Former boss Tino from Jacksonville, Florida and his family are in Europe for a stay including visiting one of their daughters studying at a university in Italy, to celebrate Thanksgiving and then to all continue to Munich where Tino, his wife and eldest daughter lived in the 90s and onto mother in law in Munster before returning to the USA for Christmas.
They had invited me to join them for lunch in the centre of Munich. Angie was ill and couldn't come along so I risked the drive in my jalopy due to end it's days tomorrow when the MOT/TÜV runs out. Added to that, being rather old & a diesel, I can't drive in Munich's inner ring road area. So parked on the outskirts near to my former 1989/90 offices and took the underground into town, sending my then colleague Nogbad WhatsApp photos of the underground station/line that was our almost daily used transport when we went into town for a beer & meal in the evening. Sadly he couldn't remember either how the ticket machine system works. I always leave Angie to do that bit - she worked in Munich until last year.
We met at the well known Munich Schneider Bräuhaus just off the Marienplatz heaving with people at the famous Christmas Market in front of the town hall. Lovely to see all of them again, we think the last time was in 2004 when the youngest was still very young and they visited us at home. The restaurant is most famous for its tripe-like dishes, None of us ventured down that road but stuck with known Bavarian favourites. (Thank you, Tino, for the meal).
Judging by the timestamps on my photos, we must have been talking & eating for two hours. Luckily the family didn't then turf me out but allowed me to hang around as they did some Christmas shopping. I loved it - reminded me of my daughter's family visit to the same area two years ago.
A quick whizz through Dallmayr's food hall (sort of like Harrods) the largest delicatessen business in Europe. The English Sipsmith gin stand was heaving, less so the champagne and whisky stand. (Who is the clever person who has made gin such a cult & even made normal every day no name supermarket gin get expensive?)
Then a quick family snap at Max-Joseph-Platz next to the Residenz where I was a few weeks ago having my newly won German citizenship celebrated. The last time the family was all together in Munich a few years ago, they had taken the identical posed photo.
As a matter of interest for Brexiters - Tino's children - two of whom were born in the USA - all have dual USA/German citizenship. That means that the daughter studying in Italy at the moment did not have to go through all the visa hassle that her fellow American students do.
Finally, as Tino hadn't seen it before we went over to the Winter Tollwood Festival site on the grounds of the Oktoberfest. Sadly it started to drizzle which made walking around all the stands full of organic food from around the world less pleasant but there were tents to also have a bite, explore some of the sales stands (again 3rd world organic type stuff which is the concept of the festival).
We then finally made our farewells and I set off for the long cold wet drive home. Near freezing rain and the car heater is broken! However, I was very warm inside after a truly wonderful day.
Thank you, The Schulers.