Saturday, March 13, 2010

München

Oy, 5am. This is not a good time to wake up for someone who is unequivocally NOT a morning person. Yet there I was, rising and shining, running around like a decapitated chicken doing last minute things so we could our cab to the airport for our trip to Munich. Of course we ended up at the airport much earlier than we needed to be – which was ok because security was a breeze. Two of my husband’s colleagues had already arrived and we all sat around drinking coffee and juice and pretending we didn’t really want to be sleeping (or maybe that was just me). If I thought a 5am awakening was bad, you can imagine the bile rising in my throat as wave after wave of psychiatrists started arriving at the airport. Since we had booked our own flight, I didn’t necessarily think we’d be on the same plane as all the shrinks that were being sponsored by big pharma. Unfortunately, that was the case, as my husband joked about all the immediate openings there would be for young psychiatrists in Thessaloniki if this plane went down.


Ah, Munich. The weather was quite temperate when we emerged from the airport, despite the predictions from Germany-savvy travelers that it would likely be cold and snowy. What a luxury to be able to take the subway from the airport to a station (Hauptbahnhof) a block from our hotel! We stayed at Hotel Meier, which is on a lovely pedestrian walkway, and more importantly right next to a Starbucks.



It was only 11am when we arrived, but the hotel gladly accommodated us by giving us an early check in, which was awesome because I needed a nap. When we woke up in the afternoon the first order of business was lunch – my husband wanted (no, demanded!) German sausages. We explored the area around our hotel fully expecting a decent place to lunch, to no avail. It was all fast food of various ethnicities, but no sausages, so we went back down to the subway station (which had a plethora of bakeries and sausages) and got some there. We did, however, see the Justizpalast while we were walking around, so at least that was something.



Later in the evening, we decided to get more adventurous. We took the subway to Marienplatz, a popular square in the city center. We were greeted by an anti-psychiatry rally being held in the square (this organization is apparently linked to this one). We had seen them before, marching through the streets with their sign and their cart depicting miserable tied up crazy people. They claim psychiatry is an industry of death and that there are no real psychiatric conditions, just somatic problems that can all be cured with vitamins and exercise. If only. There are things about psychiatry I don’t like (particularly tying up patients), but I don’t work with patients every day and I really don’t know what is necessary and I certainly don’t have the medical background to judge. While this group makes no claim towards Scientology I find it rather interesting that their beliefs regarding psychiatry seem to be exactly the same as Scientologists. Thanos, always in an effort to be fair, actually visited their “museum” at one point in our trip and had an interesting discussion with the people there. Certainly there are issues to debate, but I think we can be grateful that there are doctors like my husband out there working hard every day to address these issues and try to make life better for psychiatric patients.








One of the most fabulous aspects of Munich is the architecture and Marienplatz houses one of the most stunning examples in the Neues Rathaus. The details on this building are amazing, and can be seen in pictures here, here, here, here, and here.



Also off Marientplatz is the Altes Rathaus and Spielzeugmuseum.



Just around the corner you can find the Frauenkirche, unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take pictures inside.



I wanted to see Michaelskirche but, as things always go for me, it was undergoing renovation and covered up. To be fair, the covering had the outline of what it is supposed to look like, and I have no idea why I did not take a picture. We finally strolled down Neuhauser past the church and searched for a place to eat, and we finally came upon a nice family restaurant called Bohne & Malz, which is apparently a small chain in Munich.


Sunday was a day of rest for me as Thanos had to go to the convention at 8am to put up his poster and enjoy a day of psychiatric lectures. I slept in and then went to Starbucks to have a coffee and people watch. After meeting Thanos for lunch I decided to go back to the conference center with him for shits and giggles (and to see another area of Munich).


Sunday evening we made our way back to Marienplatz to find a good old fashioned Bavarian tavern. We went to Weisses Braühaus, which was recommended in our city guide. I had a fine Pils and my first wiener schnitzel. Yummy!




Monday we went to the Deutsches Museum, which covers pretty much all science and technology from the earliest inventions to the present. It is a huge museum and will definitely require another visit. Plenty of pictures can be found here.


By Monday evening we found our favorite Germany bakery – Rischart (where else?) on Marienplatz. I discovered something dangerous called butter cake. I’m glad I don’t live in Germany. We attended a pharma dinner at a restaurant at Residenz, the site of the residence of the former Bavarian kings, which was mostly destroyed in WWII. The rebuild is impressive but a bit disappointing. Like some kind of idiot, I didn’t have my camera with me that night, so I missed taking pictures.


Tuesday we had a late flight, so we asked the hotel for a late check out and spent the day shopping at two of Germany’s fine department stores – Karstadt and Kaufhof. We were so tired by the time we got on the plane, we were ready to be home.


Munich is a fabulous city, full of things to see and do, with friendly people and beautiful scenery. I intend to go back more than once, and highly recommend it to everyone!



2 comments:

John Valentine said...

Looks like loads of fun. As long as I keep taking my vitamins and exercising I should remain sane enough to visit one day.

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.