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Munchin' in München (Munich)

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"Of one thing there is no doubt: if Paris makes demands of the heart, then Munich makes demands of the stomach" - Rachael Johnson

Foodie moment

At our walking tour guide's recommendation we decided to have dinner at the Augustiner am Platzl restaurant in the city centre. All of the beer houses only serve one brand of beer (this one serving Augustiner beer), and each names their resturant after the beer they serve. This means you have to be careful you find the right restaurant (and give the correct full name if meeting someone there!) or you could end up at any of dozens of 'Augustiner' restaurants around the city. Being a few days before the start of Oktoberfest the place was packed and we had almost given up on the idea of finding a table before I spotted one hidden in a corner and dived on it. The quality of the food was fantastic (as always meat and potato heavy) and the servings huge. We had the Pork Knuckle cooked 2 ways (roasted and pickled) and 1/4 Roast Duck (If that is the size of a quarter duck then I'm scared of the size of German ducks!). Washed down with a couple of half litre glasses of beer we literally rolled out of the place after, Food coma!

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Cultural moment

When you think of Germany, its unfortunately impossible to not think of the World Wars. However, the city of Munich shows very few traces of that terrible time. There are little to no memorials to do with the wars, and those that are around are very hard to find and even recognise that they are memorials. There are still traces of Nazi history if you know what your are looking for. Some people criticise them for ignoring the truth and hiding their history, but they say that large recognisable monuments can become touristy features for the wrong reasons and anyone serious about remembering their history will find the ones that are there. For example, our guide had to point out one piece known as the Golden Path, which is a small path of golden bricks in Viscardigasse street. You wouldn't know it if you were standing on it, but it represents the alternative route that some citizens walked to avoid having to heil a monitored Nazi swastika sign that was on the main corner up ahead. Eventually Viscardigasse street was guarded by a Gestapo guard, and notes would be taken about citizens who walked down it. If you were caught not saluting the Swastika as you passed or intentionally avoiding passing it, you would be punished. This could include being sent to a concentration camp, so taking the street represented by the Golden Path was a incredibly risky choice for those who wanted to maintain a sense of honour and humanity.

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Another sombre place, that not everyone would recognise, is the Odeonsplatz. Here on the steps between the 2 lions is where Hitler gave his most recognisable speeches to the masses. It is exactly the same today as it was then, minus all of the Nazi propaganda and symbolism. It was a very strange feeling standing in the same place where Hitler spread his hatred by giving his frightening screaming speeches.

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Wow moment

The city centre of Munich is a really nice place to walk around. There are traffic free roads for pedestrians and the main squares (Marienplatz being the largest) are joined together by wide streets packed with shops and restaurants. During our walking tour we got to investigate much of the city. The majority of the city has been rebuilt, due to it being all but flattened by Allied bombings during WWII. Much of this has been done by referencing old photographs taken by the Nazi's (which they took as an alternative to showing any weakness to their public by sandbagging buildings or moving artworks to safe places!). Due to the effort put into rebuilding Munich as it was, it still has an old world feel to it. However, you can still see signs of economic crisis after the war in the way that some of the buildings have been rebuilt, examples being that their bricks and columns have been painted on! Our guide brought to our attention that Germany has only recently in the last few years paid off its debts for WWI, let alone WWII. Lucky for them they have big companies such as BMW which helped bring them out of economic ruin, and actually make Bavaria one of the wealthiest regions in the world.

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What we learnt today

In the centre of Marinplatz stands the impressive Old town Hall and in its clock tower is the famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel. We arrived in the square just before noon, and noticing the hoards of tourists standing looking up with cameras at the ready, I instantly followed suit. What followed was only beaten in tediousness by the Astronomical clock in Prague and perhaps the light show in Hong Kong. The music in the Rathaus-Glockenspiel started to play..... nothing happened or moved until about 5 minutes of music has occurred. Finally the characters in the Glockenspiel started to move, some turned slowly (apparently dancing?), some moved joltily from one side to the other (apparently joisting?).. this happened for a another 5 minutes or so. At this point I admit, the magic was not working for me, and my back was killing from bending back to film it, so we gave up and left. Apparently we missed the big finale where some sort of bird comes out and makes a noise... hmmm, I think we'll live with the disapointment missing that!!

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Posted by travellinglise 06:45 Archived in Germany Tagged munich

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