We came up with our plan for the day over breakfast. We had lots of grand ideas, as we still had a large laundry list of places we wanted to see in München. As we went through the list, though, we came to the conclusion that less is more, and opted for a single outing- the Alte Pinakothek (follow this English link for a good selection of art online).
Self-portrait of Albrecht Durer (photo credit: http://www.tudor-portraits.com)
This is München’s most famous art gallery. Compared to the museums in Italy, it was surprisingly affordable- only €5, including the audio guide. We only saw about half the museum before running out of time. Lots of “Maria mit Kind” paintings, unlike Italy, which was mostly filled with “Maria con bambino”.
After leaving the museum, we walked back to our hotel, picked up our bags, and walked to the train station. We arrived in plenty of time for our train, so we browsed the food counters for lunch. I had the bratwurst standby, while Dorinna opted for a spinach and cheese strudel. For desert we split 2 pastries. I made a poor-choice, and got some fruitcake-like substance rather than chocolate.
We had reserved seats on the train, and the trip passed quickly and comfortably. We traveled to the town of Ulm, where our friend Dieter met us at the train station. After dropping our stuff in his car, we made a beeline for the Münster, the tallest church in the world. We thought about climbing the 768 steps, but settled for exploring the cavernous interior. The church is all cold stone and vaulted gothic ceilings. Very nice, but also very cold and creepy.
Afterwards we walked around the town. We had ice cream, saw some of the old neighborhoods, and walked on a short trail along the Donau (Danube). Our favorite part of the walk, however, was walking alongside a small stream. This brook ran right through the center of the town, with houses perched on all sides, and small bridges criss-crossing it everywhere. Dorinna says that Ulm is one of her favorite cities in Europe.
Leaving Ulm, we drove to the nearby town of Laupheim to pick up Dieter’s wife Michaela. We visited her parents and brother, an American friend, and their daughter Isabel. I tried speaking some German but my vocabulary is still very limited. I managed to ask Isabel the name of her toy stuffed animal dog. By contrast, Michaela’s brother spoke impeccable unaccented English.
After the visit, we packed ourselves into Dieter’s two door car and drove to Langenargen , a small town on the shore of the Bodensee (Lake Constance). We stayed the night in a summer cottage belonging to Michaela’s parents. We went for dinner, sitting outside on the lakeshore. I had fillets of fish from the Bodensee in garlic butter, with potatoes and salad. Lots of wine, including a champagne and fruit juice aperitif, insured a wonderful (and late) evening.