03.06.2015 - 03.06.2015
We leave Lauterbrunnen today and make a 5 hour trip to Munich. We headed over for breakfast and again ate up big. It was a sunny day. I am thankful we had good weather as it would be quite sad to be leaving today if the previous days had had bad weather (I’m never quite sure if using two hads is correct).
We travelled north and came to gently undulating country – it was still very neat (a characteristic of Switzerland). I had an idea that all of Switzerland was mountainous – but that is not the case. We travelled briefly into Austria and then into Germany. The scenery along the way was very beautiful. At times you pass mountain ranges but the roads are good and, once we were out of the Lauterbrunnen region, not at all windy. Cars travel very fast on the highways in Germany. We were travelling at 120kph and cars were zooming past us – they must have been doing at least 150kph or even higher. It takes a bit of getting used to.
Munich is the 3rd largest city in Germany – the city itself has a population of about 1.5 million – but greater Munich has a population of 5.8 million. The tom-tom does not work in Germany so we were guided by a similar app on Bill’s phone. It directed us quite easily to our hotel – the Leonardo – which is a 3 kilometre walk from the city centre.
We settled and then walked into the city centre. We crossed the river Lsar – the river flowing through Munich. It is about 50 meters wide and flows quite fast. It has gravel banks and large numbers of people enjoy the river and the sun on these gravel banks. They put down mats to lie on. It is evident the people of the city love their river!
We then walked into the city centre – it is a vibrant city. We walked through the farmers market, which was crowded and then into a large eating area. They use tables and bench seats in these outdoor areas (and in Beer Halls). Wherever there was shade the tables were crowded. As it was a warm day most were avoiding the sun. All kinds of food is sold in this area – especially beer. The Germans are very keen on their beer. I saw one little old lady sitting with a glass containing a litre of beer – I don’t know how she would be able to contain it. The area had a gala atmosphere – enjoyable to walk through. Munich must be “Bike City”. It is flat and has invested a lot of money into making the city bike friendly. Consequently there are bikes everywhere. We then walked into Marienplatz (Mary’s Plaza) which contains the town hall. The plaza or square was packed with people – in fact all the streets were. I really enjoyed the crowds of people. There is a column with a statue of Mary in the square which is where the name Marienplatz comes from. Munich is a Roman Catholic city. After the Reformation the area of Germany (which as a single nation did not exist in those days) became partly Protestant and partly Roman Catholic. Basically back in those days your religion was decided by the prince/lord who ruled over you. Munich was one of those cities that remained Roman Catholic. So there are a number of Catholic Churches in the city area. We visited three of them. But as Bill said – once you have seen the Churches in Rome you are pretty well spoiled for seeing other churches. One little church we visited was very ornate (an Italian Church on steroids) but it was just too overdone with ornamentation – we were not impressed.
We then watched the famous puppet display called Glockenspiel in the tower of the town hall. It chimes out a tune and life size puppets then move. The main story is about the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V and Renata of Lorraine in the 16th century. It shows a joust between two knights. Then there is a second show about coopers who danced to bring vitality to the city in 1517 after plague hit the city. Unless you knew the story it would not mean too much – but it is one of the famous tourist attractions in Munich. Apparently Renata was a very good woman who did a lot for the poor.
After that we walked quite a distance to a Beer Hall. Now that sounds bad – but it is really just a big restaurant that serves meals and all kinds of drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic). Very much like an English Pub only a lot bigger. It has the bench tabIes and bench seats which are so typical in Germany. I had a delicious meal of German sausage with sauerkraut, Andrew had pork knuckle (which he enjoyed) and Bill had a veal snitzchel (which he also enjoyed).
We then walked back. It was a long way – I was thoroughly exhausted when I got back to the hotel.