Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This is just one moment before she pushed him down.
Posted by Picasa


Best place for a diaper change on the road.
Posted by Picasa


Posted by Picasa


Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun. Please shine down on, please shine down on, please shine down on ME.

This is the sunshine that Lola made in the Hofbraukeller kinderplatz. Isn't that the coolest?
I love it. We hung him from the lamp in our hotel room so he'd shine down on us.
Posted by Picasa


Lola OWNS this bouncy castle.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Englischer Garten

The Central Park of Munich is the Englischer Garten. It actually does remind me more of the gardens near the Serpentine Gallery in London with its winding paths and a lake... I'd say that our incentive to go was nature, but that would be a lie. In one of my guide books to Munich, it noted that the Englischer Garden was home to both playgrounds and biergartens. And in some cases--biergartens with playgrounds in them. Genius.

First, the playgrounds--there are many. And oh so welcome to two cooped-up kids. Lola was thrilled to see the swings. And Henry about flew out of the stroller to play in the dirt at the bottom of the slide. Jeffrey and I had this moment though were we realized that we were the only parents hovering over our children. The other children in this playground were all playing contentedly by themselves or with each other, and the parents (get this) were sitting on park benches around the edges, having (get this) conversations with each other. Really? We're going to try this. Not today, but soon. We may have to import this way of overseeing our children back to America.
Here's Lola hanging out on the playhouse.
And Henry scooping sand.
And here is my family in the fabled Biergarten with playground. It seems that I did not get a picture of our giant beers. But trust me, we had giant beers. Helles Paulaner, much deserved.
All in all, the guide books set you off in the right direction.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Today was to be just a laid back in Munich sort of a day. We wanted to check out things but we didn't really have a plan. Just to chill, get some food, take things in... we got started at the Viktualienmarkt.

Here Lola and Henry are checking out a goose, but Henry is more interested in straightening the ones that aren't standing up properly. The woman selling the geese wasn't entirely thrilled to have two young children debating her merchandise without likelihood of purchasing. We moved on to one of the many fountains in the market area--they are all so clever and sweet. Water is always good to keep our kids interested. Luckily there are many beautiful fountains in the city center.

My favorite sight is that of beer bottles settled into them to cool off the beer before drinking. Brilliant use of existing resources.

In my hope to actually see some of Munich, I wanted to keep moving... thank goodness for buckles in strollers. Both kids get in and get buckled and there is some sanity left in the world.
We left the Viktualienmarkt to walk around some small streets off the Marienplatz. I wanted to show my cute husband this beautiful specialty store called Dallmayr. I loved it when I was in Munich the last time--it is even more beautiful than Harrod's and everything in it feels special. Except my children in a stroller. They felt unwelcome. I think I managed to get a dirty look from exactly every single person in the store. The experience frustrated me because I wanted it to be different, to be friendlier. It just wasn't going to work out--at least we didn't prolong the experience. There was no shopping--just a quick exit to the street.

The kids blew off some steam chasing each other around a tree in the park. I was glad to sit in the shade for a minute and regroup, but then the usual worry set in--what to eat? I swear I never thought more than a minute about what to eat before I was a mom. Now, it's like a nutrition challenge: what to feed the kids? (I actually think this is kind of funny in one way--it's like nothing changes even if you're on another continent. Your concerns remain essentially the same.)
So, we all re-group into our stroller brigade and head back to the market to buy lunch. I make the call that it is getting late and we'll take food back to the hotel and eat there. Lola starts whining about being hungry and Henry starts grunting and pointing at EVERYTHING. I decide that this will have to be a divide and conquer mission: I will stay with the kids and he can go get us some food. Great idea!
If he spoke German, maybe.
Which he does not.
My sweet husband deserves no criticism. He did very well. He wanted ham and he got about a half pound of ham. He wanted cheese and he got about a half pound of cheese. He just didn't know how to ask for either of them sliced.

While he was dealing with the basics, I went to buy fruit with Lola and Henry. We bought the most delicious raspberries and the prettiest strawberries I've ever seen. I must have done something wrong at the fruit stand because Lola burst into tears and I couldn't get her to tell me what for or why. In my impatient way, I decided to press on, allowing her to wail and wail. (I know, I am a terrible Mom).
We went to get flowers. I always want to buy flowers when I am traveling but it never seems like a reasonable expense with only a couple days in a place. Since we were going to be in Munich for 10 days, I figured it was a justifiable luxury. For five euro we got this tight little bundle of garden roses.
And the flowerseller? So nice. She heard Lola's crying and told her "no, no, you don't need to cry" and gave both Lola and Henry little chocolates.
They ate chocolates on the way back to our room; we had a nice picnic lunch with the help of a very sharp pocketknife to carve up the ham and cheese. As my friend Guillaume would say, it was "German Romantic".
I love Germany.


First, let me say what a beautiful city Munich is. It is so gorgeous and so walkable. This is my second time here as an adult. The last time, I was seven months pregnant with Lola and it was January, perhaps the coldest couple of days of the year. It was still gorgeous then. Everything was kind of buttoned up then, and now it's like summer has let everything spill out onto the sidewalks. There are people everywhere, cheerful people sitting under cafe umbrellas carrying on conversations, smoking, just generally engaged with the world.

During my last trip, I was homesick for my husband but I was happy to have a work project that brought me to Germany, and I was really excited to explore. These are a few images that stuck with me from that trip--ones that I actually took during this trip with the family I didn't even know I'd have.

This is the coolest passage I've ever seen. It borders Marienplatz. I need to get a photo of the exterior so you can see the cladding. It's very cool. But what you see here is the interior view with the vines of plants hanging down, alternating with bare bulbs in a grid pattern. The stores in here a amazing: Alessi, Muji, youknow....
Here are Lola and Henry with their Cute Dad in Marienplatz the other evening. More pictures to come from more time in Marienplatz. It's just so beautiful at sunset. The light on the old town hall is really pretty; everything gets a little dreamy.
This is the view from our illegally parked rental car. I can't figure out the parking-by-trust ticketing system in German. Regardless, the view is Gorgeous, no? This is looking down Ludwigstrasse, (or Leopoldstrasse?) toward the Marienplatz.
More pictures soon. We're loving the trip. Not every moment is easy but the good ones make the terrible ones a little more tolerable.
What's coming?
Posts on Starnberger See, on the Hofbraukeller and its free childcare (brilliant!), on the search for traditional dirndl and lederhosen, and more...

Friday, July 31, 2009



Just to assure you there is beer in Germany.
Geography and flavor to be offered in future posts.

HofBrau Park in Herrenchiemsee:
Smaller than standard servings at our own request, as beer is also served to and fro on the ferry.
Munich Tierpark Biergarten:
The Helles bier (light beer) on the left was mine. The Weissbier on the right was Jeffrey's. Brilliant to have a biergarten at the zoo.



Since Chiemsee is so close to Salzburg, I offered to Jeffrey that we should check it out. This is about all we saw as both kids fell asleep in their carseats and we didn't dare wake them. We got some sandwiches at a gas station and ate them in the car on the way back to Munich.
Still, we stopped by Austria for some dinner.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


When we were planning our trip (on the fly, with only about two weeks warning), my dad recommended that we try to go to Cheimsee, or more specifically, the Palace at Herrenchiemsee. He sent me the link and said he thought the kids would like riding on a boat. They totally did. Lola liked eating ice cream on the boat. Henry liked screaming at Lola while she ate an ice cream. Lola also now knows how to say "I'm On A Boat".

This is Herrencheimsee. It may look familiar because it is modeled after Versailles. The Bavarian King Ludwig II built it, and only spent 9 days in it before his death. It was actually still in construction, and even a tour now shows you what remained unfinished. It's pretty intense.

So, we drive from Munich, to three towns named Stock, get a ferry (what does she look like asks Lola; its a homynym says Jeffrey) and push a double stroller all the way up to this Palace. We get our tickets, we join an English-language tour. And we enter into The Grand Staircase.

Not accessible.
Okay Kids.
Let's do it.
Here are the good sports in our family: Henry and Lola.
Clearly, I am still bitching about it.
If you are thinking of going, do it. But it is probably more meaningful if you've actually been to Versailles. Oh, and this place is all about preservation---you lose a little bit of the effect because they have carpeted all of the rooms. I think most people wouldn't notice so much but it only made me want to see the inlaid floors even more.

If you go with a noisy baby, try to avoid the naptime tour. Or bring extra pacifiers. Or just let him make echo-testing noises throughout your tour until the guide finally gives you the okay to just go ahead and leave...


GPS is amazing. I cannot imagine how people survived the old fashioned way. The only note I will add is that Germany seems to have a lot of towns in the same general area with the same name.
The guidebook for Munich and the Bavarian Alps says that to get to Chiemsee, you must go to Stock. Of course, we went to three Stocks. The last one being the correct one. It was all good. At least it stopped raining by the time we arrived. This is Henry checking out sheep in the second town called Stock.


This is just so you can see that sometimes they are actually sitting (almost together) at the same time. These moments are rare, but appreciated.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kinder Zoo

Tierpark Hellabrun has a Children's area that includes rides, a playground, and a petting zoo.
The biggest possible highlight for Lola was that she got to ride a pony. Since she is under 6 years old, an adult had to walk alongside her (that's Jeffrey, the adult). He asked her the pony's name and she promptly told him "Frankie". Henry had a blast in the petting zoo. The kid has No Fear. Here he is about to terrorize some geese. At one point I had to intervene...
This is the kinder, gentler Henry checking out some goats. They pretty much ignored him. One note: there were no staff in the petting zoo. Not a one. I thought it was pretty amazing that they'd trust that everything would just be okay with this environment of live animals, open water and young children. All I can figure is that there are fewer attorneys in Germany.
Now, one for my sister. Anyone who knows her knows that she grew up pretty much crazy for guinea pigs. She had a journal about them. Actually, it was a daily journal that she had to keep for school, but she mentioned guinea pigs daily. So, here's the deal, Aunt Elizabeth, the Munich Zoo has TWO guinea pig sections. One is indoor (seen below) and one is outdoor (seriously). The outdoor one a big maze that has a little section of hutches with water, and a little grain machine where you can buy pellets to feed the guinea pigs. It is under a big tree and is probably about the size of a two car garage and it is FULL of guinea pigs. I think that this is kind of its own little eco-system. It is pretty awesome. Forget Polar Bears. Come to our zoo to see Guinea Pigs.
Another totally American observation: they had American animals in this zoo--buffalo, for example. It struck me as funny.


Henry just knows.
Check out the bench full of girls in the upper right.
He did.


Here are some clues that you are in a great zoo.
Let's take a peek:
A Yakitori Stand/Candy Store (in Munich Zoo):
Kinder Eis kaufen:

Biergarten WeissBier:
Zoo Review: Five Stars


The Munich Tierpark was the first in the world to build natural settings for their animals, rather than cage them--pretty progressive for 1911 Germany. I wanted to check it out. Going to the Zoo is a pretty easy and engaging activity for everyone, even jetlagged, hungry, and cranky.


Anyway, if you can go, go:

Tierpark Hellabrunn
Der Zoo der Stadt Munchen

Kinderzoo Post Coming Soon! (Guinea pigs, Goats, Geese)
Biergarten Reviews forthcoming as well!