Munich

It is Saturday morning and it’s been a week since we’ve arrived. Today we are checking out and leaving Schliersee. We walk along the lake front for a short distance and give up. It is too hot. We find a sheltered bench and sit down. On the middle of the lawn the marquee is being decorated and a lady is setting up her mike and she has a practice run. Soon the guests arrive in their finery. Most of the young men in leiderhosen and women in dirndl, the traditional Bavarian costume. The bride’s dad walks her down past us as the lady sings the twilight song. It’s a beautiful day and it is the most romantic of settings. The bride and groom exchange their vows and the lady sings more songs, this time in German. She has a lovely haunting voice.

After lunch we collect our luggage and make our way to the centre of Munich. We are staying in Munich and leaving tomorrow. It is a very warm day and the temperature in Munich is even hotter. In the evening we take the metro to Sendling Tor station, which is a couple of stops from the hotel. Tor means gate and this is one of the three remaining gates which used to guard the Old Town and is on it’s southern boundary. We have been to Munchen a few times and have walked around the Old Town numerous times, but it looks like there are still parts of it that we haven’t covered. We walk past the Asamhaus and next door to it is the Asamkirche, a church built in the eighteenth century by the Asam brothers. Considering the number of European churches I have been to, I would imagine that I have seen everything that there is to see. But I’m totally mistaken. The interior is one massive artwork. Sculptures, paintings and carvings cover the entire interior. Once again I sit and marvel at the beauty of it all.

From here we walk to Marienplatz, the main plaza and hub of Munich city. The most imposing building here is the New Town Hall or the Neues Rathaus. The Town hall’s clock tower has 43 bells and 32 figures which come to life at 11am and 5 in the evening. The top section dances first followed by the bottom half doing the ‘Coopers dance’, the duration of which ranges from 12-15 minutes depending on the tune which is played. We walk to the market place from here. During the daytime this is a hive of bustling activity, but now most of the market stalls have closed and the rest are cleaning up. The beer hall part of it is full of people enjoying their evening pints.

We walk past the Old Town hall and the famous beer place ‘Hofbrauhaus’. Opened in 1830, it is a must see tourist attraction for all beer fans. Inside, the hall is lined by long tables and benches. Live folk music plays in the background as the Bavarians celebrate their most favourite pastime. Our final stop today is the oldest pub in town, the brewery, ‘Augustiner brau’. Founded by Augustine monks, with mentions as early as 1328, the interior is decorated in such a way that it takes us back to the bygone era of how restaurants in Munich used to look like before the First World War. A typical Bavarian meal later we make our way back to the hotel.

On Sunday we once again take the metro, this time to Odeonsplatz, the next stop to Marienplatz in the Old Town. Our first stop is the Theatinerkirche, a seventeenth century church built in baroque style. The interior this time is in mostly an off white shade with a handful of paintings and a black sculpture that I can see from where we are sitting. The Sunday church service is going on and we join in and listen to the church choir singing with the organ playing in the background. The music resonates and echoes through the church hall and in between the sermon is in Latin.

Opposite the church, is the Munich Residenz, which was initially a castle, but was then converted into a palace from where the Bavarian Dukes , then Electors and finally the Kings lived and ruled the country till 1918. It is the largest city based palace in Germany and large parts of it were destroyed during the Second World War and most of it have been restored. It houses the royal collections, relics and is now a museum.

Starting off with the Antiquarium we pass through numerous rooms each decorated depending on what the room is used for. Every single painting or sculpture has a relevance. My favourite one is the Green Gallery room which houses the paintings from renowned artists like Rubens. By the time we have gone through the rooms and have a quick run through the treasure section we have just enough time for a short late lunch stop before we catch our metro to the airport.

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