Munich, Germany: St. Maximilian, the Isar River and the Main Train Station

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On my way back to my room the previous day (March 25), I’d noticed a very large church across the street from the hotel in Munich. Later in the day I’d stepped inside on an impulse and seen the most intriguing mosaic entranceway! I resolved to come back the next day when I had a little more energy and presence of mind, as well as lack of jet lag.

And so I did. I made a couple of sandwiches from the provisions I’d gotten the day before, stowed them in my bag alongside my camera and set out to get some photos. I knew from the map that there was a river on the other side of the church and hoped to find a good spot for a picnic on this warm, sunny spring day.

I ventured across the street first. The church was called St. Maximilian. It had two large belltowers and the large, resonant bells gave me my bell fix every hour during my stay. I really miss bells when I’m in the US or anywhere else they aren’t present. I feel like I become personally acquainted with the bells themselves somehow since each one has its own voice.

The door I’d used the previous day was locked, so I walked around the ivy-covered wall to the main entrance. No one was around the entire time I was there, so I took all the photos I wanted. I looked for a sign to prohibit that, but there was none to be found. I liked that a lot because I then didn’t have to steal the shots!

The church was enormous and sparsely furnished and decorated. It looked like it had been completely stripped bare then only a few parts and pieces put back in. I hope they are in the middle of a restoration, but I couldn’t really tell. The web site didn’t have much about it except the ubiquitous, “… destroyed in WWII…” information and Mass schedules.

The altar was beautifully adorned with the same style of mosaic work I’d seen on the side entrance.

It had a huge organ in the loft at the back as well.

I reached the side entrance I’d seen the day before from the inside.

Here’s a detail of the mosaic work:

As an example of how sparsely decorated the place was, I turned around from the mosaic entrance and shot the door opposite:

And I really like the hinge detail from that door:

After finishing in the church, I continued past it to the river. I was surprised that the river was so close to the church. Alongside the church and parallel to the river was a street, then a bike path, then a walking path, then the river. The river is the Isar, referred to by Germans as the Green, Green Isar, and in fact it did have a strange green tint. I learned later that minerals are responsible for this and that the water, which comes lately off a glacier, is very clean. I also learned that it flows through the English Gardens in Munich, the main city park. I heard nude people hang out there, but I didn’t get there to witness that in person.

I expected a park area on this side of the river but there was none to speak of. After almost getting mown down by a couple of bikes, I walked downriver to the left until I reached the nearest bridge. It was very windy on the bridge that made it very cold, but I stopped to shoot pictures anyway. You can see the green tinge in the water fairly well in this shot:

There were dozens and dozens of people in the park area on the opposite side of the river enjoying the sunshine. I was delighted to see dozens of dogs also. Germans love dogs and take them everywhere. It is not uncommon to see one in a restaurant under a table. One hardly ever hears one, though, because they are so well behaved. Since I love dogs, too, I had a great time watching them cavorting along the river and even in the water.

I discovered some delightful graffiti near the bridge as well. If ever graffiti can be positive, this was it:

I walked upriver about a kilometer, passing the church on the opposite bank.

After a while I chose a place to have my picnic. It was just beyond the little island you see in this photo:

I sat near the water and watched the goings-on and had nearly finished the first of my sandwiches when I noticed what looked like a dust storm kicking up upriver. People were hurriedly folding blankets and rushing to don jackets and dashing away with their dogs at the onslaught.

But that was not just a dust storm; it was a rainstorm! And a cold one at that. I, too, hurriedly stuffed the second sandwich back in my bag, donned my jacket and shielded my camera from the cold, cold rain. Those clouds you see in the photos above were apparently the edge of a front moving quickly in. I had to use my scarf to cover my nose and mouth from the driving dust and hunched over to protect my camera from the elements. I pushed against the wind to reach the second bridge and paused in the wind to take a photo of the recently densely populated park, which was now nearly deserted. I was amazed at how quickly it had happened.

Suddenly the voice of Forrest Gump sounded in my head as he referred to Jenny: “And just like that, she was gone!” That’s what happened to our beautiful sunny day! Yeah, me and Forrest are doing Europe!

Notice the church tower on the left in this photo. The first bridge I crossed is in the far distance. As I was taking pictures from this vantage point, there was a young man with long hair and tattoos, probably near 20, also taking pictures with an ancient Pentax from the same spot. As I checked out his equipment (and I mean “camera” for those of you with dirty minds!) I noticed he was checking out my Nikon! Some things are universal!

Fortunately that first blast of rain was all the precipitation we were to have that day. It immediately became sunny again, although it was much chillier than before. On the way back to my room, I saw some more happy graffiti:

That about does it for Munich this year. The next morning I caught a train for Linz, Austria, where I would spend a couple of days before journeying to the Czech Republic and rendezvousing with my friends in Brno.

Here are some shots from the train station that morning, including a self-portrait:

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