Munich: Exploring Marienplatz on foot

Marienplatz square is the city centre of Munich and aesthetically speaking, is quite a pretty and sophisticated hangout against a backdrop of medieval architecture. The Bavarian culture is very strong here and is a good starting point for any traveller passing through Munich.

20130609-220539.jpg

20130609-220858.jpg

The bell tower in the New Townhall resounds daily at noon.

IMGA0139

Residenz Platz

The Munich Residenz is the largest residential palace in Germany and was the seat of the Bavarian rulers for more than 400 years. The day we visited it was a public holiday and the museum was closed, however the pleasant surrounding gardens were well worth the visit.

IMGA0183

Viktualienmarkt

This is the go to place for gourmet food in the city centre. You can get anything from sausages to cheese and bread. Plus there’s a beer garden where you can start drinking from mid-morning!

IMGA0298

IMGA0301

Home of the Bayern Munich fans

If you’re a fan of Deutch football (like my husband) then Marienplatz is the place to stock up on all your Bayern Munich merchandise from jackets to scarves and various nic nacs. There’s good quality merchandise for the die hard fans at the Adidas store and plenty of cheaper stuff at the street stalls around the area.

IMGA0291

Where to eat?

On every corner you will find a bakery or a sweets shop with so many choices you’ll never get bored. Chocolate croissants and pretzels were my favourite.

Our cafe of choice was Woerner’s which serves deliciously frothy cappucinos and scrumptious chocolate croissants. We also had a cooked breakfast one morning as we watched the city come to life.

For a true Bavarian experience, have dinner at the Hackerhaus where you can order a bier or hauswein while you wait on your German cuisine. I’d recommend the jagersnitzel with mushroom sauce or the Wiener wurstl.

Leave a comment

Filed under europe, Germany

Eating like the locals… Our first traditional Bavarian meal

Our first evening in Munich and we were faced with the dilemma… What to eat? Even though we were a little ambivalent about German food, we wanted to to make the most of the opportunity to try traditional local cuisine.

Staying in a holiday apartment a couple of train stops from the central hub Marienplatz meant this was a real possibility. The owner of our apartment recommended the local pub, The Sendlinger Augustiner. After wandering around the local neighborhood with many Italian restaurants posing as temptations, we took up her advice and grabbed ourselves a table in this rustic Bavarian pub.

With our quick cram study session to refresh our memories of the high school Gernan we learnt more than 10 years ago we felt confident enough to say “Hallo, eine tisch fur zwei bitte” hello, a table for two please. We were seated inside which was empty as we were having an early dinner to combat our jetlag.

Of course the confusion set in when we realised we’d only memorised what we had to say on our end and not what the waitresses response would be!

Disappointingly we had to resort almost immediately to “sprechen sie englisch?”

The waitress looked worried then and called over a colleague who, luckily for us, spoke fluent English. We confessed it was our first night in Germany and he offered to talk us through the menu and made suggestions for traditional Bavarian dishes.

With his help we ordered for a starter the Sudtiroler Bauerngera auchertes mit Bauernbrot (bread with cheese and onion).

20130527-080746.jpg

When it arrived, Ryan and I looked at each other nervously. It wasn’t quite what we envisioned. The taste wasn’t quite to our liking, but spreading the cheese over the bread was tolerable. We were determined to keep an open mind.

We ordered two dishes to share for the main….Butterschnitzel Wiener Art (chicken schnitzel) and schweinebraten (roast pork and potato dumplings).

20130527-080913.jpg

20130527-081019.jpg

Both of these were delicious! The schnitzel was the best I ever had and the pork was mouthwatering.

We finished off the meal with a bier and a glass of hauswein and left feeling not only stuffed with full bellies but a little light-headed too!

Despite our nerves about the German cuisine, our first Bavarian meal in Munich went down well!

2 Comments

Filed under europe, Food, Germany

Flying Etihad and landing on Middle Eastern soil

The flight to Europe from Sydney is a long one. A very long one… More than 24 hours with a stopover. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little bit nervous about the flight over there… But thankfully it all went pretty smoothly.

My husband and I departed from Sydney, waving goodbye to my in laws and beginning our honeymoon upon boarding our Etihad flight.

We were declined a (free) upgrade (it was worth a try, it was our honeymoon afterall!) but we were kindly given the window seats with extra leg room which made the long trip just a bit more bearable.

Take off was at about 11pm and I was dreading the night flight and the effect that sleep deprivation tends to have on my mood, but this was the first flight where we weren’t disturbed all night long with lights going on and off and meals being served at 3am. There was the faint cries of an unsettled baby but it wasn’t too disruptive.

Within an hour we were served our meal. We both chose the Moroccan Beef Casserole and for airline food, it was actually pretty good.

 

20130515-171635.jpg

The flight went super quick after that and we managed to sleep lightly over the next 7 hours until it was nearing time for breakfast. We made the most of the free movies by watching Life of Pi and Here Comes the Boom before we touched down in Abu Dhabi.

A fascinating airport, where the transfer area is a large circle of restaurants upstairs and shops downstairs, circling this fascinating artwork made up of individual tiles.

20130515-172011.jpg

Our brief touchdown in Abu Dhabi was enough to whet my appetite to want to explore more of the Middle East- but we’ll have to save that for another trip!

The final leg to Munich on Etihad was about 6 hours and we couldn’t be happier to touchdown and finally arrive at our destination!

4 Comments

Filed under europe, Traveller tips

Girl’s Night Out at El Bulli, Surry Hills

Hola!

Last weekend, some friends and I ventured into Surry Hills for my much anticipated Hen’s Night Dinner. I hired a private bus to transport us all into the city from the south-west and we arrived at El Bulli just in time (after a brief stopover in a pub) for our 8pm dinner reservation.

I chose the $47pp ‘Grupo de Amigos’ function menu for the evening which alluded to an array of delicious tapas dishes and a promise that there’d be plenty to go around. And there was!

IMG_0972

From Patatas El Bulli (potatoes) to Totilla Espanola (spanish omelette) to Albdondigas con Tuco (meatballs) to Gambas al Ajillo (prawns with garlic, salt & pepper) and Mejillones en Salsa de Chili (chilli mussels) and a few other dishes there was definitely a lot of choice for those who don’t want to eat meat to those who don’t like seafood and this menu was well suited to our group.

IMG_0973

El Bulli at Surry Hills offer a range of function menus for various budgets including desserts, but we were happy with the lower price menu. We topped off the night with a few jugs of white and red sangria. The service was very prompt and the waiters were friendly.. in fact my only criticism is that they were too prompt! Our food started to come out almost immediately after we were seated and I’d prefer to have had some time to chat and acquaint ourselves before we stuffed ourselves silly. I’d eaten here two times prior with a group of friends and didn’t experience this on those occasions.

IMG_0974

We sighed over the food, bopped to the Latin band strumming in the background and sipped on our Sangrias… what a perfect Spanish night out!

El Bulli also has restaurants in Randwick and up the coast at Yamba.

Where? El Bulli Restaurant

504 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

Ph: 9319 5199

El Bulli Spanish Tapas on Urbanspoon

Leave a comment

Filed under Australia, Food, Sydney

Eating Well In Leichhardt

After my final (wedding) dress fitting last week, my (future) mother-in-law and I stopped off at Norton Street, Leichhardt in search of a light meal and a coffee. Well Co was the first to capture our interest with its relaxing vibe and outdoor sitting area. We settled ourselves at a table near an umbrella just far enough from the road to avoid suffocating on car fumes, but close enough to observe passersby and indulge in the Norton St atmosphere.

The friendly waitress presented us with menus and served us table water while we made the very difficult decision of choosing only one meal from the menu of mouth-watering dishes. Specialising in modern Australian food and European foods, they are probably best known for their range of eggs on toast on their all-day breakfast menu.

The arrival of our meals was worthy of groans of pleasure at not only the beautiful presentation but also the tantalising smells. My lamb salad topped with yoghurt looked like the most enticing salad I’d ever set eyes on and the taste was near perfection. The lamb was lightly marinated and so tender.

Lamb salad

Lamb salad

My mother-in-law raved about her egg and fetta omelette and we both adored the garlic and fetta lavash bread.

Delicious garlic and feta bread (dish on the left)

Delicious garlic and feta lavash bread (dish on the left)

The midday meal was finished off with a hit of caffeine in the form of a macchiato (M-I-L) and a soy latte (me).

Delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere, Well Co is a place I intend to visit again. Apparently this café is a branch of Well Co Glebe which I haven’t visited but after enjoying what they have to offer in Leichhardt I’d like to check out Glebe too.

Where is it? Well Co

Leichhardt Village Shop 9, 39-45 Norton St

Leichhardt, NSW

Parking available in the nearby shopping centre with 2 hours free parking.

Wellco on Urbanspoon

3 Comments

Filed under Food, Sydney

How to eat Vietnamese pancakes

I caught up with a friend for lunch a couple of weeks ago in Cabramatta which is kind of the midway point for us to meet between Parramatta and Macarthur. I wholeheartedly trust her to choose a great restaurant with delicious food, and this time at Que Huong was no different. My friend suggested Vietnamese pancakes…. I said, why not?

The restaurant isn’t very aesthetically pleasing but looks can be deceiving. I didn’t mind that we had to sit in the middle of a long table shared by a few other people or that there was only one tissue box to go around when the chilli attacked my senses.

When a plate of leafy greens followed by a small bowl of chilli sauce and then a large folded over omelette arrived, I was instantly intrigued. My friend walked me through the steps of how to eat the array of food before us and I had my first lesson in how to eat Vietnamese pancakes a.k.a Banh Xeo.

Vietnamese pancake

Vietnamese pancake

How to eat Vietnamese pancakes

1.       Use a large piece of lettuce as the base

2.       Add some mint leaves to the lettuce

3.       Cut off a portion of pancake with your chopsticks and place into the lettuce mix

4.       Fold the lettuce leaf in half and then fold up the other sides so the filling is enclosed

5.       Dunk it in chilli fish sauce

6.       Take a big bite!

Everything you need...

Everything you need…

It’s a bit messy but a lot of fun to put together and it tastes really good. And with all those greens it’s fresh and healthy too. The pancakes are crispy and filled with prawns and shallots and bean sprouts.

I love getting my hands dirty and trying new dishes from different cuisines and having a friend who can interpret and pronounce what’s on the local menus in Sydney’s multicultural districts like the south-west is super handy

Where is it? Que Huong Restaurant

Shop 16, 70 John Street, Cabramatta 2166

Ph: (02) 9723 9916

Que Huong on Urbanspoon

When was the last time you tried a new food? Did you enjoy the experience?

2 Comments

Filed under Food, South-West Sydney

8 books you must read if you’re going to India…

As you’ve probably seen from my Reading on Location posts… I love to read about places I’ve visited, places I’m about to visit and those that I dream of visiting one day. Even before we’d booked our flights I’d always enjoyed reading books set in India.

I now have a long list of books that I’d recommend, so if you’re like me and like to prepare for trips through books check these out (I’ve linked some of them back to reviews on my book blog if you’d like to find out more):

2 States by Chetan Bhagat: I picked up this book written by an Indian author while I was in a bookstore in Bangalore at the beginning of my trip and loved it. What I loved about 2 States, is the simple and no nonsense writing style of the author and his examination of culture differences within a large, divisive country. A good one for the romance fans. See my full review here.

2 states

Jasmine Skies by Sita Brahmachari- I came across Jasmine Skies at Delhi airport during one of my stopovers (I was in that airport 4 times!) and was firstly attracted to the cover and then I saw that it was written by an English-Indian woman and was further intrigued. Jasmine Skies is a beautiful story about a teenage girl living in England who travels to India to meet her extended family. See my full review here.

jasmine

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga- The Man Booker Prize Winner (2008) is well worth the read. Tells the story of a young Indian man who becomes involved in a murder….

white

Henna for the Broken-Hearted by Sharell Cook- I really loved this memoir, written by Australian, Sharell Cook. What I loved about Sharell Cook’s story is the balance between open-mindedness to experiencing the new and an introspective account that is realistic and shows her flaws. Sharell falls in love with a non-traditional Indian man from a traditional family. So yeah, there’s plenty of conflict in this story! See my full review here.

henna

Dancing to the Flute by Manisha Jolie Amin- Dancing to the Flute is an absorbing and inspirational tale about a young Indian boy named Kalu and girl named Malti, written by Australian author, Manisha Jolie Amin. See my full review here.

dancing

Origins of Love by Kishwar Desai- Origins of Love is a beautifully constructed story that spans across India and London and follows various characters whose lives intertwine. It masterfully explores many controversial fertility issues such as IVF, surrogacy, sperm/ egg donation and adoption against a fictional (but could very easily be true!) backdrop. See my full review here.

origins

Life of Pi by Yann Martel- Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize, Life of Pi is about sixteen-year-old Piscine Molitor Patel from Pondicherry, India. He changes his name to Pi because he tires of being called “Pissing.” His father owns the Pondicherry zoo and so Pi has plenty of exposure to animal behaviour that comes in handy when he ends up stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific with a hyena, an injured zebra, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. I’m still yet to see the movie! See my full review here.

pi

Holy Cow by Sarah McDonald- I was lent a copy of Holy Cow by a friend of my fiancé who told him I ‘must read’ this book before we go to India. So I did as I was told and picked it up and was glad that I did! It’s a sometimes hilarious, sometimes upsetting and sometimes inspiring story of a young Australian journalist, Sarah Macdonald who joins her boyfriend Jonathan to backpack around India and find her place in a country full of contradictions. See my full review here.

holy cow

Do you have a favourite book set in India?

6 Comments

Filed under Books, India, Reading On Location