Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't Munchen The War

Bavaria is pretty. It's not a word I use often, but there's only so many rolling green hills dotted with immaculately kept white houses and absurdly picturesque cows (that's right, a picturesque cow) you can see before you have to admit prettiness. It's also not the green that ends at the edge of the heavily watered crops, turning instantly into a resigned brown, but rather a green that traipses merrily through the crops and grass, spreads up into the leaves of the trees, gets intersected by a railway and then continues on it's way as far a the eye can see. I found it very difficult to explain to my Austrian and Dutch hostel room mates why green vegetation was strange to me, let alone at the end of summer.

As if these hyper-bucolic surrounds weren't enough, Bavaria has places like the Nymphenburg Gardens and Neuschwanstein. Neuwschwanstein is the medieval inspired castle crazy King Ludwig II had built up in the mountains outside of Munich more or less as a tribute to Wagner. It's the inspiration for the Disney castle and was designed, not by an architect, but rather by Ludwig and a theatrical set designer. Unfortunately for me, the best view of the castle was more or less ruined by the fact they're renovating it and it was covered in scaffolding. I'm sure an images search for Neuschwanstein will show up some good pictures though.

Final note on Neuschwanstein: the view of the castle used by Disney in from Mary's bridge, which the guide warned us not to go on if we were afraid of heights. I'm not, so on I went. I would like to change my official answer to whether or not I'm afraid of heights. I'm a little nervous of 100m high 150 year old unmodified wooden bridges where the planks on the bridge have a good couple of inches vertical travel in them.
From Munich
See that shadow with the lack of any appreciable supports under it? That's the bridge.

The Nymphenburg Gardens, of which I've posted quite a few photos, is probably the best set of gardens I've been to. It's basically a set of walking gardens and wooded areas set around this enormous formal garden which runs straight through the middle.
From Munich

The gardens are out the back of the Nympenburg Palace, and although you have to pay to get into the palace museum, which is kind of dull , the gardens themselves are free and dotted with Muncheners reading, jogging, and generally relaxing. As per some requests to prove that I am genuinely overseas and not "holed up in Burnie masquerading as a foreign traveller," here's a shot of the palace obscured by my ugly mug, squinting delightfully into the sun. You'll just have to trust me that it's not photoshopped, I suppose.
From Munich

Munich itself can be summarised thus: there is a traditional Munchner meal called weisswurst, which consists of two white sausages, a pretzel and a half litre or litre of weissbeir (wheat beer). Not so unusual, shows the German love of sausage, baked goods and beer, right? Well, true, except that no place in the city will serve it after 12 noon. That's right, if you want weisswurst, you're committing to a pint for breakfast.

I'm really glad I went via Munich, it was a lot of fun. Now I'm in Copenhagen, which reminds me so far of Hobart. Tomorrow I'm going to go find out if Copenhagen has more things named after Hans Christian Andersen than Paris does named after Charles De Gaulle.

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