Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Munich - Day 2 - Walking Tour

Wednesday, 17th December 2008

We awoke and made our way down to the breakfast hall. Wombats does an all you can eat breakfast for €3.50, which was exceedingly good value for money.

Breakfast consisted of rolls, cheese and meat - we are in Germany after all! Well, there was also cereal, toast, fruit, juice, coffee, the works...we even took some fruit to have later. The following day, we noticed little signs on each of the tables with a picture of a wombat saying "Please do not take food away from the breakfast hall as it encourages pests to come into your room". Oooops! I swear, these signs were not there the day before!

We vacated our room, put our luggage into storage and met our guide for the walking tour. He was in his early thirties and had started his own tour company with a few friends a couple of years ago. However, the company hadn't quite worked out and eventually folded but he had decided to carry on with the walking tour side of things. He was a really nice guy and had a great approach, very informative and with a sense of humour. He also was able to recommend which places had the best food, which beer houses were tourist traps which was all very helpful indeed.

We were taken down through the main streets, past an ice skating rink, through an ancient city gate and towards Munich’s most well known church.

City Gate

Mmmm, nice curves

One point of difference of Munich is that the very middle of this city is designed for people and not cars, which made a nice change from America. It's great to be able to walk through paved areas without having cars whiz past, nor choke on their stinky fumes. This also makes it easier for people to get around by cycling – especially considering the number of university students in this town. Actually thinking about this some more, I guess it is natural for cities that were built many hundreds of years before the rise of the motor car to be centred around people. However, there are still old cities where the car has found its way in quite easily (London anyone?)

We proceeded through the main town centre simply soaking up the history of the place. I'm constantly blown away at the age of things over here, which I guess comes from living somewhere which only has a couple of hundred years of architectural history.


One of the towers was being worked on...

We arrived at Frauenkirche and before taking a look inside, we were shown this little model of the old city.

A cute little model

You can see where the church is, on the left with the twin towers. For the more logistically challenged amongst us, this helped us to get our bearings to some degree.

The inside of the church was simply amazing. We saw the impression of the devil's footprint which he had left when it was being built. The legend goes that the devil did a deal with the builder not to include any windows in the church and when he came down to check, he didn't see any. He then found out that they had been added but weren't visible from where he stood at the front door. He stamped his foot causing the mark to remain inside the church. Mr Devil then vacated, furious and left the almighty wind that he had rode outside the church - we had been told by our guide that outside the church was the windiest place in the city. All very interesting!

The devil's footprint

Pope Benedict XVI

The current Pope hails from Munich

Visually impressive

I can't see the side windows either - does that mean I'm evil?


That flag in his hand looks like a hockey stick

We were then taken to the Marienplatz(town square) to see the world famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel.


This was quite amusing to see and it is one of those things you have to do if you are ever in Munich. It is a mechanical glockenspiel, which performs at 11am each day. The little figures act out scenes from Munich history. There is a bit of jousting and black plague going on (although not at the same time as it would be hard to handle a horse, let alone joust if you were suffering from the plague!)

The Mariensäule, a Marian column found in the Marienplatz

Marian columns are religious monuments built in honour of the Virgin Mary

Close up of a cherub

At each corner of the column is a cherub (although I've just read on the almighty wikipedia that these are putto which are often mistakenly confused with cherubs. Let us not make this mistake again).

Each of these putto is fighting a different animal and each animal represents a different adversity - lion (war), cockatrice (pestilence), dragon (famine), serpent (heresy...i.e. non Catholics).

From the Marienplatz, we went to a wee market (Viktualienmarkt) with many varieties of food and drink. Meatloaf sandwiches are a very popular delicacy as are sausages. Mulled wine is the drink of choice. You basically roll up to a mulled wine cart, pay a small deposit for a cup and then you get your cup filled. You can keep the cup if you so wish or return it for a refund on your deposit. The more you drink, the quicker you roll; although that sometimes means that other people end up rolling you home.

Sha looks happy!

Isn't that boot cute?

In this instance, the cups at this vendor were in the shape of a boot and in retrospect we should have kept them as they were quite unique. Everyone seems to like drinking in the streets over here, probably due to how cold it is (although the scientifically minded among you will know that drinking doesn't really warm you up).

A very tall maypole

We were told a couple of stories about maypoles. Generally the maypole was laid out a few days before being erected; many years ago people would steal it and carry it away (I'm guessing they were lighter back then?). The story goes that if you manage to steal it and carry it away, if you then return it, the village has to provide you with a reward of food and drink and invite you to the festivities. Our guide told us that very recently a maypole was left outside the airport and it went missing. Luckily the police were on to the case and were able to locate it and get it returned relatively quickly. It then turns out that they were the people who stole it in the first place! Needless to say, they were provided with a large amount of booze and food as their reward. We were told that these days, maypoles are no longer left out overnight - they are erected quick smart! Some more info about the tradition here and a fantastic effort in stealing a maypole from a mountain peak here (love their demands!).


Here is the Hofbräuhaus - a very well known beer hall. This is one of the beer halls that Hitler used to frequent. If you check out this link, you can have a look at a fantastic little video which covers a lot of history.

Stein after stein

Revolution No. stein

Here are some of the steins that people have in the beer hall - they can lock their own away. I think we were told that the wait time to get a stein locker is about 2 years. Yikes!

When Hitler was in power, the roof of the Hofbräuhaus was painted with swastikas. When World War II ended, these were never removed; rather they were simply painted over. If you look at the roof, you can actually see the shapes of the old swastikas which have been painted over with new designs.

Meet the band...

Inside the beer hall was an 'Oompa band' complete with tuba. They seemed to move around playing Happy Birthday an awful lot.

Mmmm, beer - I'm getting thirsty just thinking about it!

From the beer hall, we were taken back to the streets...below are an assortment of what we saw. Sorry if I can't give too much detail about everything!

First king of Bavaria, King Max I. Joseph

A satyr

More awesome architecture


This one is worth a close up (click to see)

The English Garden

We would soon find out if this was an accurate representation!

Going through the English garden we arrived at a 'winter wonderland fair' which had sprung up around the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower). It was great to see a lot of very young children enjoying the pre-Christmas spirit.

Sha looking cold

Chinesischer Turm

Sha still looking cold

Mmmm, sausage vendors

Ain't that cute

Arches and lions

On the way back to the hostel we popped in on a little market we had passed earlier. It was here that we encountered a reindeer (that looked like a moose) that spoke to us and then sung. It was fantastic!

Talking Reindeer (video)

This is my first video upload, so please let me know how it plays!

Modern art?

Nah, just promoting something in a nearby store

And that is about it. Tomorrow - I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.


Jamas Enright said...

Video upload worked, so we definitely want to see more of that! (Although most Christmas Carols (including that one) have been ruined for me.)

Ness and Dave said...

Yep, vid worked well - will have to think about putting some of ours up!!

So, Germany IS all about beer and sausages then....

Foo said...

Roger that re: the video, good to know it played okay. I will look at adding more videos in future posts.

Anonymous said...

We finally had the opportunity to look at your Munich blogs. Great that you liked it out there. Yes, Germany has heaps of cities with cultural importance. Leipzig, Dresden, Berlin, Cologne to mention just a few.

The video with the reindeer was cute; specially the shot of Stu.

Now that daylight savings have started in Europe, and you guys being there for a couple of months, you know the European winter. We can say from experience in both regions we prefer the NZ winters.

Keep up the good work, Stu.

All the best.

Foo said...

Yes, daylight savings has started here in the UK just last weekend. But looking out the window now, it is primarily grey. I know New Zealand is the land of the long white cloud, but at least it has blue sky as well!

I prefer the NZ winter - I think I will adjust, in time, to it over here, but it really does get cold!