Lauren’s Arrival

Lauren arrived in München late in the evening on July 5th, sorry to have missed her family’s traditional 4th of July cheesecake but unspeakably happy to finally see Raul after nine long weeks of separation! The next day, they woke up early to go to the Viktualienmarkt in Pasing, the neighborhood where Raul’s work is located. They purchased a baguette, some fruit, and delicious cheese from a cheese shop and headed back to the train station. From there, they travelled southwest to the town of Herrsching, whence they began a three-mile pilgrimage up a large hill to Andechs Monastery. When Raul went by himself to this church, some weeks ago, he did not keep up with the group that arrived on the train with him. This time, he made sure they did in order to see the route the Germans would take. Lauren enjoyed seeing many men in Lederhosen on the hike up. Some even wore the traditional shoes and wool socks.

At the monastery church, Lauren climbed almost 200 steps up a narrow tower to view the surrounding countryside, but Raul stayed below since he had already made that climb. One highlight from the rest of the trip was a lovely meal at the nearby beer garden which included fries, Bratwurst, Apfelschörle (carbonated apple juice) and Johannesbeerschörle (carbonated currant juice). Another highlight was seeing a young lady walking in front of them as she flipped up the back of her dirndl, likely to cool off the back of her legs, and revealed a nice pair of underwear partially covering a nice derrière. Just as the scenery is beautiful, so are the girls.

After hiking down from the monastery, Raul and Lauren walked along the Ammersee and rested on a bench as they enjoyed a well-deserved ice cream. From there, it was back to Munich and to the home of Diane, a colleague of Raul’s, and Tai, her husband. Raul and Lauren enjoyed a game of Settlers of Catan with them.

Next day, Sunday, was moving day. After sleeping in late, Raul and Lauren made two trips with their luggage to their new apartment in Schwabing, a verdant neighborhood north of the city center. They met their roommate Mona, a nice Romanian girl about their age, and her Swiss boyfriend “Jorge.”

They spent the evening enjoying the nearby English Garden. It is a large park, about two-thirds the size of St. Louis’ Forest Park, whose southern half is popular with tourists who visit the Chinese Tower and the beer garden. Raul and Lauren entered in the northern half, near to their apartment. The air pregnant with the heavy smell of linden flowers, they wandered down shady paths until they too reached the Chinese Tower. Lauren could not resist ordering an enormous salted pretzel. Unfortunately, her meek voice was misunderstood, and the attendant presented her with a large radish cut in a spiral style. “Kein radi,” she protested, “no radish,” and pointed to the pretzel instead. They moved on to another shop where they bought a traditional cheese spread called Obazda which is perfect for being scooped up by a pretzel. Delicious fries accompanied the snack.

They sauntered out of the garden at the south end and ended up on the edge of Odeonsplatz. They tried to enter the plaza, but a ticketed event was occurring inside. After walking around the plaza to the opposite side, they picked out a spot on the sidewalk near several others without tickets and waited in anticipation for the orchestral concert to begin. Lauren was especially excitable and even more so when they heard Dvořák’s New World Symphony begin to play. She had never heard it live before. They were just going to listen for a few minutes…which turned into “Five more minutes, please” and then into the first movement, the second movement, and part of the third. It was quite late by that time, and Raul had to work in the morning, so they tore themselves away.

The weekdays came long and uncomfortable for Lauren since Raul had to work and she was anxious to spend as much time with him as possible. On Thursday evening, they accompanied some of Raul’s colleagues to Tollwood, a summer music festival where many tents and booths of food were also set up. Lauren enjoyed her first döner, served in pita bread. This Turkish food is quite popular as a kind of fast-food in Germany. After the festival, they looked forward to their free time on the weekend, and thus ended the first week of Lauren’s visit.

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