München, or Munich as the English call it (which is actually the original name) is the main city of Bavaria in Southern Germany. Random fact - it is actually second to the Vatican in terms of Catholic importance and is allowed to fly the Vatican colours. Oh, yeah, and the current Pope comes from München. It has a lot of church-type buildings in the central area and this is because the area used to be covered in monasteries. In fact, the city name means something like "by the monks".
We did a free walking tour around the city, run by New Munich tours. Free? Yeah. Rubbish? No. Payment is by tip only, and the guide gets no other income. So they have to do well, and ours did a brilliant job of highlighting important parts of the city and Nazi connections, and relating amusing little stories.
This is the Neue Rathaus, or the New Town Hall. It was built because the Old Town Hall had a problem.
This is the Old Town Hall. It is actually newer than the New Town Hall because it burned down in 1945 and was rebuilt after the War.
In St. Mary's church there is this footprint. The story tells that it is the footprint of the Devil. Actually it is the footprint of the architect, but they still cover it up during services just-in-case...
The view from the top of St. Peters church. That's St. Mary's church and the New Town Hall.
The Old Town Hall and another tower.
A column dedicated to Mary because of an amusing story. Ask me sometime and I'll see if I can remember it. One of the cherubs at the base is killing a chicken-snake creature that represents The Plague. At the time, these creatures were said to be invisible, so the townsfolk blamed the cats instead and killed them all. Of course this was great for the rats and even better for the fleas...
As a result, most cats in München today are of Italian descent.
The May Pole. Towns actually conspire to steal and ransom this for beer during construction. It's all part of the tradition.
Those bollards mark the approximate place where Hitler's bodyguard took eleven bullets from the Germany army during his failed revolution.
Here hung a memorial that Nazi SS soldiers forced people to salute on passing. Many people avoided this street because of that, but many of those were tallied and caught.
The new Jewish Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. The design of the building is fascinating - the lower part is meant to look like the wailing wall in Jerusalem, and the upper part is glass with a Star-of-David pattern beneath it.
Later that evening, P had the absolutely brilliant idea to go on a Beer Tour!
The "eisbock" (ice beer) on the left is 12% alcohol. Without any food since lunchtime, one bottle of this made me pretty happy pretty quickly.
Here we are before we got comfortable and stuck into even more beer...
We made a few new friends that evening. Beer makes everyone so happy.
Oh, yeah, and between beers we took a look around a micro-brewery.
The beer here is so good I will really miss it when I get back to NZ.
The next day, after our headaches subsided enough to go outside, we visited the Deutches Museum. This is Germany's largest Science and Technology museum and it ranks as one of the World's best. It has 47,000 square metres of exhibition space in 50 'departments' including things such as astronomy, petroleum, geodesy, and mining. Truly an amazing museum.
They have another museum just out of town dedicated to Flight, but there were plenty of old and new aircraft on display here too.
They have one of the largest model railways I have ever seen. Many of the trains have little remote cameras attached so you can see what they "see" as they zip around the track and through the tunnels. The explanation was all in German but it was fun to watch.
So delightfully simple. The jet engine I mean, not my wife.
Here's the high voltage test cage. They fired this up later in the day.
An entire floor of rocket engines! I think I died and went to heaven (in a rocket).
This woman has yet to learn the priceless lesson - "never turn your back on a helicopter"
Under the museum they have constructed a 700 metre long exhibit dedicated to mining. From the early days right up to the 21st century. Great stuff.
An Enigma cryptographic machine from WW2.
A Cray-1 supercomputer from the 1960's. Note the leather-covered seats and panelling!
The Deutches Museum was so good I went back myself the next day and tried to see more stuff. They have everything. The bridge building and hydro engineering sections were probably my favourite, along with the rockets of course.
The only downside is that many of the older exhibits have no English explanations. However, it appears that as they add new exhibits and update old ones, they are slowly adding sufficient English to make it worthwhile.
Tonight, more beer I suspect. Then tomorrow we head to somewhere that is a surprise. It's a surprise because I don't know where it will be. P is deciding and I'll find out in a few minutes...