Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2013

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Bavarian Castles pass allowed us to visit both the Nymphenburg Palace complex and the Residence in Munich. Our guidebook said that Nymphenburg had the best grounds so we decided to head there first as it wasn't raining. We caught the bus from the campsite to the nearby "s-bahn" station and then headed downtown. From there we caught a tram out to the palace. We enjoyed seeing all the various rooms in the King’s wing and the Queen’s wing. One of the rooms that was particularly interesting was the “room of beauties”. The King was quite fond of having the most beautiful women of varying backgrounds, irrespective of their social standing or rank, pose for paintings. They were then hung in a gallery which was open to the public; they were later moved to the palace for display as part of the tour. The rooms were much less ornate than Ludwig’s palaces and seemed much more functional.

Afterwards we headed out to the Royal Stables Museum which had incredible display of royal carriages. The left side of the building was reserved for the more ornate and ceremonial carriages. We started off there and were amazed at the amount of decoration that could be put on a carriage! They really did look like something you would see in a fairy-tale. There were also really neat sleighs that they used in the winter and you could see where all the furs would have been piled to keep them warm. There was an indoor merry-go-round for the kids and as they rode around on it they could try to toss a ball through the centre of a looped snake or lob the nose off of a statue. They had a display case will all the various noses of the statues that had once adorned the children’s merry-go-round. We also admired all the tack that the horses would have worn and thought that it all looked awfully heavy! Once we finished looking at all the “fancy” carriages, we went next door to the “practical”, everyday ones. They still looked quite fancy to us and we had a good look around.

Once done there we went out into the gardens and found a bench in the sun where we could enjoy our lunch. It was so nice sitting in the sun, but still quite cool out. We then continued on our way to one of the smaller buildings on the grounds, the hunting lodge, which we could also visit. The first room you entered was the “dog house”; there were niches built into the walls where the dogs could sleep and even a small fireplace! We continued on past some beautifully decorated rooms and into the kitchen. They were done in blue and white Rotterdam tiles, in imitation of Chinese porcelain tiles which were all the rage at the time. However, the set of tiles wasn’t a complete on and if you look carefully at the pictures, the designs don’t actually match up on most of the tiles. Regardless it was a neat room and we had fun looking around at the designs and identifying all the mismatched tiles.

After Nymphenburg, we headed back towards the centre of town to do a self-guided walking tour. With our guidebook in hand, we wandered through lots of interesting streets and particularly enjoyed the market area. They had all sorts of beautiful fall wreaths and decorations out which were fun to look at. We stopped by a fruit stand and picked up an apple each since we were feeling peckish. Anoop chose a topaz apple which was absolutely delicious. We went back the next day to pick up a few more!

After we had finished our snack, we wandered over to the Asam church that was built right in between two buildings. The church was decorated by the Asam brothers who were big fans of the rococco style (derived from the word “rocaille” meaning “shell” in French) and very prolific architects. They owned the shop next door and our guidebook described the church as the following:

               “The church served as a promotional brochure to woo clients, packed with every architectural tick in the books. Imagine approaching the church not as a worshipper, but as a shopper representing your church’s building committee. First stand outside: Hmmm, the look of those foundation stones really packs a punch. And the legs hanging over the portico… nice effect. Those starbursts on the door would be a hit back home, too. Then step inside: I’ll take a set of those over-the-top golden capitals please, We’d also like to order the gilded garlands draping the church in jubilation, and the twin cupids capping the confessional. Check out the illusion of a dome on the flat ceiling – that’ll save us lots of money. The yellow glass above the altar has the effect of the thin-sliced alabaster at St. Peter’s in Rome, but it’s within our budged! And, tapping the “marble” pilasters to determine that they are just painted fakes, we decide to take that, too…” Rick Steves

After such a description, you can see why we were quite curious to actually enter the building. And we were not to be disappointed! There was so much going on that it was difficult to decide where to look first. We plopped ourselves down in one of the few pews, along with all the other gaping tourists and started looking around. It took quite a while to take it all in, but eventually we decided we had seen enough and continued on.

We arrived at the Marienplatz in time to see the town hall clock in action. It was quite fun to see the jousters moving in front of the duke and his bride. It actually lasted quite a while and we were glad we had arrived in time. We then headed out towards the gardens, to check out the huge pagoda-style beer-garden before returning to camp.

We decided to check out one of the recommendations in the “Let’s Go” guide for dinner as it was near our campsite. Thursdays were supposed to be “Schnitzel” night according to our guidebook but clearly they had moved that to another night in favour of “American BBQ” night. Anoop had a look at the BBQ buffet but it didn’t look appetizing and we thought we had better stick to German fare.   Anoop ordered a radler (beer with lemon soda) and a slice of pork with dumplings and cabbage salad. I went for the schnitzel which came with a tasty potato salad. Both meals were tasty and we were glad to have a night off from cooking.

The next day we set off for the Residence museum, which was enormous. We hadn’t realized quite how big it was or we would have brought a snack for part way through! Many of the rooms did not have original furnishings because the Residence was bombed at the end of WWII, destroying many of the pieces. Instead they were furnished in various styles to show how they may once have been furnished, or they were furnished to be historically accurate using re-created pieces. One of the first areas we visited was a courtyard where there was a “grotto” made out of shells. It was a very strange thing to see and reminded us of the lamps or other shell decorated items you might find in tropical countries. The large hall was particularly amazing and we enjoyed looking at all the details painted into the ceiling. There was also a large collection of busts, some originals, some re-creations. We also enjoyed the dining room where there was silver laid out on a table that could serve a huge number of people.

After visiting the Residence for several hours, we headed in to the adjacent Treasury to see a huge number of table decorations, jewels, crowns etc. It was also quite amazing, but we felt we rushed it a bit because we had already looked at so much. Anoop was fading fast and needed lunch so he wasn’t too keen on looking in all the display cases. Regardless, we both enjoyed the collection even if we only listened to the audioguide highlights.

After a quick stop for lunch we headed over to the nearby Cuvilliers Theatre to look inside. The theatre was the personal theatre of the king and queen and was extremely ornate with well-cushioned, red seats. There was a lot of woodwork, all gilded in gold, and cherubs “floating” around the theatre. We thought it must be fun to see a performance in such a richly decorated theatre.

Afterwards we still had a bit of time left in the day so we headed out for a very quick look at BMW world. They have an enormous show room, next to one of their factories. It is out where the stadiums for the 1982 Munich Olympics were built so we could see two things with one trip. We enjoyed the displays on the electric cars, but otherwise didn’t spend much time looking around. We finished off with a look at the Olympic stadium from afar which had a really neat roof. Then it was back to camp to get ready to head off the next morning. 

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Minh-yen on

....oh Rick! Nice excerpt guys :) I'm just so amazed that people actually use to travel in those carriages and sleighs...what a work of art! And I can't believe you guys didn't spend 2 solid day in the BMW museum/factory (NOT) hhaha.

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