Arriving in Munich in the afternoon, I thought I had plenty of time to research locations, but I didn’t bargain it on taking 40 minutes to try and find the tram stop to Rosenheimstrasse. Karlplatz is in the middle of a complete rebuild. Actually, most of Munich has scaffolding outside buildings, roads dug up and workmen toiling away.
I couldn’t find the stop, never mind, I’ll go by the U-Bahn. Yeah, that took another 30 minutes to find the right platform and the direction. Eventually I arrived there, and to my relief, I’d chosen a perfect location.
The next day, I went to Munich Residenz has been awarded 4 and 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor. It’s huge, and by that, I mean massive. There are over 130 rooms on display to the public, fortunately many of these were closed. Yes, you guessed it for renovation work. It took over fifteen minutes to find the entrance, and I only found it by chance.
The Residenz was the ancestral home of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria, when Germany prior to WWI had rulers for its 26 separate states, most of which were ruled by royal families. The most famous King of Bavaria was Ludwig II, who built some over the top palaces such as Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. Walt Disney probably modelled the Sleeping Beauty castle on Neuschwanstein.
Unfortunately, Ludwig bankrupted Bavaria and himself in the process. He was an interesting character who preferred to live in fantasy land, rather than reality. He became engaged but repeatedly postponed the wedding date and he never married. Probably because he preferred the company of his friend, Prince Paul. They read poetry to each other, and staged scenes from the romantic operas of Wagner. Although Paul did marry, Ludwig continued to enjoy close friendships with other men. He died a mysterious death which has never been fully explained.
The Hall of Antiquities is incredible with baroque, gilt and paintings. It’s worth the five euros to see this alone, and another four for an audio tour. If you’re expecting to see furniture, there isn’t much. Munich was bombed in the last War, destroying over 50% of it. The rooms look new because they’ve all been refurbished since 1958.
Another tram ride to see the English Garden which is pleasant to walk and sit in but I can’t see why it’s outstanding and a must see.
The NS Dokumentationzentrum is outstanding. The tour begins in the 1920’s and charts Munich’s specific history with Nazism using audio clips, footage and reading boards. The Nazi Party was founded here, and Hitler’s initial support came from the Bavarians.
The museum is free, and I paid 5 euro for the audio tour, and borrowed a folding stool which are thoughtfully provided. Some of the images are still with me. A Jewish lawyer paraded down the street, barefooted in the middle of winter, with his trouser legs cut off. The sign around his neck read. “I won’t complain about the Police ever again.”
A film clip shows ordinary people wobbling on their cycles past a Nazi memorial with their arms outstretched in the Nazi salute. Another chilling photo shows ordinary Germans having coffee and cakes in a packed café. There is one line underneath the photo.
“The Gestapo headquarters are across the road, and it doesn’t seem to bother customers.”
Trams are my preferred mode of transport, as I can see where I’m going rather than spending time under ground on the U-Bahn. 33 degrees were forecast but that didn’t deter me from visiting Nymphenburg Palace where Ludwig was born. It was the summer place of the Wittelsbach monarchs, and it’s enormous. There’s lots of walking to do if you decide to explore the grounds, but I skipped this. It looked as though some of the rooms had their original wallpaper and paint. When I enquired, I was informed by a delightful lady who curtsied to me at the end of our conversation, that the rooms had been preserved. Unlike most of Munich, the Palace had not been bombed. It had escaped because large green nets had been erected over it, and it blended in with the grounds. At night, the Allies planes couldn’t see it so they didn’t bomb it. I think that’s what she said.
Did I enjoy Munich? Yes, I did. I found people friendly and of course, the weather played its part.