munching our way through various Christmas markets, savory bakeries and coffee shops found throughout every corner and crevice of the city.
Munich truly is a world class pedestrian city and we highly enjoyed being able to easily use their magnificent public transportation system... only a short walk from our hotel was a tram we would catch each morning, dropping us off at the subway station and down we would head to be buried for a short spell, whisking throughout the worm holes before being reborn in a new part of town
. Our favorite unearthment was popping up into the Christmas market at Marienplatz, set in a beautiful old town square with gothic, baroque and neo structures pinching it into a quaintness that seemed strange in the middle of a largish city. The Germans know how to eat and drink well and Christmas is a special opportunity for partaking in their favorite pastime... one can munch on gingerbread cookies, crunch a handful of sugar roasted nuts, nibble on poppyseed cakes or suck on brightly colored candies while washing it down with a steaming cup of gluhwein (mulled wine). While eating this concoction we meandered through the various stalls adorned with Christmas stuff... I call it stuff because although much is traditional, unique and handmade, it is still stuff... except unlike some stuff it is special in that it is Christmas stuff... which seems to bring smiles and warm memories to many... hopefully finding it's way in some family's cherished Christmas box, to be pulled out for a few weeks of the year... we ended up buying a small bag of stuff... and hope that one day it finds it's way on our grandchildren's Christmas trees instead of sitting on a lopsided table at some back alley garage sale...
Other than the Christmas markets we took in one of Europe's best collections of old master's paintings at the Alte Pinakothek... the collection of Brueghel's is worth the visit alone..
. not to mention the massive works by Rubens with a few Rembrandt's and Da Vinci's thrown in for good measure. But the treasure for me ended up being Jean-Honore Fragonard's piece, "Girl with a Dog"... for my mother loved this artists work... and each time I see one of his pieces I have old memories come to life of her carefully framing the prints of his work and artfully hanging them in our home... It is strange how the dead never really die... but can be found living in the most unusual of places... I have found many living memories of my mother in various places around the World...
The boys liked a few of the grisly Brueghel's, but were quickly ready to leave the cavernous halls of half naked paintings... so we brought them to the World's largest tech musuem, the Deutsches Museum located on an island in the Isar river... It is a treasure trove of touch and see exhibits ranging from glass production, marine navigation, the reproduction of Altamira Cave complete with remakes of the stone-age paintings and the techniques they used make them, to thousands of technical toys and life sized remake of a cavernous tunnel system that highlights the various mining techniques used throughout hundreds of years of mineral extraction... It was awesome and is a given a high thumbs up!
One of our last days in Munich was spent taking a train ride out to Fussen to see the Neuschwanstein Castle built by King Ludwig II..
. otherwise known as the Disney castle... It is a work of fantastical architectural art with a bit of a sordid history... Many years ago Debra and I brought her parents to see this castle... and as we walked the halls and stairwells of the interior we remembered her deceased mother Dolores, and the wide smiles she had while we toured from one delicately carved room to another... Once again bumping into the living memories of those seemingly lost loved ones... I like the idea that a small piece of Dolores rests in this beautiful castle... for she was quite a beautiful woman... both inside and out...
I am not so sure if the title of this entry is cleaver or just plain stupid... but as it was the first thought that crossed my somewhat scrambled mind I decided to leave it. For those out there who don't know, Munich's real name is München... pronouncing the Mu like a quick call of a cow or that white ball you might see in the evening sky once a month... which doesn't let it rhyme with munching... but if you pronounce it like you think it may sound in english, there you have it... so no worries... Either way we spent much of our time in