I don’t actually know how to say this word, viktualienmarkt, but I can tell you this open-air market filled with flowers, produce, meats, fresh-squeezed juices, and so many beautiful baked goods, is a new favorite spot in Munich.
We got out of the house early for us this morning, thanks to an especially early wakeup from the two little ones and headed into the center of the city. I think the early rising did work in our favor, as the streets were quiet, the market uncrowded, and we were able to stroll and look and eat to our hearts’ content.
The market is in the old city, and so surrounded by many of the historic buildings and tourist sites. As we arrived a bit early, I thought I would peak my head into a church at one end of the market before finding the promised “treat” for the little ones. I knew this was a mistake all along. All Edith could talk about as we walked in was a treat, so I only got a quick peak before we turned and wheeled it quickly out of there. As we were walking out, Edith says, “Mom, why did you go in a church?” as if it was an unheard-of sort of thing to do. I told her that’s what we do sometimes in Germany, so maybe next time she won’t protest so loudly.
We really had the loveliest morning simply sitting at a long picnic table enjoying a few different nut and sugar-swirled pastry buns (I wish I had a better idea what exactly they were!) and watching the pigeons and ducks threading through the tables and benches. My children have a real knack for finishing entire, massive pastries and not sharing a single bite with their mother! I suppose I can’t blame them when they are this beautiful.
Once the toddler pleadings for a treat were satisfied, we were able to look around the market a bit more and admire all of the beautiful displays. I ended up coming home with some beautiful French goat cheese and baguette, a couple croissants for later (since no one shared with me!), and a box of gorgeous, dark red strawberries. We promptly ate the entire box after dinner with some whipped cream (hand-whipped, a first for me! And a task I’m surprised hasn’t sent me into labor) and they were worth every penny. So sweet and juicy. The goat cheese and baguette made a perfect lunch for me, topped with a fresh tomato.
The displays are my favorite thing about European markets, and these did not disappoint.
We ended our excursion with some fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice. John Henry guzzled his entire cup in >30 seconds (no lie) and promptly drank most of mine afterwards. Edith did a lovely job sipping hers, but about halfway through, thanks to the almost-constant wiggling, squeezed her flimsy cup a bit too tight and dropped most of it on the ground. After returning to the stand for another one (does that make me a softie?), she and I sat on the chairs and watched John Henry chase the pigeons around the sidewalk, all while she talked my ear off about something (I wish I remember now what it was!). It was one of those moments when I felt like I was getting a glimpse of her as a teenager, chatting with me and sipping something delicious together. Just look at her little grown-up stance.
If I can reflect for a moment. However exhausting and occasionally frustrating some moments can be, I remembered again today that this summer is such a gift for me as a mother as I anticipate the change that baby #3 will bring in October. These past months, I have loved my time with Edith and John Henry both being older and more capable, and consider them some of my favorite people to simply hang out with. I’m thankful to have these months to soak in so much time, just the three of us, strengthening our bond, and giving them a secure sense of my love and attention for them even as that love and attention will grow for another child, as well. While I am quick to mourn the loss of a season I love, this moment reminded me that there is also so much to look forward to. (And I’m first in line to be friends with Edith when she’s 25! I expect her to be a pretty cool lady.)
Mercifully, the final juice spill (inevitable, I knew, the minute I saw those cups) occurred on our way out of the market back to the tram. John Henry kept telling me about the “mess” on “Bubba” as we made our way down the sidewalk. That final face on him is the face of a little boy very ready for a nap. I felt the same way.
All in all, our first excursion, just the three of us, into the center city, went beautifully and I would have a morning like today’s every day if I could. Edith and John Henry have been truly wonderful travelers, eager to experience whatever is before us (except for a church, apparently!) and quick to adjust to how different our days look from those back in the U.S. We loved the market so much we are already planning on bringing Travis back in a few days so he can see it, too.