Sunday, 27 February 2011

'Where it all began'

Here's the hospital where Michael was born. He was very thrilled and emotional about seeing where, as he calls it, 'It all began'. My mother says that she vividly remembers walking across the courtyard where this was taken. 'Das Baby kommt', is a phrase she'll never forget hearing that early morning.

Here we are sitting down at zum Grünen Baum for a bit of Bavarian food.

This is a typical Sunday afternoon meal in Bavaria. It's called Shweinebraten (It's like pork chops, but they cook it in a way that the skin is really hard and crispy. Michael didn't like that part, so I was magnanimous and helped him out by eating his pork skin. Mmm...lecker.

This is a view of the Olympia Park from the BMW Welt building. It's the closest big park to where I live, so I'm in the Olympia Park rather often.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Michael's return to Germany

People greeting arrivals are to wait behind the yellow line...

Here Michael is after passport control and an emotional moment when he realised he was fulfilling a wish he'd had since childhood: to return to his birth city. And now here he is.

Supposedly, Bavarians have a very traditional breakfast when they return to their homeland. It's made up of Weißwurst (lamb's meat sausages cooked with mild spices and fresh parsley in them), sweet mustard, soft pretzels, and Weißbier (a specialty Bavarian beer). We had all but the last part (Michael was drinking hot cocoa), and I was pleased that he enjoyed it. It really was a nice breakfast.

We brought the bags home and Ella and Louis greeted Michael very warmly. And then kept greeting him repeatedly. They were very curious about this very loud person who smelled like Nutter Butters and hot cocoa. Soon enough, it was obvious the dogs needed to go outside and we used that opportunity to show Michael the surroundings.

We walked to the castle (Nymphenburger Schloß), where Michael imagined jousting and ladies and gentlemen acting inappropriately at the ball. I assured him that this wasn't that sort of castle, and he asked me to leave him and his castle fantasies in peace.

The plan was to get Strudel (he'd been planning something strudelly since he booked the flight), but we happened upon a bakery that had delicious looking Krapfen. These are everywhere at carnival time, and we decided that Strudel could wait just a bit longer. This is a vanilla doughnut. There was discussion that maybe this was the highpoint of the day.

After taking the dogs home and a few minutes of recouping, we went into the old town of Munich, and did a quick overview of the most important landmarks. While we were at the Viktualienmarkt, I took this photo of Michael in front of the Maypole. The sun was disappearing quickly, so we packed up the camera and enjoyed some Currywurst before hurrying home for a skype call between the Big Bad Wolf and his girls. What a first day.

The secondary goal of the day was to make sure Michael didn't fall asleep before evening. Somehow we managed it, but when we tallied the 32 hours he'd been awake, he immediately headed under the duvet and hasn't been heard from since.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

back to the roots

There hasn't been much to report here in Bavaria lately, but that's about to change. My brother Michael is coming to see me, and this isn't just any normal visit. He was born here in Munich in the early 70s, and he's never been back. Not once.

Since we were children, he's said that one day he wants to see where he was born. It's finally happening. So I've decided to chronicle our adventures here. There are so many tourist things that I've never got round to doing, so I'm using this trip as an excuse to see exactly those sorts of attractions.

His two daughters will certainly miss him, so this'll be a place they can look each day and see what their fat, old man is up to.

And for the rest of you, I hope this is moderately entertaining. The photo above is Michael sometime in 1973 or '74.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Late afternoon sunlight

We've had several mild days in the middle of winter, but no matter how nice it feels, I assure you winter's not done with us. Nevertheless, one of the nicest things I can think of here in Bavaria is a nice late afternoon walk in the woods up in the mountains. This specifically is a beautiful hike near Bayrischzell down near the Austrian border. I absolutely love it there.