Munich

Picture of sedlinger_tor We spent more than 3 days in Munich and have a whole lot of pictures, so we considered breaking this into multiple pages but there just didn't seem to be a good way to do so, so here it all is in one big jumble. This is the first thing we saw in the old center of Munich - the Sedlinger Tor gate which is one of several gates still standing from the old city walls.
Picture of centre Once in the center, all roads lead to the Rathaus (town hall) sooner or later. The surrounding streets are packed with shops and restaurants and the roads, while wide and subject to limited traffic only, can be clogged with pedestrians. On our first evening in Munich we proceeded immediately to the nearest brewery (yes, it's that one there in the picture). Once there and outfitted with beers we ordered obatzda which is a Bavarian appetizer consisting of cream cheese flavored with caraway and onion. In the way of German 'appetizers' this one turned out to be dinner for both of us.
Picture of fountain The fischbrunnen (fish fountain) sits just outside the new town hall in the Marienplatz. Munich has an endless series of platz. Unfortunately, you have to learn a few of them or you'll have no hope of getting off the U-bahn in the right place. During medieval markets, this fountain was used to keep fish alive.
Picture of viktualmarkt Speaking of markets the array of small buildings in this plaza make up a part of Munich's viktualienmarkt. It's a bit out of season in January but we're told it's thriving most of the year. In January it's mostly confined to a few flower markets and a lot of hoofed mammals being disassembled into sausages.
Picture of fraukirche The Fraukirche is one of the more notable landmarks in the old center of Munich. Inside it's really not all that interesting. Most of it was demolished in World War II and has since been rebuilt. One of the towers can be climbed for a small fee. For that matter just about every tower in Munich can be climbed for a small fee. Not just the Fraukirche but the Rathaus, the Olympic Tower, the Monopteros in the English Gardens, the Bavaria Statue on the Oktoberfest grounds and St. Peterskirche tower which happens to be the one most of these aerial pictures were taken from.
Picture of rathaus Yes it's the Rathaus again - it keeps appearing in our pictures but it's often in the way. The building with the green roof in the top right corner here is the entrance to the Residenz Museum (formerly the royal palace of Bavarian kings). It's a massive complex which also includes a lot of the orange-roofed buildings and a whole series of constructions off the picture to the right.
Picture of antiquarium This is our favorite room inside the Residenz - the antiquarium. It was originally used as a dining hall for state dinners. It's lined with antique statues and each alcove features the arms of a city which paid homage to the kings of Bavaria as well as a painting of that town (some of which we've used on these pages). The Residenz museum is so large that there are separate sections open in the morning and the afternoon. If you return for the second session about half the rooms you'll see are new and about half are repeats. Both tours together encompass about 140 rooms.
Picture of china 10 or maybe 15 of those rooms contain nothing but dinnerware. There are China sets featuring Bavarian nobility, Bavarian mountains, Bavarian birds, Bavarian wildlife, and every generic geometric pattern you can imagine. After this series of rooms you'll wonder if the assorted King Ludwigs of Bavaria ever ate dinner off the same plates more than once.
Picture of porcelains There are plenty of ornate rooms in the Residenz but this is one of our favorites. Plus it has a mirror so we could do a goofy self-portrait. This is one of the porcelain chambers. There are lacquered insets dotting the walls. Behind us (via the mirror) you can see the doorway which features porcelain vases perched all over the ornate walls. (Look above the doorway for the blue and white objects).
Picture of alps Since it was raining the first two days we were in Munich (and snowing the last two) this was the only clear view to the Alps that we had at any time. If it were actually really clear the views would probably be much more impressive.
Picture of ayingers We've mostly ignored beer up until now but we can do it no longer. We visited eight different breweries in Munich even though only six are allowed to host tents at Oktoberfest due to one of many insanely restrictive beer laws in Germany that we won't comment on further. Ayinger is not one of those six breweries, neither is Schneider-Aventinus but they were our favorite two in Munich. (We have nothing against the others, these were just our favorites). This is lunch at the Ayinger brewery. The dish on the far side is the traditional Munich breakfast (yes, breakfast) and lunch - weisswurst. They're served in the water they were boiled in and they require a little bit of dexterity to eat since the wrappers are not usually eaten. The closer dish is radish soup with horseradish, almonds and croutons.
Picture of hofbrauhaus The Hofbrauhaus (or HB) is the quintessential Munich beer hall. We went here because we went to all six of the big Munich breweries (along with assorted extras) but we didn't intend to really enjoy it. The place is even more cavernous than most of them and large (really large) groups of tourists wander through filming everything that moves. Really the experience was better than we expected though. It wasn't terribly crowded on a weekday afternoon. We were able to have a beer (that's a small 1/2 liter David is holding) in relative peace and the oompah band was one room away which put it at an acceptable volume. We passed by the Hofbrauhaus several evenings and couldn't help but notice that it was far more raucous than during our visit.
Picture of glockenspiel This is the glockenspiel in the Rathaus tower. These figures move and music plays three times a day although we never actually saw it happen because we were too busy being in large museums or beer halls. We'll use this picture to denote our highlights of the Munich beer scene - the Paulaner Roggen (rye), Lowenbrau's Urtyp, Schneider's Weiss beers (both types) and the Aventinus JahrHundert. Tastes may vary so you'll just have to try them all on your own.
Picture of oktoberfest On our third day in Munich the snow arrived with a vengeance. Where was this while we were skiing? This is the Bavaria statue which looks out over the Theresienwiese (meadow of Therese) where Oktoberfest is held. We stayed near the Theresienweise u-bahn stop in a quiet residential neighborhood. The main Munich train station is situated between this area and the old town which meant every evening after a couple of beer halls we were walking back through the area around the train station. This in turn meant a whole lot of late-night kebabs were consumed. In return for making the hotel staff stay up every night waiting for us to come back, we'll give them free advertising here: Hotel Uhland - it's quiet, it's well-maintained, it's conveniently located and at least one room had a neat little sitting room.
Picture of diana We spent most of a day in the Konigsplatz area. Here are a whole series of art museums and several remarkable antiquity museums including the Glyptothek. The Glyptothek features several very notable sculptures including the Barberini Faun (not pictured) which has such minute anatomical detail you might have to screen your photos when you get back home and show them to the rest of the family. (Sorry mom!) This is the Roman Goddess Diana who is conservatively dressed in comparison.
Picture of trojan_horse The Antikensammlungen (Antiquity Collection) is across the street from the Glyptothek. What's the best thing about it? Why, the "Trojan Horse" out in front of it of course . How many Greeks could hide in this particular Trojan Horse anyway?
Picture of yellow Ok we've gone light on the church pictures so here's one more - our favorite. This is the Theatinerkirche built in the 17th century. It acts as the royal tombs for the Wittelsbach dynasty (all those Ludwigs) but really it's the color that we like. You may have noticed that this picture was taken before the snow. That's because the museum picture above was the last useful picture we took in Munich. Everything afterwards was just a white blur. In fact the following day our plane left Munich three hours late because there was so much snow on the tarmac they couldn't move the jetway ramps.
Picture of moon

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