These photos are generally in order of how I shot them with a few changes to help the story along. There are 18 if I counted correctly.
(Photos shot Sep. 18, 2011. Click on photos to enlarge.)
We got up very early Saturday morning to make a 6:40 am train. It was sprinkling in Weiden as we left. The train had started in the town of Hof over an hour earlier and had at least 3 stops before it arrived in Weiden. When we boarded the train it seemed mostly full, but finally we found 12 seats together for all of us adventurers.
The trip was uneventful. The German countryside through the train windows was picturesque. The train sometimes seemed as if it were going over 100 mph. Where the train & Autobahn paralleled we often outdistanced the cars.
The speedier part of the trip ended at Regensburg. From there the train acted more like a local than an express. We finally arrived in Munich about 9:15 am. Lots of us, including yours truly, got naps on the train so many of us arrived fresh and raring to go.
The train station (Bahnhof) in Munich is truly huge and larger than many U.S. regional airports. At least 27 tracks enter the building, all on one side.
Once in the train station we had to make some plans. We had traveled on 3 group tickets. 5 of us decided we didn’t want to stay much longer than 6 pm. We took one group ticket, which covered train fare for us all, and decided it was best to stay together. The other 7 split the other two tickets between a group who wanted to stay later and a group who wanted to stay as long as possible.
Our group of 5 headed for a restroom. We finally found it before leaving the station. It was very large and apparently a franchise operation. The price was 1 Euro to enter via an automated gate, and was co-ed. Once inside the urinals were at the far right, but otherwise open to view from elsewhere in the restroom. The stalls are completely sealed top to bottom if one wants privacy. The area was spotless, and janitorial attendants worked here and there as the guests went about their business. I had seen this type of group restroom in Europe in the past, but never one so large.
Once outside of the Bahnhof by coincidence we headed toward the Palace of Justice and, and unbeknownst to us, to the up scale shopping disticts, & the town hall beyond.
The Palace of Justice dates to the late 19th Century and is quite ornate. Here are 3 photos including one detail shot.
The weather had begun to clear and there were very large crowds about. The traffic seemed like it was a weekday. We continued beyond the Palace of Justice, crossed a parade route and entered into the Neuhauserstrasse where the up scale shopping begins.
This is a shot from an old arched entrance of Neuhauserstrasse back across a large plaza to the Palace of Justice. The train station is out of view at least another block in the distance. The rain had not yet dried up, but the sun was already out.
One of the things I have noticed in Germany is a very large percentage of the population smokes, the smoke of choice being most often a cigarette. If outside, you cannot escape the smell of cigarettes. Virtually every restaurant has inside & outside seating, while some offer outside only. If you want to visit a restaurant every outside table will have an ashtray and many of the tables will be taken by smokers. Germany may be justifiably known for its beer, but tobacco consumption doesn’t seem to lag too far behind.
While at a small restaurant/bakery one of our group bought a pastry & coffee inside instead of sitting down and ordering. When he went to sit down the waitress shooed him out of his seat, “no self service” she said. My sons will remember the same treatment in Monaco when we visited there in 1997. I kept him company sitting on a planter while the others ate.
Not far from here is a Rolex jeweler. I walked over there to see the window display. In it was an Explorer II for 5,350 Euro plus tax (19% I think). 5,530 Euro is about $7,500 US. I’m sure at least one of my readers will be interested to learn this.
It seems to me, at least, that the street names change with the least provocation. Just beyond the Rolex jeweler the street made such a slight turn to the right you would think it was still straight, but the name changed to Kaufingerstrasse. On our left was a huge cathedral. We walked a bit farther and I made this shot down Liebfrauenstrasse to this magnificent building.
This is the Frauenkirche, the Cathedral of our Lady built in 20 years beginning in 1468. It is one of the more famous buildings in the downtown area. The farther tower is wrapped and undergoing maintenance. We walked to the church & made a right where I got this detail of a carved wooden side door.
The backside of the cathedral is opposite of the city hall. As we arrived it was just after 11:00 am and the world famous Glockenspiel, part of the city hall, had begun to play. As the Glockenspiel plays life size figures dance about telling two stories of medieval Bavaria.
A Glockenspiel is a musical instrument consisting of metal bars arranged somewhat like a piano keyboard. It is played by hitting the bars with a hammer. I don’t recall seeing the instrument itself, but I imagine it must be very large. Certainly the sound carries across the entire Marienplatz, the plaza in front of the city hall. The large crowd was quite appreciative of the whole show. This is a general view of the tower and a close up of the two levels where the marionettes perform. Remember they are life size.
Not far from the city hall to the north is the old palace of the king of Bavaria. It is called the Residenz. The place is really huge currently holding 2 or 3 museums. We didn’t go in, but walked along the side of the building. At one of the side entrances is a brass statue of a lion.
Out of the frame at lower right the lion is holding a shield. Part of the shield was rubbed to a high shine. It looked like any woman who walked by rubbed it, probably for good luck. We didn’t see any men rubbing the shield.
Further along is a great square, the Odeonsplatz. Along one side is a large open theatre archway guarded by stone lions. Within is a huge heroic looking statue. Along another side is another famous church, the Theatine Church of St. Cajetan. Opposite of the church the Residenz continues along for a couple hundred more yards before it opens into the Hofgarden.
This is part of the square.
Here is one of the stone lions.
The façade of St. Cajetan.
and a close up of one of the towers.
This is part of the north side of the Residenz facing the Hofgarden. Now you get an idea of the scale.
The center of the Hofgarden is dominated by the Temple of Diana. It is a large stone gazebo (for lack of a better word) some 40 or 50 feet tall. Inside a few musicians were playing. Not far from there a wedding couple was having their pictures taken by a professional photographer.
This photo of the Temple of Diana is one of the best of my trip, at least so far. I like to think it could make a postcard.
Not far from the temple was a fountain. It had a large marble block with 4 bronze heads, one on each side, shooting water into the pool. Of the 4 heads this was the only one with painted eyes. It made me think I would hate to meet this statue on a dark street. It surely has a name, but I call it the unhappy fountain.
From here we walked a ways back toward the Marienplatz, but took a different route. Along the way was this heroic statue of Maximilian Churfuerst von Bayern. He was apparently a Bavarian king or notable from the 18th century.
From here we caught the underground to the Oktoberfest and that will be the subject of the next email.