After spending several hours exploring the wonders of Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich, we were ready for a luscious afternoon tea at the Schlosscafe Palmenhaus. The Palmenhaus was a greenhouse in its former life and its gracious interior reflects its history. This enormous cream puff with ice cream, fresh whipped cream, cherries and chocolate sauce may look a little wrong, but it was oh so delicious!
Marienplatz, in the centre of Munich, is busy and vibrant at all times of the day and into the night. The shops and cafes are brimming with people. The square is a pedestrian only zone and tourists wander at will, enjoying the sights and sounds of the old city. The Mariensӓule or Marien column stands in pride of place in the centre of the square. The magnificent golden Virgin Mary is represented as the Queen of Heaven, and she stands regally on a crescent moon. The column is the geographic centre of Munich and houses are numbered and distances measured from here.
Marienplatz has been the main square of the city since 1158 and both the Altes Rathaus and Neues Rathaus, the old and new City Halls, are located here. So which was which? We were puzzled until we found out that the Altes Rathaus, constructed in the 14th century in the Gothic style, was rebuilt after being damaged during World War 2, and looks new, while the Neues Rathaus, built in the 19th century looks ancient in comparison.
The Glockenspiel in the tower of the Neues Rathaus plays to the audience gathered in Marienplatz every day at 11 am and 12 pm. We stood, like everyone else, with our heads tipped back and eyes skyward in order to see the life size figures telling the story of the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V, and then performing the Schӓfflertanz, a dance first done by the Coopers of the city in the 16th century to tell the citizens that the plague was over. The dancers were accompanied by the carillon, its pretty, chiming music filling the square. Later in the week, when we climbed the tower of the Peterskirche, we found ourselves almost at eye level with the Glockenspiel – perfectly timed, just as the performance started.
To the right of the altes Rathaus is the Fischbrunnen or Fish Fountain, so called because it marks the site where the Fish Market once stood. Tradition says that dipping your purse in the fountain on Ash Wednesday guarantees riches in the coming year. I wondered if it would have the same effect in June – maybe I would be able to indulge in those shops and cafes after all.
There are 140 shops and stalls at the Victualienmarkt in Munich, selling gourmet delicacies and local foods as well as beautiful flowers and plants. This was our first morning in Munich and indeed our first morning in Germany, and after an overnight flight the market had just the atmosphere we needed to reclaim our bearings and start to enjoy all that Munich had to offer. The market has been trading in the square behind the Church of St Peter since 1807 and has become an important meeting place for local shoppers and visitors.
Asparagus season was in full swing and it was for sale at many stalls. The white variety was new to us and its fresh, plump tenderness was very tempting.
At the greengrocers we were amazed to see the countries of origin of many of the fruit and vegetables. There were bananas from Panama, tomatoes from Spain. The variety was endless.
The garden shop was lush with greenery and gorgeous flowers ready to take home. Most of the flowering plants were familiar to us – it was strangely comforting to see them in unfamiliar surroundings.
We bought our evening meal of bratwurst at the butchers and some fresh crusty bread to go with it from this bakery. The enormous pretzels were on our “must eat” list immediately.
There is a beirgarten – of course, which opens an hour later than the market, at 9am. All of Munich’s beers are served here as well as those giant pretzels that are so salty and delicious…
probably more delicious than this spirulina brot!
The Princes’ Garden at Festung Marienberg (Marienberg Fortress) in Würzburg, Bavaria has been in existence since the 16th Century. Its restoration in 1937 was based on plans dating from the early 18th century. From here the views of the city and the Main River are spectacular. We could have watched the boats going through the lock on the river for hours.