blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Starnberg instead of Stockholm

We made a slow start, with breakfast in Terminal 1, in a sort of Bavarian tavern, the waiters in blue checked shirts and Lederhosen. Other people were ordering beers and sausages. Buying single tickets for the S-Bahn was a mistake. We could have saved about €34 had we realised that we could buy Tageskarten for the whole network. I should have done more research.

Gemeindeverwaltung at Ismaning

Covered bridge over the Seebach
and church, Ismaning
At 1:30, Chris had to be on the phone with his computer to hand for the Stockholm meeting; therefore we only had time for a short outing that morning. I remembered Ismaning, only three stops down the line, where five years ago we had stayed at the farmhouse-like Hotel Frey with Peter, who had driven us there from Stuttgart. I'd had to memorise the streets to find my own way to the station. What's more, I'd memorised them backwards, so knew how to reach the hotel, although I'd forgotten the little roadside stream. Beyond the Hotel Frey on this occasion we found the Rathaus (a former Schloß) and the Schloßpark. We walked round the village for half an hour before sitting down for sandwiches at the station.

Hotel Frey, Ismaning
During Chris' afternoon meeting I went swimming in the luxurious hotel pool. Steam baths, saunas and a massage parlour were available for nude guests, and a poolside cocktail bar, but the swim was enough for me. I did sit in the hot tub momentarily, keeping my swimsuit on.

Rotkäppchen (Little Red Riding Hood) at the Weihnachtsdorf
At 4pm, when it was already almost dark, Chris could finally relax, so we set off by train again, this time all the way to the Marienplatz in München. The city is lavishly lit and decorated for Christmas. We went window-shopping, could have bought a Rolex watch or Louis Vuitton suit if we'd had the money. We passed the Opera Haus, the massive churches, the city gates and squares and had a posh supper with Glühwein for me at the Luitpold Café (1888), afterwards taking a look at the kitschy Weihnachtsdorf with its dioramas of German fairy tales in the courtyard of the Residenz, and the Hofgarten. We were lucky to catch an S8 train back to the airport just in time.

Friday, some of this written on the train to Starnberg
This was supposed to have been our free day in Stockholm --- postponed indefinitely!

Chris was worried by a message from one of his colleagues recommending that we fly to Timisoara by Air Berlin instead of Lufthansa. Following up this suggestion meant a long morning at the airport with a horrid breakfast at Surf and Turf, because I couldn't face yet more bacon. Then we took a long walk down conveyor belts and up escalators through Terminal 1 to the Air Berlin ticket desk. We'd have to fly via Rome and Budapest, they said, by Air Italia, and the journey to Timisoara would take 26 hours. Since Lufthansa flights were still promised for the next day Chris at last decided to "take our chances" and stick to Plan A, which I'd been advising all along.

At Starnberg, by the lake

So finally we left the airport on the S8 train again, changing beyond the city centre at Pasing so that we could catch a connecting train to Starnberg; I wanted Chris to see the Starnberger See. Well, we did see it, but not the view of the snowy Alps that start to rise at the southern end. It was too cloudy. Chilly, too, but we soon found an ideal spot for lunch at the Maharaja, a Bengali restaurant that served good, hot food. Through its windows we could see another restaurant across the road, in a nineteenth century house with a haiku-like poem on its wall:
Am stillen See
Sitz' ich und starre 
In ein gespiegeltes Paradies.

Full of energy after the curries, we decided to climb the hill to St. Josef's church beside the town's castle, up many stone steps. It was worth it; this part of town was very peaceful with another view of the lake. Beside the church, not open, was a walled Schloßgarten with an attractive layout. We came down some other flights of steps back to the high street, with luxuries for sale. A lovely grey Dirndl for nearly €1000 caught my eye. We bought postcards and lingered by the lake near the pleasure boats docked for winter and the locked up boathouses, then caught the train back to the city.

The city was packed, this being the official opening of Munich's central Christkindlmarkt, with amplified speeches and music. Fighting our way down the Kaufingerstraße was rather exhausting, so we had a hot drink and a slice of cake in a very narrow coffee bar before moving on to marginally quieter streets. We came across the Isartor and the famous Münchener Hofbräuhaus that I'd described over a microphone to the diplomat guests at our "Oktoberfest" in Ottawa, after singing the song about it. Too crowded for us! I have a habit of making off down side streets and into courtyards when in a place I don't know so well. It leads to discoveries like the Theatinerhof where we had supper, at the quiet and elegant Café-Arzmiller. No crowds there. Chris had their thick pea soup; I had the lentil soup. After that we found a branch of Hugendubel, where I bought a German novel.

Back at the airport hotel we both had a swim: a lovely way to end the day.

No comments: