Monday, October 22, 2007


Like much of Europe, Germany regulates the opening hours of shops with a code that seems to have been copied from Salem circa 1640. Stores are barely open past working hours during the week and half a day Saturday. As for Sunday, well, vergessen about it. If you find yourself without a loaf of bread on a Sunday morning in Bavaria, about the only thing you can get is that little wafer they serve up in church. (Perhaps that's the idea.)

For those of us raised in the Give-Me-Convenience-Or-Give-Me-Death America of the '80s and '90s, it's all very bewildering. One is constantly being preventing from spending one's money. It's not unusual to find a stern-faced employee guarding the entrance to a grocery store five minutes before closing, resolutely turning away anyone with the audacity to beg, "But I'll be quick!"

In any event, this state of affairs makes Saturday our family shopping day, while Sunday is reserved for excursions.

For our first day trip as Müncheners, we traveled about 90 minutes southwest of the city, to the venerable monastery at Andechs. The monastery is known for its baroque church and for being the home base of the composer Carl Orff. But it's really known for its beer, which the monks have faithfully brewed since the Middle Ages.

Along the way, we received a dusting of snow, a mysterious substance which Miles encountered for the first time.

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