I felt surprisingly well on Sunday morning. We even woke up at a reasonable hour. I swished some water around my arid mouth and tried to recall the moments from later in the night. I vaguely recalled a conversation with a woman from the baggage delivery service …
As we walked out of the festival grounds (called the Weis’n … short for some long German name meaning festival grounds), a woman called BK’s phone, speaking very little English. BK, being as drunk as I, but knowing WAY more German, threw me the phone after stammering, “Um … you probably want to talk to Bharadwaj …”. I only sketchily remembered why a German woman would call about delivery times, then I remembered that I had been wearing the same clothes for nearly three days. At long last they had located my poor bag, in all it’s half “Green”, half “Brown” glory, and she wanted to hand it over to me between 11 and 12 that night. What?? Not realizing it was only 8 o’clock and “that night” was a more-than-ample 3 hours advance notice, I reacted with both surprise and disbelief. I mean, do you have some kind of time machine that you’re gonna use to give me my bag?? It’s 4 in the morning woman!! I rescheduled for the next day, between 11 AM and 1 PM.
It was probably for the best because 3 hours would’ve been more than enough time for me to come home and pass out on my face. Which is pretty much what I did. In like 20 minutes.
The others got ready and left by 10:40. I was going to wait for my bag and then meet them out. In a beautiful example of German efficiency, a deliveryman called me from outside the building at 11:01. In the US, they would’ve given you a window of 9 to 4 and showed up at 5:30.
For the first time since Thursday in another country and time zone, I shaved and put on a fresh pair of clothes. The phone BK had given me was out of credit, but I knew those guys were around the city center, Mariensplatz, and would eventually get a hold of me. I got to Mariensplatz and began walking around, taking in the sights but also keeping an eye out for the group. I made it to the monuments at Odeonsplatz and the entrance to the English Garden when my brother called. They were still near Mariensplatz so I backtracked and met up with them at the Fish Fountain. I capitalize it because it seems to be a central meeting point for everyone in Munich. Mike, Ann, my brother and Bonesaw had been joined by Ann’s friends Matt and Mary.
We took an elevator up to the top of the Rathaus (the town hall building which dominates Mariensplatz … I know, it sounds like Rat House, but it’s literally translated to ‘council house’), which has a tower that extends high above the city. The views were great, albeit through iron bars and amid a lot of “Gerard loves Pequita” graffiti.
We walked back towards Odeonsplatz and took a look at a church in the square while BK and Bonesaw grabbed a coffee at the surprisingly-named San Francisco Coffee Company.
The entrace to the English Garden at Odeonsplatz and began our walk through the 3.7 square kilometer city park that trumps even NYC’s Central Park.
The park was massive and quite nice. Runners, walkers, dog-walkers and random walking dogs passed us as we strolled through towards BK’s neighbourhood. There are actually two beer gardens within the park grounds and we stopped for a beer at the first one. It’s called the “Chinese Tower” for very obvious reasons, there’s a giant Chinese-inspired tower in the center, surround by tables, a restaurant and a self-service food area.
From there we walked on towards the second beer garden, when I passed something … well, hilarious. Though I guess it passed me …
Look!! It’s a tiny dog wearing a tiny fur-lined hoodie that’s almost identical to the one worn by the kid who’s walking it!! If you don’t know or haven’t figured out, I am utterly fascinated by novelty-sized things, dog-apparel included. Stay tuned for further examples of my miniature-obsession. Click on the picture for the large version if you’re having trouble seeing.
At the second beer garden we all enjoyed a couple more beers, and I tore through a bratwurst. This beer garden was BK and Ann’s favorite and was beside a lake. On a warm sunny day I could imagine spending hours here people-watching and taking in the atmosphere. Who needs digital cable and a TiVO …
We left the English Garden near BK’s apartment and walked by an Italian restaurant … called Al Pacino. Now, other than blatant name-right infringement … if that’s a real thing … I was thinking that there’s a region in Italy called ‘Pacino’ and Ristorante Al Pacino was something like “Restaurant in the style of Pacino”, but no, there’s no Pacino, Italy, full of people who are constantly screaming “I’M BLIND HERE!!”. It just seems that this German-Italian restaurant owner decided to capitalize on a great name for an Italian place of business. I wonder what Mr. Pacino thinks of it? Maybe I’ll open up a Ristorante Robert Deniro across the street and throw him some competition. Immediately we knew we had to eat there. We had to experience the Al Pacino.
That night we went to a English-style pub called The Ark to watch the Steelers game. I was absolutely shattered by the time the second beer came around and kept nodding off at the table. For dinner, my brother and I ordered the pie with chips, I the steak, he the chicken curry. It was magnificent. Now you know my fascination with pies. I love pies. I love people who make pies. And of all the pies I’ve had from the South Island to South Australia, this was the finest. The pastry was perfectly flaky and crispy, having stood up to the moist onslaught of the filling. The steak was perfectly cooked and the gravy just the right consistency. Don’t get me wrong, the handheld pies they sling all over Australasia are delicious and can’t be beat, but for a meal pie, the one that you order at a restaurant, that’s as big as your hand spread open, this, my friends, was a work of art.
I dozed after the meal for a little longer before getting a second wind with the help of my good friend Jagermeister. In Rome … I thought, ignoring the countless bottles of Jager Garth and I went through behind the bar. I chatted with two Americans BK had met in Germany, Roger and Aaron.
Matt and Mary split off and headed home, and the rest of us walked back to BK’s place, closing another long and fun day in Munich.