After our 36-hour whirlwind tour of Dubai, we landed in Germany to spend the weekend with my two German cousins and their significant others. The younger of those cousins, Herr Newlywed, inspired us to visit Mauritius. He and Frau Newlywed got married there the summer before our 30/40 World Tour. Mr. HalfFull was so intrigued by the photos that he added it to our trip itinerary.
Herr Newlywed was gracious enough to pick us up from the Munich airport while Frau Newlywed was at a Robbie Williams concert. I’d actually never heard of Robbie Williams, but apparently he’s quite the heart throb. So it was especially awesome for Herr Newlywed to chauffeur us while wondering about his new bride and her teenage crush.
In my younger days, I went on vacation with Herr Newlywed. My first memory of spending time together one-on-one was when his parents took the two of us skiing in Italy. At the time, I was 13 and Herr Newlywed was 16-years-old. We were having a great time skiing together until he made me hike up to the highest point of the mountain in ski boots. He had been skiing his entire life in the Alps, and was an expert skier. I was not. When he decided to take the most difficult ungroomed path in unmarked terrain, I opted to find a less challenging route. I felt sure that he would wait for me at the bottom.
But as we all know, you can’t trust a 16-year-old boy. He ended up abandoning me for a 16-year-old German girl. I never found him that ski day. I was just a little abandoned 13-year-old girl — scared and alone in a foreign country. I didn’t speak any Italian at the time, and had to make my way back to the hotel on the buses alone. When I found him again at the hotel, he had the gall to ask me to go to the ski locker room with him to find that girl’s skis, so he could write down her name to look her up back in Munich. Ah, young love…
It’s not like I’ve harbored hard feelings all these years. Okay, it’s exactly like that. Each time I see him, I take the opportunity to remind him how he abandoned me in Italy. You know, in a good-natured way.
My next memory of hanging out one-on-one with Herr Newlywed was when I was in college on a scholarship to dance in Sweden, Finland, and Russia. During that time, I took a quick break from dancing to visit Herr Newlywed’s parents, my aunt and uncle, in Germany. One night, Herr Newlywed picked me up to take me out on the town. At the time, he claimed to be a teetotaler and nonsmoker to his parents. (This was odd because I’m pretty sure his parents would not have minded.) I discovered a different reality during our outing. But to preserve the image he had created, all photographic evidence was staged to look like I was the only one drinking.
We recreated that same photograph almost 10 years later on Herr Newlywed’s balcony, with beer instead of Rigo, as we waited for Frau Newlywed to return from the concert. Even though all the bottles are once again in front of me, please don’t get the wrong idea. I am not a lush. There were 3 of us drinking on that balcony.
After Frau Newlywed arrived home raving about Robbie Williams, we all headed to an outdoor bar where a friend was spinning the tunes. Herr Newlywed’s brother, the Prince of Munich, joined us as well. The Prince of Munich is one of the most gregarious guys you’ll ever meet. He knows everyone!
I’m not a huge fan of German food, but I tried currywurst at Gartencafe. It wasn’t the wurst, but I can’t say I’d order it again. It mostly tasted like ketchup to me. After a short time at Gartencafe, we headed to a dance club.
There, my cousins ordered a bucket of alcohol. More drinking ensued and the Newlyweds hit the dance floor. By this time I was exhausted.
Remember how we did some cultural immersion training to keep up with the party crowd? Apparently, we didn’t practice enough.
The next morning, my cousins arrived with their Porsches to pick us up for a drive to the lake. Mr. HalfFull got the chance of a lifetime when the Prince of Munich offered to let him drive on the autobahn.
Apparently, it’s not a free-for-all on the autobahn as we originally thought. There are actually sections with speed limits. I learned this while sitting in the passenger seat of Herr Newlywed’s car after he said, “Mr. HalfFull is going to lose his license.” Um…what? Shouldn’t someone tell him there is a speed limit here???
Eventually, the Prince of Munich must have clued him in on the rules of the road. But Mr. HalfFull did get up to 250 kph.
When we reached the Lake Starnberg, we enjoyed one of my favorite consumables — coffee! It was actually a beer garden. But since it was still early, and we had already sustained a big night with more to come, coffee was in order.
That evening we were invited to dine on fondue at the home of the Newlyweds. It was a beautiful spread and so much food! I only lost a few pieces in the fondue pot.
After dinner, we headed out to a VIP party. The Prince of Munich had warned us that it would be a dressy affair. But our duffels didn’t really contain many options.
Even though Mr. HalfFull has never met my German uncle, they now have a special connection. We were staying at my aunt and uncle’s house while they were celebrating my aunt’s birthday in Italy. I’m sure they would not have minded if we borrowed their stuff, so we took a look in the closet. As it turns out, my uncle and Mr. HalfFull wear the same size shoes! So Mr. HalfFull borrowed some black leather shoes and a black button down shirt for the party. I made do with what I had, but felt underdressed.
The party was quite a spectacle with candelabras, party dresses, and women on stilts. Of course, it was a night of more champagne and more vodka. Although this time, we mixed the vodka with ginger beer instead of Red Bull — much better for Mr. HalfFull’s blood pressure. I called it a night early, but my cousins and their ladies partied hard (as was evidenced the next morning).
The next day, we tried to walk to the subway. We got quite close, but our directions were slightly off and we never actually made it there. However, we did stumble upon some lovely gardens. Since land is so expensive in Munich, most people don’t have yards. But they still want to cultivate plants and flowers, so they rent nearby plots. Each plot had a shed or small house and beautiful landscaping where people could spend the day and escape the concrete jungle.
For our final dinner in Germany, the Prince of Munich invited us to the penthouse apartment he shares with his Princess. I’m not usually a fan of sausages (I know you can’t say that in Germany!), but the ones grilled for me by the Prince of Munich were delicious.
We had a lovely evening with the Prince of Munich, his Princess, the Newlyweds, and another couple. Afterward, Mr. HalfFull and I decided to take a stroll through the city on our way back to the suburbs. We found some beautiful photo locations and enjoyed being tourists.
Even though both of my cousins are older than me, that weekend taught me that I am old beyond my years. I think I may need to continue my study of the party culture.
- What secrets did you keep from your parents in your younger days?
- Were you ever abandoned in a foreign country?
- Do you like to party?
- How fast have you driven?
- Do you feel self-conscious when your attire is more or less dressy than the crowd?
- Do you feel old beyond your years?