On the last day of my most recent #Travelife to Europe, I walked to the food market of Munich in the Old Town to buy food from Germany to bring back home to Asia on a flight that evening.
I'd arranged for a late check-out just in time to take the car to the airport, so after a leisurely breakfast, I went off shopping, returning just in time to pack, order a pasta from room service, and then jump into the car with my three large pieces of luggage.
I'd been in Europe for close to three weeks -- and here I am now flying back in that same direction again next weekend, after just two weeks in Manila; and in fact, to the extreme area of Europe instead of the centre of Europe this time -- and I'd not even come close to doing any major shopping for anything during this entire period.
This was because we'd stayed mostly in the countryside on this last holiday and I'd actually become quite passive about going into stores.
SHOPPING IN STORCHENSTRASSE
With the exception of a few hours of retail therapy along Zurich's lovely Storchenstrasse, that is.
The Storchenstrasse is the best street for shopping in Zurich in my opinion, unless you want to buy a Swiss watch, that is, in which case you're better off heading for the more commercial area around the Banhof.
As for me, I'd done my only shopping in Storchenstrasse and literally nowhere else, so I'd not even had time to purchase a souvenir. Or even a bar of Swiss chocolate.
SHOPPING FOR FOOD
AFTER BREAKFAST AT
THE CHARLES IN MUNICH
So after a big breakfast at The Charles Hotel in Munich, I'd walked to the stores for an hour or two of intensive shopping.
Nothing major as I didn't really need anything, and all I wanted was food.
My main objective was to bring back the Bavarian sausages I'd completely fallen in love with on one of my earliest trips to Munich years ago, as well as the sweet Bavarian mustard that you must eat with this to complete the experience, as well as authentic Bavarian pretzels I thought I might buy chilled or semi-frozen and then keep in my freezer and bake as needed.
AN AUTHENTIC BAVARIAN BREAKFAST
Sausages and pretzel constitute an old-fashioned Bavarian breakfast, although this set is also served all-day via room service at The Charles Hotel -- lucky me -- so I did have it for a midnight snack on the day I arrived in Europe at the start of my holiday three weeks prior.
I hadn't been to Munich in four years so I was long overdue for a proper Bavarian breakfast.
But any German from this part of the country will tell you that no one eats these Bavarian sausages after 11 AM in Munich and its environs.
LOOKING FOR FRESH BAVARIAN SAUSAGES
Anyhow, at the butcher's shop I could not find freshly-made Bavarian sausages that would weather well the flight back home which included a long stopover in Middle Eastern heat.
And neither could I find the frozen pretzels. The fresh Bavarian pretzels, which are truly addicting, would not make the journey and these should be eaten within the same morning or you might as well not have them at all.
The fresh Bavarian pretzels are a world wide away from the store-bought commercial variety, by the way. Freshly baked artisanal pretzels are chewy and soft inside although slightly crunchy on the outside, while the store-bought kinds are just hard outside and rather dry inside.
As I couldn't find the pretzels that were in a condition for long storage, I decided to buy some French-style baguettes that I could pop into the oven for baking just before serving instead. Haven't tried them but I hope to do so when I get back from a rather crazy series of trips over the next few months.
I bought these packs of semi-baked bread on a whim and I hope they're good.
But these ended up to be very good buys because I needed the equivalent of space buffers in my luggage for some lovely golden glass bowls I'd bought that same morning in Munich at a glass store, and these bread packs certainly did the trick quite nicely so all my glass bowls made it home intact.
BUYING STRAWBERRIES AND WHITE ASPARAGUS
For the most part, however, I ended up in the food and vegetables stores where I picked up a couple of things for my two weeks back in Asia. The strawberries were purchased with fingers crossed as strawberries do not usually last in heat, but I bought a few cartons anyway.
The best buys were the white asparagus which came in different sizes.
I only took photos of the smaller versions, but the food market had much larger ones, and these were what I bought. I served these to friends back home in Asia last weekend, lightly steamed with a dash of French butter and Camargue sea salt.
ONE SUITCASE FOR SHOPPING
Luckily, I'd brought along one empty suitcase just for food shopping. Yes, I brought three pieces of luggage to Europe.
But I'd left the empty suitcase in storage at The Charles Hotel in Munich upon arrival as it was completely empty anyway, and then I just picked it up on the return to Munich and filled it with food just before flying back to Asia.
FINALLY BUYING AN OLD-FASHIONED
EUROPEAN PASTA MACHINE
Then, a bit of pyschology kicked in.
I still had space and luggage allocation back to Asia in spite of two very full and heavy suitcases already, so I finally bought an old-fashioned pasta maker from a German company that I'd had my mind and eye on for months -- if not years.
I'd hesitated all this time because wonderful fresh artisanal pasta is so easy to get from my food source near my home in Tokyo. My neighbourhood food source uses Hokkaido ingredients and Italian techniques with a dash of Japanese diligence to make the best fresh pasta I've ever tasted. No need to make my own.
HAVE LUGGAGE SPACE,
And in Manila, I'm so rarely at home to actually make my own pasta. So there was little incentive to pick up this pretty heavy pasta maker until now.
But with luggage space and the exact machine I'd been thinking about at a store I happened to walk into, I decided to go for it and this got stuck into my suitcase as well.
NO TO THE ISSEY MIYAKE DRESS
So no major shopping in Europe on this last trip, although I'd fallen in love with a dress from Issey Miyake displayed in his very comprehensive boutique along Storchengrasse in Zurich, and I seriously thought about this as the top-end of Issey Miyake clothes differ per store since they don't produce a big lot per design.
So if you're an Issey Miyake fan like me and you find something you really like somewhere else in the world aside from at the main Issey Miyake boutiques near my home in Tokyo, you should really just buy these as you're unlikely to see them again.
But I didn't buy them for some reason, and instead I'd come home from Germany with a suitcase full of food.
SHOPPING IN SCANDINAVIA
I'm not so sure if my trip to Scandinavia this weekend will follow this pretty puritanical route, though.
I'm traveling with a wonderful bunch of friends who are all pretty diligent in the shopping department. And the last time we'd traveled together as a group -- which was for a holiday to Morocco -- we'd all enabled each other to maximize our credit cards.
And already I have in my mind to load up on the freshest fish oil in the world, some rare Icelandic herbs and some nice kitchen things from Copenhagen and Malmo over the border in Sweden, as we are also spending one day in Malmo as a last hurrah.
As always, living a never-ending #Travelife. #psyched