On day 8 of our trip to Germany, we slept in and rested our sore legs and arms. We were originally supposed to get up early for another day trip, but with Yangkyu not feeling so well we decided that staying in Munich and re-discovering the Christmas Market would be the better bet.
Around late morning we headed out and with the help of our hotel concierge, we located a pharmacy that was open on Sunday (almost everything closes on Sundays), which wasn't too far from our hotel (we stayed at the Le Meridien) and the Christmas Market in Marienplatz.
After Yangkyu got what he needed to stop feeling so under the weather, we decided to walk a bit and go last minute shopping for souvenirs and gifts. We also literally ate our way through the Christmas Market.
If you recall from my previous posts, I was battling stomach aches every day, but when I woke up on day 8, I woke up with the most voracious appetite and not a single feeling like I was going to get stomach pains from eating either. And so we started with a little coffee and pastry and then roasted chestnuts (the lady gave us a few extra) and a bunch of other things I do not know the names of. Everything was so good.
To be completely honest, the first night at the Munich Christmas Market, I had the hardest time ordering food. I didn't know how to read the menu and with crowds of people, it was hard for me to ask what was what without feeling rushed or that I was holding other people up (maybe introvert problems -- or maybe just Jane problems). And so I would point at something on display and that was literally what I got. In my mind, I thought they would either make the same sandwich since the one I pointed to was rock hard and cold or warm up the one I was pointing to. Nope. I ended up getting the rock hard sandwich that was probably out in the cold for hours.
I also didn't take my camera out on this day because I wanted to rest my shoulders, but I began to slightly regret it as seeing the Munich Christmas Market during the daytime was pretty on its own (yes, with the lights it's even prettier at night, but something about seeing it in the daylight has its own appeals as well).
We also happened upon the most delightful tradition (although the costumes were scary and ghoulish!) - The Krampus Run.
We were fortunate enough to have run into The Krampus Run in the section of the Christmas Market that wasn't yet closed off with ropes and where people dressed as Krampus teased the crowd and spanked them with their brooms. Yangkyu and I both got spanked and hit and I got my ear muffs playfully stolen.
The Krampus Run is a centuries old Alpine folkloric tradition. Krampus usually accompanies Saint Nicholas and whereas St. Nicholas rewards children who have been good, Krampus rattles his chains and puts fear into the naughty and unruly ones.
Most of the young kids had loads of fun and sometimes even Krampus spanked the parents instead of the children, but we did see one little girl who was so scared that she cried and hid in her mother's embrace. The Krampus felt so bad that he tried to act cute and playful but it certainly didn't work with his scary mask. Aww. I took a little video of the Krampus Run if you'd like to see.
After all our shopping was done (one of the last things I bought was a felt hat, which I'm sure only grandpas wear but I loved it so much I bought it for myself) we walked around a bit more, exploring all the little alleyways. We realized that we didn't get a chance to check out the Christmas Market at the nearby English Garden, which we regretted slightly, but re-discovering the one in Marienplatz ended up being a delight. It was just too sprawling to only experience once.
At the very end, we came across a little lion statue in front of a restaurant, and because we used to call Piri a little lion, we posed for a picture, which probably sent a lot of tourists wondering why we would pose with such a silly backdrop. Crazy dog people.
Looking back on this day, I miss Munich terribly. I miss the sights, sounds, the people and their warm smiles and greetings, the food (!!) and just the feeling of being in an unfamiliar yet fascinating place. I look back and am glad that we chose Munich as our travel destination.
The following day we were back on track with our itinerary and took a day trip out to Lake Königssee. It was a dark grey dreary, and mostly empty day in terms of tourists, which added to the mystique of the entire place, but it was one of the most memorable moments of our trip. I hope you'll come back for that story.