A little less of Meatloaf and a lot more of Schnitzel Part 1

I hate this!! Sunrise at 3?!!! Day 2 in Munich starts at 3 a.m. for me. It’s too bright and Andrea has thin curtains. I am someone who can’t sleep if there is a single ray of light in the room and this was as bright as a day out in the sun. Dull German day at that. I kept forcing myself to sleep and kept dozing in and out. Finally giving up at 5, I sat down to do the planning for the day. I took snapshots of the map for all the locations I wanted to go today, which were the Dachau concentration camp and the Nymphenburg Palace. And, because I like to overachieve, I would try and see Residenz palace and all the other sites still due.

When I finally get ready to leave, Andrea opens up her cupboard and shows me this whole rack of clothes which she doesn’t fit into anymore. She claims that she has a flabby midriff now and her old jackets don’t fit her anymore. Now, I totally understood the weird looks I get when I talk about working out to get a fitter body and whine about not being bikini ready. Andrea is as skinny as me and tinier.  I had no clue of what flab she was talking about. She wanted me to take all her warm clothing with me as even Berlin and Hamburg, my next two destinations were going to be as cold as Munich.

I thank her and tell her that, even if I would love to take all those stylish jackets, I cannot. I do not have the space to carry them and once back in India, no chance to use them. I pick a simple light brown fur lined short jacket. I am looking great again, only if there was someone to take my picture.
I decide to grab something to eat before I start for the day. I walk down to the main street where I had noticed a Doner kebab or Doner kebap (Turkish) stand. This was on my list of “to dos”in Munich. I was the first customer of the day and the only one at that moment.
 Doner Kebaps are buns or pita bread/flat bread stuffed with slices of meat which are slow cooked on a vertical rotisserie with a few sauces, pickles and vegetables.  Seeing that I am Indian, he automatically made a chicken Doner for me. I noticed it too late. Can’t believe I didn’t ask for the beef Doner. But, this was absolutely delicious. A generous helping of soft slices of meat lavishly doused with sauces and vegetables stuffed in a soft bun. I relished each and every bite of it.

The owner Sabah came and joined me at my table and started asking about India. He wanted to know the cost of living, the rentals and how much he would be able to sell the Kebaps in India for. Well, I gave him a general idea of what it would be like in Hyderabad, which is one of the cheapest metros to live in.  Sabah was ecstatic to hear the differences. His stand is in an approximately 4 by 8 space and he pays €4000 a month which translates into ₹2,8000. For that amount you can rent a fancy space uptown in Hyderabad, and Sabah was sure he would be a millionaire here. I didn’t want to burst his bubble and just spoke about his home and family which was back in Iran. He took my contact details and promised to get in touch soon to open a chain of Doner kebap stands in India. 

After the delicious and interesting breakfast, I walked towards the Isartor subway station and bought a ticket for S2, which goes to Dachau. At the platform, I am confused about which train to take. So, the same train (line) runs in the two opposite directions, that is towards the two last stations at the opposite ends within a few minutes of each other. I forgot to check the last station when I bought my ticket, as that’s the name displayed on the board before the train arrives. Now, it’s too late. I don’t know which train to board and I can’t see one happy/friendly face which would make me comfortable enough to ask. I just jump into the one which comes first. Its a long ride and I am absolutely enjoying the view. It’s like out of a postcard. I actually saw a flock of sheep grazing on lush green farm. Gorgeous houses. Wish I could live here. (Strike 3) I was recently speaking to a friend about retirement (his, not mine. I am looking forward to a long, active, crazy life) and I think this would be perfect for him. I try taking pictures, but the train is moving too fast. 
After a while, the train comes to a stop and I realize that it is the last stop. Congratulations Deepi Rao!! You got into the wrong train!! Great! Fantastic job! Now, there is no way you can see Nymphenburg palace and Dachau today. 
I continue sitting like an idiot in that empty train. I am scared too because I do not have ticket for the other way. I could have just bought a full day ticket and made my life simpler, but the smarty pants that I am, I decide not to. The train starts again and I alight at Isartor, go back up, buy tickets for S8 to Munchen-Liam, the closest station to Nymphenburg. When I come back to the platform, I realize that the train I had just alighted was the one I could have gone on. I want to kick myself, but as a friend very aptly said, “Trials and tribulations of a new country.” Anyways, off I go. At Munchen-Liam, I ask a young girl the way to Nymphenburg, she had one of the most warmest smiles I have ever seen and beautiful brown eyes. She points to the left and tells me to walk a bit and then take a bus.I tell her that she is gorgeous, and has the prettiest eyes. I get a bigger smile and a big DANKE!! Feeling extremely happy I walk down the stairs and into a small but colorful tunnel filled with music played by a street musician. I stop, take a few pics and videos of him and walk on.

The Liam bus stop is around 2 mins walk away. I reach the bus stop and am confused again. You see, I am quite dyslexic when it comes to directions and Germany driving on the other side of the road, left me a mess while trying to figure out which side of the road I have to board my bus on. I ask a man sitting at the bus stop, the first and only unfriendly person I met in Germany. He grunts and points at the board where all the bus numbers were written. It obviously doesn’t help because I don’t know which bus number to take. I look at his face and decide I would prefer to board the wrong bus than ask him again. Luckily another passenger comes to the stop and I ask him. He tells me I am at the wrong bus stop and need to go to the one a little further away and take bus no.51 to Hirschgartenallee and then walk upto Nymphenburg. I thank, move on and without any further adventures reach Nymphenburg.

The first sight which greets you is the little pond with ducks and majestic white swans with the palace in the background. I was warned by a friend that the birds there were famous for chasing and biting visitors. I prayed to god that I didn’t become the subject of such a video popping up in the future. And, if I did, the cameraman would give me a copy so I could share and laugh at it before others do. But, no birds hated me today. I got some lovely pictures (for my capabilities) Unfortunately, the palace was under restoration( most of the buildings in the city were), and so I couldn’t get a complete picture of the palace. I walked leisurely and walked into the main building and bought a ticket for 11.50 Euros. This gave me access to the central pavilion, the northern and southern wings, the palace gardens and the garden pavilions.

The palace was the favorite summer residence of rulers of Bavaria. The palace was built by the Italian designer Agostino Barelli in 1664. The central pavilion was finished in 1675 and was later redesigned by Joseph Effner into French baroque style in 1716. Most of the rooms still show their baroque decorations while others were redesigned into rococo or neoclassical styles. 
The Steinerner Saal/Stone hall with its ceiling frescoes and decorations are a breathtaking sight. The central fresco is Helios in a chariot surrounded by other gods. The side walls have murals in rococo style, with their prominent ornate decorations and the use of gold. I might have taken atleast 20 pictures of each painting. None could do justice. This was like my Himalayan trek last year. The best of the cameras, lenses or cameraman cannot compare to the beauty you see with your eyes. Well, I had to choose and delete most of the pictures as I wouldn’t have enough memory in my camera. 

The southern pavilion hosts the famous “gallery of beauties”, of Ludwig I of Bavaria. Here 36 paintings of the most beautiful women of Munich, from all social classes are portrayed. The painting which caught my eye was of Helene Sedlmayr and Cornelia Vetterlein. I wrote their name down in my evernote so that I can look them up later. Not surprisingly, Helen is one of the most famous paintings in the gallery. She was a shoemaker’s daughter who used to supply toys to Ludwig’s children and later married his the alet of his royal carriage and HAD 10 CHILDREN!!!!! I tried taking a picture of the painting but the light wasn’t good and you can’t use a flash.

Gallery of Beauties

Cornelia

Did I just put myself into the gallery of beauty? Humble much?

The Northern pavilion houses the Chapel and The Hubertus Hall which is used for concerts.
Once you have seen the main building, you would come out into the garden. This garden was once Italian, rearranged in french style and then again in English manner. It has a central water channel and is decorated by Greek and Roman gods on both sides and a cascade. Some of the gods present a very disturbing picture. the prominent ones being an extremely emaciated woman and a god with his tongue wrapped around an infant. On either sides of the gardens are the park palaces. On the left side are Amalienburg, Badenburg and Marstallmuseum and on the right are Pagodenburg and Magdalenenklause. 

The Amalienburg was built as a hunting lodge for Maria Amalia in 1739. This has the most deceptive outward appearance. Looks noble and simple from outside only to turn into one of the most exquisite creations inside. The central pavilion is the large salon or “Hall of mirrors”. The dominant colours of this room being silver, off white and light blue. A grand chandelier decorates the centre of the room. The alternation of mirrors, doors and windows is very clever and gives the room an appearance of “without any boundaries”. 

The bedroom or the yellow room is also richly decorated with wall carvings in painted silver on lemon yellow background. 

I want that bed

The dog and gun room has hunting scenes painted in blue on a white background. The pictures in a group of fours reminded me of the various families of Game of thrones. I present to you, House Baratheon and House Stark. Knowing R.R.Martin’s crazy (and so hated) twists, the other two might be the surprise in season 6.

My favourite room here was the Electress’s kitchen. The blue and white Chinese decorations give it an exotic air. This kitchen was used for events away from the main Palace. I stood for a while, imagining how awesome it would be plan and cook a meal in here. The beautiful open space outside perfect to have my loved ones gather while I torture them with all my experiments. Well, of course, first I will throw in all the regular gadgets one has in their kitchen nowadays.

Next, I walked upto Badenburg. There are sign posts telling you the way, so its very convenient. The walk through to the garden palaces are as picturesque as they can be. A stream flowing through with nests of ducks and little ducklings waddling around. Beautiful lush green tress on both sides of the walkway. I don’t remember feeling so at peace and ecstatic at the same time. Being so content all by myself. Didn’t need another person to make me smile.

Badenburg was the bath house. The main hall or the banqueting hall has some magnificent ceiling frescoes. The elector’s chambers here are fitted with Chinese wall papers in all the rooms but unfortunately, due to lack of light again, I couldn’t really take good pictures.

The bath has dutch tiles and a gallery. Here too, you can take a look at it only from a small area in the gallery.

Next I was confused whether to walk to Marstallmuseum which was on the same side of the park or cross over to the right side to the other two park palaces. There are distances written along with the sign boards. I decide to go to the other side as I can see Marstallmuseum in the end and exit the palace.

It was a long but beautiful walk to Pagodenburg. Couples sitting on benches by the lakeside. People jogging/walking. If I had a Schloss to go for a run in everyday, all the haters wouldn’t have had a chance to crack jokes on my non athleticism.

Pagodenburg as the name suggests is built on the theme of a pagoda. The rooms inside too are decorated in Arab. Indian and Chinese styles. The colour scheme of the Chinese wall paper and the background lacquer painting is absolutely breathtaking.

Magdalenenklause was conceived as a hermitage. Its half plastered walls with cracks and crevices gives it an appearance of a ruin from the outside. The interior comprises of a Grotto chapel of St. Mary Magdalene. The interiors of the chapel and the entrance are very peculiarly decorated with conchs and shells.

I am not religious at all but almost all places of worship bring a little peace to my overspeeding brain. But, this place left me with a very strange haunting feeling. There is an  altarpiece with Jesus on a crucifix, I think made of ivory, absolutely beautiful. In the elector’s chambers there is another crucifix which feels very spooky. I don’t know why. Maybe because of the low yellow-red lighting in the room. It was eerie.

On my way to Pagodenburg I had felt a little sprain in my leg. I didn’t think too much of it. Stretched a bit and kept walking. By now, I could feel it getting worse. Just then I noticed a group cycling around and I remembered!! I was supposed to rent a cycle too. I was too involved in just walking in and taking pictures that I totally forgot about it. One of the drawbacks of travelling alone, if someone was with me and we had discussed it, I wouldn’t have had to do all the remembering.(Does that sentence make sense?)
The pain was getting worse and I probably had to walk atleast another couple of kilometers to finish my palace rounds.

Next to Marstallmuseum. This is the coach house. The collection of coaches and sleighs here are one of the most important in Europe. This is the personal collection of The Wittelsbachs’. You can see some intricate designs and some major bling. There is a collection of portraits of the royal horses. I mean, come on!! Even the horses got their portraits drawn?!! You can see that these animals were truly loved. The artist has tried to  capture their personalities in the paintings. Some can be seen standing stern and royal and some playful and even a mischievous one who was busy chomping on an apple from a table.

By the time I was done here, the pain had reached insane levels. I cannot believe I still had to almost walk a kilometer before I reached the bus stop. But, as I had no option, I grit my teeth and move on. I buy a 2.50 Euro ticket which would take care of all bus, tram and train tickets for the rest of the day. There was an american family, their first day in Germany and I helped them out with the tickets. Explaining what works for when. The advantages of travelling alone; you learn quick.

I get onto the bus and then alight at Hirschgartenallee. Whaaaattt?!! What did I just do? I am supposed to alight at Liam. And, excuse me! Weird German transport system. Why wasn’t the station I boarded the bus at called Hirschgartenallee? After all, that’s supposed to be the closest station to the palace. Anyways, now I don’t have the patience to wait for the next one plus the overcast sky was nudging me to get outta there. I walk. A long long walk to the train station. I decide to go to Marienplatz and try finishing up one of the churches today. (High hopes)

By the time I come out at Marienplatz, I am in tears. I decide to walk through the length of Marienplatz to Karlsplatz. After all, I had to still shop for some warm clothing. I see a lot of street artists on my way and I slowly stroll/limp my way across. I pick up a backpack (Andrea scolded me later as she had a few which I could have taken) as the camera bag plus the handbag was very cumbersome to carry around. I walked into a few stores, got tempted by the lovely bikinis, fought the temptation and entered H&M only to lose the battle here. Incredible sale and awesome stuff. Bought couple pairs of boots and Keds, a few tights, couple of woven woolen stoles and a few lipsticks(why why why?!!:( ) The lingerie section was tantalizing me with its silky fingers but me being the strong girl that I am (Liar!) I ran. Paid the bill. Walked out. Walked in. Picked up a few more things and decided to let go this time. You know its gonna hurt, but you have to let go. Love like this, YOU HAVE TO LET GO!!

I am exhausted, cold and hungry. I have a list of places I want to eat at but, I am noway in a condition to search for them. I decide that the first place I come across, I will have a meal there. And. the place was Cafe am Marienplatz. Absolutely packed. Inside and out. I go in, literally snatch the last place from a poor couple and sit my butt. The cheapest thing on the menu was “The Bavarian Meatloaf” for 18 Euros. I know, you aren’t supposed to convert when you travel and blah blah. Well, in my opinion its absolutely a bullshit advice. How can you not? I live in India, I earn in rupees and when I come back I have to pay my bill in rupees. Yes, some experiences you shouldn’t care and you really cant expect a bowl of noodles and chicken 65 for 4 Euros (you can, but not in Munich) and should go all out and have fun. But, others you will have to and you should watch.

I know what an American meatloaf is, so I think this should be somewhere along the same lines. I order it along with a bottle of water and patiently wait. What comes to my plate is two circular discs of salty boiled sausage like dish with a pretzel. It tastes disgusting. I try and force it in. I am hungry and for god’s sake its 18Euros. I have never been someone who can or will stick with something unpleasant in spite of it being the smart and right thing to do. Examples, a few exes and a lot of jobs.
I give up after two bites and hobble home.

This time there really are tears in my eyes. The pain is excruciating. I am so lonely and cold. The only time I missed not having someone with me. I somehow make the long painful walk home. Andrea looks at my face and knows I am hurt. She draws me a nice hot bath and I sit in it for a long long time. I felt very guilty later when I came to know that water and electricity were very expensive. I ask Andrea if there was a restaurant close by where I could go and grab some dinner. She shushes me and cooks some spaghetti. We sit eating and talking about India and Germany. Andrea had some very interesting observations on why Germans are an unfriendly lot. (I disagree. They are great) She says if you are from a cold country, you are used to huddling indoors and thus do not have social skills and vice versa. The discussion obviously did come down to India and how the women are treated there. I told her how all Indian men aren’t like that. I have been blessed to have wonderful and supportive men through my life.

I cuddle in my bed, warm, hoping to wake up sans any pain and enjoying my last day in this beautiful city.

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