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munich trip report -- part 1

2005-03-01 - 3:26 p.m.

All photos � 2005 by Elaine Radford
detail, lion in snow, odeonplatz, munich, bavaria

Feb. 19-20, 2005

Would you believe it? We had a classic flat tire on the way out to the airport. Fortunately, DH changed the tire in less than 5 minutes flat, and I was on time for my first class upgrade all the way to...Memphis.

At MEM, D. and I were offered the chance to get bumped for $750 apiece, but D. didn't want to take a chance on screwing up our hotel reservation, so we didn't take it. Arriving on-time in Munich, we quickly located the train and zipped through the snow-blanketed countryside. A trio of deer pricked up their ears as they watched the train pass. A flock of geese ignored us.

It was early evening by the time we located our hotel, but we found the energy to stroll along the street until we stumbled into an Italian restaurant, where we tried two kinds of vegetarian pizzas that went down easily with the fresh Ayinger beer.

window-shopping in munich
Window-shopping is different here

prada shoes

...I mean really different
Feb. 21, 2005

It snowed all day -- a huge change from New Orleans where it snowed once in 1989. We bought what we hoped were the right subway tickets and emerged in the beautiful Odeonplatz area. Much of the day was spent exploring the Residenz, where the family that basically seemed to own Bavaria for so many centuries had piled up so much treasure. Words don't really describe, and they didn't allow flash photography, so I was limited in what I could capture of the ornate interior. The Ornate Chapel was like a bedroom-sized jewel-box. In a room just outside the State Bedroom of the Elector, we found a smaller room called the Chinese cabinet, with wall hangings "made in Europe around 1700" which featured an obvious Ring-neck Parakeet. In the room of holy relics, we found everything from bits of bone to entire hands and skulls -- even a skull that supposedly belonged to John the Baptist!

poor john the baptist
The skull of John the Baptist is honored with the kind of luxury the man of the desert might have eschewed in life
The Treasury with its stunning gems included an entire room devoted to rock crystal carvings. I sighed over an impressive dragon complete with stumpy crystal wings and beady ruby eyes. Wouldn't a piece like that fit in perfectly with Peachfront's collection?

rock crystal dragon, treasury of the residenz, munich, bavaria
A perfect gift for Peachfront in rock crystal
Afterward we dipped into the mustard yellow Theatinerkirche, c. 1688, with its beautiful white Italianate interior.

We thought we were still too bloated from the after-effects of jet lag to eat, but we somehow found room for a delicious beer -- whose name, alas, I forgot to record -- and fish sandwiches at the train station. The bar was actually built into a large automobile or, perhaps, what just looked like a large automobile.

Feb. 22, 2005

Today we headed for the Marienplatz, where we ascended the tower of the Neue Rathaus and enjoyed the overview of the snow-covered city. A funny thing about the Neue Rathaus: It is built to resemble an old Gothic cathedral, but it's really a Neo-Gothic town hall from the late 1880s or so. We got in place on the square to watch the famous Glockenspiel, which is a clockwork "tournament" originally designed in the 1300s or so -- can't find the exact date on google at the moment. I was impressed to realize that in Medieval times, you had an entire society of easily amused people. It won't replace TV.

frauenkirche from the neue rathaus tower in munich
The onion domes of the Frauenkirche from the New Town Hall
D. and I sipped a Pauliner "Hefe" beer and split another vegetarian pizza near the Viktualienmarkt, then checked out Peterskirche (Old St. Peter's), a beautiful restored church from 1180 (!) with gold-leafed interior and statues. My German is non-existent, but I got the impression that the gold leaf was, in at least some circumstances, done over silver. Wow.

detail, st. mundita, her whole skeleton is in there and be-decked with 
jewels, but whew, they keep it behind bars in the dark where it is NOT easy 
to photograph
St. Mundita in her final resting place
The horror movie buff might be most impressed by Old St. Peter's most notorious inhabitant, an entire skeleton of St. Mundita or St. Munditia (depends on who you believe) that is covered with gilt and gems, including two false eyes placed in the skull socket. I have not had much success in discovering what St. Mundita may have done to merit the honor of her final resting place, although a couple of references suggest that she was the saint of single and independent women.

silver figures, Old St. Peter
No gold leaf on these near-life sized silver figures from Peterskirche...yet
Poor D. complained that his toes were now officially frozen from kicking through the snow, so we decided to spend the rest of the day at the Alte Pinakothek or Old Art Museum. He got his revenge on me for dragging him through the snow window-shopping by making me climb some rather brutal stairs.

stairs at alte pinokothek, munich
Death by stairs at the Old Art Museum
We still weren't very hungry -- beer at lunch and jet-lag will leave you feeling very full indeed -- so we split a rotisserie chicken that was surprisingly tasty. Despite the glittering shops of designer clothes, Munich was proving much less expensive than we had been told.

Note: You have just read Part 1 of my trip report to Munich. Click right here to read part 2.

detail, madonna with child, da vinci
Detail of Madonna with Child by Da Vinci

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