Our Lady in the glimmering sunlight

 

There’s a church at Mariahilfsplatz
 
Above is a photo I took only several days ago. It’s ok. I know it’s a decent shot. However, as much as I like it, it reminds me so vividly of one I didn’t get. It was years ago. Perhaps even in the first few years I’d lived in Munich. If I had a mobile phone at the time, which I’m not entirely sure if I did, I’m sure it didn’t have a decent camera. 

Let me set the stage. It was wintertime and very early in the morning. I had to be somewhere, and I was very likely grumbling about the time of day that I was expected to arrive. I’d just left the main train station in Munich, which was positively bustling with excitement. So many people rushing here and there on a weekday morning before the sun had even made a proper appearance. The scene reminded me of New York’s Grand Central Station on a Friday afternoon, and I suppose I even asked myself, ‘Where are all these Germans off to at this ungodly hour?’ I’ve since found out that what I saw was a common sight in one of our local train stations. People like to awaken early and get where they’re going, preferably before everyone else does.

Yet that morning, I had neither the time nor the consciousness to consider such things. Almost as if on autopilot, I trudged on toward my destination. Soon I was coming out of the underground system at the Marienplatz station, which is right in the middle of the historic city, and if I remember correctly, I was suddenly and miraculously more awake. Only several hundred steps from coming out into the fresh air, I found my eyes inexplicably drawn to look up at the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady). 

At that moment the sun broke from behind the rows of buildings to the east, and the church was bathed in the brightest sunlight. Yes, I know it’s preposterous for me to be writing this down while telling you that words can’t describe how beautiful it was. It was similar to the photo above, which is why I’ve included it here – why it made me think of that shot of dawn all those years back. Here’s how I’d like to describe it, though, because I’d like to make a bigger point. If I can get you to think of a similar experience you’ve had, you’ll know exactly what I’m getting at.

Can you think of a moment in time that was so beautiful and so otherworldly, yet you didn’t have some device nearby in which to record it? No app that seamlessly allowed you to shoot a glimpse in time and instantaneously share it to acquaintances and future acquaintances far and wide? Maybe your camera was back in the car. Possibly you were out running and you’re one of those sorts that enjoys being out on the trail without such distractions.

Your memory could be like mine from years ago before these ever-present moment capturing tools took on such a central role in our lives, but it could also be something that happened last week or last year. Look, I read enough stuff about eschewing technology that I don’t want to fall into a clichéd pitch about how great life used to be before we sold our souls over to the machine. I read something years ago that you know a device or program or app has really made it when people start writing about how great it used to be and now they’re so over it. That’s not at all what I’m trying to get at. Not remotely.

Nevertheless, I’m frequently reminded that I couldn’t have experienced that moment looking up at Our Lady in the glimmering sunlight all those years ago if I’d been absent-mindedly stumbling through my day glued to my screen like I sometimes still am. 

This is a plea that you take a moment to look up sometimes. If you can’t let it stay home without you, leave your phone in your bag when you’re meeting up with a friend you’ve not seen in ages. I’m not advising something I’ve not done. It’s something I’m constantly telling myself. Constantly.

Shining in the light of the setting sun

 

When you’ve got nothing interesting to say, talk about the weather. Right?

Well, I’ve got plenty of interesting things to talk about….still the coming springtime is on my mind. This wasn’t the hardest winter, but I’ve been ready to usher it out the door for most of February. I’m not normally like that, which tells me that my impatience has gotten the best of me.

So, the photo above was taken while a friend & I walked across Munich in the last of the day’s light. It was such a gorgeous, clear day that we began in a beer garden & just found ourselves soaking in the long-awaited sunlight. We both had other things we needed to be doing, but we continued to say to ourselves, ‘Just a few more moments.’

Here’s my favourite church in town – it’s the St. Lukas, and I’ve pondered for years why I like it so much. I can stand and gaze at it for stretches of time. Jostling myself, I’m not entirely sure how long I was lost in my reverie.

Think I did some research about it years ago for an article I was writing, and I could throw around facts about St. Lukas which I’d thought would help me rationalise my obsession with it. To no avail. I’ve forgotten the details and yet I still love the beauty you can see in the photo shining in the light of the setting sun.

 

Then there’s the  Müller’sche Volksbad, which is my local sauna. At some point, I’ll write an entire blogpost about this place. It deserves plenty of attention, I assure you. 

Once again, we could’ve taken public transport farther into the city, but my walking companion and I decided to keep hoofing it. Savouring the last glimpses of what had been such a gorgeous day, we snaked our way through some of the oldest streets in Munich‘s city centre. The evening was upon us and without the sunset, we no longer had what had seemed just s short while before such a perfect excuse to procrastinate. 

I’ll leave you with a photo of the Frauenkirche. It’s a symbol of our city and the part of the skyline that makes any photo distinctively Munich. What a perfect way to wrap up this tour. If you happen to be in my adopted hometown sometime, drop a line. I can normally be persuaded to take exactly such a walk. 

from above the Oktoberfest

Bavaria and her lion

Isn’t she gaww-juss? My girl Bavaria. I like ’em big, you know. And her lion? I could let her stick around for the lion alone.

My band and I went to the Oktoberfest yesterday morning, but my hounds Ella and Louis insisted on accompanying us, so we knew we wouldn’t be actually going down to the Wies’n. Instead, our plan was to stay up above on the hill with the Bavaria statue whose photo you see above.

So, how does the world’s biggest folk festival look from up there? Let me show you.

Frauenkirche and Löwenbräu

That’s Munich’s Frauenkirche with her two Turms (towers) on the left, and then the Löwenbräu Festzelt on the right.

A huge Maß of Paulaner in the distance

A lot of Munich’s architecture is inspired by the Greeks. Take for example these columns on the hill above the Wies’n. I’ll talk more about that in a later post, but I just liked this photo because it’s got the two images juxtaposed.

all the owners of the tents listed in one place

These guys make a killing every year. The turnover in each tent would astound you. It’s a massive economic surge to the city of Munich. The locals complain about how the Volksfest seems more for tourists every year, but they cannot deny the financial benefit to not just the people who make beer, but to the entire local tourism industry and limitless other local businesses.

St Paul’s from the European Patent Office

If you read/look at more of my Oktoberfest posts, you’ll see that I’m obsessed with this church. I could take photos of it every single day. More soon…

zeroing in on the Wies’n

All the beer

Well, did you come here for more Oktoberfest? I’ve got more…plenty more. Another two weeks of this. If you want.

To be forthright, the caption on the photo above is actually not entirely true. It’s not All the beer. That wouldn’t fit in one photo. Unless you took that photo from a mile up in the air.

There’s a lot of beer at the Oktoberfest. As one would expect of a beer festival.

What? That’s not what it is? Well, I suppose you’re right. There’s much more to the Wies’n than just beer. There’s wine and liquor, as well.

morning at Spaten

This is one of Munich’s famous brewers. In the distance you can see the iconic Frauenkirche, which is the cathedral that is in the centre of many photos of Munich’s skyline.

young girls on the Hackerbrücke             (we’re getting closer)

Just FYI: we’re almost there. Can you taste the beer yet?

St Paul’s in the distance
We’re there…we made it. Here’s the Oktoberfest.

Aren’t you glad I brought you here?