Today we went to Munich! After breakfast we walked to the train station, and after being too slow to get coffee at the McDonalds there, we go on the train. Luckily, we made it to the first stop without anyone checking our tickets, since that’s when Sonja, who had all our tickets, joined us on the train. We were all surprised at how smooth the train was, being electric versus the trains that are mostly diesel at home, we could only really tell that it was moving when it was accelerating or decelerating.
Some of us used the restroom at the train station, and we all still find it so strange that you have to pay to use one in a lot of places in Germany. From the train station we walked past a lot of stores, especially international clothing stores (we saw at least 4 different H&M storefronts within two or three blocks of each other) to the Marienplatz. We met our tour guide in front of one of the fountains, just in time for her to explain the Rathaus-Glockenspiel at the top of the new city hall to us as the hour hit 11. After the first round of bell chiming, the top level of the glockenspiel rotates, showing a jousting battle in front of a king and queen, where eventually the Bavarian jouster defeats the opposition. Then the bottom level depicts Bavarian dancers spinning in celebration of the win. Later, I want to look up the mechanics behind the movement of the figures, the dancers rotating around the tower and spinning individually, and how the enemy jouster gets knocked down at the end of the fight and resets itself after the show.
Our tour was through the old part of Munich, so our stops included a church with a tower going up about 400 steps, the relatively new maypole, and the Viktualienmarkt, a large market with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, jams, and flowers, among many other things.
We passed through Hofbräuhaus, and by lot of historical buildings, learning the history of Bavarian King Ludwig I, and his successors Maximilian II and Ludwig II. As we passed through a palace courtyard and the opera house, I found it interesting that so many buildings had painted-on facades as fake architecture, something I had never really seen or heard of in such a popular manner before.
I was amused by the story about Maximilian I’s statue, how he wanted to be depicted on a horse, but died before the city spent any money on a new one. We passed the Theatine church, built as a thank you to God when Maximilian II was born, and the entrance to the English gardens across the street. We ended our tour at the Frauenkirche, which has the tallest church towers in the city at 100 meters. Apparently since it was built there was an unwritten law not to build any building taller, and when a few modern architects broke the unwritten law, locals decided to make it an official law, and now no new building in the city can be taller than 99 meters.
After the tour, we were free to roam the city for a few hours. At first, we tried to split up into a few groups to have lunch but we were too hungry and all twenty of us plus Maxi, Anna, and her boyfriend ended up at Hofbräuhaus. I tried the wießwurst, which was pretty good by itself, but the mustard sealed the deal for me. It took a while to get our food and get out since we had so many people, and afterwards a bunch of us went souvenir shopping. Afterwards we went back to the Viktualienmarkt. Jess got cherries, and Ravi and Sahana got strawberries, and I’ve never had strawberries that good in my life! I got jam and honey and Ravi and I learned that at markets like this you don’t touch anything unless you want to buy it.
After a lot of roaming around the market it was time to meet back up, so we went to Marienplatz, where a protest was arriving. It appeared to be an anti-abortion protest with pro-choice counter protestors, and lots and lots of cops. We figured that the laws here must be similar to the ones back home if there are similar protests, which is honestly kind of surprising.
It was kind of a long walk from Marienplatz, but we ate dinner at Hans im Glück, which is apparently a German burger chain. I didn’t think I was too hungry, but my chicken burger was very good. They don’t eat very much chicken here in Germany, so when I get the chance to have some I’ll take it. We had regular and sweet potato fries, which both went well with the parmesan sauce. Afterwards we went to the train station and had some good conversations on the ride back to Augsburg. After the long day and apparently 20,214 steps in Munich, I was exhausted and went straight to bed.
After exploring Munich, I have a three-way tie for sign/design of the day. The first is the neon sign for a café in Marienplatz, which I like because of the yellow, the font and the coffee cup at the center of the sign. The second design is the paper bag cherries come in at the Viktualienmarkt, because I like the style the assorted fruit is drawn/printed in. The last, but certainly not the least, is a neon sign of a cowboy we passed going to dinner. It’s a really fun design but I was too busy making sure I had a picture that I didn’t see what kind of business it was for.