Munich, Germany

On 10th August we have started a week long road trip in Bavaria region of Germany. Our first stop of 4 days was Munich (Munchen), Germany third largest city with a population of around 2.6 millions in the whole metropolitan area. The next stop in our trip was the world famous Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof Palace and the surroundings, but about them in another blog post.

I have chosen Germany and Munich as a destination mainly because of the good impression that Vienna (left image) and Austria left over us from the last year trip. Another point was that from Lausanne there is only 6 hours of driving up to Munich. However, I have to admit that the impression were below the expectation at the beginning of the trip for various reasons that you will find hidden through the rows below.

The first days we spend strolling around the old city center. My wife found it very entertaining as it is filled with shopping areas for all tastes and budgets. I, on the other side, found myself in a crowded area, with almost no quiet cafes and book shops, although Munich is said to be the publishing center of Germany, if not Europe. The main landmarks of the old city are packed together and it was difficult to find good angles to photograph. On top of this, several of them were under renovation and only one day I was lucky enough to have good weather. The cold (and old) German waitresses and the low variety of food (mainly sausages) of the local restaurants added to the discomfort.

Among the landmarks of the city center are the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche, left image depicting is famous towers and Virgin Mary's statue in Marienplatz), the New City Hall, a neo-gothic architectural wonder (right image), the Old City Hall (right image).

The following days we visited the Nymphenburg Palace at the outskirts of the city, the summer residence of the Bavarian Kings. Although interesting, is much less grandiose Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, and the lower part of the central building was under reconstruction (hence the reason for not uploading any image on the subject).

We also tried to visit Olympia Park, a sports and recreation venue constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics held in Munich, but unfortunately we were denied access to the parking area because of an important game of the local soccer team: Bayern Munich.

The last day we discover the most interesting part of the city, at least after my tastes: the famous Pinakothek(s). I have put it on plural, as there are three of them: the Old, the New and the Modern. We were limited by time to only one: the Old Pinakothek - an extensive gallery of classical paintings of "old masters" from 13th to 18th century. Inaugurated in 1836, even today its architecture looks modern, inspiring the design of countless other galleries around the globe.

The museum building was severely destroyed during the World War II, but reconstructed and reopened to public in 1950s. An interesting part of the exterior restoration is that the area affected by bombing was re-modeled using basic materials, uncovered by decorative layers, the affected part remaining strongly visible. Unfortunately the ornate, pre-war interior has not been restored, looking very modern as visible in the side image. In the vicinity is also located the Glyptothek (right image), a museum to host a collection of Greek and Roman sculptures, build in neo-classical architectural style around 1830.

Another sight that impressed me was the Deutsches Museum, the world largest museum of technology and science. From the exemplification of the ancient processes of iron smelting to World War II vintage airplanes and discarded space modules, all the greatest science discoveries and engineering achievements in science and technology are exemplified and explain for everyone's understanding. I have spend more than half a day in this building on the edge of Isar river and still could not cover all the sections of the museum. It is a must, i think, for all engineers and technically oriented persons! But please, leave your wives shopping in the center in the meanwhile...

Although not listed in any guidebook, I would like to add another landmark on the list: Volksbad, a Art-Nouveau building on the water front of Isar River serving as a public bath, with swimming pools, saunas and a famous restaurant (left image).

With its strong and weak points, nevertheless Munich was an interesting experience and still, I feel that I have left parts of it undiscovered...

Photo credits: Bogdan Lazar, Axel Drosta.

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