Munich, Germany (Mr Blue Sky) October 21, 2010Posted by Richard Foote in Travel.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a spare day before presenting a seminar to explore the beautiful city of Munich here in not so sunny Germany. I’ve never been to Munich before and my previous knowledge of the city basically consisted of it having a pretty decent football team or two and the location where Jeff Lyne and ELO recorded a number of their better known albums.
Coming from Australia where even old episodes of Neighbours are treated as national treasures, the thing I love about Europe generally is the incredible sense of history lurking around every corner. Munich is no different although sadly much was lost and destroyed during WW II, however much has now been restored back to its previous glory. Coming from Australia, the thing about Europe I don’t like quite so much is the weather and it’s been a fun old day with driving monsoonal rain one minute and sunshine the next (although I must say the rainy minutes do seem to last a little longer than the sunny ones). There was even some hail and a touch of snow in the air as well.
The subway dropped me off at Marienplatz, the historic centre of Munich and the surround buildings are just fantastic. Perhaps most impressive of all is the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) with its chiming clock, which reminds me a little of the lovely buildings in The Grand Place in Brussels. Nearby is St. Peter’s Church and a climb to the top of the huge tower was the perfect way to see all of Munich and to get my bearings. Close by is the charming Old Town hall with its fantastic cone towers and also worth checking out are the neighbouring markets with its array of great foods and wines. I can only imagine what a nice place it must be during the summer months. I then headed down to the Isar River, passing the Isar Gates as for some weird reason I really like seeing water, be it a river, lake or ocean.
I then headed back to the centre and up north to check out the impressive Baroque Theatine Church (I also love checking out these amazing huge European churches). Really beautiful, especially inside with its incredible dome ceiling and engravings. Passing through the Hofgarden (Royal Garden), I had a good look the impressive National Theatre before spending some time out of the rain in the Munich Residence. Wow, the treasures at the Treasury are really something but the highlight for me was the splendor and sheer opulence of all the rooms and corridors of this previous home of the Wittelsbach dynasty. Hard to describe really except to say lots of gold, lots of lovely paintings and furniture and murals and more art. Really is worth a visit, especially the spectacular Antiquarium.
I then made my way west, first visiting the huge Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), perhaps one of Munich’s more famous buildings. Again, inside is something else with its German gothic art. Next I had a look at Burgersaal, the church made famous by Rupert Mayer before making it to the Karlsplatz. It’s was during a pee stop at the McDonald’s here where to my surprise, I discovered a wall full of David Bowie images dating back to his Scary Monsters period. The photo opportunity was not lost :) Speaking of music, I also popped into the Saturn store close by where I found a number of CDs I’ve been after, including ELO’s “Out of the Blue” which has been out of print for ages, but was actually originally recorded in Munich back in the mid 70’s. Must have been fate.
Finally, I headed south, passing through lovely cobbled streets and numerous quaint little buildings and shops and nearly missing the impressive Asamkirche (Asam Church) hidden away between the shops. It’s actually quite tiny but feels so much larger thanks to its dark shades and exquisite carvings, paintings and statues (perhaps too many skulls for my liking !!), although the dark weather may have added to the atmosphere. After reaching the Sendlinger Gates, I had reached the four corners of the Old Town of Munich, which wasn’t a bad effort for one day.
Dinner consisted of a few excellent German beers (I can only remember a Lowenbrau and a Franziskaner), a really nice meatloaf type something that’s meant to be a Bavarian speciality and an Apple strudel (of course). It was then a quick subway trip back to the hotel to write all this down before I forget it all and to get ready for the seminar tomorrow.
What can I say, it was a really full, fun, wet day but I feel as if I know Munich quite a bit better than I did before !!