Published: July 12th 2012July 12th 2012
The wedding joust!
Today we got up and went on a walking tour of Munich. It was a really good tour, our tourguide, Sonja, had a lot of interesting stories and was a very good public speaker. Our tour started with watching the glockenspiel. There are two stories during the glockenspiel, the top section shows the marriage of Duke WWilhelm V to Renata of Lorraine. In honor of this happy occasion there is a joust, Bavaria in white and blue and Lothringen in red and white. Of course being in Barvaria I think you can guess which one wins! The bottom story is about Schäfflertanz
(the cooper's dance). According to myth, 1517 was a year of plague in Munich. The coopers are said to have danced through the streets to, "bring fresh vitality to fearful dispositions." Their dance came to symbolize perseverance and loyalty to authority through difficult times. The Duke then declared that the dance would be performed every 7 years. This still happens the last dance was earlier this year at the Fasching
- German Carnival. The grand finale is a small golden bird chirps three times!
After that we were off and running, well walking. We went to St. Peter's church
Thee cooper's dance.
or as it is known alter Peter
(old Peter). A bit of history that I found interesting was that the entire city, there buildings are really not very old. After the war and bombings only about 10% of the city was left standing. The German people of Munich, realizing that Munich being Die Hauptstadt der Bewegung
- refering of course to where Hitler started his rise to power - that Munich was likely to be destroyed. So before that happened, they documented all of the buildings and drew up blueprints so that after the war the buildings could be remade exactly like the originals. EXACTLY like the originals. There was an old cannon ball that was lodged in the side of the church, when the church was bombed a man had found the cannonball in the rubble and took it home with him. Years later when they were rebuilding the church he brought it back so that it could be put back, lodged in the building. It has fallen out a few times but they keep putting it back because "that's where it belongs".
We walked back to the Viktualienmarkt and stopped for a quick lunch.
Can you spot the cannon ball?
Hint: Look right
we went to Max-Joseph Platz, where we learned that you can not put out a fire with beer. King Ludwig I had built an opera house, and since back then opera houses had two things in abundance, curtains and candles, fires were a fairly common occurance. To compensate for this they buit an inverted dome roof, which they filled with water - an early sprinkler system. So one night the inevitable happened, a fire. Now the stage master was not worried, after all they had planned for this, so he turns on the sprinkler system...and nothing happens!! If the fire had broken out in summer things might have gone a little differently but it broke out on a cold, freezing day in January! The water had all frozen, so they formed a brigade from the the opera house around the corner to the Hofbräuhaus and started to pass beer towards the opera. It didn't take long for the buckets to 'lose' a bit of beer along the way...until soon there were a very large number of drunk people and one less opera house!
Ludwig I also started a very well known festival. He was engaged to be married to
After the opera house burnt down Ludwig I blamed alcohol and said that because the alcohol let it burn down it would pay to raise it back up. He then changed the price of beer from 5 farthings to 6 farthings and used the extra income to rebuild the opera house.
Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. As a wedding gift he wanted to get her something special, but I guess he couldn't come up with anything overly romantic because he gave her a field. She was a bit miffed so he added that not only would she get a field, and it would be named after her but they would have a spectacular wedding in her field with all the town coming to celebrate. While Therese may or may not have been thrilled the townsfolk were, lots of beer, some good sausages it was great. So great in fact that the next year they went to the king and told him that he should have a great big anniversary party. He did, a party that has been going on almost every year, although we now call it Oktoberfest
. For those two weeks on October the population of Munich swells from 1.4 million to over 7 million people!
Sydony and I went to the Englischer Garten and and a lovely walk in one of the world's largest urban public parks. We wnt for a stroll in there ending at the southern tip where they have a man made current that can be used
A lovely open green space!
for surfboarding (sort of). It was interesting to watch these people though!
Tomorrow we leave this proud city of beer and head farther south into a new territory for both me and Sydony, Austria!
There are more photos below