With only one day to explore Munich, we chose to take a historic walking tour offered by InMunich. My brain is in overload with all the cool facts and interesting stories that our tour guide, Hein, shared with us. Meeting in Marienplatz Square at 10:45 a.m., we got a quick summary of the history of Munich before the glockenspiel went off at 11 a.m. serenading the huge crowd with music, bells and the moving characters that illustrate the history of Munich. Fantastic.
Hein guided us over the next three hours through the streets of Munich, pointing out the beautiful buildings and giving us the backstory of each one. Admittedly, I am the ignorant American who obviously never paid attention in history classes as I learned more about Hitler and WWII from Hein than I did in school. Munich lost 80% of their buildings to the war but they rebuilt beautifully. The few buildings and parts of buildings that did survive the raining down of bombs were on the tour. As Hein asked various questions, the answer was always “beer”. To distract a pet monkey who saved a royal baby from a rampaging baboon, what did they offer? Beer. When the town folk didn’t have enough gold to get the Swedish King to leave them alone during a takeover, what did they offer him? Liquid gold, aka beer. And so on.
Along with six other couples, all Americans, we learned of Hitler’s early years as an aspiring artist. Hein told us that if he could go back in history, he would make sure Hitler made it into art school vs. getting rejected which led to his career in government and killing. Most powerful moment was seeing “dodger alley” where the Resistance would run to get around the mandatory saluting to the Nazi regime off the major square where Hitler made campaign speeches. Seeing the beer hall where Hitler had one of his first major oratory moments as he came into power was also chilling. So many times over the course of the tour, Thom and I would look at each other and mouth “Trump moment” because it feels like history is repeating itself with our lying, power hungry, amoral POTUS who would rather let citizens die if it meant his agenda was approved. Terrifying.
At our break halfway through the tour, Hein encouraged us to make use of the public bathrooms and Starbucks but I chose a different path. Cold and needing an instant warm-up, I got a shot of good whiskey at an Irish pub. No ice just whiskey. My friends, Kurt and Ernie, would be so proud of me. Later, we would fill up on a good German dinner of sausages/sauerkraut/potatoes for Thom and white asparagus/potatoes with hollandaise sauce for me with a side of pretzels, of course, and a carafe of wine. Cheers!