Thursday, May 23, 2013

The final post: Munich and Salzburg (cue "Sound of Music" songs)

The last few days in Prague were a whirlwind of taking tests (6), writing papers (4, including a 7-pager that I wrote in 3.5 hours. New record!), Seeing Things I Hadn't Seen Yet, packing, and eating blintzes for Shavuot. Then I headed off to the subway at 6am to catch a 7am bus to Munich (in Princeton, someone always offers to help me clunk my suitcase down the stairs to the NJTransit; not so in Prague, apparently). 

One of the highlights of the afternoon of wandering around town with Michele was the middle-aged Bavarian man we met at the flea market of the City Museum: he started chatting with us, gave me two postcards, and upon learning that I'm from Chicago, said he'd been here once (the airport) on his way to Madison to visit his brother; apparently, he had a chance meeting with the then-governor, though his brother didn't believe him until the governor's secretary recognized him the next day! When we left, he gave us some enormous Bavarian radishes to eat. The City Museum is right near the Ohel Jakob Synagogue of the new Jewish Center Munich (their webpage is all in German), where we went for services. It was much nicer than the shul in Berlin, and although it was huge with not many people, felt like more people were singing along. Final count: on this trip, I went to services at nine synagogues in six cities (this doesn't include cities where I went to synagogues but not during service time). 

The weather report said that Saturday was going to be the only all-nice day the whole time I was in the area, so we booked a train ticket to Mittenwald, from where there are lots of hiking trails in the Alps! Yes, this is really how perfect it is up in the mountains. 

Even after leaving the area, we could hear the clanging of the bells around the necks of the sheep. 

"Good [morning] [plane] jumping [through] the moon."

Van Gogh! I think I tried to draw this painting in 5th grade art with Debbie.  Many of the museums have a special 1-euro entry fee on Sundays, so Michele and I seized the rainy day to check out the new and old art museums. 

After the museums, I went out in the drizzle to see part of the enormous Englischer Garten. This is the Monopteros, in the southern part of the park. I did a lot of walking and couldn't sit down on any of the benches since they were all wet, so I kept walking through the park, trying to figure out where I was, and eventually made my way out and onto one of the main streets again. 

I found him!

On my wanderings, I came upon Konnexion Balkon playing near the old and new town halls. I'm not really sure what they do, except that their newest CD is modern interpretations of classical music (ie: Pachelbel's Cannon) with modern lyrics/rap overlayed. And the cellist is really, really enthusiastic. And by enthusiastic I mean really weird. According to YouTube, though, they also do some pretty fancy and formal stuff. 

On my way to the subway, I spotted this piano in the middle of a square outside one of the university buildings; since no one was playing and the square was pretty unpopulated, I sat down for a few minutes to play J.D.'s Boogie Woogie, the only piece I remember well enough to play (part of) without music. [Also, that kid is awesome. And he's the only one I could find on Youtube who does the phrasing like I do.]

On Monday morning I did one of those Sandeman's Free Tours, and it was actually pretty good! Although I'd seen most of the buildings before, just from walking around, it was great to get a chance to learn what everything was. This is the New Town Hall, and apparently I'm lucky to have missed the glockenspiel display, because it's annoying; I saw the Prague one, though!

The ceiling of the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of our Lady) has a menorah on it; during WWII, the church helped save lots of Jewish ritual objects. As thanks, when the Church needed restoration work done, the Jewish community contributed a lot of money, and the Church put in a menorah as its symbol of gratitude. 

The Hofbräuhaus started as the royal brewery of Bavaria, but then the royal family decided it wasn't fair to keep the best beer away from the citizens... Now the beer hall is open to the public; while Hitler and the Nazis held the first party meeting there in 1920, the tour guide was quick to point out that this was far from the HQ of the Nazi party--they held meetings at many breweries and beerhouses (it's where you have meetings in Munich, apparently). 

Hitler also made speeches from the Feldherrnhalle, apparently, which is ironic because the lion on the left of this picture, with its mouth open and facing the government buildings, is meant to indicate that a people should be free to criticize and speak out against its government; the lion on the right, facing the church and with its mouth closed, symbolizes that no one should speak out against the church...

The Theatinerkirche is very strange, in that all of the ornamentation inside is white plaster, a big contrast to the fancy gold/etc. ornamentation that I've seen in most other ornate churches around Europe. It was built at the demand of the court priest, who chose the cathedral as his gift for successfully praying for a male heir to the throne of Ferdinand Maria; according to the tour guide, the priest wanted the king to be able to see the cathedral from the palace, as a constant reminder of "who's really in control around here." 

After the drizzle cleared up (every day seemed to have about 30 minutes of rain, followed by beautiful blue skies with lots of sun) Michele and I rode out to the Olympic village, and asked around until we found the apartment block where the 11 Israeli athletes were murdered in the 1972 Olympics

There was a concert going on near the main stadium of the Olympics. 
First stop: the Mirabell Gardens, including the dwarf garden where part of the "Do Re Mi" scene from The Sound of Music takes place. 

This is looking down on  Kapitelplatz, the Residenz, and the Cathedral from the hike up to the Salzburg Fortress.

Somehow, they get away with charging lots and lots of money to get into the fortress, and fail to discriminate between those who want to see the museum/state rooms/etc. (not me) and those who just want to see the fortress itself and the view from the top (me). So instead of paying, I continued walking along the trails of the Mönchsberg Mountain above Salzburg, and found my way to this beautiful overlook. Some UWMadison grads did a whole photoshoot for me! 

In the very back you can see the Salzburg fortress; other notable buildings include the Kollegienkirche (closed for renovation), the Old and New Residenz, and the Cathedral (which greeted me with a choral concert when I stopped in!). 

Just weird. 

The Bavarians (and the tourists who the shops are targeting, I suppose) really like their traditional outfits. 

Serendipity led me to the Department of Jewish Cultural Studies (housed in the Old Residenz building) , where I asked someone to point out where the synagogue was. Unfortunately, it was closed so I couldn't see inside, but the Brazilian couple we met at services on Friday came to Munich because they were saying Kaddish and Salzburg doesn't have Shabbat services, apparently.

I think they love bragging about Mozart even more than Hyde Park loved bragging about Obama on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 (this is where Mozart was born). 


Mandatory Abby And All Her Stuff picture! Not sure how I ended up with the baby-pack on front, even though on the way to Prague I didn't have it and on the way back I had less stuff (gave all my sweaters and books to someone who was visiting from Princeton). And somehow the lady at the airport was very nice that my hiking backpack was way over the weight limit and told me "good luck" but let me get by without paying. 

It seemed fitting to end a semester in Europe with a beer on the way back home. 
And that just about wraps up the semester...Facebook photos will follow (eventually). Thanks for reading!

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