|Subject: Munich, more on a short stay|
Just got back from 2 days in Munich. Because we are coming back soon,
we deliberately made a relaxing trip out of it. Many of the premier
sights are centered on or near Marienplatz. Pick up a map there or at
the main train station/Bahn-hof. It is nice walk from the train
station, but you might want to take streetcar/trolley 19 for a 15-
minute journey to Max Weber Platz. On the way you'll pass through
a lovely shopping district, by the Opera House, part of a park, cross
the Isar river. Instead of exploring the area around the Platz, we
took the number 18 streetcar back toward the Frauenkirche
and got off near Marienplatz.
Strolling through the open air market, we ate snacks (cherries, pastry) out of hand. When we got to Marienplatz (just a block or two if you are measuring in USA blocks!). Marienplatz has a wonderful atmosphere of street musicians, mimes, and the Neues Rathaus with its ornamented fašade and its glockenspiel and mechanical figures (performances at 11:00, 12 noon, and 5 p.m.). This building also houses a nice information center (also another one outside the front entrance Main Bahnhof). Bicycles can be rented there and guided bicycle tours through the Englisher Garten can be arranged. We spent time at Marienplatz watching everything, everyone, and drinking coffee at one of the outdoor cafes.
Near this square are some lovely churches besides the late-Gothic Frauenkirche. I recommend the Asamkirche. Small, exquisite late- Baroque church. We heard an impromptu choir recital by a group of eastern European parishioners on tour. They sang a capelle; it was wonderful.
That evening we ate at Hackerhaus, Sendlinger Strasse 14. This street runs into the south corner of Marienplatz. Good atmosphere, good food, mostly locals and German customers. Mentioned in Fodor's Pocket Munich, but the address is wrong in the guide book.
The next morning we attended services (Gregorian Chant) at Michaels kirche. On Saturday, we explored this church and saw the neoclassical monument in a transept contains the tomb of Napoleon's stepson. The white stucco interior is rather plain, but very beautiful because it sets off the lovely statues of angels and saints. They are smiling and consequently, I thought this church had an especially happy feeling.
Walked to the Residenz (near Marienplatz again) and saw one of its 3 museums: The Schatzkammer. It has a very nice collection of jewel studded crowns, crosses, and many other ornaments and baubles. I thought everything was very nicely grouped and displayed. We also visited a toy museum (one corner of Marienplatz square), but I really can't recommend it, except for the museum shop. If you want to get some really unique gift books for children and adults this is the place to do it. The most interesting books were reproductions of turn-of-the-Century children's books. The children touring the displays were really sweet.
Munich is great; different; lovely Baroque churches; want to go back many times. Got there on Saturday about 12:30. In two days, we just saw a tiny bit of what there is to see; everything within walking distance and convenient trolley stops and S-Bahn stations; it wasn't really warm there (more like San Francisco; but not windy). We had only a few misting sprinkles and at night, rain at about 10 p.m. (at that time of night we were snuggy and warm on the 6th floor in a pension). Hotel-Pension Beck Thiersch strasse 36 tel. 089 220-708 or 089/220-089. Bath and shower down the hall. Mentioned in Fodor's Pocket Munich. It was comfortable, cheap, but no elevator!
By the way, Munich was a very easy trip from our place in Stuttgart. We went up on the ICE (fast train) and came back on the Shones Wochenende (35 DM/5 people). Coming back was fun. We went on a different route (by way of Donauworth) and the countryside was even more beautiful than the usual way (by way of Ulm), which is still pretty. The train was crowded, but the train was a double-decker with observation cars. We sat in first class, because it was the end of a 4-day weekend and they opened up first class to everyone. Actually, I can't tell the difference (seats looked and felt the same). The train was full of volunteer firefighters: fireman and firewomen. Everyone had been to a national convention of volunteer firemen. They all were in uniform and there was much singing of folksongs. Some older women behind us joined in and pretty soon our car was rocking. A charming fireman sat across of us and told us about his town Schwabish Gmund and asked all about the upcoming US elections. He is Bill Clinton's age, he said. He said, My generation changed things. Schwabish Gmund had an installation of Pershing missles aimed at Russia and the Russians had missles aimed at us. We took to the streets and made them (US military and German govt) remove them. We also talked briefly with a young man from China (Beijing).
If you plan to travel a lot in Germany, a Bahn-Card is a good deal. For about $130 US dollars you can travel anywhere in Germany for 50% off. You can get them at any big station. They are supposed to be for residents, but as long as you can provide a German address on the form you must fill out (bring passport picture or use automat-type machine in the station), you will qualify for a Bahn-Card. You will receive a cardboard card immediately, and your plastic card will arrive in about 2 weeks.