Tuesday’s Travels in Munich

Dave and I breakfast together, then he leaves and I linger over the paper and posting our travels on the blog.  I do the tourist laundry thing (rinsing out underwear in the sink, rolling it up in the towels, snapping out the moisture and hanging it over hangers in the closet so the maid won’t see) and get going mid-morning.  I head towards Marienplatz, the center of pedestrian Munich, or should I say, Tourist Munich, stopping at Thomas Sabo’s charm shop for an addition to my charm bracelet.  They wrapped these charms in miniature round hat boxes.  Charming.  I walked on.

I like seeing the unusual, and in this case, two little shadow box pictures in a window bordering a small park named Marienhof Park. Just like we are so “American,” they feel so “European,” especially in their graphic arts.

Just around the corner was a long yellow building with many doorways: Dallmayr’s Food Shop.  It was vast, huge, fascinating and I didn’t feel like I could take any pictures inside, but did purchase a sel de limon and curry powder, mainly because I loved the containers.

Well, maybe I was influenced by this window showing piles of different flavors of salts.  Sorry about the glare on the windows.

How can I resist a truck with this word on the side?

My destination was this shop: Deeply Felt, a little place that sells only felt.  It was loaded with felt, and a teensy little area where the customers stood–it might have held 3 or 4, and there was one in there already.  I tried to hurry as I chose 100% wool felt–a rare item in the U.S.

Down from that was this umbrella shop.  My big impulse buy was an  umbrella in sunny blue with scenes of Munich all around.  I mentioned to the shop owner how nice it was to have such sun.  Not for me, he said.  I like rain.

Another sunny yellow store: the Ludwig Beck Department Store.  It goes all the way to the corner, to that patterned building.  I went to the New Rathaus–the townhall built in the late 1800s (versus the townhall from 1474).  One source writes:

If you happen to be in Marienplatz at the right time you are in for an amazing treat. The square will fill with the sound of the carillon in the Glockenspiel. It plays twice or three times a day, at 10:30am, noon, and 5pm. As the folk music chimes ring out, doors open and brightly hued mechanical figures of enameled copper emerge and begin to dance. The Glockenspiel has two separate acts which celebrate two events from Munich’s past. The colorful dancers are doing the Schaefflertanz or Dance of the Coppers which commemorates the end of the plague in 1517. The other “act” is a miniature tournament of knights jousting. They are reenacting a famous tournament that was held for the royal weddings that took place in Marienplatz in 1568.
Dave and I remembered it from our last trip, and so made a beeline for it this time as well.  I watched the Golockenspiel play, then headed for the elevator to take me up to the top.  Blessings for elevators.

It was a lovely day, warm and pleasant, with good views around Munich.  This is the Frauenkirche, the largest Gothic basilica in southern Germany; it was built in record time (1468-88).

View from the top of the Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) Building and Olympic Park tower.

They had these glass plates for the key to what we were seeing.

My favorite church, as seen from the tower.  There were quite a few people up there with me, and I happened to ask one man how to say the German word for Excuse Me.  My journal has only the phonetical pronunciation of “Fat-Sigh-On.”  I complimented him on his English, and asked him where he learned it.  In Germany, he explained, if you are a good student you are encouraged to travel your senior year of high school on a fully paid study abroad.  He ended up in North Carolina, but his English had no trace of an accent.

I later used this example in a debate back in my classroom in California, where they had to develop an argument.  Interestingly enough, more of my students thought the school system should NOT sponsor a student abroad, than should. Many of them are from small towns and perhaps have never left the area.

This is a view of the Old Town Hall (on the left with the crenelated facade), an old gate (red steepled roof next to it), and just behind that with the red roof and the green-topped tower is the Heiliggeistkirche, also known as The Church of the Holy Ghost.

Looking down into the courtyard.  I ate lunch underneath one of those green umbrellas: weissewurst, or white sausage, a Bavarian specialty, most typically eaten for breakfast.
Time to go.

I signed the tethered-by-a-chain book on the way out, in the lower right corner of the verso (or left-facing) page.  Notice the dog-eared corner on the upper right.  I did that so I could show Dave when we came back.  But when we returned later that week, the book had been replaced by a fresh clean copy.

I think it always pays to read up on a place before you go.  One tourist had written about the inside of the Rathaus and had a few pictures.  When I was leaving the tower, I asked the lady taking money if I could walk through the town hall.  Yah, yah, she said, and indicated I should go right when leaving, instead of left to the elevator.  I went down the corridor (see Friday’s post for the huge red door), and felt like a bit nervous trying to figure out which door would lead me to where I wanted to go.  Down some steps, turn and wow.

That nameless tourist was right about this.  The stone arches, and very gothic styling made it feel like I was inside a foreign castle of some kind.  While in the war Munich was bombed, yet apparently the damage to the Rathaus was minimal (it housed the US Military Headquarters after WWII).  I do believe some of it must have been reconstructed, for many of the windows have a newer date on them than the date of construction of the building.

The whole place was fairly deserted.  If someone did show up, I tried to look like I knew what I was doing.

Everything was so. . . so. . . Germanly Gothic.  Until I stumbled into the above alcove. . .

. . .and saw these windows with an American flag, and the Statue of Liberty.  I began to pay attention a little more.

Figures of Edison, Lincoln and Andrew Carnegie along with a depiction of Niagra Falls. The windows throughout all had early creation dates, some with rondels of old glass.  Maybe they salvaged some from damaged windows and re-set them into new glass?  But why so many American-themed windows in the alcove?  If I read German, I might be able to tell you.  But many times as visitors to another country, we see things we don’t understand and try to figure out plausible solutions and answers to our questions.
I remember going to dinner with Matthew and one of his friends to a Chinese restaurant.  She took the chicken bones out of her chicken soup and lay them on the table, saying, “This is how the Chinese do this.”  I had been to China, felt like I was okay-immersed in some of the day-to-day manners and I’d never seen it.  I replied, “Maybe where you were, they did this.” I thought at the time how large of a county America was and how our manners and customs vary from region to region, and China was even larger still.  And with a language that felt impenetrable, so I couldn’t ask enough questions nor get enough answers for all that I saw.  I tried to figure out some things, but didn’t venture into the Chinese subway, fearing I’d be transported to Siberia or something.  I walked a lot and had a lot of questions about what I saw, both then, and now, in Germany.

I still have no answers.

I took as many photos as I dared, but it was so quiet in there and I, with all my crackling shopping bags, felt very noisy.  I proceeded on my tour.

Some original stucco work?

A more traditional window was on the next floor.

Notice the diamond-like blue and white pattern on the shield of this wooden horseman.  That’s the Bavarian pattern, and was found on mugs and ribbons, and dresses, and store banners–everywhere as we were close to Oktoberfest, and everything was getting pretty dolled up for the occasion.  Aside from our stars and stripes, I can’t think of many patterns that are pervasive to any particular region of America, but then we are a much newer country, with less history and tradition than these folks.

Now I feeling like I’d overstayed my welcome, plus I was getting a little bit hungry.  So I went outside, and enjoyed lunch (see Menu from Munich for more details on that), and while waiting for my meal, took the following picture, looking back up at the tower.

I write my postcards to family back home, and then remember that I need to buy stamps.  Add that to the list of Tourist Things To Do today. One thing for sure was that I missed the tram rides.  Our side of Munich relies heavily on the trams and that’s how I had traveled before when we were here.  One item was to try and find that gate that had inspired the center medallion of a quilt I made after returning from Germany last time, but it was always right there, at the end of the block of a tram stop and I thought I might never find my way.

I walked through the old gate at the end of Marienplatz, and entered the church at the corner, the Heiliggeistkirche, or Holy Ghost Church.

It had a soaring center nave, flanked by two equally high side areas (I guess that they are all the “nave.”  What do I know?)  I’d have to say the predominant coloration is pink cotton candy meets the Tiffany box, and they are both adorned in gilt.

The church began in 1208 as a pilgrim house, but within 50 years it was being used as a hospital.  The church itself was constructed in the 1320s and four hundred years later it was re-made into a baroque church, the interiors by the Asam brothers, famous in these parts for their use of lots and lots and lots of rococo flourishes and gilding.  Yep.  So what entranced me was the plain wooden pulpit on the side, conspicuous in its simplicity.

This spoke of the church’s origins.

After the Holy Ghost Church, I wandered through the Viktualien Markt, really just an area with a giant beer garden, frantic dirndl-clad waitresses and some shops and

booths of food, floral decorations, beer, cheeses. No lebkuchen cookies like last time.

Walking on, I rounded a corner and saw this.  No, it wasn’t the gate from before, but it was the exact same pattern in the center of my quilt.  It felt like a mini-homecoming–something very familiar.  I also found the shop where I’d bought my dirndl fabric, and bought one more meter to make a Christmas apron.

Then around another corner, saw a building so old, it had the date painted on the outside.

I had purchased an apple while in the Viktualien Markt and munched on that, the wandering wearing on me.  It was getting late and I had a headache and was far far from the hotel.  I remember reading in one account that someone believed the best was to do sightseeing was to wander until exhaustion, stop to eat, then repeat. Well, I’d done the first part well, but I still had to find the stamps, so after buying a bunch of souvenir chocolate at the Gallerie, I asked their concierge (how interesting is that?) where to go.  He directed me.

I stood in a short line at the Post Office waiting for a clerk, watching the two women in front of me.  One was holding a small tiny baby that couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 weeks old and the other woman was in charge of the stroller, leaning over often to touch her friend’s baby.  I heard a chime. My turn and I went to station #2.

I pointed to the addresses and luckily the man spoke enough English to help me.  I paid for what I needed and then he pulled out his book of stamps, then asked me if I had any glue.


He pulled a glue stick out of his drawer, applied it to the backs of the stamps, pasted them on to my postcards, nodded,  and gestured to the people behind me to come forward.  So, I guess they don’t have glue on the backs of their stamps.

I retraced my steps, head still hurting, apple gone, bags getting heavy and remembered that I wanted to buy some earrings for a friend back home.  I jostled for control of the turn-about earring stand with some teeny-bopper, losing, then finally choosing a pair.  I wandered back to the U-bahn, grabbed the 100 bus, arrived home and fell asleep.

Dinner was at Kafer, the fancy food shop, which also had a nice restaurant on the side of the store, as well as very pricey restaurant on the second floor.  We enjoyed the patio-style restaurant, obviously.  They had a deadline of closing by 8 p.m. and they were serious about that, taking down the posts, rolling up the overhead canvas and stowing the cushions as we finished our dessert of fresh raspberry tart.

After dinner we walked around the neighborhoods, got money out of an ATM, then went back to the hotel.  Dave worked–writing to one of his former grad students about publishing their work, a corollary which had been discussed that day, and I did more tourist laundry, finishing out the day the way I’d started it.

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