First off, I’m thrilled to find not one but six wireless networks within reach of my computer - four of which are unsecured. So, big thanks to the person who’s hosting me from my hotel room.
One slightly disconcerting note - when we arrived in Munich on Thursday night and caught the U-Bahn (subway) from the main train station to get to the hotel, we hopped on a train that was inhabited at one end by a group of disaffected youth blasting German heavy metal from a small boom-box. The boys in the group both had shaved heads, and one was wearing army fatigue pants and had the word “SKINHEAD” written on his forearm in black marker. He bobbed his head along with the music and held both his arms above his head, staring into space (which was also in the direction of the rest of the train car). I found myself worrying about something I’ve never had to think about when in the past I’ve heard people make racist remarks, because in the past it was never directed at me. As I watched him, I found myself thinking, “Do I look Jewish?” It’s not a good feeling. (Speaking of, I’m told by one of the drivers who was working with Chris this past week in Berlin that my last name isn’t just a German word, but also a typically Jewish name. I had no idea. So, whether I look Jewish or not, apparently Germans who see my name will have a pretty good idea of my heritage, at least.)
I decided awhile ago, while planning this trip, that I didn’t want to cram all the Jewish history sightseeing into this tour. I thought that since I’d never been to Germany that I should give it a chance at offering me happy memories before I associate it too much with Hitler and his regime. Seeing those kids on the subway was, as I say, quite disconcerting, and yet I’m inclined to think that they’re just being punk kids like any punk kids in the world would be - attracting attention by doing things that most people would find unacceptable. I could be wrong, and they could be real skinheads, but really - do members of the KKK walk around with “Property of the Ku Klux Klan” T-shirts on? Enough of that, let’s get back to the touristy stuff…
We spent most of Friday wandering - our hotel is located very close to the three churches I really wanted to see (Frauenkirche, St. Peter’s & St. Michael’s), so we did all of them. We also went up the tower of the New Town Hall which not only offered great views of the cityscape, it also scared the bejeeezus out of me by being open-air. Yipes! I managed to swallow a tidbit of fear and get close enough to the edge to take a few pictures, though. I do all of this for you, so I hope you’re happy.
We met up with friends of a friend for what had been billed as the “perfect” beer garden experience. They didn’t disappoint. They’d brought a picnic and we ate outside on the north end of the English Garden – very pretty, and (I’m told) very typically Munich. Never a beer drinker before, I consumed more beer that night than I probably have my whole life. My favorite concoction was actually half beer and half some kind of lemon soda – it had the same sort of sweetness that hard cider does – and it’s good they had something that wasn’t entirely beer, as the glass I drank from could have served as a swimming pool for one of my cats.
After it began to rain a little we headed back to their car and they drove us around to other parts of the city. We ended up walking a bit to what amounted to a “wine” hall and finished off the evening with some Muscat wine. They dropped us off back at our hotel at 12:30, and we were all happy to have met. They’re delightful, and I look forward to a continued relationship with them.
Anyway, here are some pictures for you as well, of our day so far. Oh, and we’re taking it nice and easy - we woke up at 10:30am. Ahh, vacation!
The New Town Hall, on Marienplatz. The Glockenspiel is on this tower, and does its little routine every day at 11am and noon. We saw it - it's pretty cute.
Frauenkirche, taken from the New Town Hall's tower; and the nave of the Frauenkirche.
The mustards I've grown completely attached to (especially the sweet one in the back); and apparently a new line of work for the Son of God - jewelry salesman ("Did Jesus Wear A Rolex?" should be cued on everone's stereo right about now).
That's me with our new friends, and then Chris & I. After I finished the one in my hands (yes, I finished it), I had one like the one Chris is holding. Finished that, too.