Nymphenburg Palace was as beautiful as Versailles. In fact, it’s put together more cohesively. In a huge circle are small palaces, stables, walls, and the big palace. The large mansion is Baroque – lots of paintings, gilded scroll work and lavish drapes.
We particularly enjoyed the carriage display with gilded sleighs, regal coaches of gold with paintings and a musician’s sleigh.
In the large park are other small buildings. One, the Amalianburg, is a hunting lodge encrusted with lots of silver, special wall papers and Delft tiles.
The orangery in the park housed a delightful little restaurant where we ate large hot dog type things.
An hour away from Munich are the Bavarian Alps – gorgeous! We drove around a resort ringing a large lake. There were oodles of chalet guest houses and hotels besides swanky shops and tempting kinditoreis. We stopped at one for coffee and dessert – the coffee being served with a miniature pot of whipped cream. There we also bought marzipan pink pings, the standard shape and colour to have at New Year’s.
Instead of eating at our inn, one night we walked to a fancy pizzeria and ate the best pizza since we left New York.
We went with Armin and his mother to a downtown church in Munich.
John $ thoroughly enjoyed his Christmas. When we walked into Armin’s house on Christmas Eve, Ingrid pointed to a study little wooden train set. It was his gift from them! John walked straight to it, played intensely and never noticed a bowl full of cookies sitting next to it.
Ingrid offered cookies to the children, but we wanted them to have dinner first. I even sneaked two bowls back into the kitchen when no one was looking. She brought them out again with a flourish, and we agreed she could indulge them to her heart’s content. $ stuffed his mouth repeatedly and loved every crumb.
They served ham decorated with pineapple, mashed potatoes, beans and carrots and Pears Helene. They told us that the usual Christmas dinner for Catholic Bavarians is fish and goose. [I didn’t write about it at the time, but Armin’s mother and her twin sister were there. Ingrid, a wonderful hostess, had us sit at two tables. Armin was with us at the English-speaking table, and Ingrid was at the German-speaking table. That took the pressure off all of us. We had general conversation after all, because John could follow it. If I knew the subject, I could get the gist of a story. It was a marvelous evening, one I will never forget.]
Christmas morning we opened a few little gifts in our room, ate Stollen and drove into Munich again for church. What a marvelous experience to worship in a Lutheran church in Germany on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! For the first time, and probably the last, we saw two large trees flanking the altar softly glittering with real candles! When the music began we nudged each other with delight at every organ piece and chorale. John and I knew every piece of music in the whole service, and the girls recognized all but two! We knew all the melodies for the hymns.
We had feared going hungry all day since so many places are closed for Christmas and Armin and Ingrid were going away. We had no trouble. The most posh hotel in Munich had their very expensive grill open at $50 a head. Luckily John found a reasonable place in the basement where we could eat comfortably and afford it.
We started out for a different view of the Alps, but turned back when the huge flakes of snow began piling up on the autobahn. Instead we drove to Landshut – college friend Gerhard’s home town.
We rounded a bend, and John said, “There’s the cathedral of Landshut.” Soon the castle on a high hill dominating the town was in clear view. Breath taking! It was almost dark. After we ate sausages a few yards from the cathedral, we saw the buildings all lit up. The town looked rich with tastefully decorated shops, many Christmas trees, and quite a few people.
The Bavarian style of Christmas tree seems to be one with white lights only. We caught glimpses of white lighted trees inside, but the outside ones glowed with reflections on snow.
Our flight back to Heathrow was a few minutes early, but so was the Mehrling’s plane. John’s parents had waited patiently for us for three hours. Two men were there right on time to pick us up – we’d been afraid to leave our car in an outside parking lot for nine days since there would be no one to call to get it started if anything went wrong. England was closed up tight for Boxing Day.
The next day, Sunday, it was snowing hard when we got up. We took the easy way and stayed close to home, walking to St. Peter’s. The little church is particularly lovely all decorated with greens and flowers for Christmas.