Monday, October 31, 2016

Munich, Part 2

I couldn't fit everything into one post! Here is part 2 of Munich.

Munich Fabric Stores

I almost didn't see any fabric stores in Munich, but on Friday I had a free afternoon. Originally I was going to visit one of the two local palaces, but instead I decided to visit some of the shops. I'll just have to return to Munich to see some of its other attractions.

I visited three fabric stores. I'll be honest, for garment sewers, Munich offers slim pickings.

Stoffe & Co

Stoffe & Co carries quilting cottons, fleece and other fabrics for children's wear. They do not carry wool or wool trims, at least not currently.

On the way to Stoffe & Co, as I exited the underground and less than a block away, I passed a Bernina store!

Das Blaue Tuch

This store, far from the center of town, required a fairly lengthy ride on public transit. It would have been shorter, but part of the subway system is down for renovations, so I had to take a surface bus. The store is rather confusing in that it features two names: "Das Blaue Tuch" and "Stoffe and Schnitte". The sales woman, who was very friendly, indicated that one name refers to the fabrics and the other name refers to the purses.

Aside from the beautiful purses, this store carries mostly fabrics made from natural fibers. They have quilting cottons, some wools, linens, silks. I saw one wool that was quite lovely but, at 134 Euros a meter, I left it behind.

To save time, I took Uber from this store back to Marienplatz. The ride cost about 10 Euros.


Radspieler, a home dec and clothing store, carries fabrics in the back of the store. It is right in the Marienplatz, making it centrally located.

They mostly carry home dec fabrics and they have fair sized selection. They carry Marrimeko and, most impressively, some lovely boiled wools. Their wool selection was quite small (only a few colors) but their price, at 39 Euros per meter, was reasonable.

According to Google translate, they offer to make your curtains

boiled wools

boiled wool prices

Ludwig Beck Displays

One of the store's windows

Seconds after I first walked into Ludwig Beck, my eyes about popped out of my head.

I saw one of their displays and was smitten!

I asked and was informed that these pieces weren't for sale—they were made by the display department from felted wool roving. These garments were on display on most every floor of the main store, in the yarn store, and in some of their windows.

Aren't they fabulous?

They told me that this one, displayed in the yarn store, was woven on a hula hoop


On Sunday afternoon I wandered over to the Hirschgarten, which is only a tram stop or two from my hotel, Citadines. This beautiful park is a very popular place for locals to hang out on a quiet Sunday.

I took photos of my hat here

I love shadow pictures! By the late afternoon, the sun was low and bright.

Known as Bavarian Curling, these folks are hurling heavy disks with handles attached. Thanks to Claire R for ferreting out the name of this sport!

Hirschgarten also features deer that you can feed. The children love this!

I recently learned about conkers, an inedible variety of chestnut, when I saw them in Seattle. Munich has conkers, too!

This statue overlooks the pond. I'm sure there's a story here, but I don't know what it is!

English Garden

Perhaps I shouldn't blog about two gardens, back-to-back, but on Sundays most everything (shops, grocery stores, restaurants) is closed by law in Munich. This is the day that everyone goes to the park, takes walks, or visits museums. I mostly walked, rode the underground, and visited parks.

I left the hotel at 7am on Sunday, taking the subway to Marienplatz. From there, I walked to the Englischer Garten (English Garden). I got lost and, except for the fact that it was below zero, I had no gloves, and there weren't any coffee shops open, it was wonderful!

The Munich transportation system is amazing! On most days I had the day-long pass that you buy for 6.40 Euros and you can use on any system (bus, tram, s-bahn, underground) in inner Munich. Here is one of their subway stations.

The Isar river runs through Munich. I spent a lot of time walking along this river and absorbing the amazing views!

The Isar river, with some accommodating swans

A very unusual feature of the English Garden is that, along the southern edge of the garden, you can find river surfers! Yes, RIVER SURFERS! What a hoot!

Looking back at the bridge where I took those first photos

I made a video of the surfers:

After watching the surfers for a bit, I entered the park proper. It's huge and features miles of walkways with scenic views. Is it weird that I kept imagining Die Zauberflöte (aka The Magic Flute), my favorite opera?

Deutsches Museum

On Friday morning we had a team outing to the Deutsches Museum, a massive museum of technology and science. I thought that it might be similar to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, but it's quite different. We were split into 3 groups and each group had a different guide for a 2-hour tour. Our guide, a physicist, barely scratched the surface of this huge museum. My group saw tools, watches/clocks, musical instruments, glass, and computers, to name a few sections. We did not see aircraft or ships (though we walked past them), or the below-ground mining area, which sounded amazing.

We saw the lightning/electricity demonstration, which was most impressive.

The lightning demonstration also features a Faraday Cage.

The following video (not mine) shows a bit of the lightning demonstration.

This museum would be a great spot for a Steampunk Halloween party!

This charming little clock features a magnifying glass/sundial arrangement. As the sun moves, the light passes through the magnifying glass. At the noon hour, a sun ray lands on the cannon's fuse, ignites it, and sets off the cannon.

A cesium-based atomic clock—the first time a nanosecond was made visible!

An original Enigma machine, used to encode messages by the Nazis in WWII. Benedict Cumberbatch starred in a recent film, The Imitation Game, about Alan Turing who was responsible for breaking the Enigma code.

Omigosh, I got a charge out of seeing a NeXT Cube in the museum! I worked at NeXT, Steve Job's second company, for over 6 years from 1989 to 1995, and I used this computer every day.

I also got a charge seeing a Cray computer! I interned at Sandia National Labs in the summer of 1980, when I was a student at U.C. Berkeley. I wrote modeling software (in Fortran 77) and ran my code on the lab's Cray computers!

An original flight simulator

Possibly my favorite exhibit in the whole museum! An automated piano and violin player! They had one like this on the Titanic

I recorded the tune that they played for us:

After our tour, many of us had lunch in the museum's cafe (cash only). After that, some visited the gift shop, or went back to see more of the museum, or left to see other sites, such as the nearby palace, or headed for the airport. I visited the gift shop, then left for the fabric stores, and another visit to Ludwig Beck.

Google Munich

How can I document a visit to Munich without mentioning the Google office?

Over a year ago the Munich office moved from the Marienplatz to it's current location, a few subway stops away. The powers that be chose the Munich office to host Dart Summit 2016. (The last summit was held in San Francisco, a hardship for our European developers, so we mixed it up a bit.)

My event, if you can call it "my event", was a code lab held on Tuesday night, before the summit started. I wrote two of the three code labs featured that evening, though I finished one several months ago, and the other one on the day of the event. Things were changing right up to the last minute—it "landed hot", as they say.

It keeps things exciting.

The code lab event.
Coding, food, beer, and socializing with other developers. It was a festive evening.

Sampling the beer

Yes, the Munich office brews it's own beer! The back of the label says, "Don't drink and code." HA! Folks were doing both that evening!

Other random office pics:

The office barrista serves lattes in glasses

At lunch, these teeny tiny cherry tomatoes were filled with a delicious avocado puree of some kind. I could have probably stuffed all of these in my mouth at once, but I didn't. I did eat two of them, though. ;)

Breakfast features a pretzel tree!

The lobby has candies with the company name worked in

This is not actually a knitting room. It's a conference room named the Knitting Room

The Rostfrei paper scissors at the office feature a finger notch.
Handy for those with larger hands!

On the last night, we had a team dinner at Augustiner Keller, walking distance from our hotel. They brew their beers locally and I, who dislikes beer, was encouraged to try it. I did. Not a fan. (Though it was less awful than other beers I've tried.)

The Augustiner Keller restaurant had far too many animal heads for my liking! (Though some were brass.)

So, that's it for Munich! I've been in Paris for one full day now and it's lovely here! Margy and I have been exploring the city on our own. We meet up with the Tiltons in a few days!

As a farewell, just one last pic from Munich!

I saw lots of dirndls for sale in Munich, but I never saw one being worn! Maybe it's only for Oktoberfest?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Munich, Part 1

Munich was great!

I visited Munich for 8 nights. I was there for work, but I managed to squeeze in a bit of sight seeing and shopping, and I have a report to share. I had never been to Munich before. In fact, I'd never been to Germany before!

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit.

Because I was working, I didn't have a chance to leave the city. I'm definitely motivated to return one day to see more of this beautiful region!


Tendril Hat

I'll start this post with a project that I made.

I've recently been knitting chemo caps for Knots of Love and I loved one of the hats so much that I ordered yarn to make one for myself. I cast on the day before leaving for Munich, and I finished it on the transatlantic flight. This is a pattern I'd been wanting to make for years, but the chemo cap project finally motivated me to give it a try.

This pattern, called "Anenome" by Cat Bordhi, is a wonderfully funky pattern. I was happy to have this hat in Munich because it was quite chilly. If you read my review (a Ravelry membership is free), you'll see that I modified the pattern somewhat.

Knitting a tendril

Munich Yarn Stores

I visited two yarn stores, each different, but each wonderful in its own way. Also, the salespeople at both stores were great! English was no problem. The owner at Die Mercerie recommended several fabrics stores. I also want to call out to Marion at Ludwig Beck, who, when I told her I was from San Francisco, wistfully lamented, "I am in crisis. Please wave to the Golden Gate Bridge for me!"

Die Mercerie

Die Mercerie is within walking distance of the Google Munich office and my hotel so, naturally, this was the first yarn store that I visited.

This charming store has a cafe in the back. I was there three times and, each time, the cafe had knitters amiably chatting and knitting away. They carry a large selection of foreign yarns, including Shibui, Noro, and Koigu, as well as yarns with their own label. They carry tools largely from Merchant and Mills. Check out the Die Mercerie website to see more of their offerings.

One of their pattern-with-yarn-purchase patterns. Yes, I bought the yarn for this sweater. ;)

Another sample

Near Die Mercerie

Ludwig Beck

Ludwig Beck, on the right, is smack dab in the middle of Marienplatz

Ludwig Beck, a high-end department store that carries beautiful clothing and accessories, also carries yarn. You'll see the large store (6 floors above street level) as you exit the subway at the Marienplatz, right in the center of the city—you can't miss it. At one point the yarn was located in the basement of the main store, but it's now one block away in its own street-level storefront.

The address of Ludwig Beck's yarn store.
A "Kurzwaren & Wolle" shops translates to "Haberdashery and Wool" and the also sell Mettler thread, embroidery floss, trims, elastics, and lots of buttons

They close at 8pm most evenings, and I had exactly one hour to check out the main store and the yarn store. I started in the main store at street level where they carry purses, hats, gloves, and scarves. I bought two lightweight wool scarves and a pair of teal gloves. (I was sorry that I didn't pack gloves when I found myself walking in freezing 30°F weather early Sunday morning. By law, most shops, grocery stores, and restaurants are closed on Sunday in Munich, so nothing was open where I could buy a hot drink, or gloves—anything to warm my frigid hands.)

I skipped the rest of the main store to hurry to the yarn store, where I found a bounty of goodies! This store is more than a yarn store—it's also a haberdashery. They have an entire wall of buttons, a large selection of trims and elastics, a large display of Mettler threads (my favorite sewing thread), and embroidery floss.

They organize the yarn by color, not the more typical fiber type or yarn weight

A full selection of Mettler threads! I prefer Mettler over Gutterman, which is most prevalent in U.S. stores, so I bought two large spools of black

Elastic and trims

I bought some of this decorative elastic in navy

Keerti, a colleague, is perusing some threads

A sample


I forget the name of this saleswoman, but she was wonderful

Some of my purchases

Button wall

P.S. I had some free time on Friday, my last afternoon. I went back to Ludwig Beck and checked out all 7 floors. What a great store! The 6th floor is stationary and chocolates, the 7th floor carries CDs, but all other floors sell clothing (mens and womens, some designer and some with their own label), shoes, and accessories. I bought a cardigan and two more items from the accessories area. This store is unique: there used to be a Ludwig Beck in NYC, but it closed.


I admit it.

I landed in Munich late Friday night. Saturday morning, I made a beeline for the Trippens store. And, of course, I wore some Trippens to the Trippen store.

I got there too early and cooled my heels in a nearby cafe.

But finally, they opened.


Thinking of Margy...

Every Trippen store features these tiles which represent their earliest styles

I bought some Trippens!

Called Dream

Did you know that Trippens also makes bracelets? I didn't!

Margy and I also plan to visit the Trippen store in Paris.

A few more pics from nearby the Trippen store. (It's located in a lovely area near the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. I would love to see more of the area but I didn't have the time.)

These cobblestone streets are all over Munich


The center of Munich is an area called Marienplatz. The plaza is where you can find the famous Glockenspiel. The ring around the plaza contains many shops, restaurants, and hotels. Tourists flock to this area, but you'll find lots of Germans, too. I was here several times, but not long enough to fully explore their offerings.

I saw the famous Glockenspiel in action on Sunday morning. I didn't record it, but here's a recording from Youtube:

On Tuesday after work my colleagues, Kathy, Keerti, and I, skipped the conference party and headed to Marienplatz to visit Ludwig Beck and eat. The Marienplatz at night is beautiful!

The shops were closed, of course, but I enjoyed some of the eye candy in the windows!

Amusing purse

The window of a jewelry store featured this amazing shell neck piece!

This "booty bag" amused me so I googled them. Herrensackerl makes bags for your cables, makeup, whatever!

At Ludwig Beck. I love how they've stenciled the knit fabric!

We had dinner at a great vegetarian restaurant, Prinz Myskhin, named after a character in a Dostoevsky novel

That's all for now, though I have more to share on Munich. Margy and I arrived in Paris yesterday and it was fabulous to see her! The time changed in Europe last night which gave us another hour to sleep (or blog, as the case may be). We are both posting to Instagram, so check out my feed and Margy's feed.