Wednesday, October 17, 2018

CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: Tim's Mental Health Mayhem of 2015 to 2018 Part 2-What Led Up To It?


Note - We're running this series in conjunction with World Health Day, which was October 10. Tim recalls his issues and fervently hopes this will inspire you to get any help you need.

In part one of this latest editionof Cerebral Palsy Stories, I went on record and finally started to open up about my 3-year mental health struggles and battles with anxiety and depression that started in 2015.

In the second part of this story I will focus on what led up to it and most likely caused those issues to begin with. Looking back on all of what has happened, the answer to that question is that there was not just one single thing that caused me to have extended periods of anxiety of depression at various times over the last few years. It was actually a combination of a few things here and there that unfortunately led me down to what was a very scary and dark time in my life back then.

While it is somewhat hard for me to pinpoint one particular experience or incident that served as the tipping point, there are a few that I can think of looking back at it now that I can definitely say had an impact on me and my overall health back then. The first incident was of course the very first time that I realized that I was starting to feel a little depressed and lonely while my parents and I went out to dinner during a particular weekend in Seal Beach, California.


Before this time there were certain instances throughout my life when I was a little depressed and lonely such as when I had a surgery on my legs when I was a kid. In those instances, though, I was able to get over whatever I was going through and or feeling fairly quickly. That dinner excursion in Seal Beach from approximately three years ago was a different story though. After we finished our dinner and left the restaurant we decided to take a walk over to where the Seal Beach pier is over the ocean.

From what I can remember, it was not until we started heading over to where the pier was that I started to have the first feelings of depression and loneliness. Since I was starting to have these different kinds of feelings that I had never really experienced before in my life for the most part, I didn't really enjoy being out on the pier that day. I also remember that since there were quite a few couples walking on the pier that day that that probably also contributed to the depression and loneliness that I was feeling at the time since I was and still am single.

After we left and went back home, I don't think I said anything about how I felt to my parents because at the time I just thought it was one of those experiences where the feelings would hopefully go away after a while and they did for a little while. The tough times were not over for my family and I however when a few days to a couple of weeks after spending the day at Seal Beach, I started having panic attacks throughout the day and having a very hard time getting a good night's sleep.

One of the biggest reasons why I was having such a hard time getting a good night's sleep was that around that time I had become so sleep deprived that I had started to have some very weird and or strange hallucinations and dreams which made it even more difficult for me to fall asleep. The hallucinations and weird dreams got scary enough for me that at one point my mom had to start sleeping with me in my room for a period of time to make sure that I was trying my best to go to sleep.


So what were some of the things that caused me to feel anxious, depressed and sleep deprived in the first place? While I can't really pinpoint one particular situation or incident as a cause or effect, there are a few that stand out.

The first one was the personal life coming out story of  former MLB umpire Dale Scott. In December of 2014 Mr. Scott made history as he became the very first umpire or any other pro sports official for that matter who was still working at the time to publicly come out publicly as gay with regards to that aspect of their personal life.

Looking back, of all the things that did trigger my anxiety and depression or had an effect on me in one way or another, this was probably the one piece of the puzzle that had the biggest impact on me at the time. I even wrote a couple of blog posts for my Tim's Sports World blog at the time in which I discussed my own thoughts and reaction to the story.

That's because as time went on after I first heard the news about Dale Scott, I started to become a little obsessed and worried about my own personal life. Even though I already knew that I was straight in terms of my personal life, I had started having questions and or doubts about my own sexual orientation and who I was.

Picture courtesy of
https://www.flickr.com/people/foreverfaeryboots under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The interesting thing for me was that before I heard the news about Dale Scott, there really were not any other times before when another public figure or celebrity would come out publicly about who they were in their personal lives that had a big impact on me up to that point. Since I was and still am a big baseball and sports fan to this day, maybe that's why I felt and reacted differently to the news about Dale Scott. 

Another thing that also contributed to this whole situation in some way or another was that I was beginning to become a little nervous/anxious and or obsessed about some things that I definitely should not have been worried or obsessed about to begin with.

If I remember correctly, I think I also started to wonder what people might have thought about the blog posts I wrote about Dale Scott that I mentioned up above which also added to my anxiety and depression. Overall though, I would like to think that Mr. Scott's story has made me be even more tolerant and accepting of those individuals who consider themselves part of the LGBT community than I already was.

Throughout this whole experience that I have had of living with anxiety and depression at various times over the last three years approximately, I also started to develop some funny habits or rituals along the way to help me cope. One of those was feeling like I had to check and see where Dale Scott and his umpiring crew were assigned to work a game or series on any given day. Now that he is retired, I no longer feel like I have to know where he is or what he is doing other than hopefully enjoying his retirement.

Dad: Tim would be worrying about everything…whether I’d be dead in the morning, whether he’d be dead, obsessing about traveling by airplane, worrying about routine doctor appointments, simple illnesses would have him worrying it was life threatening…it was quite a struggle to try to work with him to release those worries and stresses.

The second thing that also contributed to my anxiety and depression during this time was that I had also started to have a crush on one of the female reporters of MLB Network (MLBN).

One of the reasons why this new celebrity crush was a contributing factor to the mental health issues that I was going through at the time was because, among other things, one of the hallucinations that I had been experiencing involved this woman. Until I actually had those kinds of hallucinations I really had no idea what kind of effect a lack of sleep could really have on a person's own mind and body. 

The funny thing for me though however was that even though those kinds of hallucinations were somewhat scary for me to go through after they happened, that was probably the first time that I could remember finally feeling a sense of comfort and peace throughout the tough times that I was having.

Besides that particular hallucination episode mentioned above, once I realized that I had started to have a crush on her, I had also started trying to see if I could find out if there was any information about the reporter's personal life online and whether or not she was single. Once I felt like I was able to stop thinking about it and finally move on to thinking about something else, that eventually became one more thing for me to not worry about or become obsessed over

We also travel a lot and for a little while there were times when I was more nervous than I would normally be whenever my family and I would go away for an extended vacation or trip for one reason or another.

Dad – Tim would start to have panic attacks on airplanes, even though he’s flown hundreds of times without problems. He would start gagging and sometimes even go into dry heaves.


One such trip that comes to mind was the one that we took to Texas and Florida last year. During this particular trip we went to see games at both major league ballparks in Texas as well as visiting the Florida Keys.

I don't necessarily know what happened but somewhere along the way while we were in Houston, to me it started to feel like someone was following us and somehow keeping track of what we were doing during that part of the trip. As for what caused this particular instance of anxiety the only thing that I could think of that might have had an impact was a couple of tweets that I sent to MLB Network (MLBN) with a picture of me at both ballparks in Texas.

One of those tweets from Minute Maid Park in Houston even ended up being put on the air during an episode of the Quick Pitch show. As a result, I think my mind got a little carried away mentally afterwards as I most likely started to wonder if maybe people would recognize me from that picture that was broadcast on the show.

Fortunately for me, those new feelings that I started having started to go away a few days after I saw my picture on the show and the rest of the trip was more relaxing and uneventful in terms of no weird or strange feelings for the most part. Unfortunately, I decided to not tell my parents about what I thought was happening until we got back home.

While I know now that I probably should have said something about it right away or very soon thereafter, I felt like I could wait until we came back home because up to that point I felt like I had been getting better at dealing with whatever instances of anxiety and depression that I may have had or did have as a result of seeing a therapist on a more frequent basis the second time around.

The experiences from that trip also played a part in how I started to feel before we went on our next trip at that time to Jasper National Park and the city of Calgary in Canada. Since we had wrapped up the previous trip to Texas and Florida fairly recently, the events of what happened during that trip were still somewhat fresh in my mind and I started to worry about, as silly as it may have seemed and now does, the possibility of something similar happening during the trip to Canada.

Thankfully though, other than those pre-traveling jitters, there was nothing that I had to be worried about because I did not have any episodes of anxiety during our time in Canada and I have also not had any other episodes since then when we have gone away somewhere for a trip.

During this time my parents did their best to try to help me feel better and reassure me that whatever I was thinking in my mind at the time was not real and that I just needed to get a good few nights of sleep to feel better. As has always been the case, my parents were right with the advice they had given me because once I started getting a few good nights of sleep in a row, I started to feel better about myself both physically and mentally.

While I did start to feel better overall after a few good nights of sleep, my road to a full recovery so to speak was just beginning as the next thing I had to do for myself was to go out and actually look for someone who could provide me with some professional help to deal with all of the mental health issues that I encountered along the way as a result of my anxiety and depression from not getting enough sleep.

So now that you know what my mental health struggles were like the next question that you probably want the answer to was how I was able to finally overcome them and take control of my anxiety and depression? You'll just have to wait until the third and final part of this story is published to find out! As they say sometimes on your favorite TV show or series, this story is to be continued.

Don't wait, if you don't feel right, get help with your mental health issues today. In the U.S.A., contact your local county health department to find mental health resources near you or visit MentalHealth.gov for more information.

In Los Angeles County, we call (800)854-7771 - there are also mental health urgent care centers that you can go to on a walk in basis, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Urgent Care Centers

Tim Musick.
Copyright 2018.
All Rights Reserved.



Monday, October 15, 2018

Visiting a Couple of Old Haunts in Munich


(NOTE: We're trying to see different things on this trip to Munich than we did on our last trip. You might want to check out our previous trip to Bavaria to see some of the big sites we won't be covering on this trip as well)

Previously on The World on Wheels...
Part 1
Part 2

Although, we're trying to concentrate on new experiences while we're in Munich on this trip, there are still a few places and experiences we want to have again. It's like visiting old friends, a comfortable and familiar feeling you want to have over and over.




Our hotel is not far from the Englischer Garten, Munich's large central park. It's a pleasant walk through the south of the park...past the families and naked Germans in the sun...along and rushing canal called the Eisbach.



Kids play along banks under the watchful eye of parents.



On this hot day, it's too inviting to just hop in and float downstream.



You know you've reached the southern end of this park when you see the surfers taking turns on the permanent wave created by the rushing water.

Keep walking and a couple of blocks later you'll be in the city's main square, Marienplatz.  Last time here, it was a magical place with great sights and wonderful sidewalk entertainment. Today, construction projects take up much of the square.



We'll double back here in a little bit but we are focused on another destination just a block away, one of Europe's best markets, the Viktulienmarkt.



On the cobblestones, under shady trees, you find fish mongers, butchers, cheese vendors, honey dealers, along with various fruits and vegetables. In the middle, there's a biergarten.

Our last trip here, this was the first German biergarten we went to. I had about the best sausage I've ever had here and didn't get the name. I wanted to see if I could find it back in the states but didn't have any luck.



Well, now we're back and I've got a few more German lessons under my belt. I ask our server what that sausage is called.

"Which one?"

"That one, the red sausage."

"We just call it 'red sausage'"

Well, that clears that up then...

After lunch, we hit up a coffee stand for a pick me up along with a few sweet fruits.  We wander back toward Marienplatz, stopping by St. Peters Kirche, a beautiful gothic church between the market and the square.



Wheelchairs enter on the side and then have pretty much free reign throughout the building. Various niches line the sides, including one with the bones of a saint, this is Saint Munditia. Munditia was martyred in the 4th century and is the patron saint of spinsters. Her slightly mummified skeleton with bright, fake eyeballs stares at us from her glass coffin.



Marienplatz starts here and we take in a glockenspiel show before heading off to dinner.

A couple of stops along the S Bahn later, we're at Augustiner Keller biergarten, one of my favorite places in the world.



This large biergarten by the Haupbahnhof is more park-like than restaurant. Although the brewery dates back to 1328, this biergarten and hall only from 1862.



We came here more for the dessert than the brew, to have that most awesome of donuts, the auszegone. About ten inches across, it's like a giant, raised donut without a hole. Instead, there's a flat bit of dough stretched across the middle. It''s deep-fried and then sprinkled with powdered sugar on top.

We get two, and they're every bit as delicious as we remember.



The schweinhocken (or pork shank) along the side is also delicious.  It's so moist, tasty, and tender in the middle yet the skin is cooked to a very hard crispness that you can break off like chips...chips that come with succulent pork fat attached.

It is just the epitome of great biergarten food, washed down with liters of helles beer from the brewery's wooden kegs.

Kind of quiet in this early evening, nevertheless, we enjoy ourselves and talk it up with a few other customers before calling it a day and heading back to the hotel.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 14, 2018

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Oktoberfest Beer Taste Off


It's Oktoberfest time! We don't go as much as we used to because it's just becoming very expensive, maybe we'll just go every other year now.

Doesn't mean we won't celebrate, though. We'll just be doing a more quiet celebration at home, which brings us to this week's Cocktail Hour.


Watch the Video!



This is the time of the year many breweries bring out their special Oktoberfest brews to take advantage of this most beery of holidays.

Today, we're taste testing three of them.



Trader Joe's brings us Josephbrau Oktoberfest brew.  This low-cost contender ($5.49 in our area for a six pack) is brewed by Gordon Biersch, according to online sources, and is a decent brew with a musky taste.



Sam Adams checks in with their very smooth and tasty version of their fall marzen, spelled with a "c" because...'Murica, dammit! 

Spaten actually comes from Bavaria, downtown Munich actually, and has long been one of my favorites.

Someone will be surprised at the results of our test, which you can watch in the video, above.

Cheers!

Darryl

Friday, October 12, 2018

I Fought the Law (and the law won): Going to Eagle's Nest on the German/Austrian Border.



(NOTE: We're trying to see different things on this trip to Munich than we did on our last trip. You might want to check out our previous trip to Bavaria to see some of the big sites we won't be covering on this trip as well)

Previously on The World on Wheels...

Part 1

I've had a couple of marvelous days with our rental car, doing 100mph on the fabulous autobahns of Germany. I'm spoiled. Now, we're stuck in a massive traffic jam that lasts from Munich to Salzburg.


Photo Courtesy K@rl at the German language Wikipedia

I see these signs along the autobahn as we approach the Austrian border. I correctly surmise that they mean there's a toll road ahead. With traffic crawling along at 5-10 mph, I have plenty of time to fish a selection of coins out of my pocket to pay when I reach a toll booth but I never see one before I exit.



We have crossed the border into Austria, I have to cut through a tiny corner of that country before I get back into Germany for today's destination.


Picture courtesy of Plani under CC 3.0 license

No toll booths, so I guess I didn't hit the toll road yet except...what's this? There are 20 cars parked along the shoulder of the off ramp. An officer of the Austrian Polizei peers at my windshield and motions me to join them.

He points to my windshield and says something in German. Noticing the puzzled look on my face, he ask's "sprechen sie English?"

Watch the Video!

After answering affirmatively, he says "you do not have the toll sticker."

I tell him I don't know what he is talking about and he tells me to accompany him to a nearby van.  In the back of the van is another officer at a desk set up with a computer, phone, and a credit card machine.

The officer in the van tells me "you do not have the toll sticker on your windshield. That is how we pay tolls in Austria."

I tell him that I saw a sign about tolls, that I had money ready for it, but never saw a toll booth.
"You buy one at any gas station."

Again, I tell him I didn't know that and the sign on the autobahn did not make that clear.

"It's been the law for nineteen years, you should have known."

I inform him this is the first time I'd ever driven in Austria (not quite true, I drove through Innsbruck years ago into Italy but never exited the autobahn in Austria and still didn't know about this law). How was I supposed to know this?

He was unimpressed. "A hundred and twenty Euros...cash or credit?"

After quickly running my credit card, he went on to say "at least with this ticket, know that you can drive without buying a toll sticker through tomorrow."
Sigh...welcome to the world of the infamous Austrian toll trap.

A couple of miles later, we're back in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, following our GPS up an alpine road.  We're headed to Eagle's Nest, Hitler's retreat which was given to him as a 50th birthday present by the Nazi party.

This is different than Eagle's Nest, his alpine headquarters. That was bombed and purposely destroyed after the war and the site is now the 10th hole of a nearby golf course.

The retreat is perched high above, on top of the mountain. The Fuehrer was afraid of heights so he only went up a couple of times and mostly just left it alone.  Today, it's a restaurant and biergarten.



Our GPS announces we've arrived at our destination...a lonely gravel parking lot amidst green, grass covered slopes and spectacular, glacier-clad peaks. There's a quiet little pub here but I was thinking there'd be more people here.  Checking in, we find out this is another Eagle's Nest...a nearby pub that just happens to have the same name.



Getting the correct directions in the GPS, we set off to the other location after Letty snaps a few pics.

Across the valley, a couple of miles away, we come upon a much busier place with several, large, filled-to-the-brim parking lots. This isn't Eagle's Nest but the visitor's center and transportation depot.

I drop Letty and Tim off and head off to find a parking spot.  After a few false starts, I finally find one and get the family for the walk over to the bus station.  We purchase our tickets (not cheap, around $50 roundtrip for the three of us...that's just the bus ride) and wait 30 minutes for our allotted time.



You can also hike up...many people do...and the trail looks accessible enough for a wheelchair but it's a good three-hour hike up. You'd want to make sure you're in peak condition or have a lot of battery power for that option. The buses are municipal-type buses and have a ramp for wheelchair access at the back door.



We get on our assigned vehicle and are soon going up a very narrow, Cliffside road up the mountain. Not to worry, we're told, these are specially designed buses and specially trained drivers for this particular road. Well, we'll just breathe easier then...



We're still a thousand feet shy of the top when our bus pulls into the upper station. From here, you need to make a reservation for a time down before you proceed. Once your tickets are stamped with your return time (two hours is a sufficient amount of time for most people), you move on to a tunnel that takes you deep into the mountain.



It's damp and musty smelling and then you get to a brass elevator at the end which takes you the rest of the way up.

They really pack 'em in on that elevator but it's a short ride up where we exit in a hallway in the smallish building of the Eagle's Nest. There's a restaurant to the right, restrooms straight ahead, and the exit outside to the left. The path is just big enough for wheelchairs and soon it opens up to a larger open area on the mountain top where we can stretch out and claim a little more personal space for ourselves.

First, we have lunch at the small biergarten outside where we lunch on sausages, mystery game meat,  and dumpling soup. As with most of the food here, it's very good and service is quick, efficient, and friendly.

Afterward, we can explore the mountain top, drinking in the stunning views of the surrounding alps.



The area around the building is accessible and offers a little roaming room for wheelchairs.



A trail winds up to a cross on a small peak nearby before continuing on for who-knows-how-far off into the distant ice-pocked peaks.  This part is not accessible but Letty and I walk up to the cross to get some of these pictures.



You do need to have your wits about you if you wander off the trail, the drops are vertical and long down to the valley floor below.



From up high next to the biergarten, you can look down on the golf course where Hitler's Alpine command post used to sit before it was bombed to oblivion.

When our allotted return time comes, we make our way back to the elevator, down to the tunnel, and catch the bus back down.

The traffic going back to Munich is no better than it was this morning and it starts to rain as we reach the outskirts of the city.  There's no more police drama, though, and we find our way home without too much problem.

We'll continue our exploration of Bavaria's main city after some rest.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: Tim's Mental Health Mayhem of 2015 to 2018 Part 1-Here's What Happened and How It All Started



Note - Today is World Mental Health Day. Tim recalls his issues and fervently hopes this will inspire you to get any help you need.

April 3rd of 2015. That is a date which I will most likely never forget what happened on that day and what I felt like at the end of it. The events of that day and the result of it are also something that I have not been very comfortable in sharing with all of you in great detail until now.

Up to this point, I think there was only one other time in which I wrote a post about the troubles that I having trying to sleep back then and having to undergo a sleep study exam. Little did I know however that the events of that particular day would end up being the first breaking point in my 3-year battle with anxiety and depression.


The long and winding road for my mental health issues which caused me to have periods of severe anxiety and depression over the last three years or so had gotten so bad during that time that my parents had to call 911 on that night to take me to the hospital for only the third or fourth time ever in my life! Truthfully though and now being able to look back at what I was going through and what I was dealing with emotionally back then, my overall mental health had actually started to go downhill and take a turn for the worst a few weeks before I ended up in the hospital for observation on that fateful night in April some three years ago.

The problem was that back then was that even though I sort of knew that I was not feeling one hundred percent health wise both physically and mentally, my family and I didn't really think that what I was going through at the time was something to be too concerned or worried about. From what I can remember during that time was that we just thought that I might have been having trouble sleeping at night and that I just needed to have a good night's sleep or two to give both my mind and my body some much needed rest.

Dad: At first we didn’t know what it was, all we knew was that Tim was not himself. It took a few days to realize that he hadn’t been sleeping. We estimate that he went for about two weeks without sleep before he reached crisis point.

Things started to get worse for me and my family however when, as a result of me still having trouble sleeping and not being able to get a full night's rest, I started having severe panic attacks while we were out in public somewhere in addition to experiencing what would end up being some very scary, unpredictable and nerve-racking delusional feelings and hallucinations while lying in bed. I also told my parents back then when all of this was happening that I was starting to hear voices in my head as well.

At that point we finally knew that something had to be done to address what was wrong with me at the time and do everything that we could to get me back on the road to feeling better overall with regards to the mental health aspect of my life. Up to that point my parents had taken me to the hospital maybe once or twice during that time because I had started to have chest pains and my heart was beating very rapidly at time in an effort to try and figure out what was going on since I thought that I was possibly having a heart attack. The only thing that the doctors could figure out though after doing some tests was that I had been having trouble sleeping and that I was a little dehydrated from not drinking enough fluids. Other than that, it appeared that I was doing fine physically. This was not the last time that I ended up going to the hospital during that time unfortunately.

The final time that I ended up having my most recent hospital visit was on that night of April 3rd in 2015 when as I was trying to fall asleep I had started to scream very loudly and shout a string of curse words and a lot of other things that didn't make sense. From what I can remember, it felt like I was having a fight with my dad even though he was not in my room at the time because he was in the other bedroom and was trying his best to sleep as well. Luckily I was somehow able to snap out of whatever fantasies and delusions that I was going through then before the paramedics came inside our house and into my bedroom so that I could realize what was really going on and they could transport me and my family to the hospital without incident.


Dad: One thing we didn’t realize was that when you call 911 for someone having anxiety outbursts in the middle of the night is that the first thing that happens is four deputies come in first with their hands on their guns.

It’s for everyone’s protection but it is still unsettling. On the good side, it snapped Tim back to reality for awhile.

The good thing about having to go to the hospital on that night for observation was that after my parents told the doctors at the hospital what was going on and what I was experiencing, mostly everybody involved in the situation had a pretty good idea of what was wrong with me which was that I was not getting enough sleep during that time which was making me act out in some very strange and weird ways. The only person who didn't quite know about everything that was going on at certain times back then was me! 

Fortunately all of the doctors that we saw back then and even my parents to a certain degree were very patient and understanding with me in helping to provide some much needed guidance and reassurance for me. 

Unfortunately though there was a point during that time in the hospital where the doctors and nurses told us that they weren't really equipped and prepared to help me deal with whatever mental health issues I was going through at the time and they let my parents take me home once we knew what the actual problem was.

Dad: The normal emergency room (at Arcadia Methodist Hospital…one of the best in the area) was not equipped to deal with mental health issues. All they could do was give Tim some Valium and observe. We called an emergency team from the county’s mental health system (because it was a weekend and most facilities were closed), who would come over and evaluate Tim to see if he needed to be admitted to a facility for help. That team is overwhelmed with calls and it took them about 36 hours to show up…at around 2 in the morning.

(In Los Angeles County, we call (800)854-7771 - there are also mental health urgent care centers that you can go to on a walk in basis, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Urgent Care Centers)

The good news is though that not too long after that my primary doctor was able to refer me to a sleep specialist to see what they could do to help me sleep better at night.

Dad: Once we figured out the sleep issue and got Tim some over-the-counter sleeping pills, and he got a good night sleep, the worst symptoms started to dissipate.

While the sleep specialist was eventually able to help my family and I resolve my overall sleeping issues that were caused by sleep apnea with the help of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, we also had to find a psychologist or therapist for me to help me with the mental health issues that came about as a result of my many sleepless nights. That part of my 3-year mental health journey will be the focus of part 2 next time on Cerebral Palsy Stories.

Don't wait, if you don't feel right, get help with your mental health issues today. In the U.S.A., contact your local county health department to find mental health resources near you or visit MentalHealth.gov for more information.

Tim Musick.
Copyright 2018.
All Rights Reserved.



Monday, October 8, 2018

The Local...Finding a Comfy Neighborhood Biergarten Upon Arrival in Munich


(NOTE: We're trying to see different things on this trip to Munich than we did on our last trip. You might want to check out our previous trip to Bavaria to see some of the big sites we won't be covering on this trip as well)

One of the down sides to traveling is laundry. Not finding anywhere to wash our clothes in Prague, we're in desperate need of a laundromat. Our last purchase at the Hilton Prague was a couple of cheap t-shirts to hold us over till we could find one.


Video Tour of our Accessible Room in Munich




We've arrived at our hotel in Munich, the Novotel Suites in Schwabing. It's located in a very quiet business park. and the room is very basic.  Hard to call it a suite but I guess there's a sliding panel in the wall that can be deployed as a barrier between the bed on one side of the room and the twin-sized day bed on the other side.

The bathroom is fully accessible with a roll-in shower but the pocket door has several ventilation holes in it, which compromises your privacy in it.

In the shower, the hot water is very hot and strong. Scalding, in fact, and the handle is in a precarious position so we have to be extremely careful when bathing not to hit it or receive burns if we do.

After checkin, we put our dirty clothes in a suitcase, find a nearby laundry (about 5 blocks away), and start walking over.

It's a Saturday and the laundry is closed today so we walk back to the hotel. On the way over, I saw a sign for a biergarten among the dozens of apartment blocks.  I wonder if they're open and if they serve food.  It's dinner time and we're hungry.

In Munich, each apartment building is separated by a green strip. Residents use this area to grow gardens and to have a little outdoor space.

One of these plots in this neighborhood is given over to the Alte Heide restaurant, which uses the space for a small biergarten.



A little manhandling is required to get Tim's chair over the 1 inch lip into the gravel covered garden (his heavy duty chair, back at home, would handle it easily) where a lovely round table awaits us.  The locals already at some of the other tables raise their glass and greet us as we come in.]

This isn't one of the massive biergartens the city is famous four. Just a quiet, neighborhood joint with about a dozen tables under the shady trees.



Although I've been taking DIY German lessons for the three months leading up to this trip, my supposed "25% fluency" is not getting my point across. The server says she doesn't know any English but her English is better than my German. She does provide us an English translation of the menu, which is a great help.

While we ponder our food choices, three litres of their special Oktoberfest beer...tonight's special... are set before us. Yes, it was delicious, refreshing, and much appreciated on this warm day.



Letty gets a steak; Tim, some pork Cordon Bleu; and I get some German meatloaf with potato salad. The food is simple and outstanding. All first-rate dishes, with Tim getting the best of it.



For dessert, a little apple strusel a la mode.



Before we leave, the server gives us a special treat, shots of Bavarian schnapps. It was very good.

The others at the tables are welcoming, smiling, relaxed. While we have to swat away a bee now and again, it's just the perfect way to relax. Over four hundred of these little (some bigger...some huge) relaxing beer parks dot the city of Munich. Literally, every block.

It's kind of like the pub culture in England...the social living room everybody comes to for relaxing and hanging out with others. Except, here in Munich, it's more like a patio.

For our next week, we've found our local. The Alte Heide biergarten in the Schwabing district, a happy accident while searching for a place to wash our clothes.

Darryl Musick
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