Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Munich and Amsterdam with Granger

Granger had not been here 24 hours before we whisked him away on the first road trip. Poor guy, I am not sure he totally knew what he was in for with our 'go big or go home' travel intensity. Munich is not exactly a hop, skip and a jump from Brussels but we all wanted to hit the Bavarian capital so we stuffed into our tiny car for a German overnight. Ummm, yeah it was 7+ hours each way...Granger continued to experience Europe in disbelief - appreciative as much for the journey as the destination. A roadside rest stop stretched his comfort zone. A field of windmills proved a tourist destination. And the German word for "highway exit" made Granger pretty punchy. Language nuances often will provide a chuckle.

We finally made it to Munich around lunchtime (after a VERY early start).Skipping along the Marienplatz we were happy to stretch our legs and to have actually arrived. Kirk has been to Munich for two Oktoberfests, but lamented he had not experienced Munich outside of the famous beer festival. Therefore we all felt a little like newbies.We headed for lunch at Hofbrauhaus, the world's most famous beer hall, which can seat up to 4,000!
The painted ceiling was something to behold and the oompah band provided the perfect ambiance to welcome us. There were private stein "lockers" for the regulars to retrieve their mug...
Kirk and Granger went for the full "mas" mugs. I am not a beer drinker, but I had to partake. I tried a half "mas" mix of lemonade and light beer called a Radler.My hands ached just watching the Dirndl clad waitresses delivering full mas beers carrying so many at once. Talk about lifting weights!
Connor opted for ice cream after her German sausages and pretzels.Check out this guy and his car. Now that is a statement! Riding topless in Feb with goggles and no windshield. Interesting.We went to the Deutsches Museum that afternoon and then settled into our hotel, completely wiped from a long day. The view from our hotel windows was gorgeous.Another blue sky day had us dancing. We returned to the Marienplatz to see Munich's major churches and to revel in the day.We ducked into one church and there was a service in progress and a packed house. It made me weep to see a full church in Europe. That never seems to happen in these ornate cathedrals - but in this case it did. The minister preached from an antique central-side pulpit and the scene was aglow with faithful focus.We put Granger on a train to the Dachau Nazi Concentration Camp. It was clearly an impactful experience. But since we were with Connor and had been to Dachau years ago we had other plans...

An art museum visit.

And then we headed to Bavarian countryside and to the Benedictine Andechts Abbey, famous for its flamboyant Baroque church and its brewery.I found still shots of the German church hymnals grouped together kinda cool. We stopped in Stuttgart on the trip back to Brussels. We rolled in to Belgium late and bleary-eyed, but victorious in our German adventure.

The next day Granger, Connor and I were back in the car for a jaunt to Amsterdam. It turned out to be a rainy, cold, windy day. Payback I guess for our German blue skies. But we made sure Granger saw the bikes, canals, Anne Frank house and Red Light district. There's no place quite like Holland, even in the rain! The highlight for me was discovering a wonderful lunch cafe called Foodism, near the Anne Frank House. Highly recommend it!
After these consecutive days of travel Granger slept the entire next day. 13 hours overnight, up for breakfast, then a 4 hour nap. Rest up Granger, London and Paris await!

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