Englischer Garten

Last Wednesday was the first sunny day we had in Munich since our arrival on Friday, so we decided to take advantage of the weather and headed to the Englischer Garten (i.e. English Garden).  We took the trusty U-Bahn/subway to what we thought was the correct stop and managed to wander through a neighborhood before stumbling upon the park.  OK, wait, “park” is definitely a misnomer and “garden” especially doesn’t seem to cut it.  The Englischer Garten is huge.  I mean bigger-than-Central-Park huge. 

We immediately tried locating the infamous Pagoda/Chinesischer Turm (“Chinese Tower”) since it is the landmark symbol used on all tourist maps for the garden… and it also supposedly had a beer garden nearby. 😉  We walked for quite a ways and saw what looked like a Greek temple up on a hill…

Greek Temple on the Hill

Greek Temple on the Hill

…but still no Chinese tower.  There were loads of people in the park, locals and tourists alike– bicycling, sunbathing, kicking the soccer ball around.  You know, normal stuff.  We came around a bend and saw subtle hints of picnic table umbrellas through the trees in the distance.  We managed to find a park map at the bend.  Of course, the map was in German, but we figured it out and headed off towards the umbrellas.  Although it had seemed like we had walked a fair ways, we realized after looking at the map that we had actually covered only a teeny tiny portion of the park.

The path followed a little stream to our left, and plenty of parkgoers were wading in the cool waters.  We broke through the trees into a big space and finally found the Chinese tower…

The Chinese Tower/Chinesischer Turm

Chinesischer Turm... and Beer Garden!

Surrounding the Chinese tower is (what else??) a beer garden.  Row after row after row of picnic benches with beer, pretzel, and Bavarian food vendors nearby doing brisk business despite it being midweek.  We hadn’t done a beer hall yet, so we thought we’d try our very first German biergarten.  We grabbed a couple of “small” mugs and a pretzel and settled down on a shady table to enjoy the brew and people-watch…

Beer and Pretzel... How Bavarian

Beer and Pretzel... How Bavarian

So we’ve heard how Germans love their beer.  In fact, the average German drinks 30 gallons in a year.  Seriously.  We have learned to keep an open mind when it comes to beer in Europe, and Charity has tried the local brew in every city we’ve been in 1) to experience the local culture through their favorite drink and 2) because it’s usually the cheapest.  That said, of the two beers we tried that day, one was decent and the other was… kind of disgusting.  It tasted sweet, like some kind of messed up soda.  Eeek.  We tried to choke it down and got halfway before I put it aside.  Life is too short to drink crappy beer, no matter the cost.

We finished our people-watching and decided to go find what I really came to the park to see.  We’d heard the rumors but had to see it with our own eyes.  Now, if you look at a map of Germany, you’ll notice that München is nowhere near a significant body of water.  Yup, it’s landlocked.  That is why I had to see the surfers myself.  That’s right, ladies and gents– there is surfing in the Englischer Garten.

On our trek to find this infamous feature of the park, we followed behind an Ashton Kutcher wannabee and his friends.  Young, carefree, and silly as hell, they made lots of noise and showed off quite a bit.  Even so, I did notice when they all looked to the left, and he started harumphing and whistling, as if to get someone’s attention.  So of course, I looked, too.  Yeah.  Those sunbathers were markedly different from the ones we’d seen in the general population because those young ladies were nekkid.  Birthday suits.  Oh and one had a cute hat so as not to burn the top of her head (??).  And she was posing for pictures with her friend.  Oh myyyyyyy…

We finally came to the park’s “waterfall”, and off in the distance, we caught sight of our goal.  We walked along the fast-moving water, taking a moment to sit and enjoy the calming sound before moving upstream.  And yes, people, there indeed is surfing in that park… 

Paddling to Get Out of the Water

Paddling to Get Out of the Water

The stream system that runs through the park is manmade, and at the mouth of the stream is the water pump which creates a standing wave.  Watching some of the surfers work reminded me of the standing wave machine at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park (i.e. Wet ‘n Wild) back on Oahu. 

Balancing on the Wave Machine

Balancing on the Wave Machine

You basically just wait your turn on either side of the wave and jump in when the last guy bails. 

Pumping

Pumping

Their boards weren’t new or at all fancy.  In fact, they all looked like they’d seen better days and were pretty well beaten.  Even so, you could tell they were well-loved possessions, and you should have heard the collective groan and guffaws from all the surfers when one unlucky guy’s board snapped in half.  These guys were out there because they love to surf and it shows.  It was one of the coolest things– ok, no, it was the coolest thing I’d seen in Munich. 

Surfing the Stream

Surfing the Stream

1 thought on “Englischer Garten

  1. Wow, sounds like a great adventure in the park. Who woulda of thought you find surfing in Germany! ALso- where is the posted pictures of the nekkid girls? Boy Bill really has corrupted me! Hee hee.

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