As I strolled through the Englischer Garten it was hard to believe that I was in the middle of a bustling city with a population of more than 1.3 million. The traffic noise was barely audible and the other visitors in the park seemed to be enjoying the serenity as much as I was.
The Englischer Garten, in Munich, is 1000 acres of lush greenery and parkland devoted to enjoying the outdoors. The feeling is one of wilderness, with meandering walking tracks, cycle paths and swiftly flowing streams. The river Isar borders the park to the east and adds to the sense of having escaped to the countryside.
The garden dates from 1789 and the term “English garden” refers to the landscaping style of such designers as Capability Brown, who favoured an informal approach to garden design in the United Kingdom in the 18th Century.
Of course there are four biergartens in the park. The biergarten at the Chinesischer Turm, or Chinese Tower, has seating for 7000 and if you’re there on a Sunday you can sit back and enjoy the music of German brass bands.
If a Japanese Tea Ceremony is more your style, the Japanisches Teehaus is the place to be on the weekend. The tea house and its Japanese garden were a gift from Japan to the city in 1972 in celebration of the Munich Olympics and tea ceremonies are regularly held there.
The Monopteros is a small Greek temple perched on a hill overlooking the Schönfeldwiese, or Schönfeld meadow, and the expansive views of the city from there are lovely. Nude sunbathing has been allowed in the meadow since the 1960’s, so you might get more of a view than you bargained for!
It was a beautiful place to soak up the serene atmosphere of this lovely park, but no amount of serenity was going to get me to take my clothes off with 1.3 million people looking on!