Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Happy Fasching from Munich

28 February 2006

Well, it’s come and gone by now. It’s about 1030pm now in Munich and they are just finishing cleaning up the streets of those who have fallen in the battle of the drunk and oblivious here after Fasching. When the street sweepers get to all the confetti is another story! The Marienplatz is about ankle-deep in confetti at this point. For those who have never heard of it, it is only the biggest party since Karnival in Rio and Cologne and Marti Gras in New Orleans. Although a German admitted to me yesterday that perhaps the Koelners are a bit crazier. They start their celebrations on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and the entire Niederrhein comes to a stop until Ash Wednesday. In Munich, the only day really taken off (officially) is Fasching Tuesday.

We finally caught up on our sleep today and didn’t get out of bed till 10 am. My cold is finally getting better and I’m not hacking up a lung like I was a few days ago. We got up and walked around in the Marienplatz today before lunch. Surprisingly, most of the tourist stores, some clothing stores and the major department stores were at least open until lunch. So we got our shoppin-on and power-shopped a bit before and bunches after lunch.

We ended up at our favorite restaurant for lunch again. Sabrina (the waitress that has adopted us as her lost American children) had told us yesterday that for Fasching, the Bratwursthartzl would be closed to the public. However because we know her, if we wanted to gain entry, we needed to tell the screeners at the door that we were friends of hers and that she recommended us for entry on this big party-day. It really is quite an honor to be taken in and treated so well for only having been here for four days. Personally, I am going to pat myself on the back for my gift of gab! I tend to make friends very easily (see four years of C’s and D’s in German in high school although ruining my GPA and entry opportunities into ISU may have actually paid off in friends and beer!) After all, only in Munich can one fully understand the true qualities of Gemuetlichkeit!

Phil ordered the Weiner Schnitzel with no gravy and a side of Spaetzel or spaetzele as they say it and I had the boiled beef topped with shredded horseradish and a side of that great cold potato salad with the cucumbers in it. That and a couple of weissbiers and I was good to go. We chatted for a good hour with our table buddies and had a very nice time. This place is really a “must stop” if any of you come through Munich.

Speaking of that horseradish, Phil was telling me to hurry up and eat because the smell from the fresh horseradish was so pungent it about was bringing tears to his eyes. Actually he said that he thought that while he was here he would never smell anything as nasty as the smell of that warm Gluehwein that they serve at the kiosks here in the Marienplatz. Well, he found he was wrong. He has now added the smell of that horseradish to his short list of disgusting smells he has experienced here in Germany!

Personally, I have nothing but good and warm thoughts of drinking Gluehwein. When we were out on the slopes of Tyrol, Austria in ’85, ’86, and ’87, the Gluehwein and the Jaegertea was the only stuff that would warm you right up. I have been obligated to have a couple for Eve back at Camp Victory. I don’t think I’ve quite had enough of them for her and me yet! I’ve got another four days to correct that situation.

We left the restaurant and went back to the hotel to relax a bit after all that food and such. Then back out to explore the town where we ran across a Starbucks. Yeah! Since our trip to Heidelberg, I’ve decided to start collecting these mugs. You’d think that the thought might have crossed my mind before now considering I have been to Starbucks in Qatar, Kuwait, Cologne and London. Okay, so I’m not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. But I’ve got another chance at getting my mugs from Qatar and Kuwait before I leave the Middle East in May.

We also found some Ritzenhoff glasses that we collect at a store on Sendlinger Strasse…and they were ON SALE!!! Whoo-hooo! Now how the heck to we drag all these breakables back? You never think about that when you’re checking out. It’s not till you get back to the hotel and then you have that sensible moment that you’d wished you’d had before you loaded up the shopping cart. Oh well, guess it’s better that we bought double what we wanted since it was on sale. That way there is room for breakage, right? It’s the best I can do to justify going nuts when we saw the red sale sticker on the price of the glasses.

We had such a late lunch that we really weren’t hungry for dinner. We went out and picked up a few small things to snack on and headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow things will be back to normal and the Muenchner’s will be nursing their hang-overs after going to church to get their ashes and ask for forgiveness for enjoying themselves so well during the Fasching holidays. Tschuss!
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