Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This is just one moment before she pushed him down.
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Best place for a diaper change on the road.
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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.
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Lola OWNS this bouncy castle.
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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...