Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Weekend in Munich

I know it comes as no surprise to anyone who has known me and Dick for any length of time that we would fly to Munich for the weekend! And what a fun weekend it was. We left Denver on Saturday - a perfectly on time flight to Chicago where we connected to Munich. We got one upgrade to business class and Dick was sweet enough to take the coach seat and let me have the business class seat. As with all of our Europe trips, I had dinner and went straight to sleep. When I woke up, we were in Germany!

Of course, since we only had two days in Munich, we hit the ground running. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Hochstrasse. I can definitely recommend it. It was very clean and they had a room ready for us at 11:00 in the morning. It also had a great bar and a subway stop at the hotel....very convenient. We washed our faces, unpacked our small carry ons then headed out the door. We spent the day wandering around we always do. We had lunch near the Marienplatz in the old part of the city....Dick had schnitzel (he couldn't wait!!!) and I had yummy chicken. The one thing I had forgotten was how much I loved German food (and wine).

The weather was so sunny skies and mid 60's temps kept us outside the entire two days...walking, people watching, shopping and eating all of that yummy food. Here's a few pics of our adventures.

The Odeonsplatz is one of the cosmopolitan centers of Munich, at the intersection of Ludwigstrasse, Briennerstrasse, and the Royal Palace. It is also the location of the Feldherrnhalle. Modeled after the Loggia die Lanzi in Florence, the Feldherrnhalle brings a bit of Italian renaissance to Bavaria. It was commissioned by King Ludwig I to honor the Bavarian army, but is best known for its role during the Beer Hall Uprising led by Adolf Hitler. 16 Nazis and four policemen were killed during the subsequent riots. Once once the Nazis came to power, the Odeonsplatz became a shrine to the fallen Nazi “martyrs.” Every person passing by was required on threat of arrest to greet the honor guard with a Nazi salute. A small alley way behind the monument became almost as famous, called Viscardigasse, because there were locals who took the passage rather than being forced to give the Nazi salute. Today, Odeonsplatz is one of the cosmopolitan centers of Munich, at the intersection of Ludwigstrasse, Briennerstrasse, and the Royal Palace.

Next on our agenda was the BMW Tower and the BMW Welt. The Tower has been the Bavarian automakers headquarters for over 30 years. Built between 1968 and 1972, it was ready just in time for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Its inauguration followed on 18 May 1973. The building stands 101 m (roughly 331 feet) tall, is located in direct proximity of the Olympic stadium. The main tower consists of four vertical cylinders standing next to and across from each other. Each cylinder is divided horizontally in its center by a mold in the facade. Notably, these cylinders do not stand on the ground, they are suspended on a central support tower. During the construction, individual floors were assembled on the ground and then elevated. The tower has a diameter of roughly 171 feet.

During the 1972 Olympics, BMW branding was removed from the buildings to prevent undesirable product placement.

Here we are on Monday...enjoying the beautiful sunny day in the Marienplatz...people watching and shopping.

Another pic at the front of the Glockenspiel.

Part of the second construction phase of the New Town Hall, it dates from 1908. Every day at 11 a.m. (as well as 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. in summer) it chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century to the amusement of mass crowds of tourists and locals. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm V (who also founded the world famous Hofbrauhaus) to Renata of Lothringen. In honour of the happy couple there is a joust with life-sized knights on horseback representing Bavaria (in white and blue) and Lothringen (in red and white). The Bavarian Knight wins every time of course. This is then followed by the bottom half and second story: Schäfflerstanz (the coopers' dance). In the 16th century a particularly bad period of the plague hit town and everyone went into hiding. The first people to dare go back onto the streets were barrel makers who performed a big dance to show that it was okay to come out again. The Duke of Bavaria was so happy about this that he actually ordered them to re-enact this every seven years, a custom which continues to this day. The dance can be seen during Fasching (German Carnival) but the next one is not until 2012. The whole show lasts somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes long depending on which tune it plays that day. At the very end a very small golden bird at the top of the Glockenspiel chirps three times, marking the end of the spectacle.
A testament to the unbelievably great weather - a nice lunch outside on Monday.
Stay tuned for our funny Munich adventure that I will recount for you tomorrow....hint: it involves a guy named Otto!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow!! Your weekend sounds so great... naturally, I am so envious! Any shopping opportunities!? Any stamp acquisitions!? suze

Pam said...

Looks fun!
Reading your blog reminded me of how much I love German food too. It's been approx. 5 years since I've been there. It would be nice to go back.

Glad you guys had good weather, and looks like you had a very nice weekend! What a way to spend a weekend :-)

Heather said...

Oh ... I love funny adventires with guys named Otto. Gotta' love Germany!

Enjoyed your pics!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you guys had a great time over there!! I am now salivating from all your food descriptions, though. So jealous. :) CB

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