Saturday July 2, 2016 – Munich, Germany – MoTab European Tour Journal
Today was a “Rest and Recovery Day” for the Choir and Orchestra tour group. Our itinerary soberly reminds us that this will be our “most important rest day of the entire tour.”
Mr. Mo and I had no desire to be anywhere near tourists or shopping which we do not find restful at all! We were eager to explore the beautiful Englischer Garten [“English Garden”] near our hotel. This is a very large public park in the middle of Munich, stretching from the city center near the’Marienplatz’ to the northeastern part of the city. At 910 acres it is much larger than New York’s Central Park, and considered one of Germany’s largest city parks. There is no way we could cover all of the park. So, we just decided to go on an adventure and see what we could see.
Cue the music!
Today was overcast with rain predicted. But, it’s a warm day and it’s a warm rain, so we didn’t worry about using raincoats or umbrellas. To us, any weather in the high 60’s, low 70’s Fahrenheit is absolutely perfect! So, after another hearty breakfast buffet [but less hearty and more healthy now that I’ve banned the bread] we donned our running gear and took off for the Park.
Now, here is the part where getting clearer directions is never a bad idea. I had a general description of how to find the park, but somehow we ended up taking the longest possible way finding an entrance to the park. We walked about 2 miles before we ever started walking in the park! Oh, well. All part of the adventure! Once inside, we realized we were going to have to make mental breadcrumbs or we could get lost pretty fast. Lucky for Mr. Mo I have a strong inner compass! The Southern loop of the Englischer Garten is the more manicured and structured side of the park. It includes a Japanese Garden, a lake, and a cafe. However, the Northern loop of the Englischer Garten – where we were – is much more like a forest than what I would consider a “public park”. It’s wild and wonderful.
There are plenty of paved paths, but also plenty of dirt and gravel trails. There are wide open spaces with tall grass, and then places that look more like a jungle, heavily shaded with ivy and fern.
There is a large river running through the park, where we discovered a dam [with colorful graffiti] regulating the water. We were surprised to learn that this river is home to fresh water salmon. Some impressive German engineering managed to create a Salmon run of “steps” all the way up the left side of the dam. And, on the right side of the dam is a carefully engineered tunnel for the fish to use to swim back downstream. I took a photo as best I could of the salmon steps [it was fenced off]. We also discovered little bridges, waterfalls, and miles and miles of private trails.
Germany has a very liberal policy regarding nude sunbathing. Apparently, The Englischer Garten is known to have locations where this is popular. However – perhaps since it was a rainy day? – we didn’t stumble into anyone who was not fully clothed.
In fact, we hardly saw anyone at all the whole day. It felt like we had our own private oasis. 🙂 It was so wonderful to be breathing fresh clean air again [clearing our lungs of all those toxic second-hand cigarette fumes we’ve been subjected to since arrival], and rejuvenating our souls walking through the calming trees. I highly recommend taking advantage of some quiet time alone as a couple whenever travelling with 599 friends!
In the end, our romantic “little outing” turned into an epic 10 mile trek! So, I’m not sure how “restful” this “day of rest” was physically, but it was definitely a successful “recovery” day from the stressors of tour life [not to mention burning a lot of those buffet calories…].
Later in the evening we used our Facebook Messenger app to talk with our daughters back home on a video chat. Oh, the amazing miracles of technology! There they were, so cute, just sitting at home in front of the laptop clearly talking to us face to face like they were sitting next door – even though we are thousands of miles away. And, it was so sweet and tender because the first moment Daughter Bee saw us she started to cry because she was so happy to see us. Awww! Thanks to Marriott Munich for graciously providing free WiFi to our room we were able to talk to the girls for over an hour in privacy. It was so much fun! They took us on a “tour” of our house and we took them on a “tour” of our hotel room and the view out the window. We worried about how things would go at home being gone such a long time, and how they would manage on their own physically and emotionally. But, after 6 days they are doing great. They are being so responsible holding down the home fort, shopping for food, making meals, attending class, going to work and caring for each other. We are so proud!
We will not have time to talk to each other again – between our hectic schedule and theirs – until Sunday, July 10. But, we do have our email updates that we send daily. Reading those have turned into a highlight of our day.
EURO CUP EXCITEMENT
I’m not much of a soccer fan. But, the European Cup is going on right now and Germany is in the finals so the excitement here is contagious! Tonight was the “big game” between Germany and Italy. Our hotel has completely filled the lobby and sports bar with large screen TVs and many people have gathered. I know that some are hotel guests, but I’m pretty sure a majority of fans are simply coming from the community to sit in the lobby and enjoy some drinks and the large screen TVs.
I didn’t know that watching soccer could be so much fun. Just when I was headed to bed the game got extra exciting. The clock ran out with both teams tied. So, they went into overtime – still tied – and then what they call “injury time” – still tied. So, now it went into the big kick-off. [okay, Mr. Mo just corrected me that it’s called the “Shoot Out”]As I understand it, each side gets 5 kickers who will take a turn trying to kick the ball into the goal while the opposing teams goalie tries to block it. Just one against one. And the teams rotate taking turns between kicker/goalie. [bear with me, I am a completely ignorant initiate here] So, Germany kicks – and it goes in! Then Italy kicks – and it goes in! Then Germany kicks and misses. Then Italy kicks and misses…. and so on, back and forth. And each time our crowd cheers or groans, depending on the outcome. Well, now it’s become a complete nail biter, so of course I have to stay! After all 5 kickers on both sides finish the
kick-off shoot out – you guessed it- they were STILL tied! So, now they start another 5 kicker kick-off shoot out.
In all honesty, this soccer game is probably the most exciting game I’ve watched in years! [Who knew soccer could be this exciting, right?! I know.] Having the big intense crowd in the lobby watching with such high hope and passion definitely adds to the excitement.
In the end, Italy missed 1 kick and now the entire fate of the game rests on one single German teammate.
Talk about pressure!
And this is the moment when all of those hours and hours and years and years of practicing and training are going to make all the difference. He focuses, he kicks, he fakes right with his foot but kicks left… and he scores! Germany wins 6-5 over Italy!
The hotel lobby and Sports Bar burst into thunderous cheering and joyous shouts! People are jumping up and down, hugging, laughing, screaming. They are blowing horns, whistling and singing. Cars are honking out in the streets and air horns are blowing reminiscent of New Years Eve. I can’t imagine any hotel guest is sleeping through all this!
I should be in bed trying to sleep, too.But, then I ask you – when am I ever going to get the chance to watch a Euro Cup finals game IN Germany WITH Germany in the finals, AND see Germany win?!
And now… we must gird up our loins for tomorrow. Our longest day. We will leave Munich at 7:00 am to drive all the way to Vienna, Austria with no rest stops [6.5 hours] to perform at the famous Musikverein! And then, we will board the buses immediately afterward [of course] and travel another 6.5 hours all the way back again to Germany, arriving in Munich some time around 4:00 am Monday! Yikes.
One thing I will say about doing all of this walking is that we are sleeping very soundly on this tour. We may not ever sleep long enough, but we sleep deep! – MoSop
This is part of a 3-week series sharing my experience on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s European Tour from June 28-July 16, 2016. Due to security, tour participants were not allowed to share anything on social media until after our return.
Check back each day for a new installment!