Things to do in Munich
I wish all my American newsletter readers a happy Thanksgiving. If I may pontificate for a moment, it has always annoyed me when people call it “turkey day.” I think the vast majority of us, who have a roof over our heads, nice clothes, clean water, free time and plenty to eat should be thankful for the good things they have, as opposed to focusing on the luxuries they don’t have. Thank you for listening.
As you know, I recently spent a fun four weeks in France, Monaco and Bavaria. This newsletter will be a quick look at some of the most famous sites in Munich.
The Marienplatz is the central square of Munich. The building behind me is the rathaus, which means town hall. Towards the top you can see the glockenspiel, which is like a huge cuckoo clock, with a show on two rotating platforms at certain times of the day. Watching the show is probably considered a must-do thing your first visit to Munich, although it drags on a little too long in my opinion.
This is the Max-Joseph Platz, another city square near the Marienplatz. Behind me is the Beyerische Staatsoper, the opera house. On the left is the Residenzmuseum, probably Munich’s most famous art museum. To be honest, I enjoyed this museum much more than the Louve.
This is the Odeonsplatz. This is another famous square, which was used for civic speeches and parades. This square had a significant role in the Germany history leading up to World War II, but I won’t get into that.
This is the Bayerische Staatskanzlei, the current seat of government for Bavaria. My tour guide said it was mostly made of glass to show the transparency of the government.
It is illegal in Germany to display a swastika. That said, this door I believe used to lead to a building used by the German Air Force in World War II, replete with swastikas. Pieces of the design on the door were either added or removed (I don’t remember) to comply with the law.
This is the Schloss Nymphenberg, one of the most famous royal palaces in Europe. It was a summer palace for the House of Wittelsbach, the rulers of Bavaria before they united with Germany. I highly recommend this to visitors, although it is a bit out of the way from other major tourist sites. My favorite part was the Hall of Beauties.
I also visited the Pinakothek museums, both the Alte (art) and Moderne (modern) buildings. The buildings from the outside don’t look very artistic, so I didn’t take pictures of them. However, inside they are spectacular, especially the Alte museum. The Moderne museum had an exhibit of modern art in the 1930’s, which Hitler hated. I suppose to present the other side, they had one of his favorite paintings, which I hear was a controversial addition, the Four Elements.
In closing, I’d like to put in a good word for Mike’s Bike Tours. They have very fun and informative bike tours in English. My tour guide, Patrick, who I learned a lot from, was a native American living in Munich. As much as I like Europe and trying new things, the American style of giving a tour is the best.
I think there is an art to giving a good tour and I’d like to think I would be good at it. My style would be much like that of Patrick, with lots of stories and trivia, as opposed to dry facts and dates. On the other hand, I make a lousy guest on tours, answering every trivia question and correcting (sometimes in error) the guide where I think he/she is wrong. However, Patrick never got annoyed with me and seemed to like some historical debate. Please check them out at their place near the Marienplatz if you’re in Munich for a tour or to rent a bike.