Day 6 – sightseeing in Munich

Breakfast at the Hotel Uhland begins at 7 am, which is a boon to the early morning traveler.  We did not make it quite that early, but we were in the breakfast room at 7:30 am.  It was a wonderful buffet – there were lots of various breads and rolls, meats and sausages, cheese and cheese spreads, soft and hard-boiled eggs and cereals, including muesli, my favorite.  The coffee was very good, too, and by 8 am, we were caffeinated up and ready to go to the Residenz, the winter palace of the royal family.

U-bahn station

This morning we were going to try our luck with the public transit system.  There was a U-bahn stop a few blocks from the hotel so we headed over there and bought a day ticket, which enabled us to use all forms of transit in the city for a single day.  We could have bought a partner pass, which is good for up to 5 people and is cheaper, but you have to stay together to use that, and we thought we might split up later.

On the way there, we noticed that workers were starting to set up Oktoberfest, which opens the day after I leave. I’m sure an amazing amount of work goes into this each year.

Two stops later, we got off at Odeonsplatz and walked over the Residenz.  It took us about 5 minutes to figure out where the entrance was – in fact, we wound up wandering around someone’s office and they showed us where to go.  We bought a combination ticket, which entitled us to see the palace, the treasury and the theatre, picked up our free English audio guide and began our tour starting with the treasury.

We were in for a treat – the pieces here are breathtakingly beautiful! Some were beautiful because of the number of rare and exquisite jewels covering the piece.  Some were beautiful just because of the craftsmanship and skill that was involved.  The audio guide was interesting because it explained the history behind each piece, but sometimes I turned it off because I just wanted to watch and ogle in silence.

After we left the treasury, we headed for the palace interior, which was just as lush and interesting as the treasury. The grotto was especially fascinating, as it was made of thousands and thousands of shells. It was truly beautiful. In fact, the whole palace was.  I wish we would have had time to see Schloss Nymphenburg, which was the summer palace, but we just couldn’t fit it in unless we skipped Dachau, which neither of us wanted to do.

Grotto of shells

My camera battery died near the end of the interior tour, so I decided to head back for the hotel and charge it up.  We still had the theatre to see, but decided we would meet back at 2 pm to view the theatre. I went on back to the hotel, charged my battery (which took about 30 minutes) and then decided to go shopping.  My first destination was a giant toy store called Obletter on Karlsplatz.  The place had an amazing selection of wooden toys and I had a lot of fun picking some out for Bjorn (and his new brother or sister-to-be).

The Residenz garden and buildings

After that, it was time to meet up with Pat.  The theatre tour was short and sweet (and not worth the extra 2 Euros we paid to see it) so we split up again.  Pat wanted to head off to some museums and I wanted to do more shopping.  With that in mind, I wandered off to Kaufinger Strasse, which is the pedestrian shopping mall that connects to Marienplatz.  There were a huge number of stores – some local that I had never heard of, but also many with American names like Timberland.

I skipped the American stores and veered into Mephisto to try on some shoes.  The pain in my feet was telling me that I need some better protection.  I tried on several pair of shoes and picked one that I really liked and that felt very comfortable.  Of course, it was also the most expensive pair, but at least I get a VAT refund on the taxes.

After Mephisto, I kept shopping and got a few other odds and ends, including a small bottle of shampoo, since I forgot mine. I walked into shops just for fun, including a German department store.  I thought about buying an outfit for Bjorn, but backed off in horror when I saw that prices were in the 60-70 Euro range for one small item.  I remember my neighbor, DeeDee, who is originally from Germany, telling me that her sister comes to the states to buy clothes since they are so expensive in Germany.  I can certainly see that!

I met Pat back at the hotel around 6:30 pm, and we relaxed for a while.  The hotel had moved our things to our new room, which was quite a bit smaller than the other but still fine.  After settling in, we headed out for dinner at a local restaurant nearby called Speiselokal Lenz.  There was nary a tourist in sight – just a lot of Germans eating dinner at a neighborhood place.  My spaghetti with lemon and olive oil and shrimp and a local beer was wonderful, and Pat had a Thai vegetable dish that she was raving over.  We both agreed that it was nice to have something to eat other than a heavy meat dish.

We went back and crashed early.  Tomorrow we are picking up our rental car and driving north.  We will be gone for 3 days, but will be back in Munich on Sunday.

Pat and me at the Residenz

Tomorrow – on to Rothenburg ob der Tauber!

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