Sunday, February 28, 2010

St Michael's Church Munich

The coffin of Ludwig II
Sometimes you just have to take the time and look around. I've been in München for nearly two months now and almost daily walk from Staccus/Karlstor to Marienplatz and each and every time I do I walk past this building that is being cleaned up. Here in Germany they put up a big picture of the building in front of a building that is being renovated or cleaned.

This is a big year for Bavaria as it is the 200th anniversary of the marriage of Franz Joseph and Maria Teressa more commonly known as Oktoberfest to the rest of the world. It is also putting on the Passion Play in Oberamergau so there are some things going on that is making the town put on its best face. So looking for things to do my sister said that she wanted to visit the tomb of Ludwig II king of Bavaria. He is best known for his Neu Schwanstein castle. Never heard of it? If you've ever been to Disneyland then you know it as the white castle with its tall peaks and turrets.

Alter of St Michael's Church
So here we are daily walking by this building and thinking that it was something else entirely. As it turns out I did some research on the internet and asked a few friends here and was told where Ludwig II was interned. So it turns out that this is St. Michael's Church in the heart of the pedestrian way between Staccus and Marienplatz. The church is in need of getting its pipe organ repaired. It is a beautiful church and if the sun is out you should be able to get some very nice photos of it. There was very little sun out when I visited here so I bumped my point and shoot up to 3200 ISO and it worked fine.

It will cost you 2 Euro per person to enter the burial chamber but worth the trip. Lots and lots of history there in the basement of the church. We were lucky enough to hear the organ being played and I took a video of it but it is to big to put on here. It is beautiful sounding and it is in need of repair as you can hear a few sour notes as it is being played. It should be very beautiful when it is repaired.
So take the time to look around, be curious. I had the fortune to be able to spend some time here. Slow down, look around. Sometimes it is better to take your time and see things than to race through and glimpse at a bunch of stuff snapping photos as you go buy. Try some different angles with some of the things you see. I did with this statue here going for an almost portrait look instead of a static statue. This figure was next to an alter so I was pretty close to the floor and zoomed past the alter so it wouldn't show. I still had the camera set to 3200 ISO so this is what came out of the camera.
Had my sister not been interested in seeing this I would have missed it all together. I have missed it the last four times I was here. It was worth the time and effort to find it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Churches München

If you like visiting churches then when you are in München and you find yourself around Marienplatz looking at the Glöckenspiel then you are within walking distance of several very beautiful churches. Frauenkirche is to the left of the old courthouse, the building with the Glöckenspeil, it is just a couple of minute walk to get there. Alte Peter is to the right and just to the right of the bank which is visible while you are in Marienplatz. The pedestrian zone ends and there is a street to the south Alte Peter is just around the corner. If you find Alte Peter then you will also discover that there is a Deutsche Museum shop directly across the street from it. Trust me you'll feel much lighter when you leave that store!!
This is the alter of Alte Peter. If you are interested you can also pay to climb up the tower of Alte Peter and have a wonderful view of München.

This little church is St. Kajetan Theatinerkirche which is just a little way down from the Residenz and a nice church to visit. It is across from Feldherrenhalle.

There is also a church inside the Residenz that is being restored and I took this shot of the stairwell just because I thought it was interesting.

Vantage points München

I've been to München several times in the course of several years and several times since I've been here this time. It is amazing the discoveries one can make by either looking up or down. I found this vantage point to get this photo of the Glöckenspiel on the new town hall by accident. I've known for years that there is a restaurant where you can visit and see the Glöckenspiel from the same height just about instead of being with the masses on the ground below.
This vantage point discovery and several other accidental discoveries made for a very good day in München. One of the few days since I've been here that there has been some sun. Okay well it is behind the clouds but it was possible to see some blue sky for a change.

This was obviously not taken at 11 or 12 which are the two times a day when the Glöckenspiel actually plays. Just so you know also it plays for about 15 or so minutes so when the rooster crows the show is over. Also the Bavarian Knight always wins the joust! It is after all Bavaria. If you take the street to the right of the new courthouse and turn left and walk about ten or fifteen minutes you will end up at the Residenz, which has some fabulous things to see along with a very nice museum. If you take the same street and go to the right you will find Alte Peter a very beautiful church. If you walk along either street past Alte Peter you will end up in the Viktualin Market. Food Market where you can see and taste many different kinds of foods and colors. Watch out for the pigeons they aren't to afraid of people. Here is also a manhole cover that I discovered by looking down. I love the work put into it.

Theresienwiese, München

This wonderfully bland scene is where the famous Oktoberfest is celebrated every year. This year will be the 200th Anniversary of the marriage of Franz Joseph to Maria Theresa. The original celebration was a horse racing event. It eventually turned into the celebration it is today. Upwards of up to a half million people are on this field every night during, some of them actually sober! Just clarify things Oktoberfest is held the last two week ends of September and the first weekend of Oktober. If the Monday following the last weekend happens to be on the 3rd then Oktoberfest is extended that day because in Germany it is a holiday.
This is the statue of Bavaria. In front of her during Oktoberfest is part of the midway full of rides and vendors selling their wares. During the summer months it is possible to climb to the head of Bavaria and observe the Theresienwiese.
A thing that most people don't know is that all the buildings for the celebration are only up during Oktoberfest. The field is otherwise empty as it is a park and an emergency exit site for the U-Bahn below.

This is the statue of Bavaria

 Just had to have a photo of me in front of Bavaria. Someday I'll take a photo from her head if I'm lucky enough to be here when she's open. Someday.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hard Rock Cafe, München

Here is the bar of the Hard Rock Cafe in München Germany. Pretty easy to find if you are in the Marienplatz Square walk south past the white building, Old Rathaus, turn left and walk up one block, turn right and at the first street turn left again and you'll be in souvenir alley. You will find the Hard Rock Cafe at the end of the block and the Höfbrau Haus directly across the street. You'll find there are souvenir stores for the München football teams and the Höfbrau Haus. You can eat and drink at both the Cafe and Höfbrau haus. I was here last in 2003 with my family. Funny thing is that we had a waiter from America and this visit I had again the same waiter. It was a sort of slow day so he was able to chat for a little while.

In the Hard Rock Cafe it is possible to get drinks with ice. Ice cubes are not normally served with drinks in Germany. If you ask for a drink with ice you server will give you a strange look because in German 'ice' means usually Italian Ice Cream. Ice cubes look like dice and in German what we call ice is icewürfel roughly translated it means ice dice. Just so you know. You can get a pretty much American Hamburger there also if that would be your choice.
We had a good time visiting with our neighbors and revisiting with our waiter. He was surprised that I remembered him after seven years.  I was surprised also because usually I don't remember things like that.

This is the stage at the Hard Rock Cafe, München. Thank goodness for table top tripods.

Alte Pinakotek Art Museum München

This is Alte Pinakotek as seen from the street in front. Amazing that such a simple looking building could house some of the best paintings from the world's best painters. We were fortunate enough to be there as there was a special display of Peter Paul Rubens paintings in one of the halls. Quite fantastic to sit on one of the many padded ottoman style seats and just gaze at the paintings. Time just flies by and before you know it you've been there several hours.

This is Madam Pompadour shown in all glory. An unusual portrait to show herself as a highly educated and wealthy woman at this period of time. It is quite an interesting painting and one can spend several hours looking at it. One cannot visit this art museum in an hour or even a day. The thing is there are three of these museums within several blocks of each other. It is simply amazing, one can walk here in less that a quarter of an hour from the south exit of the München Hauptbahnhof and the history you pass along the way is absolutely incredible.

This little Madonna painting was one by none other than Leonardo de Vinci. You can get within a few inches of these paintings. Most of them are covered by protective glass now. I was in München in 1982 and this museum was closed because some one came inside and threw battery acid on many of the paintings. They were taking steps to insure that the act would not be repeated.