Travels in Munich, Germany during March/April - 2009
by flyingscot4 on May 18, 2009
Springtime in Munich, and indeed, most of Germany, can be character building when it comes to weather. It is frequently cold, rainy with stinging sleet, and overcast much of the time. Yuk!Munich - Spring 2009I arrived at Munich's Franz-Joseph Strauss Flughafen on March 23rd. I took the S-8 suburban train to Munich's huge Hauptbahnhof, caught the #58 bus to Mozartstr. ("strasse or straße" is "street," "pl" is platz" or "place") and walked the 100 or so feet to my favorite hostel in Munich, The Easy Palace Hostel. I checked in, went to my room, and found a bottom bunk (thank God). After a quick shower, I organized my gear, grabbed my day pack and camera (just in case), and headed to the nearby Aldi for some groceries. I also stopped at a bakery for some rolls, returned to the EP, and had lunch. At about 1:00 PM in the snow, sleet, and cold, I started out on the 20 minute walk to the Old City of Munich. From there it was just a short walk to the Residenz and the Cuvillies Theater, which has reopened after being closed for renovation. After spending an hour or so at this absolutely stunning theater, I walked back through the 25 F degree snowy weather to Marienplatz where I said, "the Hell with it," and returned by the U-Bahn to Goetheplatz and the EP. Enough for the first day. As it turned out, it was enough for almost 5 days!Because of the weather, my days in Munich were spent in museums and cathedrals as well as sitting around reading a thriller novel for prolonged periods. Fortunately, my knowledge of Munich is pretty good and I have seen most of what piques my interest. I also was able to spend the last afternoon of this trip at Nyphenburg Palace and this time the weather was glorious.Post MunichIn any case, I left Munich on March 28th which was a lovely spring day (figures, doesn't it?), and headed for Nürnberg, which is still my favorite German city and I know it well. I was prepared for regular Bavarian spring weather (read Munich) and was delighted with cool but sunny weather for the rest of my Germany visit.This visit was actually revisiting places in Bavaria that I have come to favor over the years. Since I was expecting inclement weather, these cities and towns have lots to hold my interest in spite of weather problems. As it turned out, I had very good weather and was able to do more than I expected. I will do review(s) of all the places I visited, but here is a brief synopsis of each city.BambergBamberg is a delightful city with a long and storied history.
by flyingscot4 on June 2, 2009
It is indeed difficult for most of us to comprehend the wealth of some of the world's dynasties. The entire wealth of an empire was in the hands of a single individual to do with as he/she pleased. This is especially true in the cases of long-lasting dynasties. Like the Hapsburg's, the Wittelsbachs were around for centuries, seven to be precise. I mention this only in respect to Schloss Nymphenburg which was the summer palace of the Wittelsbach's. Their winter quarters were at the Residenz, an even more opulent palace. Ludwig II of Bavaria abandoned further enlargements of Nymphenburg and the Residenz, and opted to build new palaces, Schloss's Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, and Herrnchiemsee, completely bankrupting the Bavarian treasury. It appears that two palaces were not adequate for "Mad Ludwig" or "Ludwig, the mentally doubtful." Nymphenburg was commissioned in 1674 and completed a decade later. It was only the center section at first, but during the next 75 years the palace was expanded to include most of the palace grounds of today. As the main chancery of the House of Wittelsbach, it remains as home to Franz, Duke of Bavaria.
This stunning theater, designed by François Cuvilliés, is another highlight of the Residenz. With a four year renovation completed in mid-2008, the theater has been restored to its rightful place as one of the most beautiful theaters in all of Europe.Cuvilliés, a Belgian-born Bavarian, first came to the attention of Max Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, as a court dwarf. The Elector quickly recognized the the fact that the diminutive Cuvilliés possessed a certain brilliance in designing military fortifications and sent him to Paris to study. (The histories of both men are quite interesting.) Returning to Munich, Cuvilliés brought with him the new designs of Paris. During his lifetime, he brought the Rococo style to Germany with masterpieces of architecture in Amalienburg in the Schloss Nymphenburg park, the Residenztheater (known as the Cuvilliés Theatre), and the facade of the Theatinerkirche, all in Munich. His extraordinary works influenced many of the greatest architects in Europe.Like the Residenz, the theater has a curious and somewhat complicated history. Designed and constructed for Elector Max III Joseph by Cuvilliées, the Residenztheater, or "Cuvilliés Theatre" was constructed between 1751-1755 to replace the original theater destroyed by fire. Although the Residenz, including the "Cuvilliés Theatre", was destroyed during World War II, the stunning carved and gilded boxes had been removed and stored for protection. Following the war, the Residenztheatre was rebuilt in its present location in the 1950's. Another four year major renovation of the Cuvilliés Theater was completed in June of 2008.The theater is can be somewhat difficult to find (see photograph of the entrance sign). The entrance is located in one of the main courtyards which are very interesting in their own right. Entering the theater, one is confronted with a simple yet very elegant white outer lobby that belies the opulence and bold colors of the interior of the theater. The interior lobby is also simple, but elegant. The theater itself is small by today's standards, but it does make-up for it's size with elegant Rococo style. The carving is exquisite, the gilded boxes are salient and demanding of attention, and the physical blending of colors is striking. The overall experience is one of awe. (As is true of many theaters, the lighting is quite dim and taking photographs requires steady hands.) Little time is required to visit this jewel of Munich, and although many people spend only a very few minutes admiring this spectacular theater, it is very worthwhile to just sit in the ground floor seats for 20 or 30 minutes and then do the same from the balconies. This allows the overpowering beauty to seep into one's memory bank. Closing one's eyes for a few seconds and opening them to gaze on a different part of the theater, is an excellent way of visually exploring different sections. This unforgettable theater is one of the places in which I always think that I should have stayed longer.This theater has the capacity to leave one almost breathless. It is a wonderful place to allow one's imagination to drift back to an earlier time of nobles, aristocracy, and royalty. Note: It is worthwhile to view the images in "Full Size." Just click on one of the photos or the photo icon next to the number indicating the number of photos in the review. Then click on the selected photograph in the ribbon and click on "Full Size" under each image .
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