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Monday, April 24, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 29 My Day in Downtown Munich

It was a beautiful day.  When I awoke:


Caught the U4-Bahn into Odeonplatz:


That was a mirror image.  Up the escalator, the typical buildings that tell you, yes, this must be Europe
:


A close-up of that middle lion:


And just about here, my Blue Bar Pigeon crossed the street.  With this type of store, it must be Germany:


Walked back through Hofgarten:


Took a photo of an almost black tulip:


They say you can now buy a black tulip, called Paul Sherer, developed by Geert Hageman.  However, on the online page is this tulip:


I would contend that the BLACK TULIP has not yet been developed.  The story is the same for the BLUE ROSE.  After a lot of hype, involving Australian company Florigene and Suntory, they proudly announced in 2004 a blue rose.  However, they, too, are stretching hue-ness.  Here is their blue rose:


Mauve, maybe, or lavenderish...but NOT BLUE!

A ten-minute walk brought me to Schuhbecks in den Sudtiroler Stuben, whose three restaurants share the square, or, really a rectangle, with Starbucks and Hard Rock Cafe:


Looking out, you can seeStarbucks and Orlando, a Schuhbecks bistro outside:


The decor is attractive:


This is an award-winning restaurant:


I started with beer, white wine and bread:


The first course was grilled octopus.  I thought the temperature could have been higher.  Plus, here is another chef who only prepares the flesh without drawing out the taste that makes seafood like scallops and octopus special.

Next came a terrific truffles linguini.  Nearly perfect.  However, if I return I will ask  them to top the dish with six basil leaves and a slice of onion.

The suckling pick was also excellent, with a truly crispy skin.  The restaurant is actually a fusion of German and Italian.  The only problem was that for a large establishment, for the entire lunch, there was a threesome and me.  Counting the $7 for the roundtrip U-Bahn (which was an all day pass), the total for everything came up to slightly less than $100.


The Sheraton is across the street from Rewe, a giant of a supermarket.  As I was getting tired of the free drinks and appetizers in four weeks of executive lounges, on the way back, I bought my dinner to eat in my room:


Tomorrow, back to the USA.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 28 Europe in Crisis

In case you did not know, the European Union now has 28 members, for the United Kingdom is still not officially out.  Nineteen countries use the Euro.  How does the EU compare with the USA?
  • Population:  EU 503 million     USA  327 million
  • Land area:   EU  1.7 million square miles     USA 3.8 million square miles
  • GDP (EU is larger than the USA or China):


They have reduced red tape on travel.  Boy is it easy to pass through customs in the European Union.  No form to fill out. Just showed my passport at the Munich Airport, and there was no line because the process was so quick.  Seven more countries are seeking a possible association, including Turkey.

So Europe has all that history and remains significant economically and politically.  But it is fraying.  Brexit might just be the beginning.

The French are in phase one of electing a new president today.  The odds are that  the centrist protege of Francois Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, will edge far-riche leader Marine Le Pen:


Macron is 39 years old and currently serves as Minister of the Economy.   Le Pen, 48, is a lawyer and daughter of Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen

However, communist candidate Jean-Kuc Melenchon is surging, and has caught up site Francois Fillon, and both are within four points of Macron.  At one time Filon was favorite to contend with Le Pen, but something called a "fake jobs" scandal did him in.  Chances are that no one will get at least 50%, so the top two will run off on May 7.


I've long followed betting odds...until Hillary and Brexit.  However, here are the chances:
  • Emmanual Macron, Independent: Evens
  • Marine Le Pen, Front National: 3/1
  • François Fillon, Les Republicains: 3/1
  • Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Unbowed France: 7/1
  • Benoît Hamon, Socialists: 200/1
WELL THE RESULTS ARE NOW IN.  MACRON AND PEN WILL FACE-OFF ON MAY 7:

Who does Donald Trump want as president?  Well, he did say that Le Penis the strongest candidate, perhaps because of her Islamophobic and xenophobic platform.  That should have read "Le Pen is the strongest candidate."

Okay, but I'm in Germany, and, while all seems well, maybe not.  READ THIS.

Angela Merkel first became Chancellor of Germany in 2005.  She is favored to gain another term in September, mostly because the German Greens, the environmentalists, are the weakest they've been since 2002.  She has a PhD in quantum chemistry and was a research scientist before entering politics from East Germany.  In case you're wondering, there is no term limit.  Helmut Kohl served for 16 years.  The meeting Trump had with Merkel last month was awkward.

Otherwise:

I've long intimated that Europe was a basket case.  Add the immigration/terrorism problem and what to do about Russia, and you wonder how things seem to be normal, if not vibrant, in Munich.  

Munich is exactly 12 hours ahead of Hawaii and 6 hours compared to New York City.  When I get to DC, I will have cut the time difference by half, then on my final stop, San Francisco, again in half.  On the other hand, after the seven time difference between Seoul and Munich, I feel normal already.

Oh well, back to what I did today.  Breakfast and art at the Westin Grand Munich:


If you look to the extreme left, you can barely see this:


These Zen rock gardens are everywhere in Japan, but Munich?

I moved to the Sheraton Munich.  My view:


I had lunch at


I went to the bathroom, and wondered which door to enter.  The answer is this:


My flower for the day:


You would think that a name such as the Westin Grand Munich would mean it must be a grander hotel than the mere Sheraton Munich.  Nope, the Sheraton is such higher tech and nicer.  My dinner at the Executive Club was modest:


The sunset was spectacular:


Tomorrow, fine dining at Schuhbeck's in den Sudtiroler Stuben.  Then, on Tuesday, back to the USA. It will be sunny tomorrow in Munich, but rain, with a high of 53 F, in DC.  However, from Wednesday into the weekend, Munich will experience snow again.  On Thursday, when I will be walking around our Nation's Capital, it will be mostly sunny with temperatures up to 86 F predicted.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 27 Munich Englischer Garten

I had a decent "German" breakfast in the Westin Grand Munich:


Note the Prosecco, which comes free, I think.  All three of my meals today were sort of Germanish.

I decided I needed some exercise, so must have walked 5 miles today, mostly getting lost in their Englischer Garden, translated as English Garten, and called so because it follows the style of Capability Brown (left), noted British landscape architect.  I would say this was more an exercise park than a garden.  The most prominent navigational point is the Monopteros on a hill:


Englischer Garten is about half a mile away from the Westin...but it was cold today.  With the wind chill, uncomfortable.  But the wind showed up only 10% of the time, so my day was confusing, but comfortable.  Actually, I was attempting to cross the park to go to Max-Emanuel Brauerei, a German restaurant.  Never got there, mostly because I saw people eating rotisserie chicken with beer in what has been called the most famous of Munich beer gardens, the Chinesischer Turm biergarten:


For around $20 I had the following;


That building is the original Chinese Pagoda, built in 1789, the year the park came together.  Englischer Garten is large, around 910 acres.  New York's Central Park is 843 acres.  The University of Hawaii Manoa campus is 320 acres.  It was a Saturday, so there were many walkers, bikers and runners.  There is no discernible separate path for the three, so most people are in jeopardy just navigating the garden.

Frankly, there is nothing much to this garden with respect to flowers at this time and other attractions in general, although there is a Japanese Tea House in a lake I never got to see.  Most of the colors came close to my hotel:


The Munich Sheraton, where I will move to tomorrow, is in close walking distance:



This could well be the only Sakura in bloom today in Munich.  My day ended in the Executive Club with a German dinner:



The beef was a roast, overcooked and tasteless...but free.  The asparagus ragout, which also passes for soup, was outstanding.  If the temperature were hotter, I would have given it a 9 rating.  The beef, compared to Japanese Wagyu, maybe a 2.  Started my day with a Prosecco (Italian champagne), and ended with it.  A very much needed restful day, albeit lengthy in terms of steps taken.

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