Munich By Bike & Starnberger See Sunbathing

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This past weekend the Captain and I headed down to Munich to spend the weekend catching up with a good friend of ours.  Since the weather was going to be beautiful we decided  to bring our bikes along.  For one, getting around by bicycle is much more effective, not to mention easier on me and my finicky feet than walking.  Secondly, it’s a whole lot more pleasant than taking the underground, buses and trams.

After the long drive there on Friday, which was inevitably made longer due to my little stop at the Kiko Milano store in Nuremberg, and much deliberation on what to do for dinner, we decided to hop on our bikes and head to one of the beer gardens located in the English Garden.  For those of you unfamiliar with Munich, the English Garden is essentially the cities equivalent to Central Park.  The English Garden is a 417 hectare beautiful expanse of landscape garden which contains woodlands, meadows, and ponds, criss crossed by streams as well as pedestrian and bicycle friendly pathways located along side the River Isar.  Not only is the English Garden larger than Central Park and Hyde Park in London, but it holds the title of being the first public garden on the continent.

We decided to grab some dinner at the Seehaus Biergarten which is located on the Kleinhesseloher See which is the parks largest pond, there are also three other additional restaurants in the park.  By the time we left on our bikes the sun was quickly setting and it had cooled off quite a bit.  After our dinner of roasted chicken, leberkäse, pretzels, potato salad and of course beer for the gentlemen, the beer garden was closing so it was time to head back to the apartment.  It was pretty dark and doesn’t it figure that we had forgotten to pack my bike lights.  Did I ever mention that my night vision is horrible by the way?  So that made for an interesting ride back along the pathways and roads in the English Garden that were strewn with numerous phferd apfel (horse apples), which I’m sure you can guess is just a nice way of saying horse poop.

After a good nights sleep we planned our days bike ride over a hearty breakfast of buns, croissants, cheese, sliced meats, and of course Stefan and my favorite, Nutella.  Once we gathered all of our things and slathered on sunscreen we hopped on our bikes and made our way wast through Schwabing toward the English Garden.  Once inside the English Garden we were shaded by abundant trees as we rode along the pathways.  It is said that Munich is perhaps the most bicycle friendly city and I can certainly attest to that fact.  We made a short stop at the Chinese Tower Beer Garden since I had never seen it before in spite of traveling to Munich numerous times.  This particular beer garden is among the largest in Bavaria and seats up to 7,000.  It also boasts the beer gardens namesake, a rather impressive beautiful 25 meter Chinese Tower with five levels which typically houses a large brass band.  The next stop explained why we frequently saw people around the city, some wet suit clad, carting around surf boards on foot or on their bicycles during the warmer months.  The “wave,” is a manmade wave in one of the English Gardens waterways where locals come to surf and tourists gather to watch what might just be the most unconventional activities that Munich has to offer.

Upon leaving the English Garden we headed south along the west bank of the Isar River.  All along the banks of the river where it was more shallow, there were masses of sunbathers and people wading around in the cool water.  Many of whom were sans clothing.  Never in my life have I seen so much orange leathery unclothed skin.  After a few more kilometers we crossed over to the east bank of the Isar to stop for a short break and to dip our feet in the river.  Then it was back on the bikes, this time heading north along the east bank to the Flaucherbiergarten for a well needed lunch break of meat salad, potato salad, pretzels and radlers for the boys.  Once bathroom breaks were had it was time to start heading back to the Schwabing.  It turns out that the path along the east bank isn’t quite as wide and or bicycle friendly.  Not to mention the fact that at least during the time we were riding on it, it was also frequented by some rather unintelligent rude people.  So naturally this resulted in a slightly less enjoyable and much more stressful ride home.

To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to the sites after lunch as I was quite exhausted and a bit sore.  I was simply focused on getting myself back to the apartment before my foot gave out on me.  Somewhere back in the English Garden we made an emergency stop for my sake as I was beginning to run out of steam and was uncertain if I could in fact make it back under my own power.  However, after a rest and some motivational coaxing from the guys I got back on my bike with as much determination as I could muster and arrived back at the apartment a short time after a particularly stupid pedestrian altercation.

I can definitely say I was beat, but happy with myself for finishing the nearly fourteen mile ride and blowing away my previous record.  I along with Captain Canada felt particularly happy and proud because it was just over a month ago that I was still having difficulty walking and was pretty much restricted to the house.  So all in all, I don’t think that’s too bad considering that I also had only ridden my bike three times previously this summer very short distances.  Yay me!

After crashing on the couch with my new heating pad (I ended up putting two of them out of their misery last week) we all got ready to head to dinner at one our favorite places to eat, Takumi, which is a Japanese ramen restaurant.  I had the miso ramen this time and it was delicious, as were the Gyoza which are one of my all time favorite things to eat.  After gorging on ramen it was time to head to a birthday party.  The party is a bit of a blur if I’m honest, not because I had been drinking (I rarely if ever have a drink) but because I was so completely exhausted.  In fact I could hardly keep my eyes open the whole time we were there.  So needless to say, I was quite relieved when we said our goodbyes and headed back to the apartment were I promptly brushed, flossed, washed my face and passed out.

The next morning, actually it was probably closer to lunch time, I made a big breakfast of eggs and bacon with buns and croissants from the local bakery for the three of us.  During breakfast and for a good hour after there was the usual debate over what to do.  For some reason the three of us have a difficult time deciding what to do when we’re together without fail.  Finally it was decided to head to the Starnberger See just outside of the city, for some sun and swimming.  Well the guys got to go swimming, I only got to enjoy the sun since someone forgot to pack my bathing suit along with theirs.  Once again I was treated to, more like tortured by, the site of locals in various states of undress.  I guess I just don’t understand why Germans don’t just wear their swimsuits if they know they are going to the beach rather than change right there in front of EVERYONE.  I was eternally grateful to those who were at least kind enough to practice the “towel change” method.  After the Captain and Stefan had a good swim and sunned themselves dry it was time to hunt something down for dinner before heading back to the city to pack up and head home.

We had a great weekend catching up with our dear friend.  It was really nice that we were able to bring our bikes along which in turn allowed us to see some sights we wouldn’t have come across otherwise.  All in all it was quite possibly the best time I’ve had all summer and I couldn’t be more thankful for each and every minute of it.  Thanks again to Stefan for having us!

In case you were wondering what was up next for the Captain and I, we will be returning to Munich in about two more weeks for Oktoberfest.  Don’t worry, our lederhosen are all in order, Captain Canada’s had to have a few buttons sewn on after last years festivities, and plans are in the works to meet up with some friends while we’re there since our usual partner in crime can’t make it this year unfortunately.  So you can count on something ridiculous and no doubt annoying or embarrassing happening to me as it always does (last year I was manhandled by a drunk Irish man).  As always, thanks for reading and check back soon.

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