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Munich - Places to See

Munich is a wonderful city for expats to spend at least a few years in. All other things aside, its central position in Western Europe and close proximity to many near-by tourist destinations are good enough draw cards. There are many things to see in the city itself, and also within a few hours' drive.

Munich has over 80 museums and art galleries. The more popular ones are described in the Museum Exhibition section. In addition to these, there are lots works of art and architecture to admire in the many churches and castles scattered about the city.

There is literally a church on every block. Feel free to add to this list without going overboard!

Alter Peter Kirche
This is the oldest church in the city. For 2 euros you can climb the 300+ steps to the balcony of the clock tower for the best aerial view of the city from the centre of the city.

This is the large Gothic cathedral with two onion-shaped domes. You can catch a lift to the indoor viewing platform. Although higher than the Peterkirche the view is constricted by thin windows, so not as good as the view from Peterkirche.

There are plenty of castles in Munich and surrounds, as Crazy King Ludwig II had a lot of additional palaces built for himself at the end of the 19th century. Noteworthy castles to visit in the city or on the S-Bahn network are:

Schloss Schleissheim (S1 to Oberschleissheim)
Residenz (city)
Nymphenburg (17 tram towards Amalienburgstr)
Schloss Dachau (S2 to Dachau)

Adults will enjoy many of the places listed in the 'Places for Children' section. Other worthy tourist attractions around the city include:

The former courtyard of the Residenz, now a beautifully laid-out garden with the Temple of Diana pagoda in the middle. Talented buskers often make use of the acoustics in the pagoda, making the Hofgarten a very pleasant spot for lunch in Summer.

Just to the east of the Hofgarten is Odeonsplatz, which has lots of historical significance for the 30 Years War and Hitler's uprising. Odeonsplatz also hosts outdoor concerts, a multicultural festival in late September and is the end of the St Patrick's Day parade.

From Odeonsplatz, if you travel away from the city along Ludwigstr you will reach the Siegestor. This translates as the victory gate, and there is a statue of Bavaria with her trusty pack of Bavarian lions. The thing she is probably thinking of setting the lions on is the Walking Man, a big, white statue of a featureless humanoid in a walking position which is a little further up the street on the right. Believe it or not, they bother to print pictures of the Walking Man on postcards!

On the opposite side of the English Garden to Ludwigstr is the Isar river. The stony banks are often covered with naked sunbathers in summer, and there are additional sights. The Friedensengel (Peace Angel) is perched high on a column, whose base has 4 fantastic mosaics. A little further upstream there is another angel. This one is a little less sure-footed, so she has a wide building called the Maximilenium to balance on. This building looks fantastic at sunset and when lit up at night. There are heaps of tree-lined walking and cycling paths on the east bank of the river, that flare out into large, flat banks which are good for picnics and ball games. Barbecueing is officially outlawed, but lots of people do it.

Marienplatz (Glockenspiel)
The very centre of town is Marienplatz. In the centre there is the Mariensauele (column with a golden statue of Mary at the top). A popular photo to take is to position your camera so that Mary appears between the two onions of the Frauenkirche. At 11am, 12pm and 5pm Marienplatz is packed with tourists - many of them taking photos and video footage - of the Glockenspiel doing its thing. Chimes and music keep onlookers in suspense for almost 10 minutes before the figures start to move. The top section shows a joust that took place between a Bavarian and an Austrian at the wedding feast of Duke Wilhelm V in 1568. (Guess who wins?) After the joust, some Morris dancers whirl into action. At 9pm, during the Summer months, different figures traipse around in circles to either side of the main figurines, putting the Muenchenerkindl to sleep.

One of the most over-rated and over-priced grocers in Munich is the Viktualienmarkt. This food market has a variety of stalls selling flowers, fruit, vegies, cheese, meat (from any part of the animal you want - including the head!), breads, wine and crafts. The variety is great, including normally hard-to-get Asian fruits, but the produce is often a little under-ripe.

No trip to Munich is complete, even during Oktoberfest, without a trip to the Hofbrauhaus. This huge beer hall, close to the centre of town is very touristy, yet very Bavarian. The waiter service is also classic Munich service, as the staff have perfected the technique of looking straight past you when you want to attract their attention. The best way to overcome this problem is to make as if to leave, and they will come to you in a flash demanding payment.


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