Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bavarian Birthday Bananza

Last weekend was my birthday (thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes, by the way) and coincidentally, after a week of lousy weather, we finally were able to enjoy a couple of clear and sunny days. We decided to take advantage of the sunshine and spend the day at the Botanischer Garten by the Nymphenburg Palace here in M√ľnchen. The garden is gigantic and the diversity of plant-life is pretty impressive. Here's a little show-and-tell of our trip. And yes, I'm aware that 'bonanza' is misspelled. Stick with me...

Here is the Google map view of the main part of the gardens.  On the left you can see the elaborately laid out flower gardens with a nice lilly pond in the center.  The structure on the right is the gigantic greenhouse.
Each room of the greenhouse exhibits a unique habitat. The different environments were well presented and carefully recreated.  Below, you can see Amanda standing next to some towering cacti in the desert themed room.  In the tropical jungle room, if there wasn't a cement path underfoot, I might have thought I was in the rainforest.  Even the heat and humidity was spot on.
Are we in Munich, or Arizona?
Speaking of the humidity, one of the most impressive rooms was also the one I wanted to leave the fastest.  In the next image you can see Amanda in front of a big pool containing all sorts of plants with huge floating leaves.  Some of them were the size and shape of kiddie pools.  Pretty neat.  But, it was insanely hot and muggy in that room.  I mean, I guess that's what one would expect of a greenhouse with a pool in it.

Are those plants in the background, or kiddie pools?
Anyway, the botanical gardens were a very cool place, and big, too.  Off to the left of the Google Maps image above is a good sized arboretum and to the south are some more gardens.  We were there for 4-5 hours and we barely explored the outdoor areas.  But of course we made sure to stop and enjoy a nice beer at the cafe (which you can see at the south side of the flower garden area).

Birthday bier.
After our trip to the garten we enjoyed a meal at a surprisingly good mexican restaurant near the university.  I can't tell you how relieved Amanda and I were to find this place.  The food isn't quite authentic, but very tasty, and Amanda can attest to the fact that they mix a mean margarita.

The days activities ended with a birthday pie.  Amanda made a Banoffee Pie which is a ridiculously tasty concoction of banana (hence the misspelling of bonanza), dulce du leche and whipped cream.  It was really good; I recommend you make one.

All in all, it was a great birthday.  You can check out some more photos from the garden at Amanda's Picasa page.

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