Thursday, July 29, 2010


The last bite of a very fresh, very ripe strawberry tart.

So we've been eating a lot of great food lately, which it seems is one of the perks of living in Europe; go figure. My own (ahem) lack of employment has also been a factor, as I've actually had enough time to rediscover the proverbial joy of cooking. Consider yourself warned: if you're not preoccupied with food and eating, you'll probably find this post boring.

Friday, July 23, 2010

At least there's always beer.

Our first glorious half Litres, enjoyed alongside a babbling brook in the Garching Biergarten

It's been an interesting first few weeks here in Munich (München to the locals). Mike and I have come to believe that it will take no fewer than three attempts for any company here to successfully keep an appointment. I spent seven hours yesterday afternoon waiting for the Deutsche Telekom man to come open our interweb tubes only to be stood up for the second time in as many days. I'm pretty sure the diminutive lady who helped me at the Telekom store on Thursday morning and Mike today will forever remember us as The Angry American Giants. Similar situation with our Ikea delivery: it took two missed appointments (God forbid they call us to say they couldn't/wouldn't make it) and a second trip to Eching so we could harangue the only poor customer service guy fluent in English before we finally got a bed to sleep on. I've heard that sleeping on the floor is good for your back, but after a week and a half of it I tend to disagree.

Despite the fact that literally nothing has seemed to go painlessly since we arrived, Bavaria is an undeniably charming place.

This, for instance, is Garching's Maypole, painted in Bavaria's white and blue and hung with depictions of Things That Are Important In Garching. Pretty much every town center has one. It's something of a sport to coordinate the stealing of a neighboring community's maypole. If a group is successful in this undertaking, tradition dictates that it may then make a demand of the town for the Maypole's ransom. The typical demand is that a party be thrown in the group's honor. Charming, no?

Amber waves of grain: the city of Munich and its surrounding suburbs are extremely bike- and pedestrian-friendly. During our first week here we got to know the paths between the Max Planck guesthouse and Garching proper quite well. We encountered people of every possible age and description biking here among the barley fields.

Hmm...what else? There was Christopher Street Day last weekend. We happened to head into the city center early Saturday afternoon and it was bumping. Just shoulder to shoulder people, some of them in amazing costumes:
I didn't have my camera on me, but here is a photo from Abendzeitung - more here, if you're interested:

And that reminds me: we see tons of people in traditional Bavarian dress...the whole getup. Surely some of them are either on their way to or from work - waitresses at many of the downtown restaurants don the traditional dirndls (think St. Pauli's girl, only usually not so sexy), and Oompah band guys wear lederhosen - but it seems like a fair number of people are just wearing them around casually. Oh, and we've encountered many a glorious handlebar moustache.

In other news, I've found an English-speaking knitting group that meets weekly at a café downtown. It's hard not really being able communicate properly with people, and I'm a long way off from really understanding the subtleties of it's been sort of a relief.

Anyway, let's go ahead and bring this thing full circle in closing:

Enjoying our obligatory Hofbraü Haus Litres

In these trying times, when all else fails...there is always beer.