(I promise photos will come at some point in the near future…)
I had a great, but far too short, time with my parents. We started off our week with Shabbat since they came in on a Friday, and on Saturday, they got to meet my au pair family. Elisabeth gave my parents a “German lesson” and then Ludwig woke up from his nap and of course everyone fussed over him because, I mean, how can you not? Amelie and the parents got home from some errands, and then my parents and Honza and I left and went to the Alte Pinakothek, which is an awesome museum. Plus they had a Vermeer there on temporary exhibit. AND the weather was ridiculously gorgeous. Everyone in Munich was out sunbathing or in a beer garden.
On Sunday we went to Salzburg for…yes…the Sound of Music tour. Beforehand, we went to the Mirabell gardens and to Mozart’s birth house, neither of which I had been to the first time I went to Salzburg. Then the four of us hopped on an incredible and cheesy painted bus to see all the sites where the movie was filmed. The tour guide even played the entire soundtrack through the bus ride and many people sang along to the songs. The prettiest place was probably the Mondsee where Honza and I enjoyed some scrumptious Austrian strudel.
Monday was where we had a walking tour of the old part of Munich, which I’ve done before but was still fun to do again, and then we went to the Residenz which I hadn’t actually been to yet (shame, shame) where I was wowed by glitter, glitz and gold. We even ran into Honza’s cousin Kristina, who had just arrived in Munich to study abroad for the semester.
On Tuesday it rained, sadly to say, but we still enjoyed ourselves. My parents and I took a bus tour to Linderhof, Oberammergau and Neuschwanstein (also places I still hadn’t been to). Linderhof was Ludwig II’s only completed palace and it is insanely Rococo. Ludwig II, by the way, was an absolute hoot and probably insane, but lovable in a really strange manner. Oberammergau is a town famous for its Passion Play performed every ten years, for its wood carvings and for Luftmalerei. The main point is = tons of kitsch, yet fun kitsch. By the way, the town finally decided after several hundred years that the lady who plays Mary doesn’t actually have to be a virgin; aren’t you relieved? Neuschwanstein, I also discovered, = Disneyland and Disneyland = Neuschwanstein. I am so excited to go back to Disneyland and make my architectural and aesthetic comparisons.
Wednesday I had to work but then it was off to Prague with la familia and Honza. On Thursday I did all the Jewish sites with my parents who were clearly in heaven. Friday it was off to Praszky hrad to castle it up. Again…when you live somewhere or have lived somewhere for a while…you don’t tend to see what the tourists see, so that was nice to experience certain sites I actually had not experienced previously, like the Lobkowicz castle, which is quite amazing, really.
We had Shabbat with Honza’s family, which was lovely, and we all went to services at Staronova synagogue. Despite intensive security they did let us all in. It’s the oldest still functioning synagogue in the world. Saturday morning I met back up with my parents and we went to Staromestske namesti and then to Aneszky kloster, where we saw the Baroque/medieval Bohemian art collection. All of us walked across the Karluv most to Kampa island where I explained to my parents about David Cerny. (look him up on Wikipedia if you don’t know who he is.) We ate a delicious apple strudel made by Hana and then all of us plus the exchange student, Rachel, went out to dinner at a funky vegetarian restaurant where clergymen are served for free.
On Sunday Honza and my mom plus Honza’s dad played violin/viola pieces together and we had a traditional Czech lunch. Unfortunately, then Honza and I had to go back to Munich.
So here I am. Look out for the next blog post soon, probably about Easter, Passover and the ridiculously-sized school bags German children have to take to elementary school.
So far it’s been very busy but wonderful. I’ll update more later, but so far they’ve gotten to meet my host fam (and Mom got to cuddle with baby Ludwig), go to the Alte Pinakothek, eat nommy vegetarian dinners and do Shabbat, and go with us to Salzburg for the day to see the downtown and Mozart’s birth house and ALSO go on the Sound of Music Tour…epic.
Today I’m going around downtown with them and to the Residenz, and tomorrow to Neuschwanstein, where I still haven’t been yet.
It’s been a pretty spiffy weekend thanks to 75-degree weather. I had to work Saturday, but only for a few hours, and I taught Ludwig to stick out his tongue, which I think is impressive.
Then I met up with Honza and we went grocery shopping and had a lovely little picnic in the English Garden—cheese and crackers, Griessbrei, fresh melon and a Tegernseer helles for Honza. We made snide comments about a group of teenagers nearby and played checkers. At one point there was a bachelor party and the bachelor was dressed in a neon green Borat swimsuit and leopard-skin leggings and selling beer, prosecco and candy bars, ostensibly to raise money for his wedding. Also, the accordion player at the park chose to play the same song for about forty-five minutes straight. He was probably waiting for someone to pay him to stop, but alas, no one did.
Following this we went to Honza’s friend Amelie’s (no, not the child) birthday party near the Volkshochschule which was very pleasant with homemade chilli and cocktails and all sorts of yummies and I chatted with various people including some Swedish folks. Scandinavians are a very intriguing group of people. I’m not sure why. I’ll tell you when I figure it out.
Today we met up with Tereza and Martin, friends from Prague, who were visiting. We went to Baila Beni’s for ice cream and then to Nymphenburg to walk around in the gardens where we witnessed two frogs getting, um, friendly, and we fed the carp. Then we all headed to the Metzgerwirt beer garden for a beer und brez’n and alas, they had to head back to Prague. Tonight my Georgian (the country, not the state) friend Tamuna and her buddy are coming over for dinner. It will be a vegan dinner because her friend is abstaining from meat and dairy for Lent which sounds very intense to me.