Travel Munich with ME

Two weeks ago my husband and I flew to Munich to kick off a work-ation, where I basically vacationed while he spent his days at a luxury trade show with his co-workers. I lazily had breakfast alone in our hotel, Hotel AM Markt (awesome location!), like the sad, solitary creature I am. Then I’d wander out to see the market, exploring the amazing produce, and local products while talking with myself as per usual. White asparagus seems to be all the rage in Germany these days along with wieners, sauerkraut, potato salad (made with vinegar) and giant pretzels. I have yet to eat a vegetable in many days but I think that’s only because I’m eating out constantly. I’m sure at home the locals put their fresh produce to use. But I’m definitely going to get scurvy.

After a few days our friends from Italy and Greece joined us in Munich so I hung out with them. We walked around all day, visited various sites (many that you badass readers recommended ) like the Haus Der Kunst, a modern art museum that is one of the last remaining places in Munich with swastika designs in the tiles above the entrance.


Near the museum we found a river where insane people were surfing, in 50 degree weather in the rain. Impressive to watch but I felt for them and their deep purple, frozen feet.


We followed the trail near the river that led into an enormous park, green grass that sprawled out for miles. It featured ponds, ducks, and middle-aged naked men. It’s legal to be nude in the park so dozens of (mostly) men take full advantage of it. I’ve never cared about nudity and I think the fear that Americans have of naked bodies is comical. But I couldn’t help but giggle at the sheer pride those men took in displaying their anteaters. Most of them layed down facing the walkway, propped on one elbow, one knee bent, their penis’, limp, and listless, against their pale thigh. A triumphant display of ego and foreskin.

Things I Saw (thank IIona and everyone who gave awesome tips): 

  • HB brewery: A super touristy place but also a historical one.  Everyone told me to skip it and I get why, BUT Hitler delivered his 25 point plan at this brewery, and the terrifying nazi party (“workers party”) was essentially born here among the beer. I had to see it because so much had happened here.  The 500 year old brewery was also a favorite place of Vladimir Lenin and Mozart.

  • English Garden: Gorgeous break from the city. If weather permits have a picnic! Or, just stand on a rock near the surfers and be in nature that way.

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  • Vktualien Markt farmers market: Awesome place to buy fresh produce and little deli gifts for family back home (like hot dogs!).

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  • Ice cream at True & 12 (excellent recommendation): Fresh, delicious, and the perfect way to spike your sugar after walking the city.
  • Chinesischer Beer Garden

Where we stayed: Hotel AM Markt. It was cute and a perfect location to do all of the super fun things you guys suggested. It was affordable and breakfast was cheap. Most importantly they give you boiled eggs and the little boiled egg stand so you can eat your egg with a spoon. I like to use a fake accent while doing so and bossing around my imaginary butler. “No William, I haven’t the time today. Have to get through these two boiled eggs and my morning coffee.”

Recommended Itinerary By my new friend Honourable Husband (check him out on his blog http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com). I based a lot of my trip around the advice he shared in my blog comments that I’ve shared below because it’s great stuff:

  • “Spend the afternoon on Prinzregentenstrasse. Catch the number 100 bus toward the Ostbahnhof, hopping on and off.
  • Start at the Odeonsplatz. Seek out the subtle but chilling memorial to Shirker’s Alley, behind the Feldernhalle—the big raised stage. (http://www.yelp.com.au/biz/shirkers-alley-m%C3%BCnchen-2) While you’re at it, rub the Lions’ noses outside the Residenz for good luck.
  • Hop on the #100 toward the Ostbahnhof (careful—not toward the Hauptbahnhof) and get off at the Haus der Kunst. There, you’ll encounter the preposterous sight of the Eisbach surfers.
  • Next door, the Haus der Kunst was one of the first galleries built by Hitler and cronies to house proper, conservative representational German art—the gallery now hosts travelling exhibitions which celebrate precisely the opposite. After WWII, authorities rid the city of every visible swastika; the ceiling of the portico is one of two remaining spots where they simply couldn’t easily remove them from the tiled pattern.
  • Further down Prinzregentenstrasse, you’ll see an imposing structure that houses the Bavarian Ministry for Infrastructure, Technology, International Trade, Bombast, Hauteur and Self-Importance. The original HQ for the Luftwaffe, it contains the other remaining swastikas, in the iron grillework in the fence down the side street to the left.
  • Hop off the bus again at the Villa Stuck. (http://www.villastuck.de/http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com/blog/2008/03/chance-encounter-with-an-old-friend.html) Franz Stuck was a professor of art in Munich in the late 1800s, who taught both Kandinsky and Klee, which earned him a knighthood (he became the freshly-minted Count von Stuck) and the hand of a rich American widow. The latter let him build the imposing villa, which is a stunning example of the Art Noveau style (“Jugendstil”) which the neighbourhood is famous for. If you don’t fancy taking in the rotating exhibitions, you can buy a cut price ticket for just the historic rooms, and it’s worth it.
  • Nearby in the neighbourhood is the Friedensengel (Angel of Peace) (http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com/blog/2013/03/the-angel-of-piste-.html ), the Russian consulate (that explains the protest display mounted by the resident of a nearby apartment building) and the Käfer food hall. The last is a must if you’re a foodie seeking a crash course in German smallgoods. Nice cafe there, too, if you’re in the mood. On the other hand, if you and your husband are jonesing for an Italian coffee, the Trogerstrasse holds a microscopic establishment called the Extrabar, run by an elderly Italian lady whose daughter and son-in-law have installed a 1950s espresso machine for her that seems to perplex her a tad. On the other side of PRstrasse, opposite the Palace hotel at Trogerstrasse 44, is a nondescript building that housed one of Munich’s few Jewish safe houses in the thirties and forties.
  • Last stop is the Prinzregentenplatz. Biggest and most prominent building is the Prinzregententheater, built expressly for Wagner operas in the early 1900s. Sweet talk your way into the auditorium, conservatory and restaurant for a look. The frescoes are quite cool.
  • Nearby, in the police station at number 16, is another chilling spot. On the second floor was Hitler’s private apartment from 1929 to his death in 1945. It was here that Neville Chamberlain signed the ill-fated Munich Agreement in 1938. From time to time, Hitler would use the balcony to address supporters who would gather outside.
  •  (It you’re interested to learn more about Munich’s sad and prominent role in the events that led up to WWII, you can drop in at the just opened NS-Dokumentationszentrum in the Königsplatz, not far from the Lenbachhaus gallery which Harvey wisely recommended. BTW, hi Harvey!)
  • And on that note, it’s time to catch bus #54 toward Münchener Freiheit. It will drop you at the door of the famous Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden, where all the naked sunbathers repair after working up a thirst.”

I had a really great time in Munich. It was a fun city with a lot to do, it was so beautiful and livable. Also, the city is insanely clean (like eat off the floor clean). I used Duolingo to learn about 10 words in German and two sentences. So, that was fun but everyone speaks English (though to be polite I try to do my best when visiting another country so I don’t sound like an asshole (better to sound touched in the head than like an entitled twat, I always say). 

And? Lederhosen. Awesome. But I couldn’t find any doggy-hosen for Oliver or Capybara-hosen for Dwayne and that was sad. BUT, I did find baby-hosen. I think that Francesco wanted me to buy Derndl for some German role-playing because he kept telling me I should buy it and he NEVER tells me to buy stuff. Anyway, you cannot desecrate the dirndle or the hosen! Get it together, Francesco.  Overall? Loved Munich. 

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Munich And The Human Condition 

 
What I find fascinating about Munich is that it’s a place with conflicting layers, the days of yesterday, horror stories of. Munich was home to the epitomy of human cruelty ( and proof that all we need is a bit of fear and pride to support the most evil of evil) and yet today it’s a beautiful city full of well-dressed young professionals and charming outdoor farmers markets. There’s also an impressive variety of hot dogs. I’ve eaten hot dogs for dinner two nights in a row and it’s about time I start translating the menu. 

  
Yesterday I had a beer at Staatliches Hofbrauhaus in Munich, a 500 year old pub that has been a favorite hangout spot of Mozart, Vladimir Lenin, and it’s also where Hitler gave many of his political speeches. On Feb 24th 1920, he proclaimed the 25 point program of the Nazi party (at the time it was still the “workers party”) at that very pub. And I sat there with my husband drinking beer and talking nonsense. Every once in a while I’d remember that Hitler used to hang out there. I’d feel all icky with Hitler cooties, and then a moment later I’d be talking about something totally unrelated. It’s fascinated how our brains can touch on something terrible then bounce back almost instantly as if nothing completely horrifying had ever happened. I assume it’s our coping mechanism that allows us to exist because, my friends, throw a bit of pride and fear in the mix and we can be monsters, or worse, we can allow monsters to become dictators. 

  
People don’t really change much, only time changes. Yesterday afternoon I had a coffee where the barista, a charming, sweet man, handed me my cappuccino with a wink and “a beautiful coffee for a beautiful woman.” A man of about ten thousand years old sat at a table behind me, clearly old enough to have witnessed Hitler’s speeches, or even old enough to have served as one of Hitler’s Youth (possibly old enough to see Jesus walk on water). It was a strange thought to have in a sweet cafe with the sunlight and the families having lunch and that cute old man having a beer with his friends, reminiscing about dinosaurs or whatever the ancients chat about. It makes us feel safer to think that people were really different back then, they weren’t “like us,” but I don’t think that’s true. People are the same, only the rhetoric changes. It was a stark reminder of what blind nationalism and the fear of “the other,” can do. 

How fucking depressing. And so? Drink more beer and then hide from the world behind it. 

  
What I like about Munich is the beauty and simplicity of the food markets, the men in their lederhosen, having a beer with their friends, laughing boisterously in the cold and rainy street (with apparently no ability to experience the cold…Germans are clearly weather-proof). 

  
These wonderful things float between the complexity and darkness of the past like the cream center of an Oreo cookie. On these same streets that are now full of tourists, drunk Englishmen,  were the same streets where sixty-plus years ago Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, black people, were being dragged from their homes and sent to internment camps. It’s one of the most powerful illustrations of the dichotomy of the human condition, our ability to be both lovely and horrific. 

Also, is it just me or does this look like Hitler playing a harp? It probably isn’t because that would just be insane, right? But it totally looks like it. 

  

Munich, A Super Cute City 

So, I’ve been in Munich for about 24 hours and I have to say that so far, this is one of the cutest cities I’ve been in a long time. The architecture is beautiful, the people are well dressed in their business casual attire as they go to and from work, and the food is obviously awesome. Our hotel is an awesome location, city center, Hotel Am Markt.  I had sauerkraut and spatzle for lunch. Francesco had beer and weiners. Seeing “wiener,” on a menu makes me giggle because I’m a twelve year old on the inside. 

   
 

Munich is super orderly and clean. So much so that a waitress at a cafe nearly punched me in the face for moving a chair at an adjacent table to get to my seat, then doing it again to run to the bathroom. “Ma’am, what do you need?!” She grabbed me. “A bathroom?” I responded. She sighed, pointed to the bathroom, then walked to the chair I moved and put it back one inch to the left. First lesson, do not move the fucking chairs. I’m now studying the Germans to see how they get into the tables without moving anything because I’m obviously a moron and don’t know how sitting works. I will break this code. 

Francesco is at work so I’m just bumbling around by myself this week. It’s going to be pretty awesome. Yesterday I saw a man yodeling for tourists in a plaza. He was wearing lederhosen. My life is complete. 

I’ve been uploading tons of video and pics to Instagram (M_E_Evans) and Francesco has barely been judgy about my stalking strangers. So far, I’m winning. Well, except for the chair thing. 

Munich, I Am Coming!

Munich Germany Travel

In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be on a plane for Munich. I’m excited. I’ve never been there and it kicks off a three week vacation of epic awesomeness where I’ll get to see Munich, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest and holy shit it’s awesome. And? There’s a lot to do. There’s packing, remembering underwear, and the seven-thousand creams that stop my face from falling off. Makeup, tampons, a hairbrush (which I almost always forget somehow), and my phone charger. I watch youtube videos on packing to help like this one on Packing Light For Travel (minus the taking photos of my outfits. Who has time for that shit?).

And? And I’m fucking stressed out. Excited and stressed is a weird combination.

I never used to stress about travel until I had Oliver. Oliver, you’re awesome, but you make life stressful as fuck. Thanks for that. I have to find him a sitter, make sure they understand the full extent of his insanity, prepare for every possible bad scenario, and then some which is terrible for me because I have OCD and “bad scenario,” for me is probably not bad scenario for other people who are less crazy. My brain goes worst scenario, then to a dark place that is traumatic like, “What if someone forgets to lock the back door and there is an alien invasion and the aliens exclusively eat Poodles?” My “what if’s” are terrifying and weird. So, I’ve spent all week thinking about scary things WHILE trying to learn German, and study the history of the fun places I’m going.

Speaking of German, I’m pretty much fluent at this point. And by fluent I mean I can speak two sentences that are probably all I’ll ever need if I’m trapped in the movie Legend and/or feeling confused about my vagina.

“Where are the unicorns?”

“I am a woman?”

Thank you, Duolingo, and my friend Thomas for helping me master this whole language thing. I give it two days before the staff of our hotel begin avoiding me. Oh jesus, there’s that woman that aggressively declares her gender. And? Everyone knows unicorns are SCOTTISH. Asshole. 

In preparation for my trip I’ve been reading blogs about living in Munich. I’ve found some really fun ones with some great info like wahlmuenchnerin. I have no idea what that means, actually, but she’s an American who writes about living in Munich. Pretty fun. I’ve also been slowly putting together of things to do and things to see. Anyone from Munich that has some fun tips for me? Put it in the comments below! I asked for some ideas on Facebook and you guys had awesome advice.

THINGS TO DO IN MUNICH: 

1. Englischer Garten with Biergarten with Chinesischem Turm and watch the surfers on Eisbach. If the weather is fine you will find a couple of nude people on the great lawn taking a sunbath.

2. Deutsches Museum

3.Augustiner Keller – original tradtional brewery with restaurant. Better skip Hofbräu Haus

4. Vktualien Markt – fantastic farmers market.

5.Marienplatz with Rathaus and close by one of Germany’s finest department stores : Ludwig Beck.

6. BMW Museum

7. Asamkirche

8. Neue und Alte Pinakothek

What would you guys add? Put it in the comments below? Any of you currently living in Munich? Share your blogs with us below! I’d love to read them! Packing tips? German phrases? Help a ME out!