Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Von Der Schuhe (And A Few Eternal Mysteries)


One of the most glorious things in life is taking your shoes off after wearing them for 36 straight hours.

Greetings from Munich, Germany, where we have finally decided to call it a night after one full day spent stuck in airports and airplanes (sadly, though, not traipsing around Chicago as a thunderstorm there caused us to sit at Sawyer for four hours before we could leave Marquette Tuesday) and another full day traipsing around in 80 degree heat trying to find everything we could here about Loraine's pal, the slightly uncommon King Ludwig II. It's funny; when we started planning this trip I had much trepidation about driving around in this city. I've watched our old friend Tony the Tour Guide try it with sometimes limited success, and he went to college here and actually knows the place. However, GPS is a wonderful thing, and driving here was no problem. What did surprise me were the problems we had trying to find things on foot around in Munich. Sure, the streets go every which way and change names every few blocks, and sure, we hadn't slept since 5am yesterday morning, but I sure would've thought we wouldn't have had as much trouble as we did today. However, we crossed just about everything off the list Loraine had for today, and that was a LOT of stuff.

And that was a good thing.

What did we look for? Well, places where the slightly off-center Ludwig lived when he reigned over Bavaria, as well as all the weird little things, like a statue of him on the side of the “new” Munich city hall--

His head stuck on a pole in a park--

And his head again, this time on a piece of chocolate--

Believe it or not, that wasn't the strangest piece of chocolate we saw all day. More on that in a bit.

Munich is Germany's third largest city, and sometimes it feels like it, especially when you're in the Marienplatz, which is basically Munich's town square. There are people—mostly tourists—everywhere, and sometimes it can get to be just a bit much. But then that's also the cool thing about a city like Munich. If you can get away from the tourist-y areas and have a chance to see how the people who live here spend their time, you get to come across sights like this--

A park in the middle of a roundabout called Gartner Platz, which is where the local college students hang out on a warm summer night. Believe it or not, this was just a few blocks away from the roar of the Marienplatz, but because you have to cross a busy street to get there, no one ever does.

Trust me—cross the street next time you're in a place like Munich. You could really like what you might find!

What else did we see today? Well, since it IS Munich, a beer garden--

A fountain with a fish on it, a fountain where members of the Butcher's Guild would get dunked in a public ceremony (the Festival of the Metzgersprung) before they actually became journeymen butchers--

Why they dunked butchers in a fish fountain and not, say, a cow fountain is something about which I'm curious. It just seems logical. Butchers should get dunked on a cow fountain, and not a fish fountain. And speaking of cows, since we're in Bavaria and expect to see cows everywhere, but because we're also in Munich and really didn't really expect to see them, this picture from the side of a bus--

Don't worry. I may have pictures of real cows beginning tomorrow.

Okay, now the story of the weirdest flavor of chocolate in the world. When we were in Germany for a few days on our jaunt last year we came across a Lindt store in Heidelberg. They had a chocolate flavor there that was so out there, so counter-intuitive, that Loraine and I just kind of laughed when we saw it. But then as we were about to walk out the door we tried a sample of it, and wished we could've brought some home with us.

Well, guess what was part of our dinner tonight?

Don't laugh. Don't even think about it. I know that no one in their right mind would think of putting dark chocolate and pink grapefruit together, but you know what? It's an amazing flavor combination. There are even little chunks of pink grapefruit in the bar that just beings the whole thing over the top. So if you're ever in Germany and ever see one of those bars, pick it up and try it.

Hopefully you'll be amazed too.

(And if you're REALLY serious about your chocolate? Skip trying the Cadbury Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo bars they're selling in England. They were as underwhelming as the Lindt bar was amazing. Just too many things going on at once.)

Tomorrow, unfortunately we won't be out playing in the 80 degree sunshine, of only because it's supposed to be a dozen degrees colder and about 100% more rainy. But that's okay—we have a castle to go to.

Details then!

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