Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lush Munich

Picture taken from Glamour Girlz 
Only because LUSH isn't available in Kuala Lumpur ( in Malaysia to be precise) I normally get excited when I get to a Lush shop. I found the one in Munich by chance. Making it even more special. And for this visit to Munich, my  must-have soap is ( drum roll please)  : Sultana of Soap.
My previous favorite was Karma. That's a definite second on the list now. 

What do I like about this? 
1. The Smell.
It actually smells very nice. Perhaps not when you first sniff it. When you lather, the oil reacts and you get a lovely vanilla-ish smell. The bathroom will smell lovely too even when you're not showering. And so what's not to like? My only gripe, is the smell changes in warm temperature. I left my bar of soap in my bag for 2 weeks before unpacking. And the smell was a bit different. But after airing it, it returned to the nice smell. ( Thank goodness)

2. Creamy texture.
This is different from Karma which leaves you squeaky clean. The soft texture of the soap means you mustn't drop it. It'll change shape. the sultana bits also fall off easily. And the top bit where the sultana bits are is I suspect where the nice smell comes from. My first bar has withered leaving only the bottom bit minus sultanas. It doesn't smell half as nice. 

Oliganum and bergamot oil. That's the secret of the smell I've fallen in love with. 

* anyone visiting Munich may find this helpful. the Lush shop is opposite the  Assam Kirche

Same feet, different country

My feet were clad in sheer charcoal stockings.
What I like about the weather in Europe generally is the lack of humidity. This allows more walking minus the sweat. The sticking icky feeling is not nice. In Malaysia, walking is only nice indoors, where it is air conditioned. So most of my walking is done in shopping centers. And you can guess the speed  that I take maneuvering between a lot of other shoppers, their babies in the push prams and their shopping bags. Is it any wonder that walking during shopping sprees even though it leaves us tired-out does not count as exercise? How unfair. Otherwise I would have a trimmer flatter tummy with less suggestion of a muffin-top.

The first picture is taken at the end of our Dachau concentration camp tour. Oh boy! We walked a lot that day.My legs were tired and heavy at this point. And I confess to sleeping like a log that night. Out like a light-bulb directly after my shower. ( Which means horrendous puffy hair the next morning) SL and I are quite a good match for walking. I suspect she slows down for my benefit. Whatever the reason, we're usually paced well and tire at just about the same time. And more importantly our tummies get hungry around the same time too. ( Okay that's a lie, mine goes off a good 1 hour before SL gets hungry)
Our feet in Austria
The second picture is us on a boat at the Lake District in Austria. That's right, we managed to squeeze in that and Salzburg as well. It was a bit rushed and tiring. But we weren't greedy so as a result, the short trips were nice. Loads of pictures. the two pictures in this post were by SL and her camera. ( She does like taking pictures of our feet.) Her feet are in espadrilles and mine are in French Sole. I refuse to be seen wearing runners.

Just a short note on French Soles, and this cut in particular. They are surprisingly comfortable even at the end of the day. And it does look good in pictures too yah?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sauerkraut and pretzels

The meal above went very well with beer. You can just make out the golden yellow fluid to the top left had corner of the picture. But since we're talking sauefkraut let's focus on this sour cabbage and the fermentation process. Here it is served with pork sausages. This fermented cabbage isnt' just found in Germany. It is also found in french ( as a dressing) in soup ( Russia) and eaten traditionally by people in Pennsylvania on New Years Day.  I wonder whether it has as many health benefits as the Korean KimChi.:)
We ordered a pretzel each and then wondered how to eat it.Everyone else around us appeared to be happy with theirs except us.  On its own it was a bit tough and salty. This loopy bread is best eaten with cream cheese I think. Or eaten with intermittent sips of beer.

* This lunch was at Viktualienmarkt

Traditional German clothes in Munich

I wonder whether it was because of the closeness to Oktoberfest, but everywhere I walked, there were these traditional clothes being sold in Munich. Here is one just off Marienplatz ( found this while walking about looking for birkenstocks) I love the the different shades of blue. It was only later at a department store that I realise ( many dirndls were sold there) that the blouse is a separate part of the outfit. And there were either lacy ones, and cotton ones in different colours. The petticoat is stiff and presumably keeps you warm as well as keeps the skirt looking full. The apron is never the same colour of the pinafore. So I am guessing the contrast is for style and a striking look. 29.90 euros for the entire outfit. Not too expensive. The question was ; where would I wear this to?
Inside the shop I saw these rather nifty shorts. They're not at all the real thing but fashioned to look like the leather ones. Expensive. I would rather spent money on the dirndl above.
Gorgeous colours!
And this, THIS was a lovely sight. I found this at a small alley around the vicinity of Lush soap shop. The colours are gorgeous aren't they? Which is your favourite? I think I would look rather good in the pink pokka-dotted apron dirndl. Hard to believe that these were once the uniform of the austrian servants.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Sendlinger Tor

Sendlinger Tor
A long long time ago, a medieval wall surrounded Munich. Its purpose was to protect the city from invaders. Many many many years later.....we still have evidence of these walls....maybe not all of them. Sendlinger Tor is one of the three remaining gothic town gates in Munich. The oldest and the southernmost of the three. The other two being Isator and Karlstor. This gate was built around 1318. ( So its very old you see ) This gate marks the beginning of a shopping street called Sendlingerstrasse which leads to Marienplatz. I found this place on day 1 by walking and walking and walking and walking. And all these pictures were taken before I knew they were famous. Which is the way I like to do things. Snap first and savour them later.

What you see as you walk thru
 The shopping street awaits me as I cross the arch. Woohooohooo! Gorgeous weather. Again you can see this from all the pictures in this post. It made walking about a joy. ( Although I did pack my umbrella and lugged it with me the entire time)
U-Bahn Station

Fish at Viktualienmarkt, Munich

I arrived on Friday. So I had to wait a whole day before I could savour the pork knuckle. ( grr!) I took a bit of time looking for a fish shop to eat at Viktualienmarkt. There were sandwiches but mainly ham and pretzels and some pastries. They smelt delicious but I fancied some fish. After walking about for a good 10 minutes pass a lot of people eating yummy pork and chicken, I found a fish shop.

Here are some pictures of my visit to the Fish shop

Some signboard in German. I don't read German :(
Spotted many interesting sign boards. Sadly I couldn't understand much. Apart from Caffe, and Frustuck. Here's an example of what I saw. Nice curly handwriting.
I spot the word Fish

And here is the shop. I spotted the word Fisch. Sounds close enough to fish. And I smelt some fishy pong and my nose led me here. Quite a few people came in and bought stuff and walked out eating. No seats inside. And there were these tall tables. ( It's in the picture above) where you can stand and eat. I just ordered mine and walked about taking more pictures.

Quite a choice
The person at the counter was very efficient. And despite speaking minimal English ( him) and minimal German (me) I got what I wanted with a minimum of fuss.
Salmon sandwich. YUM
And here was my Friday lunch in Munich City.

A word on beer

Paulaner beer
We had beer in Munich. But first, let's have a drinking song before we write on....lah lah lah lah....

 Ein Prosit ein Prosit gemüdlichkeit, Ein Prosit ein Prosit gemütlichkeit... einz, zwei, drei, suffa! 
(A toast, a toast that cosy feeling, at toast a toast good vibes, one...two...three...chug it down)

Paulaner was the second brewery we visited. This was only because it was pointed out to us by our tour guide en route to Salzburg. We were in the bus, driving out slowly out of Munich. There and then, we decided we would hit this spot that evening. And so we did. Quite a walk from the nearest tube station but the weather was chilly so we didn't sweat one bit. And we walked fast to get warm.

We sat outside. They had a cosy half hut to the back of the building. There were three other others occupied. One was a huge crowd of friends who looked cheery and cosy. The other two with smaller groups of 2-3 obviously having a winding down session after a day's work. The inside was packed with people. Every table was full. We walked pass the kitchen. Good timing, we I walked pas, the chef had just put some food on the counter. Oh boy, it looked and smelt divine.

We ordered pork knuckle ( again) and it was nicer than Hofbrauhaus' version. ( The morning version here was good, but the evening pork knuckle was tough...we suspect it wasn't fresh.)

The beer you see above is the special Octoberfest version. What's the difference ? we asked. And the waiter said, it's a special brew for the season with more alcohol. Hic!! (6% alcohol)
Hofbrauhaus Beer
At Hofbrauhaus we had two different types of beer. I've only shown one here. There was this light version and a much darker version.( The color of cola). I liked the light version better.

I've since found out there are many different beers. And here are some of them.

1.Helles .A lager introduced in 1895. It's pale. Contains 5% alcohol and has a light taste. It is served with 1-2cm of foam generally.

2. Pilsener. (Yuppie beer) Served with a lacy doily. It has a slight bitter taste.

3. Dunkles. 4.3%- 5.2% alcohol. Darker beer looking red- brown in color. Nutty in flavor

4. Weissbier( Yeast wheat beer) (5.4% alcohol) This beer is honey coloured. It has a slight banana flavor. And when yeast is added to it, it turns a darker color. (Dunkles Weissbier) It is served in a tall bell shape glass.

5. Stakbier Bock. 6-7% alcohol. Dark amber. And it has a malty taste.

6. Dopperlbock. Also has a heavy malt taste. And it contains 9% alcohol. Red or dark brown. Fuity and bitter-sweet.

The last two as you can see are the strongest Munich beers.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Austen Keller Seafood restaurant

Welcome to Austernkeller
 We decided to have dinner here. Tripadvisor brought us here. It's meant to be good. Posh. Michelin star level. We had some trouble locating the place. A lot of walking about. This after shopping for chocolates at Milka. ( So you can imagine the weight we had to lug around....every 1 km felt like 3km) Everyone was soooo happy to finally reach the place. We cheerfully dumped out purchases on the floor and sighed as we sat down.

The service was lovely. Nice and prompt. We were seated at one of the tables to the end and for a while we appeared to be the only ones dining. ( Bit worried whether we chose well). The place started filling up after a bit. By the time our meal came to an end, the dining area was almost full.
Here's the menu
As expected the prices were like so. I presume this pays for the travelling our seafood had to make to this restaurant, as Germany is very much land-log. ( Hee hee)

And here's the restaurant. Great ambience
The set-up was at a glance very posh. But on closer inspection was old-fashion. And some bits reminded me of what you may see in some old aunt's house stashed with porcelain  mismatched vases of different colours and size. But put together, the overall effect was nice.

The food was mediocre I thought. I should like to add that I hate seafood. So my review shouldn't be used as a guide.

Address: Stollbergstrasse 1180539 MunichBavariaGermany
Phone Number: 089 / 29 87 87

Around the Hirmer area, Munich

A large interesting painting on the floor.
Once again, you can see from the dress-code that evening that the weather was just nice on Day 1 in Munich. Not a drop of rain, and just a bit of sun peeping through the little clouds in the sky. The guidebook did say " Munich is in a temperate climate zone, which means that it never gets too cold in the winter-or too hot in he summer. " ( Very true.....and very nice for a person who lives in the tropics. No major shock to the system unlike last year's visit to Budapest where the body was shocked and dropped directly into a very cold and crisp winter)

I did a whole lot of walking in the first day. There's something exciting about exploring. Christopher Columbus must have had the same type of buzz. Albeit of a different level from me. ( Hic !) I started off at Marienplatz and walked away from it in a radiating manner using Glockenspiel as my reference point. (All this without a map because I couldn't be bothered with one).

First let's admire the picture above. Very nice. It depicts the shopping area where it is placed. You may see the appreciative looks of the on-lookers as they ooh-ed and aah-ed quietly. ( Nobody is very loud in Munich not even when they are sozzled with beer. Again, a very nice thing.) You can just about make up Hirmer building in the background of this picture.

The other areas I explored and found on day one were
1. The toy museum.( which I didn't fancy going into)
First you have to pay to enter. And more importantly the museum was surrounded by some delicious shopping.

2. St Peter's church. Munich's oldest parish church. I had the privilege of attending Sunset mass on Saturday evening there. The entire mass conducted in German of course. I also saw a family of 5 who were obviously on holiday also attending mass. They were seated in the pew in front of me. They had huge bags of Milka chocolates.( A separate post on Milka coming soon.)

3.Viktualienmarkt. I remember reading this in KL before flying here. And oh boy, it's certainly worth visiting. I walked and arrived there just after 2pm and found throngs of hungry people eating delicious things. It's now less of a farmer's market and more of a shopping area for gourmets. Truly a food paradise. I took many many pictures which I will share soon.

4.Lush. Where I bought "sultana of soap" which i dare anyone not to like on the spot. The smell is addictive and you will definitely want one of your own in your own bathroom. Or like me, have it between your clothes so you will smell divine all day.

5. Assam Kirche I've blogged about this. Also the surrounding shops up and down the same street. Which gave me endless picture-taking opportunities. I nearly completed one of my 4 SD cards that evening.

6. Arches which I think used to be the walls which surround the city. I'm guessing there are not many of them left. I saw at least two while walking. I must find my picture and post it.

More later....

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

One of Munich's oldest Breweries

The entrance
Walking towards St Peter's church from Glockenspiel....if you choose to turn to your left and walk on, you will eventually get here. Hofbrauhas is one of Munich's oldest breweries and certainly one of its more famous ones. It does help that the Munich Hard Rock Cafe is directly opposite it. What's not to like about the location of the two.  

Truthfully I was looking for HRC to get a T-shirt for WT. And found myself just outside the yummy place. And so we had lunch here.
I am caught studying the menu intently
 As you can see I spend quite a time studying the menu. Enough to be caught on camera.
The pretzel lady
It is quite commercialized. ( I only found this out after visiting this place twice and comparing it to a different place we went towards the end of our trip). Here is the pretzel lady walking about in case you want a pretzel to eat with your sausage or beer. ( Pretzel boy/man comes on later in the evening, we had dinner here as well a day later and found this out)
White german sausage in boiled water. 
We ordered the german sausage and here it was. Served like so looking rather white and uninviting to the palate. We dished it out and squished a generous serving of mustard before eating it. Rating 6/10. I think this takes some getting used to. We did howevere ADORE the pork knuckle. ( Picture below)
Pork knuckle YUM
This was yummy. Soft and tender the meat just slid off the bone and was tasty and soft to chew. the pudding was not nice. After two pokes and 1.2 mouthfuls I proclaimed it inedible and we left it well alone choosing to focus on the yummy pork instead.

St. Michael Kirche, Munich

The entrance with St Michael the Archangel slaying the demon. 
As I walked away from Hirmer's I came across this building which looked like a church. There were a few people taking pictures of it. I must say the facade is impressive. Enough to catch your eye as you walk pass it. Some were seen entering and leaving the building. I followed and entered the main door.
The Altar
And this was the view I got as I entered. It was a sunny afternoon and we had some lovely sun streaming into the building. Which made the gold bits light up and came alive.  This is St Michael's church, a Jesuit church and the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps. ( According to Wikipedia) According to another source is it the second largest church in Europe, the first being St Peter's in Rome.
Just to the right of the altar
The interior is meant to present the triumph of Catholicism as the true christianity during that period. Interesting yes? This church was built by William V ( The duke of Bavaria from 1579-1597) during the Catholic reformation. ( I really must read up my history a bit before I can get excited about this). The Duke pulled down an impressive 87 houses to build this church. Apparently at least 50 well known people rest on the church floor.

Here is the exact address:
Neuhauser Straße 6, 80333 München, Germany
+49 89 2317060


Took this picture without knowing what it was
Again! I took this picture because it looked so nice. The red flowers below every single window made this look like a building from a Lego box. It was only later in my trip....when I happened to read one of the many travel brochures i picked up along the way that I recognised this as the picture I took. ( Reading brochures during the jetlag period can be useful it appears.

What so special about Hirmer? It's strictly Men only. It is the LARGEST men's store in the world. Fancy that. 6 whole floors dedicated to men's fashion. Now that IS something special indeed. I never entered it. (Lack of time...and lack of interest as I was more interested in shopping for ME )

Location: Kaufinger Str.28 Munich. Mon-Sat: 0930 to 2000
The nearest tube station would be Marienplatz.

Monday, October 06, 2014

View from the top

Munich from the top of the tower
This picture was taken from the top of the 85 meter-high  ( 255 feet) tower on the city hall. I followed the crowd who went into an elevator which led us to a level where you could buy tickets to go up the observation deck. Clever!!! And here is my reward, a gorgeous view of the roofs of the buildings in the city of Munich.

They have this lovely aids so you can recognise buildings

Rather narrow at the top. So we went up in batches


My view as I walked towards the Glockenspiel. ( Neo-gothic style )
These pictures were taken on day 1 in Munich. Right after dumping my bags at the hotel, and getting the correct train ticket to the city centre. The weather that morning started off gloomy but it developed into a nice crisp dry cool morning. I made do with a light sweater and a scarf. ( The scarf was removed later when i got all hot and bothered walking about taking loads of pictures)

This is the New Town House ( or Neue Rathaus in German) is built in the neo-gothic architectural style. It lies to the north of Marienplatz and is one of the first buildings I recognised when I walked about the town. I used this as my reference point. This building is where the Mayor's office, the city council and the city administration is. Pretty important building in the city I would say.

Can you see the huge crowd of people? I was extremely fortunate. I arrived around 11am and heard the very famous Glockenspiel chime and the carousel go round and round. That was the only day I managed to catch this.
Can you see the signboard Marienplatz?
 The intricate figurines can be seen here. A close-up shot just to remind myself what a gorgeous
building this is.

A close up of the Glockenspiel
Here is the famous Glockenspiel. At 11am it springs to live and re-enacts scenes with figurines popping out and twirling. There are two levels. ( You can just about see the levels in the picture above) You will see the Copper dancers, The Muncher Kindl and the angel of peace making their appearances.  The total length of the song is 12 minutes. I have a video of this. Yay
The cafe inside the Glockenpsiel
I followed the crowd through the main door. There appeared to be no entrance fee to enter. And this is what I saw. A lovely cafe (Ratskeller I think a traditional restaurant where you presumably can get local food) with people sitting and admiring their surroundings.

A surprise find opposite LUSH soap shop

Asamkirche to the right. The actual building here is the House of E.Q. Asam
You must excuse this picture. Bear in mind my excitement in finding Lush and getting excited with the soap shopping spree. The picture above just about manages to catch the entrance of Asamkirche. It is not the building caught in the middle of the photo, rather the building to the right with the larger yellow border seen on the extreme edge of the picture. Sadly I went through my pictures and found no picture of the actual entrance. But I do have nice pictures of the interior. And here they are for all to see and enjoy.
The exquisite interior

Look at the ceiling Fresco " Life of the Saint Nepomuk
This ceiling is considered one of the masterpieces by Cosmas Damian Asam. ( Read more below to see who he was)
A closer look at the high altar with the twisted columns

Isn't the inside of the church absolutely gorgeous? When I stepped in...I had to take a moment. A deep breath before my brains registered what I saw. What strikes you about this church? Apart from the obvious intricate and lavish finish? It's rather small isn't it?

This church was built originally as a private church. That should explain the small-ish size.  It is built on a property  measuring 22 by 8m. And it  occupies a space between two houses.  If you google, you will find the church's other name is " St Johann Nepomuk". The name Asam comes from the surname of the two brothers who built this church; Egid Quirin Asam (E. Q Asam)  and Cosmas Damian Asam.  If you study architecture ( which I didn't although I did go out with an architectural student for a while) you may realize this represents the 18th century Baroque period.

Who was Johann Nepomuk? At the time this church was built, he was a newly canonized 14th century Bohemian monk who drowned in the Danube. I wonder why the brothers were taken by this monk. Enough to name this glorious church after him.  There is a large statue of St Johann Nepomuk over the front door. If you scroll up to the first picture, you will see E.Q. 's house which is adjoining the church. He could apparently see the high altar from one of his bedrooms.

Visitor and Contact information:
Coordinates: 48.135138° N, 11.569644° E
Address: Sendlingerstrasse 62
Munich, Germany

Opens daily from 9am -5pm

Friday, October 03, 2014

Lush in Munich

Soap soap soap soap
 I have raved about Lush in some other posts. And have posted separate posts of Lush stores; Vienna, Hongkong and Singapore.  Can't  help it. I found Lush ( by chance mind) on day one in Munich. I had explored the Glockienspiel ( a separate post for that) tower and taken an obligatory selfie ( or two ) in front and at the side and from the top of that building. I had also found St Peter's church and the famous Viktualienmarkt  as I walked pass St Peters. The food selection was amazing. At that point I was hungry, but there were long lines everywhere and being Friday I was limited to seafood.I eventually found a fish place and had a very very tasty Salmon sandwich as I walked to explore the unknown.
As always, very nice display
 Ta-dah! I was looking at something else and found Lush instead. And guess what?? It was opposite a famous church. Which I will post about after this one.
Lush Store in Munich
Back to Lush, I decided to actually use one of the soaps right there during the stay, and oh boy no regrets. You simply must but this " Sultana of soaps". When I unwrapped it on day one to use I was pleased with the slightly creamy texture and the soft feeling after. ( Not super soft mind...just a bit) But on day 2, I was their greatest fan. Why? The amazing smell when I returned and entered the bathroom. Gorgeous. Currently, my bathroom at home also smells like so. I bought another bar of "Sultana of Soap" and shall be very sad when that finishes too. 

Leopoldstraße 76, 80802 München, Germany
+49 89 33019244

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A miracle

I got an absolutely brilliant whassap message this evening from my violin teacher. Both she and I are in agreement that my passing the ABRSM grade 7 violin exam is a miracle. ( Examiner must have felt sorry for me and been lenient) So here is my absolutely LOVELY news. I Passed!

Tis a shock. ( A nice one) I took up this instrument as a adult. I have learnt that as a adult learner you tend to go both ways depending on the mood. Either be very very enthusiatic ( me at the begining) or slag off when your progress starts plateauing( Me last year ). And here is where a good teacher plays an important role, in encouraging and not giving up. And for this I'ld like to say a big thank you to SA.