Thursday, July 07, 2005

Zurich & Munich

Spent the last few days on a drive south into Switzerland and Bavaria. Much of the trip was spent dodging raindrops, but overall was a sucess -- Munich, especially. It may now become my favorite German city.

My mom and I had originally planned a trip to Interlaken instead of Munich, hoping to end up on top of Jungfrau. But with the dodgey weather, we opted for the safer option of heading for the Bavarian capital. Turned out to be a good choice.

First Zurich. It rained and rained, but we did get a good Swiss/German meal out of it. I'm sure Zurich is a lovely city, and I'm sure the views of the lake are spectacular, but I won't know until I return because we couldn't see much because of the weather. Stayed at the Park Inn hotel by the Zurich airport, which has a McDonald's theme going. You haven't lived till you've dozed off with the Golden Arches serving as your headboard.

Munich was much better, both in weather and scenery. Though it rained off and on the afternoon and evening that we got there, the next morning awoke without a cloud in the sky. Ended up retaking many of the pictures I'd shot the night before just because of the improved lighting. Took a bus tour around the city with a trip to Schloss Nymphenburg, the summer palace of the Bavarian royal family. The jaw-dropper of that trip is the portrait gallery that Ludwig I made of his mistresses or other young girls that caught his eye. Imagine being his wife and having to walk through that room.

We explored much of the rest of the old town part of Munich around Marienplatz. Had a light dinner and a HUGE glass of beer at the world famous Hofbrauhaus. Followed that up with another beer across the street at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Next day was spent re-exploring the area with a climb up one of the Frauenkirche towers for its commanding view of Munich. Well worth the three euro fee. Then we watched the 11am clock tower show at the Neus Rathaus while sitting at one of the outdoor cafes in the Marienplatz. Then we hoofed it on over to a quick tour of the luxurious Residenz, where Bavarian royalty spent their time during most of the year. If you ever plan on seeing the Residenz, be prepared to do a lot of walking.

Then we packed up and drove up to Dachau to see the concentration camp memorial site. That was a sobering experience, though slightly detracted by noisy and disrespectful high school kids out there on field trips. Some of their behavior was shocking based upon where they were at. For instance what kind of kid takes pictures of themselves throwing gang signs in front of barracks where thousands of prisoners of war starved to death? Never saw any of their teachers or parents say a word to them. In some ways that was more depressing than the exhibitions.

So now that I've finally been to Munich, I can't wait to go back. I'm already trying to figure out when I can squeeze it in before the end of summer. August is looking good.

Tomorrow we leave for Amsterdam.

Photo Gallery of the trip.


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