A Long Day of touring

Finally a/c.  Finally we can sleep in, we tell ourselves when reality is, we wake up at about the same time.  Germany’s a/c is NOT the same as our – not frigid, though it is cooler and there isn’t any humidity.  I saw fans for the first time yesterday in the rooms across the way. Oh, so they DO have fans.

Let’s see, I’m a little more sunburned today, but at least the day was somewhat cooler, maybe by ten degrees.   We did the big Hop On/Hop Off tour today in Munich.  The meet up point for it was literally right around the corner from us.

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We filled up at breakfast not knowing when we’d eat next.  The first bus didn’t take off until 10:00.  We found this out after getting there shortly before 9:00. Oh.  We could take one that went immediately out to the Nymphenburg Palace and then on(eventually) to the English Garden.  We would come back then and take the “interior” tour to hit the art museum and the Residence Palace.

Initially, we thought we’d sit on the main section of the double decker bus, but after only a minute realized there wasn’t any air circulation there …

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… so we went up top.

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While it meant we’d be exposed to the bright sun, at least there would be air up there.  We sat and sat and sat cooking in the sun before we eventually got moving at about 10:40 or so.  Sigh.

When we got out to the Nymphenburg Palace, set out with gravel walkways and open gardens and very little shade.

 IMG_8174 - Version 2IMG_8185 - Version 2We took a quick tour and opted to return in time for the next bus.  Yup, that was enough of that for us.  Getting on the next bus we went immediately up top for seating.  The thing is, I quickly discovered what happens to black plastic seats when they’re exposed to the bright sun – they become REALLY HOT!  Yee-OUCH!

 germany 956Our next stop was the English Garden which actually required a bit of a hike to get to.  After a couple of blocks we reached it and entered it, both with our own expectation of what we would find there.

 IMG_8205IMG_8199My sister thought it would be more like a botanical garden, while I think I had read that it was simply green space.  So, after some pics and brief wandering, we stumbled upon a biergarten for lunch.  While neither one of us had beer to drink, we did share one of the GIANT pretzels.

 DSCF1078DSCF1079Since we were running low on tap water, we decided to go back to the hotel to “reload” our bottles before heading out for our afternoon excursions.   On our way back to the hotel we stopped by an shop selling Gelato – an Italian version of ice cream.  It looks like foam, but WOW it’s so GOOD!

 DSCF1082DSCF1119Then in our way into our hotel, we grabbed another glass of that refreshing ice water to take up to our room with us.

 DSCF1175After reloading and ditching some of my gear, as we were hitting museums which more than likely wouldn’t allow photography, we went back out.    Back to the area for buses, back to waiting and waiting before finally taking off.  At the Old Portrait Gallery we were told we could take pictures only without the flash, but we would have to store our bags.

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We saw Rubens and Rembrandts – their one Da Vinci was out for testing – d’oh!  Too bad this was a portrait gallery and not landscapes.

 germany 988germany 994 (1)Berlin has a landscape museum, but we didn’t have time there.  Most of these portraits were of a religious nature.  We were both impressed by the size of the canvases.  One was SO large (15’ high) they designed the gallery, and the entire museum, around its dimensions.

We moved on from this to The Residence – the in town palace for the king.

 DSCF1094We got there at 4:30 and they close at 6:00.  The clerk seemed hesitant that we’d be done in time.  Um, we were done at 5:00.  At both places they provided us with hearing devices that gave English narration of what we were seeing.  Here I used my infrared camera to shoot images that had enough lighting available – which was mostly through the windows and the chandelier.

 IMG_8872IMG_8871Not having a camera in the painting gallery made me feel like I was missing a part of me and yet, it freed me up to look and listen and be in awe of the immense canvases.  Having only infrared at the palace meant being more selective and REALLY looking at what was available.  Instead of being caught up in the gilded and overwrought stuff, I focused on the natural (or electric) light and how it played with the surroundings.

After that we went in search of the Hofbrauhaus as our travel agent had stressed that we needed to go there.  We wandered, not really knowing where it was until we stumbled across an officer who gave us directions.  The street we went down looked a bit sketchy but we did indeed “run into it”.

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Because of the warmth of the day we went upstairs to an exterior eating area with a biergarten below it.  We sat down and couldn’t understand the menu at all – it was totally in German.  Our waitress brought menus in English which we were able to keep as souvenirs.  While eating dessert the wind started to pick up.  The sky changed toa flat, blue grey in the west as menus, coasters and napkins started to whip around in the wind.  We thought it best to leave as we still had a walk ahead of us.  No one else seemed alarmed in the least.  We left by a different route, walking by the room in the restaurant’s building in which we were supposed to have eaten.  It was a big room, with long tables together and benches and a LOUD “oompah” band.  It was so loud in there you couldn’t hear yourself think.  Oh, not so good on a hot day.

We were turned around because of the location of the restaurant and had to ask directions to the train station (as that’s were our hotel was).  The locals tend to be more helpful if you attempt their language.  Meanwhile, the outside temperatures had dropped by more than 15 degrees and the stiff breeze felt … refreshing.  We hustled, both dealing with eyes drying out and getting gritty from the wind.  On the way back I purchased a German paper featuring a front page story of President Obama’s visit to Berlin, days after we had left.  How’s that for a souvenir?