Munich, Day 2

We had been spoiled with breakfast at our guest houses so far, so seeking out our own probably got us up and going a little earlier than we normally would. We did go back to the Viktualmarkt where we could choose food from dozens of small stores and market stalls. Mike and Julia had breakfast sandwiches, and Elizabeth and I had fruit smoothies, fresh bread, and fish. It wasn’t yet 10 am, and we couldn’t quite wrap our head around the many, many people sitting down to a large pretzel and a half liter of beer.

Beer and pretzels for breakfast?

May pole at the Viktualmarkt

We returned to the main square to watch the Glockenspiel display. Three times each day, the clock pieces perform a dramatic visual. The Knights joust, and then the lower figures dance.

It was cute, but more importantly, it put us in the main square to hear two young men play the marimba and vibes. Julia plays those instruments at school, and she was more than impressed by their technique.

We wanted a walking tour that still left us the afternoon to explore the gardens, so we downloaded Rick Steve’s walking tour of Munich and, using the online map, plugged ourselves in and walked the city. We found the map hard to follow sometimes, but whenever we ran into an actual tour group, they seemed to be getting the same information we had, so I’m giving it positive reviews for what we needed that day. We certainly didn’t learn or see much of Munich, but we got a good taste.

Jewish Museum

St. Michael’s Church, holding the tomb of “Mad” King Ludwig II

Frauenkirche, much rebuilt after WWII

Frauenkirche, originally built between 1466-1488

Michael Jackson would stay in Munich on occasion. People would sit in this park, across from his hotel, to see if he would wave from the window. When he died, people took over a statue in the park, as a memorial.

Renaissance composer Ludwig di Lasso’s statue is now a Michael Jackson memorial

Marienhof: The buildings here were destroyed during WWII, and the city chose to keep it as a park space

Max-Joseph-Platz: You can see the reflection of the Residenz in Julia’s glasses

An art exibit that let people play with mirrors

Golden cobblestones on the Viscardigasse alley remember a time when this small alley was used to avoid having to give a Nazi salute. Following 1923’s abortive Beer Hall Putsch, and the subsequent rise of the Nazi party, the Feldherrnhalle (on the next street over) became a monument for Hitler’s movement, with pedestrians expected to salute when passing by, but the nearby Viscardigasse alley provided an alternate route for those that refused to show their support.

The shiny cobblestones commemorate the detour brave Hitler-era citizens took if they wanted to reach the Odeonsplatz without offering a Sieg-Heil-style salute

Odeonsplatz, holding Munich’s “Hall of Heroes”

We had heard the English gardens were beautiful, so we saved much of the afternoon for exploring them.

The Hofgarten, once built as the gardens for the noble families living in the Residenz palace

We knew there was a restaurant/beer garden about a third of the way through the park, so we picked a route and started walking. The park was large with lots of small trails.

As we arrived at a wide, open space, we discovered something unique about Munich’s parks.

Look at the picture just above this text . . . There are lots of people stretched out on the lawn enjoying a sunny day. Now, what if I told you 20 percent or so of those people were naked?  Yup. Munich has what are called “Urban Naked Zones.” I’d read the travel guides, and that this exists was not a surprise. I assumed that maybe . . . If we found ourselves on a remote back trail . . . We might stumble upon one or two nude sunbathers. But it was not just one or two people . . . and they were not anywhere remote. In fact, the path we were on followed a busy stream where families were swimming, and a playground was just on the other side. It was a hot day, about 85 F, and naked people seemed to be everywhere. We just keep walking. With my American sensibilities, I did not trust myself to not impulsively giggle at the site of a suit and tie neatly folded on the grass right next to a totally naked dude stretched out and throwing a tennis ball to his dog, so we just kept moving.

Loosely translated: Sunbathing area for bathing in the nude. . . this freedom is a special expression for a liberal and tolerant society

We had lunch at Chinesischer Turm, a pagoda-style open air restaurant. We again feasted on sausages, chicken, and spätzle and cheese. The traditional German band was fun to listen to, so we rested here for a long time before walking further north to a lake. From here, we took the subway back to our hotel.


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