Strolling Around Munich

We connected from LAX through Heathrow to Munich. Uneventful, except that I was smarter this time and packed us a lunch to eat instead of relying on their (icky) food.

Travel Story: The couple in front of us, older than us by about twenty years we figure, seemed mighty uncomfortable on the plane. She got up and down and up and down and just as we pulled into the gate, bolted for the bathroom. Upon returning, as we all stood waiting to get off, she announced out loud, that all of us sitting around her may have noticed that she was sick but don’t worry that her illness was not contagious, just something that happened to her when she flew. Okey, dokey. A little too much information, I think.

But as we toddled out after them, all of our luggage in hand, it was apparent that they were ill-equipped for the journey up to the main airport and beyond and their wheelchair hadn’t arrived. They looked lost. I felt sorry for them, but really couldn’t do anything for them. Dave and I discussed this later and decided that they thought they were 50 years old, just like we think we’re 30 sometimes. A common problem. I decided we should start making age-related adjustments, and NOW.

Okay, maybe later, just as soon as we get back from Munich.

Just for the record, London Heathrow is a big airport with too many people and too many gates. However they have nice security people who still had one of our iPhones saved after we left it in security. That was a heart-stopping moment.

We took the train into the city center, then transferred to the U-Bahn, or their mass transit system, which is very efficient. Then to the Hotel Printzregent, where we are staying. Love the pillows. We think this is the same room we stayed in last time.
An armoire in the hallway.

The weather is posted everyday on the wall.

Back on the U-Bahn and to Marienplatz, a central square that is ground zero for tourists. We joined them all on this fine Saturday afternoon, the weather a bit crisp, but sunny.

The large door to the New Rathaus (or Townhall), which was built between 1867 and 1908, in a neo-Gothic style, or so the guidebook says. I had gone to Borders before the trip to choose a guidebook for Munich. I chose it on the basis of weight, so some details are missing, but it has a great map in the back. The “Neues Rathaus” also houses the Glockenspiel, the famous chiming clock with moveable figures.
Doorway out to the Marienplatz.
Doorway to the inner courtyard of the Rathaus. Love the frog.
First you notice the buildings in a place, then the people. This waitstaffer was checking his cellphone messages. The long white apron is typical for Germany and we also saw it in Prague, too.

An older couple in typical Bavarian dress. We also noticed this group below, all decked out in their leiderhosen, and hats with feathers. We also loved the guy wearing socks with his sandals.

Signs of the impending Oktoberfest are all around us, especially these cookies with ribbons through the top. Make of lebkuchen (gingerbread), they are heavily frosted with designs and lovey-dovey and good luck sayings. We started seeing them everywhere, in the shops and in shop windows with trachten-moden (traditional dress), the cookies looped around their necks.

I asked a shopkeeper if this was typical, to wear them around their necks. Oh yes, she replied. But first we drink the beer. Then the cookies go around the necks.

So that’s the secret.

Many buildings have unique painting and designs, very Bavarian-ish in style. We like it.
This monk, with his outstretched arms is found on the tops of buildings, and of course, on the manhole covers. He’s one of the motifs we see repeated everywhere, as Munich means “of monks.” Read the linked article for more info.
The dancing figures of the Glockenspiel in motion. I did take some video, but left the passwords to YouTube home. Check back MUCH later, for updated video.
The jetlagged couple.

Munich’s Apple store.
I know, I should be noticing the BMW store, but that’s way out of town.

Okay, so we decide to try and get something to eat. We think it’s time to eat, it may actually BE time to eat, but the night is falling and we’re tired, so after looking at a few different restaurants, we stop here. The travel guru Rick Steves always says to watch out for places that bring you a menu in English. And Russian, Chinese, Italian and Spanish, but we’re too tired. So we get a cranky waiter who spoke perfect English even though he kept yelling at me that he didn’t (that was when I asked him what “Swabian noodles” were.) I suspect he had no clue either. Anyone? Sometime the translations are more trouble than they’re worth.

So I asked for the German menu again and they were spaetzle. So the above plate has roast pork with mushrooms. By this time we were still freaked out that we had to pay $5 for a small (about 8 oz.) bottle of water, so we just shared the Tourist Dinner (as we’ve come to call it) and sighed heavily when we remembered the manna we ate in Italy. (Really, this tasted much better than it looks. It’s hard to mess up roast pork around here. It’s practically their national dish.)

We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

This shop has its Oktoberfest garland all ready: greens with bunches of pretzels tied together with a distinctive blue/white diamond ribbon. The blue/white diamond pattern is like the Bavarian theme, found everywhere. I think it’s also on the Bavarian coat of arms.
We walked down the street toward Karlsplatz, another large square, only it’s round, where we saw our first “Tor” or city gate. We tried to figure out how to take the electric tram home, a lovely form of transportation, but the lines to our side of the city are all torn up.
So, back on the U-Bahn, where this newer version is all one giant open car, with circular open connections where a normal train-car connection would be. Nice.

And it’s nice to be here in Munich.

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