Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 6 - Munich - the city and Xmas markets

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I think this is the first photo is the Museum of Folk art... but I neglected to label it, so am not sure. We are headed for the Marienplatz, to see the Glockenspiel - pictured here.

The heyday of King Ludwig's building program reliving the dreams of Ancient Greece at Konigsplatz - Glypotek.

Hotel Hilton Munich Park
Still feeling a bit of neck stiffness from the night flight from Singapore, and sitting in the bus for hours, I made a b-line for the Spa and Fitness centre, once I arrived at Hilton Munich Park, where I had a 15 minute massage with Antonia, for 15 euro. Sublime surroundings and the expert masseuse ensured I felt totally relaxed when time was up. Returning to the room, we reluctantly paid 8euros for 1  hour of internet time....Hilton does not offer free internet, at least not in Germany.

Come breakfast time, I had nothing to complain about. A magnificent feast awaited us: and we thought the hotel in Frankfurt was delicious. There were fresh pancakes, here, an incredible array of cheese and smoked salmon, hot dishes and pretzels and buns to die for... I was really exhausted just trying it all. I wanted to, but could not bring myself to try the white sausage wurst - it just looked wrong! Hot or cold.
Breakfast pancakes

Orientation tour of Munich 
Munich has 1.3 million people and is at 1800 feet or 540 metres. We saw the Chinese pagoda, and English garden from the bus,  Bavarian Museum of Folk art... How I wished I could have gone inside...The Haus der Kunst (Modern Art) which Hitler had used, and the Bavarian Chancellery. Then along Ludwigstrasse, we passed the Bavarian state library, Ludwigs church, the University and the Triumphal Arch which commemorates the Bavarian armies fighting against Napoleon during 1814-15. The irony is that it was at the Triumphal arch that Hitler was nearly assassinated in the 1920's 'Push'.

Ludwig statue near entrance to Marineplatz at Opera house

Propylean, Munich

We also passed the Music academy which was once the headquarters of the Nazi party. Munich housed more than 40 buildings  connected with the Nazis.

We also passed the eternal flame  to remember all those who suffered from fascism. The Hall of the General and the statue of Ludwig 1, on horseback, the instigator of all this massive building program, and finally stopping at the Opera House, next to the Residenz ( former home of the rulers of Bavaria, the Wittlesbachs. The Wittelsbachs ruled Bavaria for 900 years.

Munich- Ludwig strasse

On our way to Marienplatz

2.50 - 3 Euro Decorations
Our walking tour of the Marienplatz, (Main square) in Central Munich, with its Golden statue of Mary and the fabulous "New Town Hall" only finished in the 1920's. It was at this time that Hitler built the Haus der Kunst (Modern Art gallery) which was as a venue for all the art the Nazis stole from the occupied countries. Munich was after all, the centre of action for the National Socialists. A large Weinactsmarkt predominated in the square with decorations like these:


Marienplatz with view to Church
 The glockenspiel was a crowd pleaser and we all watched the display at 11 o'clock. The top figures represent a tournametn held during the wedding of Duke William V and Duchess Renate Lorraine in 1586. 7 Bavarian knights in the blue and white oclours of Bavaria fight Polish knights in red and white. The bottom tier shows the Cooper's dance. ( barrel makers). Later we continued on to St Peters' and the Viktaulienmarkt. ( Food market selling delicious Hinbaer from Italiensk, and fresh Christmas decorations.)  1 Euro for  a double sized punnet....yum....


 We were sorely tempted by the fresh decorations of cinnamon/chestnut/ flowers decorations at the Christkindlmarkt but preferred to spend our time eating torte and Topfen strudel at Rischarf's Bakery. Two cakes and two hot chocolates for 9 Euros... Bargain!!! But there was no plain water, typical of Germany, only mineral water and 50 cents to use the rest rooms is pretty common.So you are warned!
The view from Rischarfs Bakery

What was left of the torte and Topfen strudel after a few minutes.

Rischarfs delicious bakery treats

You can not say that you have been to Munich and not been to the Hofbrauhaus, even if you don't drink beer. While it is a place for beer drinkers, of which I am not one.... the food menu looked rather nice.


Kaffe/Capuccino was 1.70 euro and kartofflesalat 2.70 Euro, but the padlocked beer steins adorning the walls were for local customers only....

Afternoon optional tour through the glorious German countryside, dotted with Churches with little onion domes every few kilometres. The population not only could see the churches easily from their house, but also could reach it within a half and hour. NO excuses not to attend really, here. At least I am sure that is what the local pastor thought!

This really was an incredible day of touring. After the  morning tour, we stopped at the Ettal monastery where I was gobsmacked by the beaty of the church. Before procedding on to Oberammagau and Linderhof... What an amazing day...
The pictures of this area are too beautiful to put here so I will make another entry... they deserve it....

But I will tell you how we spent our evening.....  once again finding ourselves in the....

Christmas Markets
As it was only just 6pm, and the night was still young, dark, very dark, but still young, we decided to venture to the nearby Englischer Garten, where the Xmas Markets was being held.
Avoiding the walk through the darkened park, because H. felt it was unsafe: we took the streets from the Hilton Munich Park, which is set back from the city and in close proximity to Englischer Garten
(English garden)  and ended up in the rather large Christmas market.
For reviews on this hotel see link here:

The stalls contain typical German Christmas items like Smokers soaps, decorations and trinkets, and typical German Christmas cuisine,like Gingerbread, and a few exotic dishes thrown in. We even managed to find some Pommes Frites, but it wasn't cheap. For 3 Euro 20 we requested a tray of Pommes frites as my youngster recoiled at the Wurst sausages and kebabs on offer. About some confused german english babbling, I was asked if I wanted Gluhwein with that.... Nein, only Pommes Frites danka.... I said... The attendant held up some Pommes Frites and I said "Ja"!!! I then had to pay 9 euro 20 cents, and received a cup of gluhwein and pommes frites.... well I don't really mind the gluhwein but it is the most expensive chips I have ever had.. By now is was after 6 pm and the markets became so busy, it was difficult to move around, so we made our way to the exit where we hoped to find a seat. A German women grabbed my arm and said something angry to me. ( But then, German for the most part, sounds angry anyway!!) When I feebly asked her if she could say it in English, she asked me Where did I get those? ( pointing to the silver plated Pommes frites!!!)  Now I know why they were so expensive, they threw in some free Gluhwein!!!! They are highly sought after!!!!!!

Joking aside, there was a wonderful atmosphere here but the temperature did plummet in the midst of the garten, especially when the wind picked up. The babies did need their little papooses tonight.  Upon returning the empty cup of gluhwein, and collecting my 1 euro deposit.. we strolled back along the side streets where large square roofed manor houses predominated. They looked like terrace houses, and were two storey, but had sloping roofs. I wondered how many had been divided up into apartments, and how few retained their original layout of the likes found in Clara's aristocrat's house in the book, Heidi.

Finding the way back to the hotel was easy as the location was adjacent to a little weir with the Isar river flowing at speed with black looking, very cold water!! Would not want to fall in that....that is something I do not want to ponder about..



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