What a dilemma? After one month living in München, where do you go to make your last week a memorable one? We could revisit so many fantastic places or should we head off and find a completely new location. In the end we decided to do a bit of both.
A visit to a clothes shop was required first. Since arriving here in München, I have lived in a couple of dresses that I brought with me. They are the coolest thing (temperature wise!) and quick to wash so I decided to invest in a couple more. After visiting 4 or 5 shops, the mission was a total failure on my part. I am afraid the “old faithfuls” will have to keep going a bit longer. Jon, who detests shopping however, ended up in one shop for about 2 minutes and ended up with three new shirts. So to keep with his new wardrobe philosophy on clothes, as soon a he got home put the same number of current shirts in the Red Cross charity bin.
Following all this retail stress, we had a long walk around familiar sights in the City, ate lunch outside in a small square just off the Marienplatz and had a final beer courtesy of the Hofbräuhaus.
Part of our walk involved cutting through a square called Promenadeplatz. This was a pretty little tree lined avenue with five statues on plinths of former kings and nobility. Strangely though one of the large plinths was totally covered with posters of Michael Jackson. There were candles, picture frames, photographs of him at all stages of his life. There was even a woman in her early 60s with a little dustpan and brush sweeping dust and grit away from between the picture frames. It was quite weird and the big question was, “Why here in this particular location?”
Later we did some research and it appears that when he died his loyal fans from München wanted the town council to put up a memorial to him. The council refused. Partly because there was no special link between Michael Jackson and München also, reading between the lines, because of the child abuse allegations that seem to haunt him beyond the grave. Not to be beaten, the fans started to put their own memorial together on the plinth of an historic Bavarian noble man. The location was explained because the avenue of statues is in front of the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. This is one of the most affluent hotels in the city and MJ stayed there on a couple of occasions. There is a funny anecdote we read about this memorabilia. Evidently, locals are not keen on this home-made hotch-potch homage so some nights they come out and sprinkle bird seed on the plinth. By morning, the posters are covered in pigeon droppings and the birds have knocked over most of the photograph frames. When this happens, the fans religiously bring new posters and set it all up again. I bet said lady with the dustpan does her nut – unless, of course, she is an undercover bird seed dispenser. I have visions on of the old lady in Mary Poppins – feeding the birds for tuppence a bag.
So today we came to our last outing. I cheated a bit and searched for “10 most unusual sights in München”. I came across an interesting blog. You don’t really want to know what numbers 1-5 were but number 7 was a possibility. The blog said that most people head for Schloß Nymphenburg in the city as a “must see” place. We did just that a few weeks ago. However, the blog said that the real hidden gem was Schloß Schleißheim to the west of the city. It invariably gets overlooked and apparently is equally as stunning. In fact, the location has three palaces within a park, Old Schleißheim Palace (dating back to 1500s), Lustheim Palace (around 1600s) and New Schleißheim Palace (a mere baby from 1700s). All of which were residences of one time rulers of Bavaria. The blogger was right. Both the palaces and grounds were more impressive, better kept and totally empty of visitors. At first glance you may think we are just repeating photos of Schloß Nyphemburg oh no it is the not so secret Schloß Schleißheim.
This preference and decision had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there is Hofbraühaus beer garden called Schloßwirtschaft Oberschleißheim which can seat 1,000 in the grounds of the palace.
Before you judge us, there was an historical reason. Around the time when the Old Schleißheim Palace was being built (1590s), the founder of the Hofbräuhaus brewery retired to farm adjacent to the Palace grounds. The Schloßwirtschaft provided catering to the workers and servants and for a long period there was a royal brewery on this site. Today it has the familiar look and feel to many of the Hofbräuhaus beer gardens but the location was more tranquil than others. Even though they are massive, these Palaces are definitely the hidden gem of our stay here and would recommend a visit, even if it is at the cost of missing out on Schloß Nymphenburg (sorry Ludwig).
I feel I should be saying lots of poignant, deep and meaningful things about our departure but I think you will know how we feel about this special city from the posts we have added during our time here. Sad to go – the answer will always be yes but the Michael Jackson monument has freaked us out and it is the right time to move on.
Time to pack the sandals – Austria awaits. München (and Ludwig II) we love you!