Monday, May 07, 2012

Munich ... better late than never!

(Above: Detail of a typical Bavaria facade ... blue and white shutters on deep saffron stuccoed exterior. Click on this and any other photo in this blog post for an enlargement.)

Yes ... I'm still behind on my blogging but I'm determined to catch up!

(Above: My Dad, my sister Wanda, my elder son Mathias, my husband Steve and my Mom ... infront of Munich's Stadtoperhaus, the theater in which the Bavarian Ballet Festival was held. Now long after this shot was taken, we were inside applauding wildly for Mathias as Puck!)

In a nutshell, Steve and I went to Munich for a week, April 22 - May 1. My parents went too. My sister Wanda (an excellent, traditional embroiderer specializing in hardanger and counted threads) and her husband Reinhard live in Munich. The main reason for the trip, however, was to watch Birmingham Royal Ballet's two evenings of performances with the Bavarian Ballet Festival. Our elder son, Mathias, is a soloist and was first-cast as Puck in The Dream (aka Midsummer Night's Dream.)

(Above: Facade of the Rathaus in Munich on the Marienplatz.)

Of course we spent time in downtown Munich, watching the famous Glockenspiel chime at noon with its movable, dancing figures.

(Above: Memorial in the Frauenkirchen just off the Marienplatz.)

We went to the Hofbrauhaus and also to the historic Frauenkirchen. I almost always visit the church(es) first. Naturally, I took lots of photos of memorials and German epitaphs, especially ones with skulls and crossbones. It is a habit by now.

(Above: A votive candle vending machine in a neighborhood cemetery.)

It is also a habit to visit as many cemeteries as I can. I'm always looking for inspiration for my Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series and its related work. Generally, there's something new and different ... and this time it was finding a vending machine for votive candles!

(Above: Aviation area of the Deutschesmuseum.)

Steve and I also visited the Deutschesmuseum. What an interesting place. I'll never look at ceramics the same way. I'm too accustomed to viewing "ceramics" as art ... fine art and functional art. It never really occurred to me that ceramics are EVERYWHERE ... including spark plugs and on spacecraft tiles. We loved the printing area and the historic construction toys.

There was also a special exhibition called "Yesterday's Future" which focused on the new gadgets, machines, and modern developments of the 1950s. I couldn't quit taking photos of all the cute Vespas.

In Munich's market, all its restaurants, and at roadside stalls, it was obviously SPARGEL SEASON ... that's aspargus in German. White aspargus are a delicacy and filled the marketplace. (The cream of spargel soup was WONDERFUL!) I took lots of photos that all look more than a little obscene ... what fun!

(Above: Steve and I standing on a clump of snow far larger than all the snow that fell in South Carolina over the winter.)

My sister Wanda arranged a nine passenger mini-bus and drove us all over the place, including a wonderful day trip into the alpine area of Bavaria. The water was so clear and beautiful. Of course I went wading and collected a few striped pebbles.

One of the places we stopped was on the banks of the Isar River just south of Munich. On the opposite bank were dozens of rock formations. It was obviously some sort of outdoor art installation but we know nothing more about it. If anyone reading this post knows more, please leave a comment or email me at I also posted a little video of this view (on which one can hear my family warning me not to fall into the water. I didn't!)

One afternoon Steve and I took the great public transportation to Olympic Park. I remember the summer of 1972 fondly. As a family, we drove to this place, still a construction zone, weekend after weekend. It was wonderful to see such modern structures being built. We left Europe, however, before the Olympics started and well before the tragedies occurred.

Olympic Park is now simply a most gorgeous place for riding bicycles, jogging, feeding ducks, and ... rolling around in the lake inside a giant, plastic bubble. Okay, this is really only for kids but I hope one day to find a bubble that will allow me to try this fun. I posted another, brief video of these kids HERE.

One of the best days was our time on the Zugspitz, Germany's highest alpine peak. The people selling tickets for the cable car thought I was insane. I had on my leather flip-flop sandals. While this is obviously inappropriate footwear for skiing, it presented no problem at all. The summit has a nice restaurant, indoor viewing areas, and a platform for another cable car to the glacier area. Steve and I created yet another little video of our descent on this smaller ride. It is HERE.

One of the reasons that my shoes weren't a problem was the fact that the weather really was wonderful. The skies were crystal clear to the horizon. Every snow capped peak was visible. It was a bit windy ... but that didn't matter at all.

This is a view of our ride on the cable car that brings people from the summit to the glacier ski area ... where there's another restaurant, gift shop, bathrooms, and the platform for the cog train that also brings people up the mountain. My mom, Dad, and Wanda went up with the train. Reinhard, Steve and I went by cable car. My mom, Steve and I went down by the train. Dad, Wanda and Reinhard took the cable car. Skiers, of course, went all over the place. There were plenty of t-bars and chair lifts. One could ski all day without ever coming totally down.

As strange as my flip flops must have been, wearing a long, traditional dirndl for skiing is stranger still!

Obviously, the sun was such that tanning was possible. People were really enjoying the lovely weather.

Later that day we drove to Oberammergau, the place internationally known for its Passion Play. for woodworking, and for beautifully painted building facades.

Steve and I took loads of photos. To access all the ones we jointly kept, please visit my Flickr! set. It is HERE. As a slide show, click here. Almost all our meals (especially desserts), all my cemetery images, and dozens of alpine views, interesting buildings, and family snapshots are included.

Of course, the Passion Play is only performed once every decade but the theater does display some of the beautiful, intentionally distressed costumes created and worn for the productions.

The texture on this one was incredible.

On another afternoon Steve and I went to Nymphenburg Palace. Of course, the palace had already closed for the day but we enjoyed the gardens.

Another afternoon found us at the BMW building ... quite modern and amazing.

The interior had a bar, performing venue, and exhibition space for various vehicles including this cute little three-wheeler.

On our last day in Bavaria Wanda drove us to several quaint towns northeast of the city. We really liked seeing the architecture, painted facades, and window shopping.

One church in particular had the most amazing metal work for its massive doors. All the locks and hinges were stylized with tiny, smiling faces. Quite lovely!

The happiest part of the trip, however, was eating. At least we were very, very good at this activity. For the most part, it was an outdoor experience too.

Desserts were quite impressive. Next post promises to show some textile work. Yes, I did stitch well traveling ... wrapping wooden spools with wool yarn and embellishing them with floss.


Els said...

Ooooo, thére you were ....!
Seems as a lot of quality-time !
Congrats to this talented son in the ballet and thanks for the lovely "tour" ;-)

Gabriela said...

Fantastic trip!Thanks for sharing!I feel like I was there!

Wanda said...

This post is great! Thanks for the pictures of our trip together. And much going on at home too! Oh...wait a's the 10th and you are flying away! Have a great time in UK and say hello to Mathias and LJ for me. What great 'kids'!!...the old aunt.

Marion said...

Hi Susan,

your Munich-Adventure sounds great.

The Isar-Pyramids are build by an old man named Karl Heinz Fett. Here is an article about him:
He did it the fifth time, cause water destroyed it four times. He lived on the streets and in the woods for long time, now in Lenggries in a house of the "Lebenshilfe", an association to help people with a handycap. One day he started to build a pyramid and goes on and on...

Hope I could help