My last day in Munich, I wake up with the same pain. I gingerly try to move my leg around, hoping the pain won’t be as great as yesterday. I am able to move my leg, so it seems like an improvement. I continue sitting on the couch, massaging my leg, willing it to heal immediately. After a while, I get up, pack up all my stuff, take a shower and get ready.
I had planned to go to Starnberger See or Lake Starnberg. Andrea highly recommended this place. And luckily, it was a sunny day. I decide to grab breakfast before I board the train. I had been noticing this little Bakery called Aumüller last few days. It had such decadent looking desserts in their display window and every time I saw it, it reminded me of a friend who absolutely loves desserts and wished I could take some back home for him. I ordered a Kürbissemmel and a quarkbällchen. Kürbissemmel is nothing but a sandwich. The tough part was deciding which one. They had so many varieties. I finally chose one with veggies and salami. Quarkbällchen is a sweet, doughy ball topped with some sugar dust. While I was sitting there and eating, a pigeon entered the store. My nightmare!! One of the women at the bakery was as scared as me and couldn’t decide whether to scream and hide or to protect all the lovely stuff from pigeon feathers and droppings. Both the women quickly covered all with sheets of paper and went and hid in an internal room.
The poor pigeon was more scared and confused than any of us. Trying so hard to fly out, but bumping into the glass and not understanding what was wrong. Apart from me, there were couple of regular patrons of the bakery in there. I felt they were regulars because of the comfort I noticed between them and the ladies working there. One of them, an elderly gentleman went and grabbed the pigeon and walked out of the store. On his way out, he must have noticed my tiny little eyes which had widened as big as saucers out of fear, and for fun he thrusts the pigeon into my face. I scream so loud that I think the poor pigeon might have gone deaf. On his way back in, the man ruffles my hair like I am a little kid. The last time someone did that to me was a friend long long ago. Actually, not too long ago, but circumstances make it feel like that. I fall into a gloom thinking about it, but next second I pull myself back up. This isn’t the time to shed tears over anything. ANYTHING. I had promised myself this new year (thanks to an extremely sucky new year’s eve) that 2015 will be about myself. I will go get what makes me happy. Being happy was the only goal. So time to weed out everything slowly but steadily that push me the other way. I do lose track of it sometimes but thankfully not for too long. So, I smile at the lady and pay my bill.
I was still greedy but all the other desserts were just too big for me to finish. So, I choose a marmorkuchen to take it along with me. A soft gooey slice of chocolate cake. I take the S6 and reach the lake. It’s a beautiful sight. The lake lies in a glacial hollow and was created by ice age glaciers from the Alps. I walked around a bit, took pictures of the snowcapped Alps, and bought a few souvenirs. You could book yourself in one of those fancy ferries which would take you around the lake for most of the morning and you can wine and dine soaking in the sun. But, I hadn’t known of this and even if I had, I would have not chosen it. I am sure it costed a bomb. Andrea had recommended a restaurant called Undosa by the lakeside. She said the food wasn’t great but its view was the best. She was right. It had a great view. I didn’t bother ordering any food but ordered myself a lemon beer which was one of my favourite discoveries. I know all the beer lovers would hate me for it, but I loved it. So, sue me! A pint of beer was a whopping 3.40 euros. Hopefully I will have a better beer drinking experience in Berlin and Hamburg. Well, it is me who is unable to go out looking for the right places. And, I will probably enjoy it more if it wasn’t emptying my pockets and draining my blood.
I sat sipping my beer and penning down my thoughts. The sun was warm and bright. First time since I left India, I wasn’t shivering. It was so warm that my legs were burning and I was tempted to take off my stockings. It’s so funny. People back home were jealous that I had escaped the crazy Indian summer, only for me here, to run to the sun every chance I get.
By now I knew that I won’t be able to see all the sites of Munich. But, I wasn’t going to stress. I was enjoying the view so much. Loving the fact that I wasn’t doing anything. A few years ago, a very good friend of mine who has known me for years was visiting us. He had stayed over at my place for 3 days, at the end of which he asked me, “Deepi, have you ever sat down for a minute doing nothing? Not even thinking about what work you have to finish next?” Murthy, in case you are reading this, it’s you. J And, I really didn’t know what he was talking about. I haven’t really known what it is to relax in life. There have been a few friends, who tend to make me forget all the worries and just enjoy the moment, but then again not for too long. But, now I got what he was asking. Not a single thought crossed my head. Just watching the clear sky, the snow capped mountains, feeling the sun on my skin and tasting the lemony beer on my tongue. So content in the moment. So content being by myself.
After a while I decide to head back. At the train station the ticket vending machine isn’t working properly. I struggle for a while when a lady offers to come help me. While doing that she misses her train. I felt so guilty because the trains to and from Starnberger are only once every 25 minutes. I apologized to her a few times and then sat waiting for my train. I see sparrows all over the track and the station and I am so so happy. I haven’t seen one in India for years now. These birds who used to nest right outside my house through my childhood have almost disappeared.
I decide to go to hauptbahnhof which is the main railway station of Munich. I had to buy a sim card and a converter plug or whatever that thing is called. You know what I am talking about right? If you don’t doesn’t matter. Don’t have the patience to elaborate. I go pick up a sim card for 20 euros. At the electronic store while buying the converter I have one of the funniest conversations. The thing I wanted was for 40 euros, and I laugh out loud. Tell the guy there is no way I am spending so much money. But, I had to buy something because my surface (stupid Microsoft) had that straight pin like plug and I could not plug into the German sockets which are like our Indian sockets. And, I had to charge my surface because, all my pics from camera will have to go into it for me to free some space. So, he finally shows me something for 12 Euros. I thank, pay and as I am going out, he tells me that I am beautiful. As I am already in a good and hyper mood (which I am almost always in) I tell him that I am not and he just finds my skin colour exotic. He tells me that he knows a few Indians and my skin colour isn’t something new for him, but he really finds me beautiful and has a feeling that I am a very interesting person. Oh you European men!!!! If someone would have said this to me in India, I would have labeled that person as a creep. But, here it sounded so charming. Shame on you Deepika!!! I giggle, tell him that’s something he will never find out and leave.
I take a train and get back to Marienplatz and Hello google maps!!! I go to Altes-Rathaus first. Nothing to see or do much here, except for a toy museum and I wasn’t interested in wasting my time and money on that. Next I went to Peterskirche or St.Peter’s church. This is the oldest church in Munich and has a viewing platform which can be reached after climbing 306 steps. Normally I wouldn’t have even thought twice before climbing up but thanks to my still slightly aching leg, I decide to let go. If you know me even a bit, you should know how tough that was for me to do. The church itself is beautiful. I sit for a while enjoying the gothic paintings, letting the calm wash over me.
For the last two days I had been noticing this church right next to Altes-Rathaus. I didn’t know which one was it and the door was always closed. Now I noticed they were wide open and my map told me it was Marienkirche. It’s absolutely gorgeous. St.Maria’s church, I lost myself here. I don’t know how long I sat here for. I felt light, like I had nothing inside me. No sadness, fear, self-doubt. I am an agnostic and have literally run from anything religious most of my adult life. Probably because my family background is of hard core religious fanatics which has completely put me off this topic or maybe that’s who I am. But, this place, nothing like what I have felt before. I lit a few candles. One at a tiny altar on the side which looked like it had something to do with kids. I prayed for my son, prayed that I would be a good mother, prayed to take away all the happiness in my life if that would mean making his life the best. I couldn’t help it and started tearing up, all the babies around weren’t helping me feel any better. I decided to get out and grab something to eat.
I wanted to go to atleast to one of the places on my list before I left Munich and thanks to the maps now I could look for them and I decide to go to Andechser am Dom. While walking towards it I come across the official merchandise store of Bayern Munich. I think about picking up some gifts for my football crazy friends but then I remind myself that this trip is about me and I will not/should not think about wasting my time and money on gifts for others. (No offense fellas! I still love you all!)
I reach the restaurant and my luck, my luck. Their famous roast lamb wasn’t available that day. I order a schnitzel with a side of salad and red berry compote and a glass of Lager to wash it down. Don’t think much about the schnitzel, never been a fan of deep fried stuff. The salad and the red berry compote was to die for. I enjoyed the meal for the longest time, slowly drinking, eating while reading GOT on my Kindle.
There was a pair of extremely handsome men sitting across me and after a while, we obviously give each other a polite smile. I get up to go to the washroom and bump into one of them on my way. I get this bright smile and a Hallo! I smile and wish back and then he starts talking. I don’t understand a word. I apologize that I don’t know German. We stand around for another few seconds wondering if there’s a way around it. Nothing. We smile, shrug and move on. Damn! Damn!
I am in my new boots and as always, shoe bite starts troubling me. I am unable to walk, and decide to buy band aid to make it a little comfortable. I go to a medical store and buy the smallest box of Hansaplast for 4 Euros!! That is 280 bucks INR!!! I was kicking myself for not carrying it along with me from India. Well, lesson learnt. Right outside the medical store I see this cute letter box. Love letters only. How adorable is that?!! I think about dropping a love letter to all the people I love, family and friends. But then realize I might end up paying a bomb for the postal charges. So, you all know I love you right? Don’t need to waste my hard earned money over it. :p
Move on to Residenzmuseum. It’s already 3 o’clock and the place shuts down at 5. At the ticket counter, the man suggests I don’t take the combination ticket as I won’t have the time to see it all. If you really want to enjoy Residenz Palace, you have to put aside a whole day for it. Then he asks me if I am a student, so that I could avail a discount. I tell him, I wasn’t and give him the money for a ticket. He gives me back more change than I should get, and when I look up to him he smiles and says, “You look student.” I smile and thank him, pick up my audio guide and start the tour.
The Residenz palace was the Wittelsbach’s residence. This was heavily bombed in World War 2 but most of it was restored, well the work continues even now. You can take a look at how the royalties lived. Absolutely worth it. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Everything is just splendid. In the last room I met this Lebanese guy, staff of Residenz and he just won’t stop talking. I guess they are bored standing in one room all day, so I humored him for a while. But, after some time I start getting worried, he won’t let me go. I somehow escape him and head out.
Last stop Asamkirche. Asam Church was built as a private church by the brothers Egid Quirin Asam and Cosmas Damian Asam. But, due to pressure from the public, they had to open it to all. This place is loud and garish. Bright gold everywhere. A recorded organ music plays in the background which makes it seem even more crowded. Claustrophobic. I am more than happy to get out and get home. Couple of months ago when I had decided to do this trip, I had bought tickets for Romeo and Juliet at The Munich State Opera. I need to get ready and be there on time. Germans are known for their punctuality and I didn’t want to miss the ballet I had been so looking forward to. I am hungry now, after the long walk all afternoon, but decide to eat something post the opera.
I rush home, change quickly into a white dress. Andrea and I decide to take a picture of ourselves as there would be no time after the Opera and I had an early morning flight. We set the camera on auto mode and click a few. Andrea offers to walk me to the Opera to show me the way. We just about make it on time. I get in a few seconds before they close the doors.
Like I said earlier, I bought the tickets a couple months before the actual trip. So, I was behaving even more miserly then, than I was at the vacation. I bought the cheapest ticket for 8.50 euros. The seating arrangement was online and I could select my seat. It was all in German and I asked couple of friends who knew Munich and understood German to help me out. Still. Epic fail. I picked up the Rang or the ring which is on either side above the stage instead of the gallery which is far back but facing the stage. More than everything, I should have spent another 5 Euros and bought a sitting ticket than standing. First, I couldn’t see more than half of the stage, second my feet hurt walking all day and now standing. But whatever I could see, splendid, splendid, splendid. I could feel my heart soaring with the music and I wanted to jump up with the actors. What an amazing performance. During the interval I want to eat the chocolate cake I still had packed from my breakfast today but am too embarrassed. After the interval, when we go back in, most people have not come back for the show or have been locked out. So, I get a place much higher up and closer to the center and now I can almost see the whole stage.
But, life had other plans for me. I start feeling hot, not the sexy kind, but the break out into a sweat and pass out kind. And, I know I am going to pass out. I try really hard to clear my head, move a bit and continue. But, after a while I know I am going to faint any moment. So, I get down one step and sit. Can’t see the stage. Missing the performance, so get up and go back to my place again but have to give up soon and sit down. Missed the last 15 minutes of the ballet. I guess that’s good. I would have bawled my eyes out watching Romeo and Juliet die.
On my way out, I see the others from the audience. Just like in the movies. Beautifully dressed women and men all suited up getting back into their chauffeur driven cars or cabs, which by the way are quite expensive. I walk back home through dingy alleys but didn’t get worried even for a second. My phone is switched off and I can’t check the map for my way back home but I couldn’t give two hoots about that. There is a beautiful breeze blowing and I come across a restaurant full of fun looking young people, almost consider stopping for a meal. But, I think it would be prudent to go home and catch up on some sleep and be ready for the next city and adventure.
Overall I was quite happy with my three days in Munich. I did as much as I could and had a great time. I am looking forward to coming here again. This time for a longer duration. I want to go hiking in the Black Forest, go to the Alps, and visit Dachau concentration camp and Neuschwanstein Castle.
Till we meet again Munchen. Tschau!!