a pleasant background.
We also came across a family of white fronted geese with a little gosling tagging along with parents totally oblivious to the people walking just a few metres away. The birds were as much at home here as the people.
Without realising it we had been walking for more than an hour and it was way past Lunch time. Originally we had planned to go back and have lunch at an old town restaurant or a beer hall. But since our tummies were demanding food as soon as possible we decided to have lunch at the Chinese Tower beer garden which is bang in the middle of the garden itself, how convenient!
The beer garden had a huge seating area, so there was no shortage of seats and had a great choice of food – for me i.e. , the better half had to be satisfied with a range of salads which was what vegetarians get in a beer garden in Germany. So the better half snagged a table while I got the food and drinks. A huge pretzel to be shared by the both of us, 2 huge sausages for me, a big bowl of lentil and potato salad for the better half was the menu for the day. Obviously there was beer for me and a lemonade for the better half to wash it down.
The food was tasty and the Helles – the pale lager of Germany, even tastier. The relaxing environment of the beer garden with no rush for tables meant that we enjoyed our lunch at a leisurely pace.
After enjoying the quintessential German food in quintessential German surroundings we started our walk back. We had seen a pavilion on a hill in the middle of the garden. If there is a hill we have to climb it! So we walked up the hill to the pavilion and enjoyed the view for some time.
We walked back the same way we had walked in, this time taking photos of the flowers present in ample quantities in the European spring.
It had been a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Munich, a break from all the art and architecture that the city offered.
We then walked back into the bustle of the City and through the crowds of Marienplatz & Viktulienmarkt to the hotel to rest our tired feet for a few hours.
That night there was a much anticipated football match, the European Champions league semifinals between the local team Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to be played in Madrid. Surprisingly there were no large screens showing the match here. The only option was to watch the match at a local bar. The better half wasn’t keen on being in a bar full of drunk football fanatics, so we decided to go and have dinner first after which I would drop the better half back to the hotel and go and see the match myself.
We had dinner at a restaurant called the Andechser am Dom in old town. We opted to sit indoors and had a candlelit dinner in the underground vaults of the restaurant. The better half got her favourite gnocchi and I had some wonderful Wagyu sausages with the house beer.
On our way back after a fingerlickingly delicious dinner, we stopped for sometime at Marienplatz which was relatively empty and beautifully lit now. It was our last evening in this beautiful city and we made the most of it.
I then dropped off the better half and returned to the same place in my Bayern Munich T-shirt. Even though it was crowded and cramped watching a Bayern Munich match with these die hard Bayern fans was an experience. They cheered and cursed with equal enthusiasm but their team went down narrowly that night.
After the match I walked back to the hotel taking some photos with my phone as I had thought that taking my huge camera into a crowded bar wasn’t a very wise thing to do.
I reached the hotel and slept off in no time after a long day of sightseeing. We had seen the two vastly different palaces, wandered around old town, enjoyed the beautiful gardens and enjoyed the delicious German food and beer. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the vacation.
The next morning we had our breakfast & checked out. It was time to move base to the Austrian alps and the resort town of Kaprun, but that is topic for another post, another time.