vendredi, octobre 20, 2006

September vacation

Seb and I went visiting Nicole in Munich in Septembre. We took the night train at Gare de l'Est and the journey took us more than 10hours. This was not the first time that I took an overnight train but it was the first time in a sleeper train. It was of course not easy to sleep as the beds were small and the train was moving and sometimes stopping abruptly at small train stations.

Once we reached Munich, Nicole was there welcoming us. It was so good to meet her after so many months. We took the metro to her place. And interesting in Munich, there was no barrier or gate for entering the metro station. It was based on a trust system. There was a machine for validating the tickets but just no gate.

Our tireness was pushed away after a good coffee at her place. After a quick shower, we started our Munich walk. As she lived near the English Garden, we started with it. The park was really big. There was a big lake and home to different species of ducks. There was a beer garden and we drank beer and ate roasted chicken while listening to the Bavarian brass band playing in the chinese pagoda nearby. The atmosphere was really festive. And it was a working day. People were really cool and you could see families and friends chatting over beer. As we walked around the English Garden, Nicole pointed out to us the nudist lawn. Here, there were naked bodies suntanning. The nudist lawn was separated by just a small stream. There were however one or two naked people lying in the non-nudist lawn just along the path we walked.

We continued our walk in the heart of Munich. We visited the Theatinerkirche church, Viktualienmark; where there was a brass band playing, Hofbräuhaus brasserie; where there was another brass band playing and the City Hall (see pic on left). We also visited the various monuments and historic buildings in Munich like the Olympiapark constructed for the 1972 Olympics, the site for the coming Oktoberfest. It was a pleasant city with colorful buildings. The interior of the churches were white and clean and well maintained. A big contrast to the cathedrales of France.

I drank beer at almost all meals. One breakfast I took weisswurst (the white sausage) that should be eaten with Suesser Senf (a sweet, grainy mustard) and brezel with a beer. That was impressive.

After spending two days in Munich, we took the train to Salzburg which was about 2 hours from Munich. We crossed the border and arrived in Austria. Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Mozart. There was Mozart written everywhere in this little town. We spent our day walking along the small streets with their famous metal shop signs hanging outside shops.

For lunch, we tried the famous apple strudels as dessert. After that, we walked up to the fortess Honensalzburg. It was big and like a mini-village. The view from the fortess was beautiful with the surrounding Alps.

At the end of the day, we took the train and stopped mid-way of Munich at Lake Chiemsee. We stayed at Nicole's summer apartment for the night.

Lake Chiemsee was huge and had 2 islands on it. We took the boat for visiting the 2 islands. The first island called Herrenchiemsee had a castle modelled after Versailles built by King Luwig II. He revered the French Sun-King and created with this castle, a monument to absolute monarchy.

The second island Frauenchiemsee housed some beautiful houses and a convert. There were plentiful of blooming gardens. We had a fish sandwich there. The fish was caught from the lake.

In the evening, we continued our journey back to Munich. On the last day of our stay in Munich, we walked along the river Isar and visited the outskirt of Munich the baroque palace Nymphenburg SchloB. We spent a great 5 days of vacation and it was really kind of Nicole to be our guide. Munich is really a nice city to live in. The people are sociable and the life style is cool. The streets are well planned and big with large pavements for walkers. It is not at all a boring city. We will definately be back there to visit the Bavarian region one day.

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