Saturday, July 6, 2013

Munich & The Glockenspiel

When we booked this "Bavarian Castle Tour" trip with Go Ahead Tours, I was less than thrilled to be going to Munich. I wasn't thrilled to be visiting a city when I wanted to be in the countryside seeing castles. Because of the war, because of all of the bombings that destroyed so many buildings, I wasn't so happy to be spending time in a place where, I thought, I wasn't really going to see anything "special". Boy, oh, Boy, was I proved wrong! (click on the photos to see the larger version)
My husband was very happy I was going to Munich because he had seen the Glockenspiel. He just knew it was going to be a highlight of this trip. He had no real idea! All of the medieval features of a castle are right here in downtown Munich! Even though it was constructed in 1908, this show features stories from the 16th Century. It plays three times a day and the square is always crowded.
And when the Glockenspiel kicks into motion the world around it stops to watch. It seems like such a simple thing. More or less a cuckoo clock the size of a building with life-sized figures that go 'round and 'round. But, seriously, it's mesmerizing! There were a couple hundred people in the square looking straight up at the "performance" for every single second of it. We craned our necks to watch the Lords and Ladies dance around, the Knights joust and, finally, the golden bird in the top section chirps three times to let us know the show is over. 
While I was charmed by the performance, it was the building that had me totally captivated. You see, I'm a "details" kind of girl. I relish the little bows on gifts, the flower boxes filled with red geraniums on window sills, the wrought iron flourishes on railings...and gargoyles. I adore gargoyles. They are ghastly, horrifying creatures that, surely, should give me nightmares instead of bringing a huge grin to my face. But they do. This from a person who will not watch a horror film. Go figure. 
 And with this building I was not disappointed. There were goblins and ghosts, demons and animals, including a dragon climbing up the building, all over the New Town Hall. We sat in an open air restaurant across the square from all of these details and I could hardly pry my eyes away. I kept trying, unsuccessfully, to absorb each twist, figure, arch, face, curlicue and design. It wasn't possible but I sure did try!
 Even the hallways of the Rathaus were beautifully reminiscent of a castle. 
And you just know that I somehow found one of "my" lions! This one was surrounded by gold embellished wrought iron. 
And, of course, you know we found some more fat baby cherubs as well! This balcony railing was just too cute not to take a photo of it!

Monday we head to the greener part of the city for a walk in the park. Hope to see you then!


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