Friday, July 19, 2013

Marvellous Munich

Over 7 million people attended Munich's Oktoberfest celebration last year. Fortunately, it's in September, and we arrived in July for 3 nights. With grand old buildings and castles in town, and a short distance away in the countryside, it was a fascinating place to be. But we did not like it as much as Hamburg or Berlin....perhaps because we arrived from charming Rothenburg into what seemed like a dirty, crowded train station, outside of which were thousands of cigarette butts and lots of unsavoury looking characters getting quite drunk.

We had been told that Munich is regarded as a very desirable city in which to live with a different ambience than the northern cities. We found this to be true. People seemed much friendlier, both here and elsewhere in Bavaria, often offering assistance and directions.

We did a two day hop-on, hop-off bus tour which took us around town and out to Schloss Nymphenburg, the Wittelsbachs' Summer Palace, BMW World, and the site of the 1972 Olympics. Around town I visited the Residenz Museum (which as you will see is well worth a visit) while Sally took a day trip to see other castles. I spent an hour viewing some very edgy exhibits at the Jewish Museum and for my dear friend Gordon Price, managed a short visit to the Transportation Museum. I'll describe these briefly in my next posts.

But for those of you who haven't been to Munich, or like me were last there in 1969 and don't remember a thing other than getting drunk or stoned in the English Garden with wonderful German girls, here are some pictures.

At first, one is completely overwhelmed by the fabulous interiors of these Baroque period palaces...all the more remarkable since many were significantly damaged during WWII and had to be restored

The Frei Otto structure at the Olympics site still looks wonderful after more than 40 years. Meanwhile, I'm told many of the buildings at the Beijing Olympics site are starting to deteriorate
The BMW tower, built in the 70's looks very good today. I like the fact that the floor plan is in the shape of four wheels. What isn't apparent from this photo is like the former Westcoast Transmission Building in Vancouver, it's a suspended structure.
I include this picture out of respect for all the Munich cabbies who must line up for hours waiting for a fare. At least they get to wait in nice cars...generally mercedes, although there are other models....other than Priuses!
like all German cities, Munich has an excellent public transit system with frequent underground and tram service.
Many of the old buildings look quite new, and that's because they are. They were rebuilt after the war.

At the Opera House there was a gathering of nicely dressed people for an opening night concert. But it was instead of seeking rush tickets, we decided to go for dinner.
The Munich City hall is much nicer than the Vancouver City Hall

I was impressed by the number of commerical buildings with flower boxes in outside windows. If Vancouver wants to be the Greenest City in the world, we might need to encourage this too.
There was a lot of public art....old and new....around the city. This piece is called Walking Man and while we were told about the artist and story behind the work, I forgot. Perhaps someone can remind me.
This piece is attached to a building along one of many pedestrian streets. It's amazing how pedestrian streets can work throughout Europe, but are not considered feasible in Vancouver. Come on....let's just do it!


Anonymous said...

Walking Man (1995) by Jonathan Borofsky (1942-)
His most famous works are his Hammering Man sculptures, such as the one at SAM in Seattle.

Michael Geller said...

Thanks Anonymous! It's an impressive piece!