Last Day in Munich

It was a relaxing day as we took the train to the market area downtown.  Verena, Micah and I walked around looking at shops.  We stopped for a mocha, then eventually headed to the Englischer Garten, a park that is bigger than New York’s Central Park.  The walk through the park was quiet and serene.  There were people strolling, a horse drawn carriage moving by, people enjoying one another playing Frisbee or sitting and talking on the grass.

There are streams, a lake, and a river flowing through the park.  Next to a lake is a Beer Garden at which we sat outside eating another Bavarian meal (Liverkase, warm potato salad and, of course, some beer).  We sat and talked a while, warmed by the sun, watching the many different water birds begging food from those sitting at the tables next to the water.   Later we walked through another Beer Garden in the park with an Oompah Band dueling with a group of beer-filled singers at one of the tables.

Part of the purpose of the day out was to provide opportunity for Micah to pick out some
things to take back home with him.  Wife Becky and Daughter Chloe have been in Micah and Verena’s thoughts and conversation for all the time we have been here.

We noted more than once during the day the pleasant contrasts available in Munich. The
Englischer Garten offers the serenity and calm.  Then the streets of the center city are filled with of all sorts of entertainment every day.  Today there were marimbas in two or three locations, a large hurdy gurdy with music and animation engaging both ears and eyes.  There was what sounded like Tibetan musicians and singers, one offering the traditional deep rattling low-toned chant.  It is a safe place to walk with car travel restricted and easy access to all the finest clothing stores and shops of all kinds.  The open market has hundreds of vendors there every day with wonderful and varied specialties available.  There are ornate Rococo style churches to be seen.  One we entered to the sound of the Organist playing some music of the 16th and 17th centuries.  It was hard to leave that space.  The sound of that sort of organ music captures me and moves to the very core of my being.  At one point the Organist ended a loud chord.  The sound reverberated for many seconds, reminding me of singing in such places 45 years ago when the sound continued up to five seconds after we had stopped singing.

After returning home, the three of us spent time just sitting out on the back patio
enjoying the beautiful evening.  Verena filled a table with all sorts of goodies for supper, including freshly baked pretzels, an Oktoberfest tradition.  Verena’s Mother, Brigitta returned from Oktoberfest as we were finishing eating.

As I write this post tonight, we are looking at some of the pictures from the last few days and in picture-taking mode.  Sylvi has now returned from Oktoberfest and we have taken
the last of the pictures.  In the morning, Verena will take Micah to the Munich airport to head back home to Kansas, more importantly, to Becky and Chloe.  Brigitta will drive me to the Central Station for the 6.5 hour train ride to Berlin.

As I have said often in the posts from Munich, we have been very well cared for, with
lots of good food and great company.  Verena did such a wonderful job of planning the days so that we were able to see much of the character of Munich at a pace that was perfect for our needs.  She always sought to do what would provide us the kind of experience we were seeking.  Brigitta provided a day out in the beautiful outlying areas, showing us even more of the Bavarian experience.  We will always remember with fondness our time with Verena, Brigitta and Sylvi.   At this point, even after a short visit, the good-byes will leave a bit of separation sadness.

I am grateful that the next part of this journey will bring some time with Martha and Franzi, whom I came to know on the four day Milford Walk in New Zealand.  I am looking forward to seeing them again.   They showed concern for me as I entered some of the most challenging days of my grief journey.  I won’t forget their kindness.

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