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Munich Weekend

February 26-28, 2010

Written March 2

Friends and Families,

OK, we took an easy weekend excursion to Munich but now, what do I do for this diary? I have resolved that these things are for our own use and have a very limited public audience, but I have to present something that MIGHT be seen "in public".

In thinking about this, I have considered my own pet peeves about modern "social websites"

-- A collection of a zillion photos, with no selection whatsoever, is boring. This is especially true if there are pictures that differ only by the momentary delay between clicks. People, PLEASE, only include the one picture that shows the audience what you wish to share. Don't be lazy.

-- Pictures without captions or descriptions. Sorry, but most of us don't recognize Uncle George or whoever. We need a clue. It is a lot more work to include captions or to put pictures "in context", but all audiences appreciate it. (I think, or maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy)

-- Text that is filled with jargon or not-used-every-day abbreviations. OMG. Doesn't anyone understand the point of communicating? It's not to reach people who already think like you, but to reach people beyond that little sphere.

-- If one is writing something with a limited life span, add some identification to that effect, because,it will live forever electronically. Something like a "Best read before March 10, 2010".

-- Finally, something which I have to admit I have struggled with, consider the purpose of what you are doing. Are you writing for a small audience or a broad one. Are you writing for today or "for the ages". Will you be flattered or embarrassed if what you write or show ends up on the nightly news or the NY Times. I ALWAYS hope for flattery, because life presents enough embarrassment.


Whew. Thanks for the opportunity to rank. (I HATE that word, by the way, but that's another .... rant.) Now, on with the diary.

Marianne and I have resolved to travel once a month. So far, this has happened at the very end of the month and has seemed a bit forced. "We must leave home to meet an arbitrary New Years Resolution. Why?" But, it works.


On the last weekend of March, we chose to go to Munich, our state capital. Normally, it would be an easy two-hour drive but, in the winter-season, we chose to try the train. It's not that the autobahn between home and Munich is tricky or over mountains, it's just that it is full of Netherlanders going away for ski vacations. It can be a miles-long parking lot.

The train from Nuremberg was quite pleasant. A bit over an hour, on the high-speed train, it's painless. When we reached the big city, we walked a few blocks to our Best Western hotel. (one of the benefits of spending half my work life away from home nowadays is that I earn free stays at Best Western hotels.) The Atrium hotel was right on the edge of a train-station-sleezey neighborhood and a trendy, centrally-located hide-a-way. I'm not sure which side of this border the place landed.

In our 48-hour stay, we visited one art museum (The Nue Pinakothek), two parts of the Deutsches Museum, two breweries, and lots of walking streets. Here are our impressions

The City

It had been years since we were in Munich. From the train station on, we were reminded that it is a big city, with all the bad and good that entails. Public transport was good, but the crowds were amazing (and this is NOT an Oktoberfest day!) We were taking a week to visit a place that needed a year. Oh well, we LIVE in Bavaria. We can do this often. City scenes.



With no particular recommendations to follow up, we stumbled into a couple of brewery-restaurants. One was crowded with locals and tourists and one was huge but almost empty. Both gave us good food, fresh beer, pleasant service, and big-city-reasonable prices. A good impression. A couple of food pictures.

We passed on the option of just having "street food", although I have to admit I was tempted by all the offerings of the kiosks around the center of town. Next time.


Neue Pinakothek

Our one art fix was the Neue Pinakotek. We passed on the other two Pinokotheks', Alte and Moderne, because I can only handle so much culture. THis was a good stop, better for the artist in the family than the engineer, but good nonetheless. Our pictures of a couple of their pictures.


Transport Museum

For me, the best tourist attraction was the Deutsches Museum Verkerszentrum or Transport Center. Here we could see everything from skis and bicycles to trams and trains, all in open , interesting displays. Here are our pictures from this recommended stop.


Frauenkirche and Downtown

A German city visit would not be complete without a church, in this case the Marienkirche. This famous Munich landmark may not be the highest or biggest cathedral in Germany, but it has it's share of buried royalty. And a footprint of the devil. Maybe the most interesting was a picture of the damage done by the bombing of WWII. We see this over and over in Germany, ancient buildings that look like they have been preserved for a thousand years, but were completely rebuilt after that war, hopefully for the last time.

After the mandatory church visit, we were free to wander around town. Mostly, it was filled with crowds enjoying the sunny weather. We caught the sinking of a vintage rock "star" and the show of a glass ball juggler. Big cities have this sort of thing.

We even managed to meet Marianne's cousin Klara and husband Gabor as they were driving from Budapest to London. It's the sort of trip we would get all worked up for, but they do such travels all the time.


Deutches Museum

This is a giant place, too giant. We went Sunday morning, arriving with the wave of young families providing educational opportunities to all the Bavarian yuppie-larva. We hit the foundry, the boats, the electric machines, the photography equipment, the weaving, and a bit of the pottery. We missed the mine (275 steps under the ground level) and at least another half of something-or-other.

Overall? Interesting range of displays, but dated, if one can say that as a criticism of a museum. "Do not touch" signs were everywhere. There were racks of displays with no indication of what we were seeing, not in English and, often, not even in German. Mom, Dad, the kids will learn to HATE museum trips from this!

Oh well, we lived despite growing up with such museums. And, we managed a few photos.


So, that was it. A good weekend, if not a great one. Now, we need to know where to go in March.




John and Marianne



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