Surfing the Isar River – Munich

After a good breakfast, by mid-morning we made our by U-bahn again to the center of the city at Marienplatz.  We shopped around a lot of the stores in the pedestrian zone, and had lunch at a café.  I wanted to have lunch in the Victualmarkt, a market area of food stalls, but we got too hungry before we ever got there.  After relaxing in the café, we found the Victualmarkt.  It was very crowded for lunch.  There were many fruit and vegetable stands, and places where you could buy fish sandwiches, brats, breads and rolls, and of course, beer.  We then wandered back through the Marienplatz to visit Frauenkirche, the signature building of the Munich skyline.  It is a very old church with twin towers, that is on most postcards of Munich (wait for yours to come in the mail).  While Lisa and Allison rested, Peter and I went to the top of one of the towers to see the view.  I was a little disappointed to find that there was no open terrace at the top (like at the nearby Peter’s Church tower), but small windows.  It was still a nice view, but hard to say how well the photos will turn out through the glass.

The view from the tower

 At this point, Lisa and Allison both wanted to go back to the hotel for a nap, so we traveled back to the hotel.  Peter and I then went to the Deutsche Museum.  This is the main science and technology museum of Germany.  It is a huge complex on an island in the Isar River, which cuts through Munich.  We spent only about an hour there, looking at the things that most interested us, such as the airplanes, space gear, and sailing ships.

 Near the museum was a spot in the river where people were surfing.  Yes, that’s right, surfing the Isar River.  I had read about this in a guidebook, but didn’t know where the surfing spot was along the river.  We stumbled upon it near the science museum, and were amazed.  A guy in a wet suit would jump into the river with his surfboard.  If he pushed off just right, he could paddle into the middle of the river and push up onto his board before the current swept him down about 20 yards of rapids.  There must have been some boulders placed in the river at that spot to form the rapids.  The surfer could go back and forth across the river in this “groove” spot in front of the rapids.  If he was skilled, the surfer could stay there for a minute or two, not drifting down river at all, but staying somewhat stationary.  If he fell, the surfer would crash through the rapids and get sent by a cross current in the river back to the river bank nearby where he started.  There were about 10 guys doing this.  It was entertaining to watch them and the moves they could make before falling.

 I had arranged to meet a friend of mine, David, and his family for supper.  I worked with David, in Oregon, before he moved to Munich for a two year assignment.  We met them at a place called the “Chinese Tower” in the English Garden.  The English Garden is a large city park known for its nude sunbathers in the summer.  It was cool and rainy when we were there, so we didn’t see any of those, but we did have a nice long walk through the park to the Chinese Tower.  The Tower is a pagoda with many tables below it to form an outdoor beer garden.  There is no Chinese food there, just inexpensive grilled chicken and sausages and their somewhat famous fried potatoes.  By the time we got there, the outdoor restaurant had closed because of the weather (there weren’t many people there that night, unlike during the World Cup where I was told 100,000 people had gathered to watch the games).  We ended up eating at a fancy restaurant nearby (we were starving by this time), where we had good, but expensive, steaks and fish. 

 We had a nice visit with David and his family, and also with some friends of theirs who were visiting from Philadelphia.  David has two small boys, ages 5 and 4, and the older boy was very funny.  He was saying the funniest things.  After 18 months in Germany, is bilingual.  It’s easier to learn a language at that age, especially when he goes to a German school for kindergarten and plays with the neighborhood children.  David’s wife, Elizabeth, left after a while to go swimming.  I think she was an athlete in college and enjoys swimming in the Olympic pool, the same pool that Mark Spitz won 5 gold medals in swimming in the 1972 Olympics.

 After all of that walking, our legs were very tired.  It was a good time to go to bed early and rest for tomorrow’s touring of the Bavarian king’s palace and treasury.