A Side Trip to Munich

How I lost my taste for non-stop flights:

Munich in April is a flower market dream I discovered on a side trip en route to South Africa last year. When I was looking at cost effective flights from the United States to Cape Town, my old routes no longer seemed to be available. The best option was via Europe, a nine-hour layover in Munich. Ugh! I’ve always avoided long layovers.

So, a nine-hour stop in Munich, Germany. What on earth was I going to do with that?

Plenty, it turned out! Our bags were checked through to Cape Town. A quick google search revealed storage lockers at the airport for the rest of our stuff. We got the nod from passport control and hopped on a 38-minute train ride to Marienplatz.

The station was subterranean, so we took the escalator up. When we emerged blinking in the spring sunshine, we found ourselves dwarfed by the neo-gothic magnificence of the Neues Rathaus.

By some incredible stroke of good fortune, we had arrived minutes before midday, at which time the massive bells of the tower began to peal. They were echoed by the bells of the nearby church of Alter Peter, the Theatinerkirche, and the Altes Rathaus.

What an incredibly surreal experience!

The square was bustling with tourists but not horribly crowded, and around the various statues and fountains, planters were filled with spring flowers, so bright and fresh at first, I thought they weren’t real. Then the bells began to ring. I leaned back against the cool stone of the wall behind me and absorbed the lightness in the air, the happy chattering of people, the bells, and the sunshine. Following the bells, the Glockenspiel in the tower began its dance. Apparently, it’s an attraction that draws crowds from around the world in the summer months here. We just happened to arrive at the perfect time!

The dancers of the Glockenspiel represent various events from Munich’s history: The top level a knight’s tournament held in 1568 to celebrate a royal wedding, and the lower level, the dance of first brave souls to risk venture into the outside world after the plague swept across Europe. It was 2022. I felt a bit like dancing in that crisp sunshine, surrounded by fellow survivors of the Covid plague.

We admired the gothic spires of Neues Rathaus, window shopped, and people watched, ventured into jaw-dropping cathedral interiors where we lit candles and said prayers. We strolled through the Viktualienmarkt with its stalls laden with mounds of cheese, and blazing daffodils, peonies, and ranunculus, sausages and smoked meats, fresh herbs, and mounds of sandwiches with mouth-watering fillings and desserts.

We sat in a little café and drank cappuccino and ate fresh sandwiches with cheese baked into the crust, tasted fresh apple strudel, and listened to the street buskers’ violin, glockenspiel and weirdly large stringed instrument. Do you know what it is? (In the photo above)

A few hours later we were back at the airport where lounge chairs made for excellent napping before our next flight. I think I may have lost my taste for non-stop flying. Auf Wiedersehen – and enjoy the photos!

I love to travel and see new things. The architecture and history of Europe dolled up in Spring flowers makes me smile just to think about. So much beauty to feast on! These are some of the things that fuel my creativity.

I like to keep maps, brochures and other documents from my travels, and they often end up in my art. You can see how I use them in another Studio Journal entry here:

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