When we got back from our resupply mission yesterday, we had an email waiting for us from Nadine, a really nice cashier at one of the outdoors stores we visited. Before we made it back to our hotel, she'd visited our website and invited us to a barbecue she and her partner Felix were hosting! We happily accepted, excited for a rare night of socializing.
After several hours of journaling, we put Nadine's apartment into the GPS and made our way there at a leisurely pace, enjoying a brilliantly sunny late-afternoon (a first in nearly three weeks, we're told). On the way, we laughed about how just a two days earlier we'd been sleeping in train stations.
So far, we really like Munich. There are cyclists everywhere! Sausage too.
During our walk we stopped to pick up a late lunch. We tried currywurst, a sliced sausage doused in your choice of sauce (Tyler picked barbecue) and then sprinkled with curry powder. I had a cheese-filled sausage in a baguette with ketchup and mustard.
I think I could eat sausage every day and be happy. I'm going to try it and find out!
I also think I would love cycling in big cities every day if they were all like Munich. There are bike paths everywhere with their own traffic lights, and German drivers are really bicycle-conscious, it seems.
Close to Nadine's apartment, we passed the Löwenbräu brewery, where these ladies were preening and chatting before starting their shift. I'm not sure if they dress like this for work all the time, or if they only did so today because it was a holiday (Pentecost).
Here are some beautiful lilacs near the brewery:
The city was positively bustling as we made our way towards the party. On the way, we saw a lot of people in bright red soccer jerseys shouting excitedly. It was a short walk, and we made it without trouble to Nadine's apartment. We were immediately greeted by her partner Felix when we arrived. Not five minutes after, I officially deemed them both total sweethearts.
It is so nice to feel completely comfortable with people you've just met! As we hung out on their porch, enjoying the sun, finding loads in common, and laughing over beers and prosecco, I realized just how badly we needed this. After our three-day train adventure, and subsequent journaling marathon, this stress-free evening was just what the doctor ordered.
Nadine thoughtfully invited us a bit early so we'd have time to chat before a mass of her friends arrived. Just before everyone showed up, Felix got the grill going.
As people filtered in, (many from the same apartment building) we quickly realized we were in for a fun evening. Their friends were immediately welcoming, funny, down-to-earth and easy going. We had lots in common with everyone!
Here is Yazmin and Karin, both from Venezuela. It was fun practicing my Spanish with them, though I'm pretty rusty.
The jovial and friendly Marcus, who shared travel stories with Tyler and I about the time he spent in India.
Over the course of the night, and many beers, we talked about our trip, showed curious people our website and tried to learn a little about the big soccer match. Tyler and Enrique (from Mexico) talked for a long time about photography, while Helen and I chatted about her love of surfing and a solo trip she'd taken to South America.
I miss hanging out with women! Real live women! On the bottom right with Yazmin, Karin, and I, is the hilarious Paola, a loud and warm woman (also from Mexico) who is married to Enrique. Tyler fell in love with her accent immediately.
Hanging out with this eclectic bunch, I was awash with happy memories. The gathering reminded me of being a foreign exchange student, where I would attend get-togethers with people from around the world. Having so many good friends living very near one another other took me back to my college days, and having so many Spanish speakers reminded me of parties with my Chilean friends Kathy, Marcelo and Karina!
When we weren't engaged in conversation, we were eating our fill of the delicious food everyone brought. There were tomato and mozzarella salads, traditional German potato salad, and of course lots and lots of sausages hot off the grill. Jordi (from Spain) prepared a tasty potato tortilla, Paola made some really good ribs, and someone (not sure who) brought a steak which they cooked to perfection.
Dessert was a raspberry parfait of sorts, along with this thin wafer cookie, a tradition from Felix' hometown. A bakery uses communion wafers (the bland, papery things that dissolve in your mouth at church) and spreads a filling inside, then sandwiches it with another wafer. Sacrilicious!
At the end of the night, we (Munich) lost the soccer match, two to zero.
But it didn't seem to matter. We were all having so much fun!
It is a rare thing indeed, meeting people we really, truly connect with. Today, we got lucky and made a whole crop of new friends!
Over the course of the night Tyler and I would often look at one another and say "This is so fun! Everyone is so nice! We should move to Munich!" Of course we won't, but it was pretty tempting with so many awesome people around!
Around 12:30 AM, we zig-zagged our way back to the hotel, giddy and tired. We fell fast asleep, elated to have been welcomed into such a wonderful community. Tomorrow we're meeting Nadine and Felix again for a traditional Bavarian Sunday breakfast: Weisswurst with sweet mustard, a glass of wheat beer, and a big, chewy pretzel!