X
X
Top
ADVERTISEMENT

The Majestic Munich

The Majestic Munich
x
Highlights

My much envisaged four hour train journey from Frankfurt to Munich had a surprise in store for me. The ongoing strike by the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway Company-- Yes, European railways too can have strikes!!), cancellation of my original train and taking a much earlier train, which meant collecting bags, completing formalities and running frantically to the rail station which is within air port itself. Most of the signage being in German, for the first time I regretted not learning Deutsch.

My much envisaged four hour train journey from Frankfurt to Munich had a surprise in store for me. The ongoing strike by the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway Company-- Yes, European railways too can have strikes!!), cancellation of my original train and taking a much earlier train, which meant collecting bags, completing formalities and running frantically to the rail station which is within air port itself. Most of the signage being in German, for the first time I regretted not learning Deutsch.


Thanks to friendly people like Lloyd (a German settled down in California) and Linda Wu from Taiwan, both of whom are well acquainted with Germany, I knew exactly where to stand for my first class compartment, so that I would not miss it in the few seconds the train stopped. We soon started cracking jokes and bonding with much bonhomie. The scenic vistas outside went by smoothly as the train glided at high speed (reaches up to 300km per hour).

I took pictures outside while Linda clicked selfies. I checked into the centrally located Maritim Hotel, a stone’s throw from the railway station and joined my friends from other countries. With a swimming pool on the top floor, 50 per cent German and 50 per cent International Cuisine and an inviting Piano Bar and a lovely Bier Garten (Beer Garden) attached, Maritim seemed the most ideal choice.

With our guide Birgit, soon we all started a walking tour in the third largest German city that grows everyday attracting a large migration from neighbouring states and countries. Considered more cosmopolitan than Berlin, here every fourth citizen holds a foreign passport.

The 800 year old city was once under the Holy Roman Empire, with a flourishing economy in salt trade. Munich has been a centre of arts, culture and science since the early 19th century. After the devastation wrought by the World Wars, the city was rebuilt and resurrected to its former glory.

Presently home to many national and international authorities, major universities, major museums and theatres, its numerous architectural attractions, international sports events, exhibitions, conferences attract tourists in large numbers. During the famous Oktoberfest, six and a half million people visit and revel in the festivities for 16 days.

Strangely, the Oktoberfest takes place in September, as the latter has better weather and in the olden days, people used to go hunting during October. It is not just a festival of the famous German beer (125000 seats in 14 Bier Tents) but filled with day long entertainment of music, dance, etc. Ranging from grand palaces to towering town halls, medieval city gates and an enormous university complex, Munich's many landmarks are varied. Being a bike friendly city with more than 1,000 kms bicycle lanes, many locals and tourists enjoy cycling around.

The ‘Odeonsplatz’ is a large square in the historic city Centre surrounded by masterpieces in architecture, where groups of people can be found relaxing, spread around fountains and historical sites. The “Feldherrnhalle” or the "Field Marshals' Hall" is a prominent loggia, that was built as a tribute to the Bavarian army that fought in the Franco-Prussian War.

It features bronze statues of some of the most revered generals of Bavaria. Two large lions grace the steps: one is said to be growling at the Residenz (Royal Palace) and the other keeping its mouth shut towards the church. The Theatine Church at Odeonsplatz is probably the most eye catching structure, because its architecture departs dramatically from the rest of Munich's buildings. The church was built as thanksgiving by Wittelsbach ruler Ferdinand Maria for the birth of the long awaited heir to the Bavarian crown in 1662.

Under renovation, its scaffolding was covered by an artistically pleasing “Panorama Cover”, which also acts as an advertising board. One more monument nearby also had a similar panorama cover, to hide the unseemly scaffolding.

I wondered if India could adopt this method of covering scaffoldings with similar artistically done up panorama covers.

The Old City Hall is vastly ornate with hundreds of statues decorating its façade. The grandiose Opera House that was built back after a major fire, with the beer tax collected in the form of ‘beer penny’ and the New City hall were impressive too.

At the 400 years old Hofbrauhaus, the frescoes on the ceilings and the Beer Hall music added to our rich Bavarian meal. Next day I saw the cylindrical structure of BMW Head Quarters, Olympic Stadium, tall and stately Olympic Tower, and the tyre shaped Foot Ball Stadium called Allianz Arena. Then I went on to explore the rest of Bavaria…
Show Full Article
Print Article
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
Next Story
More Stories