A month in Europe: a live trip report

Apr 1st, 2011, 09:54 AM
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Ann, I had never heard of him either. It seems like he should be better known. I mean, sure I am not exactly a big painting expert, but I am sure I could name a couple of dozen without working too hard at at, many of whom didn't impress me as much as he did.
glenmd is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 10:02 PM
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Will add comments to them later, mostly from the zoo.
glenmd is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:12 AM
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I mean, sure I am not exactly a big painting expert, but I am sure I could name a couple of dozen without working too hard at at, many of whom didn't impress me as much as he did.>>

glen - i do agree. i thought some of his works were really good, especially the portraits, and our new friend was appalled and astonished that we had never heard of him - a bit like being British and never having heard of Turner or Constable, was the impression I got.
annhig is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:31 AM
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When you post today, please post about the weather too .
It was a summer day today (77F) but spring has just started.
May be a new record.
logos999 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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Day 9 - Another day, another set of state rooms (or two)

Schloss Nymphenberg is only about a 10 minute walk from my hotel, so I decided to start my day there. The state rooms there are small in number (in terms of the ones open to the public) and generally unremarkable. However, if you buy a combo ticket, you get access to five other buildings spread throughout the grounds. The grounds are nice in and of themselves and all of the other buildings are more interesting than the state rooms were. Amalienburg - was a hunting lodge built and decorated at a time when Chinese and Japanese porcelain were all the rage in Europe. The best of the rooms there was the kitchen, where the walls are covered with white tiles covered with blue paintings of what European artists imagined life in China was like. Given that most Europeans had not even met a Chinese person, let alone traveled to China, the accuracy of these depictions might be called in question, but it is still a very pretty room. Pagodenberg is just one room, with lots more of these tiles, plus hand-painted walls, with a blue on white theme that was again reminiscent of Chinese porcelain. There was also a royal stables museum (contains carriages and upstairs some impressive porcelain) and what I interpreted as a building containing a faux Roman ruin (a chapel). As your enter each building, you get a different part of your ticket stamped, by the last one I was wondering if there was a prize, like for kids on a scavenger hunt.

Next I headed downtown to the Residenz. The Residenz’s state rooms are much more impressive (and extensive) than Nyphenberg’s. The Antiquarium, a large barrel-vaulted room near the entrance, is especially impressive. A lot of it is reconstructed, and the Residenz was particularly hard hit by bombing in WW2. Not many pictures from there, since the camera’s battery died early on.

Tomorrow: Quiet day, BMW museum, Alte Pinakothek, a stroll around the Olympic Park.

Day 10

Was feeling a little run down, so I decided to limit my day to a visit to the BMW museum and a short stroll though the Olympic Park, which is right next store. The BMW site has a couple of parts. A showroom, that anyone can wander through for free (and there are no high-pressure sales people hassling you), shows off currently offerings by BMW, along with a few interactive exhibits about some of the engineering. They are undeniably very pretty cars. There is also a museum, which lets you see a lot of older models, and learn a little of the history of the company if you are so inclined. I meant, just because it was easy, no real thought required, just what I was looking for for today. I spent maybe 2 hours between the showroom and museum.

After that I went to the Olympic Park. It is was the first really warm day since my arrival in Europe (temperature in the low 20’s I would guess), and people were out in force to enjoy it. (although nothing compared to tomorrow). There is a little hill you can climb that allows you to take some great photos of downtown Munich with the alps in the background.

As planned my route back downtown, I noticed the U-bahn I was taking took me right past the Alte Pinakothek, the major art gallery in town. I decided to stop along the way and take it in. This was probably an error, not because there weren’t some remarkable paintings there, but because I was too tired to really appreciate them. The is one Reubens (among many of his paintings) that stood out because of it's size, nearly six metres tall. Apparently the centre room of this gallery (built in the 1830's) was designed to accommodate this work, and is the only painting in the gallery to have always stood in the same place.

Tomorrow: Dachau, English Garden, and a night train to Berlin.
glenmd is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 05:50 AM
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Hi glenmd: Great trip report. Keep it coming. You're giving me a lot of great ideas on what to do in Munich as I will have a one-day layover on my upcoming trip in June.
aljo is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 09:08 PM
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Day 11 -

Checked out of my hotel (actually had the hotel’s breakfast for the first time since arriving in Europe.), went to the central train station and stored my luggage (hotel offered, but since my destination required going to the train station anyway... ) Plenty of lockers, and 3 Euros seemed reasonable.

Dachau is located just outside Munich and requires a slightly more expensive ticket to reach (bought a day pass for 7.30). When you get to the Dachau stop, there is a bus to take to the memorial sight (the bus stop is cleverly labelled concentration camp memorial site) bus 726. Total travel time from downtown Munich, less than 50 minutes.

My plan had been to spend an hour or two at the memorial, and then head back the town centre and see what else there was to see in the town. Instead I spent 4 and a half hours there, the majority of which was spent going through the museum. The large pieces of the history I knew (Dachau was the first of the concentration camps, it was not an extermination camp, it had a gas chamber, but it was never used for mass murder - things like this), but there were a lot of details I didn’t know (and I am not to spoil anyones appetite by providing them there, though I probably will feel compelled to in talking about a place I visited a couple of days later). Let’s just say it was informative.

After leaving the museum, I wandered the grounds. The parade area, where roll call was held twice a day, the area where the barracks used to be... there are two reconstructed barracks on the site. They look fairly benign, what they don’t show is the horrifically overcrowded conditions that existed in them, especially towards the end of the war. There are also memorials and in the back, the crematoriums and gas chamber.

As I waited for the bus to head back to the S-bahn station, I noticed that there were homes that essentially bordered the site, and I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of property values they had. I know I wouldn’t want to live there.

Arriving back in downtown Munich at close to 5 PM, I decided to take a stroll through English Garden. On entering the park, I encountered a solid wall of people leaving. And yet, it was still pretty crowded in there. It was a warm sunny day (temperatures close to 25 I thought I heard), and while there were no naked people (as I had been warned to expect) there were a fair number of people wandering around who were not helping to keep the skin cancer rates for Munich down. There is a large beer garden in the middle of the park and it was packed with people.

Speaking of beer gardens, my last stop in Munich was Hofbrauhaus. The largest of the Munich beer gardens, it seemed like a good place to have a last meal before my train; however, when I got there and looked around, the idea of sitting by myself in such a large, obviously social environment, seemed kind of pathetic, so I headed for the train station and grabbed something to eat there.

I had booked a compartment for myself (roughly 140 Euros) to Berlin. I slept fine, once I got tired of sitting and watching the darkened countryside go by. Almost forgot to pull the blind down, which with my luck, would have resulted in waking up just as we pulled into a station for an unfortunate exhibition of show and tell to a group of nuns or something. Fortunately this did not come to pass.

There were a couple of issues with the train, though: 1) There was no key, so if I got up to go to the bathroom, there was no way to secure my stuff until I got back. and 2) the train was 2 hours late getting into Berlin.

Next: German History Museum
glenmd is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 10:38 PM
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Thanks for this most enjoyable report. I'm really enjoying the ride! CJ
CarolJean is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 09:19 AM
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Ok, so obviously the live aspect has fallen by the wayside. I am still making handwritten notes in hopes of eventually posting an almost live version of the missing pieces. Meanwhile, a brief synopsis of the last week.

Monday April 4th - Arrive in Berlin, see Brandenburg gate, Holocaust memorial, Unter den Linden, Reichstag (dome and viewing gallery closed for some undisclosed reason (not cleaning)), spend 3.5 hours in German History Museum, which I liked.

Tuesday - Topography of Terror - situated on the site of Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, it contains no artifacts of any kind, just photos and accompanying text(lots of text) describing Nazi rule in Germany. It was fascinating,both in terms of the speed in which Hitler moved against anyone who could potentially oppose him, and some of the methods used to humiliate anyone deemed an enemy.

There was one piece of the holocaust section of the exhibit that I found particularly chilling. (some people may wish to choose to skip the rest of this paragraph) In spite of the nazi's best efforts, not everyone that arrived at the extermination camps was unaware of what awaited them. Guards had specific instructions to look out for potential troublemakers (i.e. people who might start a mass revolt) and take them aside and deal with them discretely (shoot them). The staff also were also supposed to observe behaviour in the preparation rooms where the prisoner undressed and make notes of their observations. One such report mentions observing scenes of parents reassuring their children, while the horror could be seen in the parents eyes. And yet the same staff person, observed this and continued to show up for work everyday. I don't have the words...

The rest of the day consisted of Germaldegalerie (my favourite gallery so far) and the Neue Gallery (basically right next door, not as entertaining at the Abertina in Vienna, but covered by my museum pass)

Wednesday - Museum Island- Pergamon, Neues Museum, Berliner Dom, Checkpoint Charlie Museum. I am not sure, but given the high cost of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, if the weather is pleasant, you might be better served by just walking around the area and reading all the displays which go through the history pretty well. Oh, museums were great.

Thursday - laundry, Postdam. In April, during the week, most of the buildings are closed. Had I understood this, and how underwhelmed I would be by Sans Souci, I would stayed in Berlin and visited the Jewish History Museum (the only reason I skipped in the first place was after the topography of terror, I needed some distance from the subject of the Holocaust) Thursday night I took a train to Paris.

Friday - arrived in Paris, did some walking in the Ile de la Cite, taking in Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Concierge, since the Louvre has late opening that night, spent about 90 minutes there. Could have stayed longer, but fatigue was an issue, plus I knew I was coming back anyway.

Saturday Musee de l'Armee including Napoleon's tomb. the Rodin Museum, and the Orsay.

Sunday - Versailles - crowds were insane, garden and fountains were cool, sunny and warm.

Monday (today) - The Orangerie, and round two at the Louvre. The Orangerie doesn't require a lot of time, it is mostly notable for the enormous Monet canvases, along there were some other nice Monet's and Renoir's downstairs (also Picasso's, if you care about them, which I believe I mentioned earlier, I don't )

My visit to the Louvre today was the Danon wing, contains a large number of paintings along with non- French sculpture. I spent a good 5 hours there, saw a ton of wonderful works. Probably my favourite was a Canova Sculpture, "Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Cupid", but it had lots of competition. I also got hit on but some random woman (no idea if she a pro or just someone with severe mental health issues, and trust me, if you knew me you would realize it has to be one of the two), I politely declined.

Tomorrow: laundry in the morning, hopefully early. Montmatre, Eiffel Tower, a Seine river cruise.

Oh, the Paris Museum pass, definitely worth it for me. If you had seen the size of the lines I skipped at Versailles and the Louvre and the Orsay, it would have been worth it even if I wasn't saving money.

While I probably won't be filling in the details until I return, I will take any questions anyone has.
glenmd is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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hi glen,

thanks for checking in with us. your comments on the holocaust exhibit were very insightful - thank you. for some idea of why the guards behaved as they did, you might be interested in the Milgram experiments conducted by Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960s.


i agree about the museum of German history - we thought it was excellent.

looking forward to more!
annhig is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for the report. I don't doubt people knew about the gas chambers-it was known in the US, how sad for those parents.

I agree that museum pass is wonderful in Paris. I loved going into the Louvre whenever I wanted. Sadly, I've never been hit on-perhaps I didn't look Parisian enough?
emily71 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 06:47 PM
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Glad you're having a great time. During our extended trip I just didn't have the time or energy to post everyday. I would journal quickly and that was it. I admire you for trying, but forgive you for being human! After all, you are on vacation. It is more important that you have a good vacation. You can fill us in later if you want to.
michele_d is offline  

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