Monday, August 8, 2011

48 Stunden in München

Achtundvierzig Stunden mit einem meiner Lieblingsmenschen in einer meiner Lieblingsstädte der ganzen Welt.

As if the capris and even more ubiquitous smoking rooms in the Munich Airport left any room for doubt that I was in Europe, the first thing I saw outside the terminal was a protest:

Re-redefining Münchner Freiheit

Manolis and I headed first to his apartment in Messestadt to drop off my bags and freshen up...

...before heading to Odeonsplatz:

Wilkommen in Deutschland, home of Mercedes-Benz and the U-Bahn
(and a 90% chance that you're in one or the other)
Feldherrnhalle, a monument to the heroes of the Bavarian Army

We popped into the Englischer Garten for a late lunch on Galeriestraße and a walk around Hofgarten:

Manolis diving into the really awful tagliatelle
Deutsches Theatermuseum
Bayerische Staatskanzlei (Bavarian State Chancellery)

Then headed south along Marstallplatz to Maximilianstraße:

Cool art exhibition near Salpeterstraße
The building where Manolis worked this summer
Maximilianstraße, the most expensive real estate in Germany

We crossed Maximilianstraße and continued south past the Hofbräuhaus to Marienplatz, home to both the old and (relatively) new city halls of Munich.

The sacred location of my brother's first Maß five years ago
Neues Rathaus (New City Hall)

Then took the U-Bahn to Kolumbusplatz for a stroll along the Isar River:

Reminded me of the locks on Namsan
To the north, the Deutsches Museum
God save compound nouns.

After our walk, we headed back to Messestadt for dinner, which consisted of whiskey, Wurst, Greek tomato salad and homemade fries.

The next morning, we visited the Deutsches Museum, the world's largest museum of science and technology. The 28,000 objects on display span over 50 fields ranging from pharmacy to tunnel construction to hydraulic engineering. Incidentally, it seems revealing of German cultural identity that the national science museum is referred to simply as the 'Deutsches Museum' rather than the 'Museum von Meisterwerken der Naturwissenschaft und Technik' (though I suppose brevity may also be a factor).

Deutsches Museum
Museum entrance
Aviation exhibit

We then crossed Ludwigsbrücke and to catch a movie at Museum Lichtspiele, the cinema-slash-hipster hangout of Lilienstraße.

Am Gasteig
Stopped for a snack at a sidewalk newspaper stand with an impressive drink selection

After watching Super Acht in a crowded room full of tobacco-scented cool cats (who, in my opinion, provided better entertainment than the movie we paid to see), Manoulaki and I concluded we needed to splurge a bit on dinner, and we headed back north across the river for seafood at Brenner, a beautiful restaurant tucked inside the Weil, Gotshal & Manges building on Maximilianstraße. Dinner was followed by a late-night exploration of the neighborhood of the Jewish Museum, which somehow resulted in Greek radio and a contentious conversation about the alleged shortcomings of Stuttgart.

On Monday, Manolis left the apartment early in the morning for his German language course in Lehel, so I turned on the TV after breakfast and caught the end of an episode of Sturm der Liebe before deciding to head down the street to the Riem Arcaden shopping center, where I picked up two CDs–Wenn Worte meine Sprache wären by Tim Bendzko and An und für sich by Clueso–as well as a copy of a brilliant book titled Alles, was ein Mann wissen muss (All that a man must know). Seriously, let me know if you ever need an analysis of Picasso's periods, descriptions of various shirt collars, or techniques for physical combat.

I then headed to the Munich Residenz, the former royal palace of Bavarian monarchs (and the highlight of my first trip to Munich several years ago). The Residenz served as the seat of government and primary residence of the House of Wittelsbach from 1508 until 1918, during which it evolved into a magnificent complex of palaces, buildings, and gardens in the heart of the city.

The four lions of Residenzstraße (tapped in succession for good luck)
Audienzzimmer (Audience Chamber)
Kaisersaal (Emperor's Hall)
Ahnengalerie (Ancestral Gallery)
Cuvilliés Theater

After my tour of the Residenz, I crossed back through Odeonsplatz to Cosmo Grill to meet Manolis for lunch, which consisted of juicy burgers and Currywurst. The latter is one of the reasons that Germany is one of two countries in which I regularly eat pork (the other being China). German Wurst + curry powder = a product of globalization almost as delicious as poverty alleviation, at least in theory.

Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera)

We decided to spend the afternoon in Schwabing, a borough of northern Munich famous for its bohemian history and its rise to global prominence during the Prinzregentenjahre of Prince Regent Luitpold's reign, during which the neighborhood was home to influential artists and thinkers including Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ludwig Klages, Wassily Kandinsky, and Christian Morgernstern. Today, Schwabing, with its growing concentration of bars and restaurants, is one of Munich's most desirable addresses for young professionals.

Mein Lieblingsdichter
Somewhere in the world, a young man named Lambros is rejoicing.

After our walking tour of Schwabing, we headed south along Leopoldstraße toward the Siegestor (Victory Gate). After suffering heavy damage during World War II, the gate was reconstructed with a new inscription, which reads, "Dem Sieg geweiht, vom Krieg zerstört, zum Frieden mahnend (Dedicated to victory, destroyed by war, reminding of peace)."

Our last stop before I had to leave for the airport was the University of Munich, one of the top institutions of higher education in the country.

The atrium of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München also serves as a
monument to the members of the White Rose intellectual resistance group.
Outside the university

Alas, it never fails to amaze me that a weekend can disappear in what seems like a blink of an eye. Vielen Dank für die schöne Zeit, Manoulakimou!

Next up: Mozambique, here I come!