Since I decided to use Munich as my “base” for this trip, I decided to spend two nights here. Needless to say, I have always enjoyed my trips here, beginning in 1971 for my first Oktoberfest, and a few more times in the last decade. First, a bit of history.
Munich was founded in 1158 and in 1175 the small city, with Marienplatz at the center, was fortified with protective walls. By 1330, Munich had outgrown the fortifications. The walls were expanded, and eight city gates were built, three of which still stand today. Munich was further strengthened in the early 1600s, but by the 18th century, the walls were seen as useless and destroyed. The main sights of Munich remain in a centralized area that was once confined by those city walls. Historic churches, squares and lanes, beautiful buildings and Munich beer gardens are all within the Old City center. Throughout history, both fire and war destroyed many of Munich’s buildings so that today there is a mix of style and more than a few replicas.
But Munich is about food and beer, in my way of thinking. I am thinking German brews, currywurst, and kebabs. Maybe some sauerbraten too.
I wonder if my old Oktoberfest friends are still around?
Munich does boast some famous people, either born here, or otherwise. Seven Nobel winners I have never heard of. But Albert Einstein grew up here. A few others: Thomas Mann, Wassily Kandinsky, Georg Ohm, Frank Shorter, Richard Strauss, and Briana Banks.
Back in 1839, Munich scientists Carl August von Steinheil and Franz von Kobell used a tubular cardboard ‘camera’ and chlorine silver paper to capture what would later be known as the first ‘photographs’ ever taken in Germany. Among them (and considered by many to be THE first photo ever taken in the country) was a snapshot of the famous onion domed Frauenkirche, one of Munich’s most famous symbols.
But to me, Munich is about beer, food, the Oktoberfest, and heavy Bavarian culture. It was my first experience using what little German I spoke. We had friends in Wiesbaden who showed us around, including harrowing car trips on the famous Autobahn. For the uninitiated, there is no speed limit on the Autobahn. As a result, the accidents are quite horrific.
See you there!