A view of Marienplatz in Munich from the bell tower of St. Peter's Church.
Day 7: Not much to write about today. Seven hours on the bus, plus an extra hour due to a traffic jam (which almost led to a number of emergencies due to the lack of a bathroom break before it). Susan gave us history lessons and played local music, but it was still a lengthy trip. This, our guides promised, was the longest travel leg of the tour. There was one distraction, an umbrella name Rupert.
On to Landsberg, a gothic walled town just outside of Munich. Once a center for trade, now a tourist trap. There is no information on Landsberg in the tour guide because the tour does not normally stop here, so it was a bit difficult to plan our time; but the guides did give us a map with short descriptions of the town sites.
We had a little while before dinner, so the group took a brief walk led by Lisa past the town square to the big church in town (the Stadtpfarrkirche, I'm not kidding, which had a nice Baroque interior). After that, I hooked up with Marsha and Don and we walked to the Virgin's Leap (not one of us was even tempted to jump), and then along the wall to the "most beautiful gothic gate in southern Germany," according to the pamphlet. Even with that many qualifiers, the gate turned out to be okay.
A scenic waterfall at a river bend frames the town. The river seemed about to break its banks the water was so high. Perhaps the rain of the last few days may explain it. 7 swans were lounging above the waterfall at a little beach (and a few ducks were cowering a little farther in, apparently afraid of the swans). One of the swans was standing on the shore, perhaps tired out from so much paddling to keep from being swept over the falls (by the way, these guys have HUGE feet). So, there were 7 swans, but only 6 were "a-swimming."
Dinner was with the group at the hotel (the Hotel Goggl-Wiedner [they have an enthusiastic website here]). I sat next to Raymond. I noticed on the wall a painted copy of Rembrandt's The Night Watch (much smaller than the huge original). Raymond noticed this too and added that the original was in the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands (which I visited on my Best of Europe tour 2 years ago). How many bus drivers do you know who would say something like that?
I retired after dinner. By the way I had a single room again.
Day 8: Ahh, the sun... The sun warms your skin like being really close to someone you like, without the accountability. Nice having you back, my friend.
Munich is a sprawling modern German city, with just a touch of old stuff for people like us. We had a walking tour with a local guide named Ingrid which started under the glockenspiel, continued through the shopping areas, past the onion-domed towers of the Frauenkirche, and then stopped at the lovely yellow Theatinerkirche (donated by a woman thankful for giving birth) and the Residenz. After that we had 6 hours free. Many went off to Dachau. I've already seen that show (2 years ago).
I ventured to the Deutsches Museum (passing a number of street musicians) and had a fat pretzel, weisswurst (the local white sausage specialty) with mustard, and a weissbier (wheat beer) in their courtyard cafe. Not quite a biergarten, but this will do. I spent 3 hours browsing through their science exhibits and saw everything, even though the guide book said it was impossible except for those with roller skates. All in all a very nice museum, but a bit overwhelming (especially after a half liter of weissbier), with extremely thorough treatment of everything. It bothered me though that nowhere in Germany's biggest science museum were weapons of any kind. In my opinion the history of science was affected more by weapons than anything else.
[From the museum, here are pictures of a tunnel cross section, a jumbo jet cut in half, the red baron, a pipe organ, the 10 story tall barometer, and a view of the city from the observatory on the top of the museum]
I walked to St. Peters (not the one in Rome) and climbed the tower to get an awe-inspiring view of the Marienplatz Square and the glockenspiel.
I then walked to a park near the Residenz to relax and write in my journal, and now we are in the present. It's a beautiful park, and lots of people are out on this cool sunny day.
Most of us ate dinner at a German restaurant in Landsberg. Many recounted their tales from Dachau. Apparently, the local guide was as skinny as a twig.
I retired after dinner and picking up my laundry at the hotel desk.
Click the pictures for enlargements.
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Last updated 03/18/2006 . Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.