Sunday, November 1, 2009

Auf Wiedersehen, Munchen

Last night we had a small Halloween party at Steph and Michael's apartment. It was in lieu of my birthday and also an excuse to make pumpkin soup from the insides of the very first jack-o-lantern that Michael carved. Unfortunately, I did not take any snapshots of the guests (slipped my mind!), but I did take some pre-party photos.

On the menu: pasta salad, apfel (or apple) cake, hazel nut muffins, Haribo gummy candy of every kind and foiled chocolates shaped into skulls. The highlight of the evening was the gluehwein and lebkuchen. Gluehwein is a hot spiced wine traditionally served in the winter time. It has hints of different spices like cinnamon and cloves. I imagine it is what Christmas would taste like if it were served in a mug. It is blood red in color and distinctly sweet. It goes perfectly with lebkuchen, a traditional Christmas cookie pillowy in texture and spicy in flavor as well, somewhat like gingerbread though it is not made with ginger. It is covered in chocolate...which makes it even more desirable.

Everyone spoke some if not fluent English at the party, so I wasn't completely lost in the discussions. Some have visited the U.S. before while some would like to one day. They were particularly interested in cross country road trips in American cars. Driving in Europe in a Ford was "decadent" as one guest from Switzerland put it. This is mainly due to the high gas prices and bigger gas tanks. The next time he is in the U.S., he's going to rent an SUV. Hummers are "sweet" as he put it.

Today was the last full day I had in Munich. After a delicious chocolate muesli and apfel cake breakfast, Steph, Michael and I hopped into the car and drove to Wasserburg and Chiemsee - two very picturesque towns just outside of the city. We walked the cobblestone streets, marveled at the 15th century church in the center of the town square and ate cheesecake over a cup of milchkaffe at an English-themed pub. It wasn't dense like your typical Cheesecake Factory fare. It was light, lemony, airy and melted within seconds in my mouth. It was, needless to say, heavenly as cheesecake always is.

I must admit, today was not one of those educational days when I usually want to know why a place was historically significant and what important person lived in which important house. It was more a day for taking pictures, soaking in the last moments of my vacation and to put it plainly, just walking around. I did a lot of this at Chiemsee, a large freshwater lake in Bavaria. Trees were turning yellow, orange and red; leaves were falling like snowflakes, water was lapping, the moon was in the sky, ducks sailed by and I stood alone on a pier. And there go the violins....

So my last day in Europe. Fourteen days of pure bliss all bottled up in a memory. I accomplished what I set out to do: wake up on my thirtieth birthday in Paris. The rest of the days were spent in Germany and I wouldn't have had it any other way. London is my second home, Munich is now my third. I will miss this world outside of my world. Some day I will want to feel, see and taste it more. I still have a lot of growing up to do...and more swings to dream on.

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