Saturday, November 15, 2014


We have the exact same one
at home.
     We decided to make the most of our few hours in Munich by mixing aimless strolling through the street with intense museum time. We started out down the main shopping street (unlike Zurich these shops were actually open) on our way to the main market. The shops are already full of Christmas stuff! It was so cool to see so many ornaments and so much Christmas paraphernalia, a lot of which reminded me of stuff from home. Apparently my parents got all of their Christmas supplies in Central Europe. We stopped in to one of the stores, which was full of steins, nutcrackers, glass ornaments, and chalices. You could get a €2,000 horn to drink out of…I was really tempted. Then we traipsed down to the main market. It was pretty early in the morning and I was still overwhelmed by the amount of food. It was everywhere: pretzels, fruit, bratwurst, and beer. We decided to grab food after our museum visit – a reward for a morning of cultural appreciation.
The chapel, with period lighting installed.
     After only a minimal struggle with the map, we made our way to the Residence Museum and Treasury. The museum is housed in the former residence of the ruling family of Bavaria, which was vacated in 1918 when the Bavarian Republic was declared. Severely damaged during WWII, when they rebuilt it was turned into a museum…about the residence. It's basically just a lot of old, pretty rooms with lots of art and fancy chairs. There is a free audio tour provided; an impeccably pronounced guide accompanied by music a bit too grand for the occasion. When we got to the chapel, for example, the clip is introduced by a solid 45 seconds of Gregorian chant. We get it – we’re in a church. The chapel was still my favourite part. It had been completely destroyed by bombing during WWII and it was restored without any of the original gilding or painting. All that is left is an imposing neo-Romanesque building with lots of exposed brick. It has been converted into a performance space, with Source 4s everywhere, so it was all my favourite things (churches, bricks, theatrical lighting) rolled into one.
     Feeling thoroughly cultured, we headed back towards the market for our well-deserved reward. On our way we ran across this gorgeous church and decided to stop in because there is sort of a standing policy that ‘We visit cool churches because Mike likes them’ (a policy I fully endorse). This one was shaped like a huge, stubby cross with balconies on three sides and the altar on the fourth. One balcony was taken up entirely with an immense, ornate organ. The acoustics: stunning. Might have sung a bit to try that out… There was also this very interesting art instillation that you could only see through cut-outs in the floor. It evoked a tree and was definitely trying to make a point about something, but I couldn't understand the German on the sign to actually figure out what that was. 

The flock in flight.
     After a bit of an adventure through some narrow streets, we got back to the market. At the entrance to the market was another church, so obviously I poked my head in. Inside, hundreds of paper birds filled the space above the pews. With the light spilling in from the windows, it almost looked like they were actually flying. It was such a beautiful sight that the whole group of us sat down for a few minutes to take it all in. We were pretty hungry though, so our contemplation was brief. Outside the church, we made a beeline for some pretzels, which were perfect. Crunchy on the outside, but soft inside with just the right amount of salt. They were a spiritual experience on par with the flock in the church. I got a bratwurst for lunch and it was similarly delicious. Nor do the Germans skimp on the buns, which are more like large hunks of bread than any attempt at an actual bun. After lunch we went back to the hostel, grabbed our stuff, and headed out for the airport.

     Airport security outside the US is so relaxed by comparison. We were never asked to produce ID; they just glanced at our tickets and waved us through the metal detector. I didn’t have to take of my shoes and the padlock in my backpack got me none of its usual stares. The wait for the plane was very relaxing because Lufthansa provides free hot beverages in their waiting area! (Free!!!) I availed myself of not one, but two hot chocolates while we waited. I took advantage of the second flight (our first, from Munich to Frankfurt, lasted only 30 minutes) to work on my Latin essay that was unfortunately due the day after we got back. Arriving back to Dublin around 10:00 pm, passports well stamped from the trip, I returned to campus to finish my essay and fall fast asleep. First ‘Eurotrip’ complete.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

The photo of the birds is stunning...thanks for letting me travel vicariously with you!