Saturday, February 06, 2010

Day Out with AW

So, last week I sent a postcard to my Bavarian friend to let her know that I'm in the country. She's quite mobile, so I sent the postcard to her parent's place to make sure she receives it the next time she visits home. As luck would have it, her sister was home, intercepted the postcard and told her about it. Given that Karlsruhe is not that far, she's spending the weekend in Munich to catch up with her friend and me.

Seven years later after Suomenlinna, we meet again at the hotel lobby. After a long breakfast at Vi Vadi Cucina Italiana catching up, we take the train to Odeonsplatz and headed for the Munich Residenz. Given our limited time, we decided to explore only the Residenz Museum and skip the Treasury. As I paid for our breakfast, AW insisted on paying for the museum entrance fees.

The Residenz Museum is one big museum. Could easily take a day to explore if you use the audio guide for all the rooms. Inside are mainly apartments, ceremonial rooms, and courtyards of the Wittelsbach rulers. A big portion of the palace was destroyed during WWII, so some of the rooms have to be reconstructed. Most memorable for me is the Hall of Antiquities, the Reliquaries Room, and the Ancestral Gallery. The Hall of Antiquities (Antiquarium) was used to house the antique collection of Albert V, which later became a banquet hall. The Reliquaries Room a.k.a. Reliquienkammer. Inside this vault of a room are more than 60 reliquaries, containers specifically crafted to house relics, typically bones of saints and objects associated with them. One of the reliquaries on display is said to contain the severed head of St. John the Baptist. The same claim is made by many other religious parties. The Ancestral Gallery (Ahnengallerie) is a very long corridor where the portraits of the notable members of the Wittelsbach dynasty are set into gilden carved paneling.

By the time we finished the self-guided tour, it's way past lunchtime already and starting to rain. I was surprised to find out my friend is actually vegetarian. Took the train to Sendlinger Tor for lunch at the popular Prinz Myshkin (Hackenstra├če 2, 80331 M├╝nchen). I would've liked to take pictures of its high-ceilinged interiors, but didn't anymore. Another long lunch where we made sure our vegetarian food is properly digested. On our way back to the station, we passed by a small church with a striking facade in the Baroque style. It's called the Asamkirche (Asam Church), after the two brothers who designed the church; officially known as St.-Johann-Nepomuk-Kirche (Church of St. Johann Nepomuk). Cosmas Damian Asam and Egid Quirin Asam, who lives next door, intended for the church to be their own private place of worship. The church hierarchy didn't like the idea, and demanded it to be opened to the public. Unfortunately, the church is closed at this time, but we managed to get in and peek through the gates. The church may only be twelve rows of pews long, but the interior is chockfull of statues, sculptures, ornaments, and frescoes. The high altar is surrounded by four twisted columns with a wax figure of the church's namesake within a glass sarcophagus.

It's now 4pm, and we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the Deustches Museum, said to be the world's largest science museum. The bad news is the museum closes at 5pm. The good news is, entrance is free after 4pm. With half an hour to spare, we jumped straight to the exhibits on new technologies. With 55,000 sq. m. and 28,000 objects covering around 50 fields of science and technology, we've merely scratched the tip of the iceberg. By 5pm, all of the parents and their kids came streaming out of the island museum. So this is how German families spend their weekends.

Back at Hauptbahnhof, we killed more time by having a long coffee break at Starbucks, until it was time for AW to take her train back to Karlsruhe. Auf wiedersehen, my Bavarian friend.

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