Sunday, September 2, 2012

Munich -- Day 2

   Today we spent the better part of the day at the main palace in Munich, Nymphenburg Palace, the seat of the once great Bavarian royal family. Nymphenburg's grounds contain the palace itself, the royal carriage museum, an off-limits menagerie, a huge garden with its own forest, lake and two streams, as well as four smaller houses open to the public that were for guests and parties when the palace was just too tedious for the royal family to endure.
   The palace itself was as grand as we've come to expect from the Bavarians -- loaded with golden filligree, rich mosaics and enormous chandeliers. I feel like I'm starting to sound tedious about visiting royal villas, but I can assure you that each place we've visited has been a great, unique experience, despite my oft cynical tone.
   Next was the carriage museum, which is a lot more interesting than it sounds. The royal family liked to travel in style, and a vast majority of their carriages are wheeled sculptures -- art pieces in their own right, given as much care in craftsmanship as any palatial salon. The most opulent carriages of course belonged to Ludwig II, Bavaria's fairytale king. We lost track of how many carriages and sleds were actually his, but I believe the number was around nine. There was also mini-carriages for the princes and princesses, which must have been pulled by either very big dogs, very grumpy servants, or the tiniest horses in the world.
   Once on the palace grounds, it's easy to forget you're on a piece of walled property and not a wild, wooded glade. The grounds are vast. I don't have the numbers here, but I'd imagine they're at least a square kilometer, if not more. Speckled throughout are several houses that the royal family used for special events, guest quarters, or just for an afternoon getaway into their own private countryside.
  The first of these that we visited was Amalienburg, which was mostly done in an ornate silver Rococco style, with a kitchen covered entirely in handpainted dutch tiles.
   600 meters down the path from Amalienburg is Badenburg, which relies heavily on Chinese motifs that were popular at the time with Bavarian well-to-dos.
   Across the grounds on a symmetry with Badenburg is Pagodenburg, which as the name implies, which has an interior also in that same Chinese style, though Pagodenburg is the older and smaller of the two.
   The last, running parallel with Amalienburg on the other side of the grounds, is Magdalenenklause. At first blush, Magdalenenklause appears to be the oldest of the grounds houses, resembling an old church. But as it turns out, the building was *constructed* to look like a ruin, complete with fake grotto and crumbling exterior wall that isn't actually crumbling. Somehow that made me appreciate the absurdity all the more.
   It was 2pm by the time we finished strolling the dewy grounds and admiring the houses and the palace and the museum and we had one more stop on our list of sightseeing in Munich -- the Deutches Museum.
   The Deutches Museum is a technology museum with an enormous interior space, a large portion of which is dedicated to the aerospace industry, though there are large sections for all manner of technological wonders -- from the advancement of electricity, to musical instruments, to rail and tunnel tech. We could have easily spent an entire day there and not had time to appreciate everything. As it stood, we spent 3 or so hours there.
   I have to take the time to note a bit of irony, however, in the museum's "future technology" section. The whole section was dedicated to talking about nanotech, biomedical research and computer advancement -- it had no free public wifi and a good quarter of the high-tech touch-screen displays were offline due to "software issues." Yeah, I'm just saying.
   After the museum, we hunted down a nearby restaurant that the internet recommended, called Fraunhoffer. It's a typical Bavarian beer hall, and we called a little early and had to wait twenty minutes before they opened up. The benefit of this is that, as some of the first customers, our food was coming right out of the kitchen as they made it, and boy did we make it a good one this time.
   My father had wienerschnitzel again, lamenting that this was probably the last time he'd have the opportunity to have a good one -- who am I to deny him that, right? I had young venison medallions with spätzel and it was easily the best meal I've had in Munich, if not the whole trip. Bambi was delicious, sorry folks. I also split another Kaisershmarnn with my father, this one was served with a mix of plum preserves and applesauce, and it was lightyears beyond what we had at the Wildman in Salzburg. My favorite dessert of the trip for sure. All of this was of course washed down with a few local lagers. Then we waddled back to the U-bahn to catch the train home.
   Oh boy, transit trouble story time! This time caused by yours truly, not from a lack of directional prowess, but from an over-eagerness to get onto a train that was leaving just as we stepped off the escalator. The short story is that those doors on the subway lines don't get held open when you pull on them, and I managed to get on the train while my father did not.
   Keep in mind here that I am the only one of this party with a phone, and I'm also the one that navigated us to this station in the first place, so my father was...unfamiliar with the U-bahn layout thus far. Very calmly I got off at the next station and decided that he probably would just catch the next train and meet me here, since all the trains at that station ran through this station as well. When two trains and 15 minutes passed and he didn't step out, I decided I should probably take action. I don't know if I've told you, but I'm a fan of logic games, and what we have here in Game Theory is called a Nash Equilibrium. If both of us acted rationally, then we would both stay in our stations, waiting for the other one to make a move for eternity. If both of us acted irrationally, we would both try to find the other person and never the two shall meet. The real solution would have been to both find our way to our final destination, the hotel station. Well, in the end, I was the irrational one, father chose the rational path, and we ended up meeting back at the station where we had separated in the first place. Oh well, take that, Game Theory.
   Tomorrow we have what *should* have been a four hour train ride to Leipzig, but the train were directed to by the train company reps is taking us through a connection in the town of Fulda, and the trip is actually going to be six hours. We'll arrive there at 4pm, in time to eat and...knowing us, get lost and eventually retire to the hotel room exhausted.

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