Even though my travel buddy had to head back to school, the adventures continued on. I visited the 1972 Olympic Park and saw Nymphenburg Palace at sunset with all of it’s beautiful parks. I wandered through the Englischer Gartens where two people asked me for directions, mistaking my face for a german one. I visited two churches, St. Peter’s and Asam’s, and lit a candle in one for my family and just as a point of reflection on how fortunate I am to be alive and well. I watched the infamous Glockenspiel as part of a free guided tour. Through this tour, I saw so much of the city and learned myths and facts that I wouldn’t have uncovered by myself. Did you know that over 80 percent of Munich is reconstructed? Before the war, Hitler commanded the Natzi’s to take photos, draw sketches and collect the blueprints of the historical city and all of it’s buildings to store in a bunker so they could rebuild when the war was over.
I had to buy a hot dog, sausage, pork or some kind of meat while in Germany; besides, meat is everywhere. So when I visited the Viktualienmarkt, a daily outdoor market right outside the main center, I purchased a long smoked hot dog for dinner. The market is a great place to walk around a people watch, as long as you don’t pick a seat next to the strong smelling cheese stands. Near the market is a huge chocolate store for a popular brand in Europe, Milka Welt. I spent way too much time perusing the stacks and stacks of chocolate, watching a documentary on the factory, trying on traditional german clothing and deciding which bars to purchase. I settled finally with a chocolate bar with chips ahoy cookies and one with toffee..
One of my favorite parts of exploring Germany on my own was when I took the train to Neuschwastein Castle. The castle was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria, but was hardly lived in and opened to the public shortly after his death. It was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I followed the flow of tourists up a short 15 minute walk to a bridge that overlooks the castle for a great photo opportunity. After staring for a couple of minutes, I walked off the otherside of the bridge to get out of the way of other people’s pictures end realized there was a trail. I began to follow the trail, unsure of where it went, and found that I was unable to stop. I wanted to see where it went. I hiked and hiked for about an hour up the steep mountain side and ended up breathless with a view over the whole castle, valley and everything behind it to the horizon. It was quite a different view from the tourist depot below
After hiking down the mountain, across the bridge, and back into the small town, I had a time to spare before the next train. I stumbled through town and found a store with the most strange and delicious treat; something I had never seen before and therefore had to try. It was like a bunch of cookies all wrapped into a ball. The traditional ones are dusted in confectioners suger, while some wilder ones have nougat and chocolate and coconut. The lady called them Schneeballs, or snowballs. They were perfect after a long hike.
I had found Sleeping Beauty’s hidden sweetspot. And that’s an un-wrap.