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munich trip report part 3

2005-03-03 - 10:40 a.m.

Note: I apologize for the number of photos on this page, but it was a museum report, so maybe if you have a slow connection, go get something to eat and then come back to check out the photos. Because Munich is all about the visuals.

All photos © 2005 by Elaine Radford
Träumerische Improvisation, 1913 by Kandisky
I just had a visit from a flock of Cedar Waxwings in the rain. They came down low to show off their wax tips and bandit masks. And now they're eating all the shiny red berries on my bush against the fence. But enough of that. You're reading part 3 of my Munich, Bavaria trip report. To start with part 1, click here, and to advance to part 2, click here.

frau, picasso
Frau, 1930, Picasso
Feb. 25, 2005

Most of the day was devoted to the Pinakothek der Moderne, the Museum of Modern Art. The building was so ugly and industrial that at first I didn't believe we had the right place, but the works inside were fantastic. They had a great surrealist area. We investigated the paintings and the design museum, but left the graphic art and architecture for another day. After several hours of exploring, we had lunch at a restaurant that seemed to be called "Vietnam Cuisine," which seemed a rather generic name, but was probably more exotic if you spoke German. In any case, the food was marvelous and washed down well with a "dunkel" beer. I had a spicy chicken dish of some sort, and D. had a curry. Before it was all over with, we were well and truly stuffed.

Das Licht und Etliches, 1931, Klee
The work of Pierre Adrien Dalpayrat reminded me a lot of George Ohr, as you can see from this Dalpayrat piece called Kürbivesse from 1900
don quixote, fischer
Don Quixote, 1963, by Luthar Fischer
We took a quick peek into the Universitat Kirche and then the Staatliches Museum �gyptischer Kunst, or State Museum of Egyptian Art. Apparently, they're remodeling the museum or something, because we got a discount price (1 euro) for a discount set-up of only a couple of rooms -- just enough to give you a flavor of old Egypt.

At the Frauenkirche, or Our Lady's Church, I indulged in my new-found hobby of photographing stained glass.

stained glass, detail, frauenkirche, munich
detail, stained glass, frauenkirche
We were too full to eat again, but we ended the day with a beer at the infamous Hofbrauhaus, where some Bavarian college kids taught us a new word -- gemültlichkeit, which is apparently the Bavarian word for sitting around drinking beer and bullshitting. One of them had just finished with a big exam, and they were all pretty wasted. Since they knew we were Americans, they offered to drink to George Bush, and I said I couldn't drink to that, but I think they were just trying to be polite, because awhile later they forgot all about it and one of the kids announced that Bush was the new Hitler. I could drink to that, I'm afraid, as I pretty much entirely agree.

Be that as it may, D. later said it was pretty funny that we went to the place supposedly more popular with the locals and were seated with a bunch of tourists from Britain, and we went to the big tourist place and ended up seated with locals, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

egyptian head from sarcophagus, gold leaf over wood
like everywhere else in munich, you're not allowed to use flash in the egyptian museum, that highlight is from a badly placed spotlight in the museum
Feb. 26, 2005

For our last day in Munich, I was determined to see this river they supposedly had, so we visited the ancient tower, the Isartor, from the 1330s, and then strolled along the Isar River checking for birds. Most of them were Tufted Ducks or Black-Headed Gulls. Somewhere along the way, we realized that we were walking along an island in the river, and I got a kick out of trying to photograph the St. Lucas Kirche behind the dam. By now, our hands were frozen, so we dipped into the church to warm up and also to check out another beautiful interior.

dam with St. Lucas Kirche in background
Dam on the Isar River with St. Lucas Kirche
Back at the Marienplatz, we went up to the Cafe Glockenspiel for a light snack overlooking the Neue Rathaus. I had a hot chocolate with an apple/almond pastry, while D. had a Weissbier and pretzel. Afterward, we took a stroll in the Hofgarten, where we encountered Bean and Greylag Geese feeding side-by-side to allow a long study of their differences.

If it sounds like we did a lot of walking and a lot of popping up and down a lot of subway stations, it's because we did. For some reason, we got lost or at least distracted more often today. But we got it done. We ended the afternoon at the Bavarian National Museum, which is such an endless room after room of treasures that we finally gave up and ran screaming for the exit without ever discovering their featured exhibit that I was warned not to photograph because "internet." (I interpreted this to mean that bloggers and online reviewers should link to their photos rather than using our own.)

ivory, 400 A.D.
Ivory, 400 A.D.
Mary Magdalene by Von Tilman Riemenschneider
i don't really think famous wood carver Von Tilman Riemenschneider thought Mary Magdalene was as hairy as he showed in this carving from c. 1490, i just think he was showing off how well he did hair and, er, fur
Anyway, we hit the highlights of the permanent exhibits, which you are allowed to photograph if you don't use flash. The medieval armor and the old ivory (one piece dated to 400 A.D.) were particular stand-outs among the embarrassment of riches.

detail, medieval armor

Dreading the long travel day ahead, we decided to make an early night of it, so we had a happy hour drink in the bar and then dinner in the Snooty Hotel instead of seeking out another adventure. (I made reservations this time, having learned my lesson.) The pull-out-the-stops gourmet menu included an appetizer that was some sort of fish/caviar pate and a veal with thyme sauce and dumplings. D. had lamb and even managed a dessert, although I don't know where he put it. Talk about ready to pop.

Feb. 27, 2005

I don't know if I want to write much about the trip back to New Orleans. It was on time, and everything went smoothly. Even at the very beginning, when we got into the part of the train that was going to split off and go down the wrong track instead of to the airport, another tourist who spoke English warned us that we needed to change cars. So it all went OK except D. got some bad news by email that cast a dark shadow over the day. Also, all of the flights were completely full, so I always felt the pressure of a lot of people around me, and it just felt dirty.

chunky gals ad
most billboards seemed pretty tame in munich compared to london, but the chunky gals stripping down for dove were everywhere
alice ads
we don't know what alice was selling -- cell phones maybe? -- but she was D's favorite model in all of munich
Oh, one good thing, at the Munich airport, I finally managed to try the traditional Munich breakfast of white sausage and beer. D. wasn't too impressed but I thought it was pretty good. Actually, it was about the only decent food I'd get all day. We came back through Memphis rather than Detroit, which means that even though we were upgraded to first class on the domestic leg of the trip, we didn't get a meal, since the flight was only an hour. The less said about the meals on the flight from AMS to MEM, the better. I eat everything, as my friends, family, and long-time readers will all attest, but I just couldn't. A dog would have his doubts about that food, and they were stingy with the drinks also. By the time I got to Memphis, I was dehydrated and hypoglycemic, and the Baileys over ice that I grabbed in the club room did shockingly little to reverse that although it did ease the muscle aches. By the time we reached our gate, I was afraid I'd fall asleep standing on my feet. I actually stumbled onto the plane sort of at random and then D. had to come after me with my upgrade so I could move to my first class seat. I don't know how he drove home after all that! I'm just glad I had DH to pick me up and sweep me home. Total exhaustion, but well worth it.

subway train with TV screen
how rich are they in bavaria, you ask? they're so rich that some of the subway platforms come with wide-screen TVs, because you might have to wait all of 3 minutes for your train, so you might as well take a time-out and catch the weather report, i'd love to know just what the taxpayers think of all that, especially when the train comes too soon and blocks your view

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