Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Happy Birthday in Munich

I admit to a little jealousy that Chopper's birthday is usually on a holiday weekend at the end of May and we have time and good weather to take a little trip somewhere.  I enjoy those trips of course, but I want to take one for my birthday!  This year I decided to make it happen and it turned out beautifully.

On Friday the 7th, Chopper took the day off of work and we did some antiquing while the kids were in school.  That's something that we enjoy although we haven't yet bought any of the gorgeous furniture we've seen.  We don't really have the space!  Chopper loves to look for art and I've been purchasing quite a few beautiful tea cups and found some lovely linens and a beautiful Bavarian painted box for the post cards that I collect from the places we visit.  We had lunch in a restaurant without kids (wow!) and a relaxed day.

One city fairly close to us that we haven't even touched yet is Munich.  And spending a day there still qualifies as just scratching the surface but it was a wonderful day!  The previous week had been rainy and cold and even when we drove down Friday night it awful.  But Saturday morning came sunny and clear and while it was still cold it wasn't huddle-for-warmth weather.

In Germany, January 6 is Three King's Day - a religious and also federal holiday.  Museums, cafes, and restaurants were still open but shops were closed and in the morning the churches were all holding religious services so you couldn't tour them.  Despite that, there was plenty to do.
Starting of course with climbing on and posing with statues.

We like going in churches but we particularly wanted to see the crypt in this one: St. Michael's.  Munich is the capital of Bavaria and so the main city of the Wittelsbach family who ruled Bavaria for about 700 years - first as Duke's and then as Kings.  King Ludwig II (builder of Neuschwanstein and how many other amazing castles?) is buried here and we were curious to see if his tomb is as elaborate as he was in life.  But although we did get in to take a look at the church itself later, the crypt was closed.

 I told the kids that their birthday present to me needed to be smiling for pictures.  They did well!

We had breakfast at a cafe and then wandered around the Marianplatz while we waited for the Glockenspiel (the animated clock) at 11 am.  This is the Old Rathaus but it looks newer than the other because it had to be rebuilt after the war.

The symbol of Munich is a child monk.  Well he did start as an adult monk but apparently has evolved into a child over the years.

That's the new Rathaus and it's HUGE!  It was really hard to get a picture of the whole thing.  The twin towers in the background are the Frauenkirche.  We had a late lunch/early dinner at a restaurant in the basement called the Ratskellar and it was very good.

William took a bunch of random pictures with my phone but he also wanted to take a group picture and he actually did a very good job!

The New Rathaus is known for their Glockenspiel.  It plays at 11 and noon and depicts a wedding between a Bavarian prince and French princess and there's dancing and jousting (in which the Bavarian wins of course).  It was fun to watch!  This is just a small part of the whole thing - it was pretty long.
Afterwards we walked over to the Residenz - the palace right in Munich that was used by the Wittelsbach family. On the way there's quite a bit of high end shopping (all closed and we wouldn't have gone in anyway) but the kids particularly liked the displays at Louis Vuitton.  Given their customer base, I'm not sure how giant balloon animals appeal honestly we enjoyed it!

  We spent 3 hours at the Residenz and the kids were fantastic although bored by the end. There's only so much decor you can look at I suppose.  Our self-guided tour included the treasury, the palace itself, and the theater and this is a SMALL smige of what we saw:
crown jewels!

That ivory scene in the glass is so small and has individual leaves on trees.  I'm amazed at the detail by hand.

Megan's favorite crown because it looks like it's made for a doll or baby.  Nope, it just sits right on top of the Queen's head and looks slightly ridiculous there!

This tiara is huge and the pearl one was my favorite.

But you would of course need to the matching necklace, earrings, and (not pictured) bracelets.

Abby's favorite because it's made from the shell of a real turbo snail.

After leaving the treasury you start the palace tour in the grotto.  There are so many grottos!  I think it's the way that the ultra rich could stay cool in the summer.

And they had to import shells from somewhere -- there aren't shell beaches in Germany that I know of!

The Antiquariam houses someone's collection of ancient busts and headless statues.  The kids liked that and this massive room was spectacular to walk through.

The kids were glad that we had audio guides and not a guided tour.  It is easier for them when we go at our own pace.

Just a fantastic chandelier that I loved.

You can't really tell because the chandelier makes that corner of the room very light but this ceiling is flat.  It's painted to look domed and if you stand in the very center (under the chandelier) you get the full effect.  It really did work!

I would love to take more art history and architecture courses while here but I have learned very quickly that I LOVE Baroque and Rococo work.  Baroque sometimes has body parts in paintings that stick out for a 3D effect - the kids enjoy looking for those.  The stucco work is amazing.  With Rococo you get a lot of vines and leaves and things often done in gold or silver - mostly gold - and I admit that I am smitten by it all!

There were lots of lovely portraits but I think I want to recreate this dress for my next Regency era recreation!

Some rooms were fairly plain - the palace certainly reflected a variety of styles and the tastes of various rulers but all were still magnificent.

This is a giraffe piano!

Ceiling stucco work that is not painting is still amazing and often the white brings a lightness in.

Lots of ceiling murals

This one was gorgeous with the color

Another massive room.  One day I want to go to a ball in period costume in a room like this!!!  I know they're done, the invitations are just usually out of my price range.

Megan asked me specifically if she could take some pictures for Sammy, her best friend in Texas.  I very happily agreed!

There were several chapels in the palace and looking down into this one from above gave a perspective that we don't normally get.

This is the "ornate chapel."  That was the name of it!  Probably the only place I've seen more spectacular than this was the Arab room at Cardiff Castle.  Both divine.

I was trying to get a good view of the stained glass in the dome.  Since you couldn't actually go into this room it was hard to do.

 The walls

Ok are you ready for the Rococo?  Also, you come into this portion of the palace through a secret door panel in the wall - very fun!

Abby posing with her audio guide!

I'm a little obsessed!  There was a bride and groom taking pictures (which was slightly annoying because they would stay in one spot for AGES) and I wanted to have pictures taken in a beautiful gown in all honesty!

I love this picture!  My poor kids put up with so many museums and palaces and things because I can't help myself.  They are SOOOO good at being reverent in churches and not horsing around in castles but this picture reflects how they really feel about it.  I hope someday they remember and appreciate it but probably not!

The little blue spots are tiny vases all over the walls.

And those are miniature paintings!  I would love to have examined those up close but alas, another room we couldn't get inside but just had to look in over the rope.

The hall of ancestors

The theater

I'm not sure what Abby's face is here!

When we exited the palace we went into the Theaterkirche and it was lovely as well.

Then it was off to find food and saw a few street performers on the way.  The kids love these guys - they're statues until you give them money and then they move.  I think it must take a lot of patience and dedication without much reward.

One our way back to the Marianplatz we found the Michael Jackson memorial that was mentioned in the Rick Steve's guidebook.  It's the statue of a composer who has been largely forgotten and people have kind've taken it over for Jackson who was known to visit Munich quite a bit.  As we're looking at the various pictures and items Megan asks - who are all these pictures of? And when we tell her she says, even the girl ones??  So we had a little conversation about that!  Cracked us up though.

After lunch/dinner it was getting dark (but only 4:30 - winter is bad that way) so it was time to head out but one last statue before we go.

We had my birthday dinner and dessert on Sunday -- French dip sandwiches with au jus and creme brulee for dessert!  It was wonderful!  Chopper bought me a nice cabinet to keep my growing teacup collection in (which I added to over the weekend) and it was a nice way to turn 38!!