English Parks and Urban Surfing: Munich, Germany

The famed city of Oktoberfest did not disappoint. While we were not there for the storied festivities, we still enjoyed many other aspects of the city. From beer halls to lederhosen, Munich was wonderful and full of the magic I had heard so much about. We watched the figures dance on the Rathaus Glockenspiel as the bells chimed along in the Marienplatz Square. Noisy jubilant beer halls stood packed in with people on weekdays. Metal scaffolding covered segments of stony churches. It would have been easy to spend an entire week or more in Munich.

Hannah loves walking tours, whether with a live person or with an audio guide. One of her favorites is Rick Steves. We listened to his audio guide as we walked the city of Munich. His guide is often filled with historical information and sometimes background on current events. It also contains punny jokes and recommendations on places to eat or further tours. His TV specials are much the same, but still fun despite the aged content.

Farmer’s markets and vendor stalls have become a favorite activity for us. In Munich, the Viktualienmarkt is a place that offers just that. We perused the offerings, taking in the smells and colors of the different vendors. It was here that we found a lovely mango curry hummus that we later shared in the park.

A wild sight that we came across was surfing in Munich. The Elsbach River contains areas where surfers congregate and take advantage of man-made waves produced by the bridges and funnels. Dripping black wetsuits criss-crossed the waterway, slinging water onto the shores as passersby watched. After about 30 second sessions, they would fall or jump off into the deep reaches of the channel and swim toward shore to get in line for the next session.

One of Munich’s gems was the English Gardens. They were expansive and filled with stretches of green open fields and groves of dark, tall trees. Dogs caroused the wet underbrush while kids chased ducks and geese beside the curving lakes. We picked a dry space and laid Hannah’s coat down as a makeshift blanket. We ate our picnic lunch and enjoyed the warm rays of the sun.

On our final day, we returned to another beer garden, the Augustiner Keller. They have a great policy that lets you bring in your own snacks or picnic provided that you order a drink. We took advantage of this with some salads and pretzels and shared a delicious liter of beer before our train ride onward to Hannover.

Lights and hanging gardens inside a mall strip

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