Oh man, I am so exhausted and sunburned from today. I went hiking for the first time in a long time and my right leg is screaming at me in pain because of all the walking I did (thank God for Advil Liquagels). I’ll post about that hike later in the week though because I am still trying to get through my Semana Santa travels!
On day 2 in Munich, I retraced some of my steps from the previous day with Nicole and Sarah. Marienplatz, watched the Glockenspiel show again, and we spent more time walking around the open air market called the Viktualienmarkt, just steps away from Marienplatz.
Oh and blast to the past: I just found an article published in 1982 in the New York Times about this market: http://www.nytimes.com/1982/09/12/travel/fare-of-the-country-munich-s-open-air-market.html
My friend Sarah ended up buying one of the adorable hand-made hedgehogs. I would have gotten one but I didn’t think I would be able to safely get it back to Spain without it breaking into a million pieces.
We then went into Peterskirche/St. Peter’s Church right next to the market. In fact, we visited a lot of churches while we were in Munich–or at least I did. They were all so beautiful on the outside and I swear I’ve never seen a city with so many big churches before. This is probably not true–most European cities have lots of churches. Lord knows I have visited enough cathedrals to guarantee me a spot in heaven–or at least I would hope so! But I just felt like there were so many churches in Munich.
The one thing I did not like in St. Peter’s Church were the preserved remains of St. Munditia, patron saint of single, unmarried women (oh wow how appropriate for me). Look I’m Roman Catholic and I’m all for the veneration of saints–but do we need to preserve them in this way???
The skeleton of Munditia (who apparently was martyred around 310 AD) is forever preserved in this glass case, wrapped in a protective bedazzled fabric–the jewels are to die for but the fact they are sitting on top of a skeleton make them less appealing. Also the false eyes are just so creepy! This is something to haunt your nightmares, plain and simple. I never did understand the need to preserve relics from the bodies of saints.
We were hungry by this point, so we then headed to the legendary Hofbrauhaus for lunch, one of Munich’s oldest beer halls. Both my parents plainly told me I’d be an idiot to not go here while I was in Munich. So we went to go eat and I finally had some German beer! The pork I had was pretty good, but the dumpling tasted like a lump of glue.
The place was founded in 1589 by Wilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria. It started off as a simple brewery, but the beer quickly gained a reputation for being some of the best beer around. Today it is now a restaurant/beer hall and the inside is HUGE! It spans several floors and there are so many rooms, including an outdoor courtyard for outdoor dining when the weather is nice. It seems the place was also frequented by members of the Nazi Party (including on occasion Hitler himself) to declare policies and hold official functions. The place definitely has a lot of history. It also has the second largest tent at Oktoberfest.
While the Hofbrauhaus is super touristy, there are also regulars. It seems that the regulars are allowed to keep their personal steins in these metal lockers. It is apparently super competitive to reserve a place in these lockers; I read somewhere that the only way some people can get access to one of these coveted spots is if a family member dies and leaves the stein to a relative in his or her will!
After lunch, we split up again. Nicole and Sarah headed to the Nymphenburg Palace which I had visited the previous day. I headed to the Deutsches Museum, per my father’s recommendation. It is the world’s largest museum of science and technology.
Well…. I thought it was too overwhelming. I really should have just stuck with an art museum (and next time I go back to Munich, that is what I am doing!). It was just too big and I thought a lot of the exhibits were boring. It was also an hour and a half to closing time and I just wasn’t in the mood for science and technology. Oh well. I thought the photography exhibit was cool though.
After I escaped the museum, I walked around some more and took some random pictures of churches and other buildings:
I also accidentally discovered the fairgrounds where they hold Oktoberfest every year. On the map it was shown as a large green space. I’m a logical person. To me a large green space on a map means it’s a park. Not so in this case. I got to the “large green area” from the map and discovered it was a gigantic wide open space of cement and concrete with some sad looking patches of grass. There were people walking around but I couldn’t understand why this was considered a park! It was so ugly.
Ok whatever, Munich. I went back to the hostel and did some research–and found out about the Oktoberfest connection. It’s empty most of the year but it is used for other festivals and special events. Oh and I saw the Bavaria Statue from far away.
Sorry for the long post! Up next: day 3 in Munich which will feature a visit to the Dachau Memorial Site, a former concentration camp. That post is going to be really tough to write so it’s going to take awhile to collect my thoughts.
Ok I am seriously about to fall asleep on top of my computer.