Christmas eve

Trip Start Dec 20, 2010
Trip End Jan 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Arena city

Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Friday, December 24, 2010

Well, on my last day in Munich I checked out of my hotel and left my suitcase checked for the day.  I went for a snowy walk to the center one last time to shop in the Christkindlemarkt and mostly to see the famous and fascinating glockenspeil which sits in the towns square and goes off only at 11:00 and noon.  Up to this point I had gone on 2 tours from Munich, I had seen an "On off" tour of Munich, taken an overnight train from Rome and also shopped in the Markets and drinken hot wine...But I had yet to see the famous clock go off!!  And it was my last chance.

This creation is basically a life sized music box which has human sized figures which are automated to dance and act out a mini scene which lasts about 1o minutes.  It was installed by the Mad king Ludwig.

I arrived in the square nearly an hour early so as to be sure not to miss it.  There was a light snow that morning but it was not too cold to be outside.  In fact it was quite romantic.  During the hour I waited, I went into  a shop and had a hot prezel and a coke.  Then I wandered around the markets without being out of view of the clock at any point.  At one of the booths,  I overheard a woman shouting..."Honey, I'm going to need your wallet"  As i began to visibly laugh, she also laughed as i walked away a bit embarrassed.

At exactly 11:00 the bells in the tower began to ring.  They were loud and had that sound that only ancient bells could make.  A deep, almost hungry clang.  After the bells stopped there was a silence that seemed much longer than it really was.  Then suddenly, the chicken at the top began to crow out the time.  When he finished the "puppets" began to animate in the clock.  There was a jousting match before the king and queen followed by a group of minstrels happily playing and singing (to the sound of very rusty bells) and at the end, on the lowest level, a clown began to conduct a group of one dozen dancing men as they twirled around in unison.

I watched this amazing cookoo clock as it chimed on and I was indeed fascinated.  Basically the market comes to a standstill and all that could be heard except the clock was the sound of people clicking their cameras.

I had some of the customary guilwein (hot cider) and moved on into the snowy day to see Munich one last time. Basically making my way past the Craft market, the "Rennaisance market" and the food market until I was at the outside of the main center boundary then I circled my way back through the beautiful but frozen 'English garten".  overall it was a quiet but sweet day for me as i was also feeling some longing for a friend to share some of these moments with, i kept thinking of some of my friends back home who I miss. After all, this is Christmas eve and so many people are with their close friends or family.

At around 4:00 i hopped on the train to Salzburg.  It was quite easy and conveinient to go to the station from my hotel and at that time almost everything was closed or closing short of a few food stands. At the station I ran in to one of the clerks from my hotel who was heading out to the suburbs to be with her family.  When the train arrived, I quickly found my seat and enjoyed the comfortable ride into salzburg.  It was a fast and efficient train that took about 1 and a half hours.  When I arrived I took a taxi to my hotel and called my family for a long overdue chat.

Tomorrow, I will wake up in Salzburg!!
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