Our plans for today we’re to spend the afternoon in the area of the Marienplatz, a pedestrian area that stretches from the Karlstor, one of the original “tor” or gate into the old town limits of Munich, then proceed to the Viktualienmarkt. Today we bought an UBahn day ticket for the two of us, allowing unlimited travel (UBahn and bus) within the central zone.
Along the pedestrian route of the Marienplatz are churches, department stores, smaller retailers, restaurants, the Rathaus, a Biergarten or two, and some museums. On a normal weekday, it’s busy. On Friday, it’s really busy, Saturday is packed and Sunday, most things except the churches, restaurants and Biergartens (Germans love their bier) are closed. Germany takes its holidays seriously when it comes to retail. Stores close on religious holidays and Sundays and don’t stay open as late as those in the US.
We had a little shopping/browsing planned, but mostly, just enjoying the ambience of the area. The area in front of the Rathaus, seat of city government, is a gathering point for demonstrations and there is almost always one there, as there was today.
Along this route, you’ll often see street performers (mostly musicians) attracting crowds as they perform. Over the years, we’ve see troupes of South American Indians and Mongolian musicians (both groups in traditional dress), pianists, magicians, jugglers, foursomes, kettle drummer, and today, xylophone musicians. With all of the crowds, they have a natural audience. We’ve seen some similar types of street performers in other European cities (no Mongolians though) , but the variety here is amazing.
In addition to the street performers you may see, there are a number of fruit and vegetable stands selling current produce (today mostly strawberries and white asparagus or “spargel”). It all adds up to a type of ambience not seen in most American cities.
Our endpoint was to be the Viktualienmarkt, a permanent open air farmers market and Biergarten. The Biergarten section is situated rather in the middle of the food stalls under the shade of massive horse chestnut trees (now in bloom). The food stalls sell some prepared foods (Weisswurst anyone?), but also fruits, cheeses, olives and olive oils, wines, honey and hand made goods. Across the street from these vendors, but still within the realm of the Viktualienmarkt are shops selling meat, sausages, etc.
The Maypole here is permanent, but the traditions go back hundreds of years.
The Biergarten was packed and we had to hunt for a while for a place to sit. Some tables are reserved by restaurant patrons, but most are open seating. Ein Mäß (one liter) bier was €8,20 or $9.16, you can buy a half liter (Radler), but why bother 😉 ?
I stopped in the Munich Apple Store, just off the Marienplatz. It’s not large, but it is two stories. There’s obviously no difference in product, but oh, those prices in Euro’s!!
It’s a long walk from the Karlstor to the Viktualienmarkt and back (which we did several times) but when it came time to make our way back to our hotel we needed to take the UBahn, then a few stops on the bus.
The weather today was about 60F degrees when we left the hotel and warmed up to the mid-60’s, so it was very pleasant walking around.