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Das Münchentrip July 2, 2011

Posted by Joseph Mattingly in Travel Log.
Tags: , , , ,

After Venice, Munich was a welcome relief.  A very modern city (mainly on account of the handsome bombing job the Allied Forces did in World War II), Munich was easy to navigate, had a distinctly Bavarian air about it, and gave me numerous opportunities to practice my fake German (mainly consisting of compounding long strings of words and adding “das” or “die” or “der” to the front).  Bavaria is home to many cultural commodities of our global community, including the Bavarian Motor Works (BMW, though I think I saw more Volkswagens), large pretzels (yum!), cuckoo clocks, and the delectable Haribo gummy bears.  As a nice house warming gift, the hotel gave every resident a nice little packet of Haribo gummy bears on their pillows, that is, everybody except the residents of my room.  To say I was angry is a bit of an understatement, so I’m still pretty bitter about that.  But, alas, Munich.

In what was probably an effort to validate all existing stereotypes about Munich, our art and music lectures were held in a beer hall.  Like a Starbucks in the United States, beer halls and gardens (and whatever other assemblage they come in) can be found in densities of at least one every 200 meters.  I think this gave a few of the students too many bad ideas.  After our first set of lectures, we ventured across town in the rain (now accepted as a will-happen on any occasion) to the Glyptothek, a museum housing Greek and Roman antiquities, or, more simply, an old sculptures museum.  There were some very interesting sculptures and mosaics there including statues from the pediment of a Greek temple and a gallery of marble heads awkwardly staring at the museum guest as he or she entered that particular hall.  We had the rest of the day off, so I walked to the main city square where the city hall has a colossal cuckoo clock tower fondly known as the Glockenspiel.  After standing in the rain to watch the clock come alive on the hour (for a whole ten minutes, too!), I wandered into the souvenir shops where my hopes of acquisitioning a much more modestly-sized cuckoo clock was shot out of the sky with the great multitude of consecutive digits on the price tag (100€, 500€, 1000€, 1500€, etc.).  Similarly my hopes to acquisition a Germany men’s national football (real football, not that American game) team (a.k.a. the best in the world) jersey were brought down by the price tags.  Fortunately, a bag of five giant pretzels only cost 1.19€.

The next day, our art adventures leaped forward a couple millennia to the Alte Pinakothek, a museum filled with lots of non-ancient (post-1400), non-modern artworks (pre-1900).  At this point, it is difficult to say anything exciting about an art museum since I’ve already recounted several of these adventures, so I will refrain from any unnecessary commentary.  Later that day, we were given the opportunity to visit the site of the Dachau concentration camp, one of the most infamous Nazi camps in World War II for what happened there.  This was made especially surreal by the fact that earlier in the day I had walked past the building that was the founding place of the Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party (the Nazi Party).  We saw the facilities were the Nazis’ prisoners lived and often died.  I can remember feeling and overwhelming sadness and anger that something so horrible could ever be allowed to happen, especially in an otherwise civilized nation.  Even so, Dachau as it exists today serves as a fitting tribute to a regrettable period in our human history, to the lives that were lost because of that, and the humanity we retain despite the strife.

^Click up there to enlarge!

For the two days we spent in Munich, I feel that we experienced a lot of Germany.  Still, there was more I wanted to do.  Sources tell me that a certain Deutsches Museum in Munich has a large collection of material pertaining to the great Wernher von Braun.  (For those of you who aren’t aware, von Braun = my hero.)  I guess Munich will just have to be one of those places I go back to at some point in my life.  I’m already several cities behind my own schedule, so you’ll probably hear about Prague tomorrow.  Until then, adieu!



1. Baba - July 2, 2011

I hope you saved one of those pretzels for me!

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