Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Quick Day in Munich

Welcome to Munich.  Please take a picture with our lion.
Living in Stuttgart means some amazing day trips are just right around the corner.  This weekend we spent a long Sunday in Munich getting to know the city -- walking for miles and eating as much as possible along the way.

We started our trip at Marienplatz.  In Stuttgart.  After a 2 hour and 15 minute ride on the Deutsche Bahn ICE train, we arrived in Munich.  And a short walk later we were at...Marienplatz.  In Munich.  The Munich version looks a whole lot different than the Marienplatz steps away from our front door.  

This is not Marienplatz in Stuttgart.
Marienplatz is the main square in Munich.  Most of the buildings were badly bombed during WWII (um...sorry?) but have since been reconstructed in their original styles.  We were lucky enough to arrive on time to watch the glockenspiel in the Neo-Gothic new town hall, which puts on a show at 11 o'clock every day.  Over about 10 minutes, the song and figures tell two tales: one of a royal wedding, including a knight losing his head in a jousting match and one featuring the coopers (barrel makers) dancing through the streets at the end of the plague.  

And by new, we mean originally built in the late 1800s.

In the middle of the square is the statue of the Virgin Mary.  The cherubs are using swords to attack the enemy (a.k.a. Protestantism in the form of a snake).
Southern Germany is Catholic country

The old town hall looks very new since it was completely rebuilt after WWII.  St. Peter's Church stands behind it.      

The next stop was the Hofbrauhaus, a 5,000 seat beer house and probably the most kitschy thing in Munich.  The food and service were passable, but Matt had a good time practicing his liter beer drinking for Oktoberfest.  
Matt thinks of it as training

We then hit the Viktaulienmarkt.  It is a huge produce and food market located in the center of the city.  Unfortunately (like all markets and stores in Germany) it is closed on Sundays, but we are looking forward to visiting and eating the next time we are in Munich.  We at least got to stop by the square's maypole, which celebrates local artisans (and honors Reinheitsgebot, Bavaria's pre-1500s beer purity law). 
Is having your maypole up in August like having your Christmas lights up in March?
We spent a few minutes at the Asam Church, built by the architect Asam brothers as a living advertisement to their church building skills.  Gaudy as it is, they threw every trick in the book into a 30 foot wide townhouse.  And it shows.
This church has a lot going on.

And then we ate more.
Not pictured:  The sorbet and cookie Kristin also ate.

We checked out the Frauenkirche (unfortunately partially covered in scaffolding) and some other pretty buildings along the way. 

And a Michael Jackson memorial where fans continue to maintain a shrine to him outside of the hotel he stayed in while performing here.
The totally unrelated statue on top is for Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer Orlande de Lassus

It was a beautiful day in Munich, so we decided to wander through the English garden in the northeast part of the city.  
Spot the naked sunbathers.  FYI - they're all old men.

The most amazing sight in the park was watching surfers ride a standing wave in one of the canals, hundreds of miles from the closest ocean.

We also took the chance to visit the Chinese Tower beer garden for some more beer and food.
Sorry for the blurry food picture.  The camera was more interested in the guy in traditional garb.

A quick stop by the Odeonsplatz and the Max-Joseph-Platz and it was time to catch our train home.

Our feet were tired, our stomachs were full, but we definitely enjoyed getting to know Munich.  We can't wait to return and explore more next month.

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