Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Munich, München,

Did you know that you can surf 4 foot waves in Munich, how can this be, the city is landlocked at the foot of the Alps. Well I discovered today by going to the English gardens in the Park of the Residenz the man made EISBACH stream crosses the park, it is a tributary of the Isar River, underwater boulders have been placed strategically to create big waves which allows for surfing and in other places waterfalls. The Eisbach stream crosses the large English gardens of the Residenz of 1030 acres, one of the largest public park in the world.

The Residenz on Odeon Platz was from 1500 to 1918 the Royal Palace of the Dukes and Kings of Bavaria. The large buildings have an Italian air about them, reminiscent of Florence and the Medici Palace. Along the side of the Palace are French Gardens which have recently been restored to give them back the look of 1776 and then just beyond is the English garden which is larger than Central Park.

The English garden was created in 1789 by a British Officer, Sir Benjamin Thompson Lord Rumford who fought with the Loyalist troops of the British Crown against the American rebels. Thompson is an interesting man, born in Woburn, Massachusetts then a Colony of the UK, he married in Rumford (now Concord) Mass. He was a physicist and inventor. He wrote on thermodynamics and help change thinking in that field, he introduced the cultivation of the potato in Bavaria and created soup kitchens for the poor. As Bavarian Minister of War, he reorganized the Bavarian army, he also did several studies on the force of gunpowder which influenced its use in Europe.

Eisbach stream, English garden, Residenz, Munich

The gardens are open to the public since 1920, its vast green spaces are used for nude sunbathing and water surfing and even farming in some area with flocks of sheep and goats. Strange to think that in the middle of the city such an area would exist. We saw about a dozen surfers in their wet suit ride the waves, the current of the stream is quite strong and is also very shallow in some area.

We also walked along the pedestrian mall in what was many centuries ago the original central area of Munich, with its cathedral (Dom) and Marien Platz where City Hall is located with its clock tower which chimes the hour while life size mechanical figurine dance. We visited St-Michael's church where the Royal Wittelsbach family have their crypt, the famous Louis II of Bavaria is buried there and so is the step-son of Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince Eugene Napoleon Beauharnais who married the daughter of the King of Bavaria and died in 1821 at the age of 40. Their sealed lead coffins are in the basement of the church. Like so many buildings in the centre of the city who were badly damaged during the Second World War, much had to be rebuilt according to records on hand, quite lovely to see.

St-Michael's Church, Munich

It is asparagus season and many stalls sell them, white or green, they look wonderful. Louis XIV is said to have loved asparagus so much that he asked his gardeners at Versailles to grow them all year round. Apparently special trenches were dug in the gardens and filled with horse manure to allow the asparagus to grow even in Winter. The manure came easy since there were about 250 horses in the stables of the Palace. Bavaria also means beer and they have some beautiful beers, dark creamy golden colour with a nice head.

White asparagus 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) for only 4.90 euros a bargain!!!

We did a bit of shopping bought shoes and validated our train tickets for tomorrow. This up-coming weekend is a major holiday in Germany and Austria, Pentecost, so lots of people will be traveling Friday, we will travel Thursday mid-day to avoid the crowds, the DB railway representative told us that the 5:20pm train to Salzburg with connection onward to Budapest was completely full.
The weather is sunny and quite warm around 24C. We hope for good weather for the  rest of our stay.


  1. Trust those Germans to have figured out how to go surfing in a landlocked city!

  2. never mind the asparagus; i vote for the beer - sehr schon!

  3. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.