I’ve been back in Europe for a week or so and so far it’s just as tasty and chic as I remembered. I’ve visited two culturally-rich (to say the least) cities so far: Munich and Paris. It’s been a great time filled with work (of course, this isn’t all about traveling), visiting old friends, some great dining and eye-candyish site seeing. Europe, I love you and it’s great to be back.
My adventure began in Paris, where I stayed in a cute Parissienne apartment on the outskirts of the city that I found through Airbnb. The truly memorable food thing about Paris in my opinion is hands down the pastries and sweets. Think macaroons everywhere, patisseries and cakes of every shape and colour imaginable and layers and layers of cream upon cream. One day I met up with a friend and we promenaded around the Notre Dame area before stopping at one of the oh-so-many cafes for a coffee. I decided to try a chocolate brioche – and to my surprise it was a lot lighter than any brioche I’ve ever had or made at home.
After about three days in dessert heaven, I boarded a bus and headed to Munich to visit two other friends. Munich surprised me. The last time I was here was 12 years ago when a friend and I met to go to Oktoberfest. This trip was totally different. The Bavarian capital is bursting with history, knodel (Bavarian dumplings) and more fine desserts. I know I maybe shouldn’t say this, but I do think that southern German cuisine stands out above the rest. From the bier steins to the prezels, many food traditions are to be found here. By the way – have you ever noticed how prezels kind of resemble a peace sign?
On a Saturday afternoon, I took a break from my writing and decided to visit the “Munich Residenz”, the former living quarters of the Bavarian Monarchs. I was astonished by the paintings and utter elaborateness of the once-upon-a-time palace. Holding a digital tour guide to my right ear, I learned about the Wittelsbach family and caught a glimpse of how they lived hundreds of years ago. I also saw lots of statues of men with armor and swords. I instantly thought about how times have changed and it became clear to me how opulence and riches were achieved through separateness and violence.
In one of the rooms, there were beautiful paintings of ‘commoners’ harvesting food, like this painting of a woman chopping wheat with a sickle. I stood stunned by the sheer simplicity of the paintings.
After I left the Residenz, I took a short walk to Munich’s Angel of Peace, a gorgeous statue and fountain built in memory of the 25 years of peace after the 1870/1871 Franco German war. Looking up at the golden female heralding in the grey sky, I thought about how it would simply be wonderful if there was more peace in the world, and if people didn’t resort to violence and military means to solve problems. The statue for peace is simply living proof that throughout history many others have wanted the same.