For the past two nights we’ve been stationed in Munich. Known in German as Munchien, it’s name means “where the monks live”. Benedictine monks first settled the area in 1158. Now it has become an international city. We saw quite a few different nationalities, and they weren’t all tourists.
Most people associate Munich with the largest beer party on the planet, Oktoberfest. It wasn’t October and I don’t drink beer, so we skipped the beer halls, but we looked closely at the fancy beersteins. Kevin thought they could hold a lot of soda.
Our necks got a little sore trying to see all the cool buildings, fountains and statues. We spent a lot of time trying not to bump into other people doing the same thing.
The most amazing building is the Neo-Gothic New Town Hall. We felt like we should be looking out for vampires and demons hiding in it’s shadows.
Besides being an architectural wonder, it is home to the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. Three times a day 32 life size figures spin around in an alcove high up on the side of one of the towers. They re-enact two Bavarian stories while 43 bells play one of two songs. At the end a rooster flaps his wings and chirps.
Kevin and I had to wait before boarding our next train, because we really wanted to watch the glockenspiel. It was worth the wait and the wading through the crowds.
It was afternoon when we arrived here in our next town. Known for violin and lute making, Fussen has a Benedectine Monastery that was established in the 9th century. It’s history goes even further back to when it was a Roman post guarding trade routes through the Alps.
Of course it has it’s own castle, the exterior of which is beautifully painted.
We took a walk through town in the rain.
A walk through the old cemetery was more interesting than it sounds. We found the grave of the man who painted the frescoes at Neschwanstein Castle, which isn’t far from here. The wooden crosses of the monks looked well kept. The monastery, old city wall, and Alps in the distance made it a very peaceful place.
Fussen is named for the Lech River gorge. River men, rafters, used to tie up logs, make rafts, load them with goods or people and float to another town. Once there they’d sell the goodg, unload the people, take apart the rafts and sell the wood they used to make the rafts.
The water of the Lech is an unusual milky white due to dissolved limestone. It doesn’t turn green, because the cold water doesn’t allow bacteria or plankton to grow in it. It was flowing pretty fast. We wouldn’t want to fall in, if we made it to the river bank the steep walls would have been hard to climb up.
Hopefully the weather will clear and we’ll set out to do some more exploring.