For the Love of Spuds

From my journal: September 18, 2009 London, England

“Off to Munich next week…we’ll be there for just a few days this time…want to find something a little different to do or see…”

There’s always something new to explore no matter how many times you’ve visited a place.  Looking for suggestions, I began with our much worn copy of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz.  I let my fingers do the walking through its 973 pages and landed on the Munich section which I had previously perused seeing the telltale smudges!  Listed there was: Alte Pinakothek, Christkindlmarkt, Deutsches Museum and Oktoberfest.  Having been to those sights and events before, it was time to do a little more research.  That’s when I came across the “Das Kartoffelmuseum”.  

The description read: “a private museum that exclusively caters to the artistical (is that even a word?) aspects of this fruit of the earth that has been the nourishment for the masses as well as lay on the dinner plate of Prussian King Frederic the Great. On display are paintings and drawings covering all aspects of the potato.”

Hot Potato!!

Yes, the potato!  Being a carb fan all my life, I couldn’t wait to check out Das Kartoffelmuseum aka the Potato Museum! I became further intrigued when I went directly to their website and saw this photo. Yum! I could practically taste it!

The sky was grey, and temperatures hovered around 10 degree Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), on the day of our outing. Though bundled in wool coats, scarves and gloves, it was hard to shake the cold with the intermittent rain falling on us.  Quickly, we descended under ground to take the S Bonne to Ostbahnhof.  Warm and cozy on the train, we were reluctant to get off at our stop. 

Within twenty minutes, we popped out onto OrleansStraBe.  We needed to find Grafinger StraBe 2…so we did an eeny meeny miney mo and set out in a direction.  From past experience, we know that whichever way we initially choose, it’ll be wrong, even when consulting a map or GPS. We know we should go in the exact opposite direction, but being creatures of habit that we are, we never do.  So after fifteen freezing minutes, we turned around and set out the way we should have gone in the first place. 

Grafinger StraBe soon appeared and we found ourselves in what appeared to be a residential area.  Apartments and small detached dwellings lined both sides of the street.  Nothing looked like a museum.  As we made our way up and down the street, for the fourth time (I counted), the skies really opened up and we had to pull out an umbrella.  Hovering under it, with map in hand, we attempted to ask a couple locals how to get there. 

I asked an older gentleman, “Ou` la Kartoffelmuseum ?” Realizing as soon as I said it, I was using a French phrase and even in that context, it probably wasn’t right. Robert then tried with, “Wei bitte…wo ist das Kartoffelmuseum?”  Still no look of recognition.  I began to wonder did this place still exist or did it ever exist? That’s when Robert asked me for the phone number.  Normally, this would make perfect sense.  When lost, you call the place you are trying to locate, right?  But, would he be able to understand directions in German? Nevertheless, he called. There was no answer, but he left a message…in English.

Deciding to cut our loses, we started back to the S Bonne, and that’s when our cell rang. “Hello?” Robert said, looking surprised.  When he mouthed the words, “Potato Museum” to me I actually laughed.  Apparently, we hadn’t gone far enough as the street numbers changed after two more intersections.  Twenty minutes later we arrived at a huge office building with just two hours to spare.  With numb fingers we pulled the door open.  We couldn’t wait to see what was inside….

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