It was difficult, but we finally forced ourselves to leave our air conditioned haven to explore Munich. Bill does a great job of finding lodging close to the Old Town of each city, and Munich was no exception. We walked to the palace where the Bavarian kings resided when they were doing business in the city center. It was in use from 1508 to 1918, when Germany became a republic. We could tell it was NOT built by Ludwig II because it wasn’t nearly lavish enough, although he did add a royal apartment and an enclosed winter garden with a lake. We saw the Church of St. Cajetan, and it definitely WAS lavish enough. It was commissioned in the 1600s by the king and queen when their long-awaited son was born. Its 230 foot high dome and beautiful white baroque interior with intricate plaster work had us in awe.
As we were walking toward Marienplatz, we passed the Bruno Walk, which made it clear that even many Germans were against the policies of Hitler. The way the locals of Munich staged their own mini rebellion was to completely avoid coming anywhere near the military complex attached to the palace. If they had to pass this building on their way to work or church, or wherever they were going, they would turn their backs on the complex, walk a block in the opposite direction, and then pass a block away. The worn cobblestones caused by these extra steps taken by the locals were replaced in 2013 in memorial fashion. Each new cobblestone is in bronze, showing a line of foot traffic heading away from the military complex.
Next we saw the Cathedral of Our Lady, where Ludwig the Bavarian was buried in the 14th century. Its majestic domes tower 318 feet over Munich. It had a beautiful interior, but its exterior was covered with restoration scaffolding.
We walked to Marienplatz next, the huge plaza where the town hall stands. It was obvious the town hall WAS designed by Ludwig II, both by its size and its decoration. In the middle of this fancy building stood a tall, steepled clock tower. We’ve taken pictures of a lot of clock towers all over Europe, but this one topped them all. Its front had two flower-covered balconies, two balconies with glockenspiels and moving figures, and a bell tower. Together these balconies have 43 bells and 32 moving figures. One glockenspiel acts out the story of a marriage of one of the dukes, followed by a jousting tournament (the Bavarian knight wins, of course). The other glockenspiel is a reenactment of the coopers dancing through the streets in 1517 when Munich was hit with the plague.
Once the show was over (indicated by a rooster chirping three times), we had lunch at the viktualienmarkt, a huge plaza of booth after booth of sellers offering everything from sausage to potato pancakes to Turkish delight. And, as our friend Curtis would say, “The Germans love their ice cream.” We could get a scoop of the creamy stuff for only a euro and a half. We selected a ham and cheese potato pancake, a veal sausage, and a grilled cheese sandwich.
Finally, we took a train to the airport. We hopped on a plane and said goodbye to Germany. A couple of hours later, we said hello to Ireland, but that’s another story.