Munich - Day 1

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August 25th 2014
Published: November 10th 2017
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Geo: 48.1363, 11.5784

OK so if you're an avid reader of my blog you might notice I missed yesterday. That's because nothing much happened. I got up early, caught the bus to Aachen, then caught a train to Coln, then another train to Munich. The train to Munich broke down in Nuremberg (so much for German efficiency) so I had to catch another train. I arrived in Munich about 4pm, starving hungry because all I had to eat were some sandwiches I got on the train. Had dinner (Pork belly, yum) then made my way to my accommodation. I've booked another place through Air BnB and this time I have this girls apartment (I don't know where she goes when her place is hired out because its just a bedsitter but its in an awesome location, right in the heart of the old town.

So onto today! First thing this morning I was off to a tour office I found on the web last night. I wanted to book a tour of Dachau tomorrow. While there I also booked a tour of Neuschwanstein Castle for Wednesday and picked up a walking tour this morning. I had intended to just buy a ticket on the hop on/off bus for today but walking tours are much better. Our tour guide was a texan expat named Kevin. Quite smart for a texan. I was late to the tour, he asked me where I was from, Australia, "Another one!" In a tour group of eight, four were Aussies. "Which part of Australia?" Melbourne "Another one!" three of the four Aussies were from Melbourne. "Which team do you follow?" (I was not expecting that) Swans "Well as long as its not Collingwood" I liked him

The tour started with a brief history of Munich, some of its highlights and lowlights. Munich was the birthplace of the Nationalist Socialist Party AKA the Nazi party. Our first stop was the Justitzpalast. (Court house) These days it is mainly used for civil matters but they have had some very big trials there, such as the white rose trial, where uni students using their right to freedom of speech, tried to distribute anti-Nazi pamphlets in 1942-3. They were tried and executed for treason. Now if that happened today, which side do you think George Brandis would be on?

We walked on to Karlsplatz, which is a nice little square, next to the old city gates, built by one of the kings (Karl) which he built to win favour with the people. Such was the love for their king, Munichers call this place Stachus after the old beer hall which was there before. We then moved on to Marienplatz (Maria's place) so named for the pillar in the middle of the square with a golden statue of the Virgin Mary on top of it. The most dominant building in Marienplatz is the Neues Rathaus (New town hall) which was completed in 1909. It was one of the few buildings to escape the bombings during the WW2. Next to it is Altes Rathaus (old town hall) built in the 15th century. It was not as lucky as the new town hall and was badly damaged during the war. So they rebuilt it in the 1970's in the same style. So the old town hall is actually younger than the new town hall. The new town hall has the famous Glockenspiel. An animatronic (or the predecessor to animatronics) display that plays twice a day, showing the procession and jousting tournament during a royal wedding and the dance of the Coopers (barrel makers) which apparently rid the town of the plague in the1500's.

Next we walked to the market square, which I had already discovered earlier that morning, looking for some breakfast. Kevin pointed out the oldest church in Munich, St Peters church, which had another huge bell tower which people can climb. Only 360 steps and you can enjoy the panoramic views of Munich from 92m up. I won't be doing that. The town hall has a similar tower with an elevator. That's what I did. From St Peters we walked past my neighborhood where Kevin recommended some restaurants, then we walked past the famous Hofbrauhaus beer hall. Famous for its wheat beer and apparently exclusive society. For a long time it was men only. Kevin told us that originally there were no toilets and the lads had to come out into the street to relieve themselves. Because this was an inconvenience, they might loose their spot at the table, or worse, their beer. So they would drop the flap on the lederhosen and just go under the table. At the end of the night the beer wenches would have to tip over barrels of water to flush the hall out. Note that now women are allowed into the place, you're not allowed to pee on the floor. Classy!

The tour finished at the opera house and the royal palace (now a museum) after the tour a few of us Aussies went to lunch together. We went back to my neighborhood for lunch then one of the girls went to climb the St Peters bell tower, I took off for the town hall tower (and its elevator) Not sure where the other girl went. (She wasn't that chatty)

After seeing Munich from on high I made my way to Frauenkirche (Our Ladies Church) another beautiful old church. In the entryway there is a large black footprint. The folklore goes that the devil walked into the church, and from the entryway the columns blocked the window. He stamped his foot with excitement, thinking such a dark place without windows would be his to rule. As he walked further into the church, the windows revealed themselves. He was so infuriated he turned himself into wind and tried to blow the church down but god defeated him and threw him out. Now the wind blows all around the church.

Next stop was the Royal Palace. It was massive and I gotta say, I kinda like the way the Germans do their palaces. The palace was occupied by the Wittlsbach family from the 14th to the 19th century. They built it up over this time, which explains why its so big. The rooms were large and opulent, but not overwhelming like the Italians. There were lots of displays of art, porcelain imported from china and furniture. Much of the palace was damaged in the wars, they have rebuilt it in the old style (like the old town hall) and repaired or replaced what they could. But a lot of stuff has obviously been lost. They had this one room where a huge mantle had been built and decorated with seashells. The imagery was more Greek than German. (I'm pretty sure I saw Poseidon in there) there was one particularly creepy room for "holy relics" I'm not sure why they were holy but there were body parts encased in golden cases. Google search has revealed these relics were parts of saints, or other items associated with the saints......they had whole hands in there folks, macabre.

After walking for miles in the royal palace I decided it was time to go and relax. I found myself a nice brauhaus to enjoy a few bevies and some apple strudel. I blogged, I people watched, I rested my feet. I finally got moving again when I realised I might need some breakfast tomorrow so I returned to the market to pick up some bread and fruit for tomorrow. Then retired to my humble abode.

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26th August 2014

Love the paintings, awesome!

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