Royalty Worship Days 3 and 4: Munich

After waking up back in the mist of Germany with no hope of seeing the skyline or Alps, we headed directly over to the Nymphenburg Palace! Because we are in Europe, it seems impossible to go anywhere and not see a royal structure, but I knew very little about German royalty, so I was excited to see and learn more about it. As we approached the structure, I immediately saw the resemblance to the Versailles Palace just outside Paris, France. And 2014-11-29 13.51.43as it turned out, King Ludwig II, who built the palace, was obsessed with Versailles and the French fashion. Tickets weren’t extraordinarily expensive, but when we finished the tour, I certainly thought it was overpriced. We were only allowed in the first main building. The long hallways of bedrooms and other estate rooms were closed to the public. We walked down one hallway with nine rooms on display, and then another hallway with about fifteen rooms on display, and that was it. The rest of the property was gardens upon gardens. The rooms were beautiful, of course, with ornate design and antiques on display. But there were a lot of reconstructions and restorations due to air strikes during WWII. IMG_1656The main foyer area was absolutely gorgeous with beautiful paintings and full size windows. We did interrupt wedding photos being taken, but I had to take a spin around the room to get the full majesty. We then walked outside to see the expansive gardens. I truly wish it wasn’t so cold, or we would have been able to enjoy it more. Nothing was in bloom, of course, but the ponds and pagodas were gorgeous against the dead brown landscape. We didn’t take a full lap as we were freezing, but we saw enough to give us a taste. It truly was an homage to Versailles, but it definitely fell short of Louis XIV’s vision. After getting our fill of royal life, we found some lunch at Metzgerwirt just outside the palace. It was the best meal I’ve had in 2014-11-29 13.30.14a long time with extraordinary flavor and an incredible freshness. We were both starving, so we seriously just stumbled into the first pub we found and were very pleasantly surprised. Jeff ordered the pork knuckle which arrived in a bowl and I had boiled beef with real horseradish and cold potato salad. I couldn’t believe how fresh it was and flavorful. Our waitresses were in full German garb as was our neighbor at the next table. We certainly got the German experience, complete with belching and bouncing breasts. 2014-11-29 16.14.31We hopped on the tram back toward city center to check out the Pinakothek Art Museum. Just like palaces, we can’t walk through a foreign city without checking out a museum. We like to see what is important to the locals that are featured in their exhibits. But this place had several of the wings closed for restoration, so we were pretty limited to the older religious art, which we have seen in spades. The building itself wasn’t very beautiful, so I do hope the restoration is going to beautify the exhibition halls as well.2014-11-29 17.37.33 From there, we headed toward what we thought was the BMW museum. It actually turned out to be just the showroom, which was absolutely massive! The museum closed at 5p, so we just sauntered around pretending to be interested in buying the rugged mini cooper in a fabulous green color that matches my fun Scion waiting patiently for me back in the states. But we got bored quickly when we realized we didn’t have thousands upon thousands of euros to spend on a new car we can’t drive in England, so we left to what I really wanted to see nestled next to this showroom: the Munich Olympic Park. 2014-11-29 17.49.50 Back in 1972, when the Olympics were held in Munich, an attack was launched on eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team who were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group: Black September. Right at the bridge that connects Olympic Park to the campus of apartments is a beautiful memorial in tribute to the fallen athletes. Of course, it was in German and Hebrew, so I couldn’t read it, but it certainly didn’t diminish the meaning. 2014-11-29 18.06.03We walked through the campus of apartments until we found building 31 where the attack took place. We were barely able to single it out in the dark, but we did manage to find the plaque that commemorates the event. It was rather strange to see this whole area re-purposed into student housing thanks to the nearby university, and I can’t imagine being the student who lives in that room knowing what we all know, but I’m glad it’s not forgotten. Sunday morning, we got up early to hit the ground running for our last day in Munich, and in good form, we wanted to see all of the famous churches. Of course, being Sunday, we couldn’t see the full structure since they were all in service, but we saw enough to get the feel. We first went to St. Peter’s Church which was a huge, brownstone structure blocks away from the Marienplatz. The smell of incense brought us to the front doors as we quietly walked in, beanies removed.2014-11-30 09.59.31 St. Peter’s Church was originally built in 1150 but it was severely damaged in 1365 during a large city-wide fire. It did slowly improve after many ups and downs with construction and battles only to be nearly completely destroyed with WWII. Reconstruction began in 1949 and was fully open and operational by 1954. I realize I’m just throwing dates out there, but it’s pretty incredible to see these structures after they have been destroyed and rebuilt so many times over the centuries. We did climb the 300 steps (299 to be exact) to the top to get pictures of the grey and misty cityscape which you can do for a cool cost of £2 (recently increased). 2014-11-30 10.26.40We climbed down carefully and made our way to the Frauenkirche, which I personally thought was infinitely more beautiful. The two domes on top are very recognizable in the skyline of Munich, but unfortunately, one of them was completely covered in scaffolding, such has been our luck all across Europe (see the Coliseum in Rome). There was a service happening, so again, we couldn’t explore completely, but it had extremely tall ceilings that were pearly white making for a crisp and clean appearance. The third and final church we were able to see what St. Michael’s, which thankfully was done with their services for the morning. It was incredibly beautiful to say the least and we were happy to finally walk around in the incense-filled haze, but it did look more modern than most of the churches we had seen and not quite as clean feeling as Frauenkirche, but that might be my bias speaking. 2014-11-30 10.08.48 IMG_1700We only had one more attraction to see before we could let loose at more of the Christmas markets, and that was the Residence Museum. This huge palace is north of city center in the neighborhood of Odeonplatz and was the former palace for the Bavarian monarchs. There are 130 rooms on display, but the unfortunate thing is it was mostly destroyed during WWII, so each room is a reconstruction with replaced paintings and furniture from other locations. I’m sure what was there was their best guess as to what it looked like in IMG_1706the 1500-1800s, but how can anyone be sure? Was I looking at a room that royalty walked through or new planks plopped on the floor just a few years ago by construction workers? There were several rooms that were astounding including the mosaic fountain done completely out of shells, the “Green Gallery” that houses dozens upon dozens of portraits, and the incredibly expansive Antiquarium which has marble statues from Rome and Greece. 2014-11-30 14.56.13Our final stops around Munich were the remaining famous Christmas Markets. We first saw the Medieval Market complete with a pig on a spit, then the Pink Market which turned out to actually be the Sendlinger Tor Market (my first clue was the severe absence of pink), and then the Chinese Tower Market which was housed in the English Gardens. Interestingly, the English Gardens is actually bigger than both Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York City. I do wish we had seen more of it, but I cannot express enough how freezing it was outside. Munich was a beautiful city and I’m so glad we got to see the Christmas explosion that was sprinkled all over, but now I’m definitely more interested in the German monarchy. The museums left a bit to be desired in the education department, but all the more reason to learn more on my own.

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