This month’s Travel Throwback posts are dedicated to a Bavarian adventure in Munich I took late last summer. So, grab a bench in your favourite biergarten, order a pretzel the size of your head and enjoy the journey!
As seems to be the case with every trip, we started the day before the sun even contemplated rising. But then what was meant to be a quick, boring flight unexpectedly turned into a MAJOR celebrity sighting.
For some reason I have good luck with celebrities. I run into them in stores (sometimes literally – I physically stumbled into Adele at Selfridges…thankfully she was totally cool about it!), pass them on the street and see them in restaurants. I always end up being a little starstruck and never have the right thing to say, and my other half (G) always plays it totally cool…until this flight. I was reading my magazine as the last of the passengers boarded when suddenly I was smacked in the leg. I looked up in shock but G wasn’t even looking at me – he was looking at a man two rows ahead of us who was putting his bag away on the other side of the plane.
My first thought was ‘There’s no way that’s actually Usain Bolt’as G and I looked at each other then at him then at each other then at him. But then he turned and it WAS him! And suddenly I understood why my normally completely calm and totally unflappable boyfriend appeared to be on the verge of hyperventilating. (To give you some context, G has a long history with Track and Field both in competing and coaching and so seeing Usain Bolt in the flesh was akin to seeing a God.)
We watched in complete disbelief as he turned, moved towards us and then sat down in the seat directly in front of me. G and I then started to look at him then at each other and then at him and at each other again, completely lost for words and not sure how to process the fact that we were about to spend the next few hours less than a foot away from the fastest man on earth (and the sky, I assume, but we decided against challenging him to a footrace in the airplane aisle). I’ve never felt quite so tense and aware of my limbs – what if I had some sort of spasm and kicked his chair causing some sort of malfunction that injured him and ended his career forever?! (You know, those calm, rational thoughts we all would have in this sort of situation….No? Just me?)
Thankfully we made it to Munich in one piece and G even managed to lean forward and briefly speak to Usain (we’re on first names now, as far as I’m concerned!) and to wish him luck at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing the following month. As we left the plane and boarded buses to the terminal it was hilarious to see that no one else had any idea who he was!
After all that excitement so early in the morning we were feeling super energized so we did a quick change at the airport (it was HOT in Germany that week!) and met up with our friends. They wasted no time in jumping into tourist mode and whisked us off to Schloss Nymphenburg (the Summer Palace) to get the sightseeing started.
We roamed the gardens before heading inside to marvel at what was the first of many (many!) unbelievably ornate rooms we would encounter in Munich and beyond.
With this level of detail all you can do is stand and stare…
I’m always so impressed by the fact that all of the craftsmanship was done centuries ago with the most basic of tools. I think that’s why I have such a hard time getting into Modern Art – a lot of the time it just seems too easily done. I mean, does anything about this look easy?!
Having looked our fill (and gotten a fairly good crick in the neck…if only lying on the floor wasn’t so frowned upon!) we headed off to another of Munich’s most famous sights – its Biergartens. There are tons to choose from but we opted for the home of the Chinese Pagoda where, as promised, we were serenaded by a band of merry men and women in traditional lederhosen.
We spent the afternoon catching up with our friends, swatting away bees and enjoying giant pretzels, giant steins of beer and giant people watching (only joking…they’re actually quite svelte considering carbs seem to form the basis of everyone’s diet). By the time late afternoon rolled around we were ready for a siesta and so headed to our hotel – the Sofitel Munich. The hotel was beautiful and had a really cool indoor pool that is designed like a conch shell (you step in and then swim in a circular arc that curls in on itself). Once we had checked in and had a rest we headed out for a stroll to get our bearings. The hotel is a quick walk from Karlsplatz, one of the squares in central Munich and the spray from the fountains provided welcome relief against the heat.
We popped into a church just beyond the square and then wound our way around Neuhauser Strasse (one of the main pedestrian shopping streets in the city centre) ending up in front of the New Town Hall.
It was a very full and very fun first day in Germany!
Make sure you check back in next Thursday t0 find out what we got up to the next day. 🙂