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Visit to Munich 23rd-29th April 2008 

A small group of U3A members travelled to Munich in April.
Here are some accounts of the trip by 3 of the members of the group: 

From Pat Gorie: 

A party of seven travelled to Munich on April 23rd and settled in at the very comfortable Hotel Ambiente conveniently situated near to the excellent transport facilities in the city.
Marlene was an excellent guide as she knew Munich well, having spent a year at the university there and was able to tell us many details about places we visited.
We had six days there so did too much to go into detail. |Highspots were seeing the beautiful architecture of the city; visiting the English garden; the Hofbrauhaus with its ‘oompah’ band in Bavarian costume; meals at the homes of Marlene’s friends, Franziska and Gerdi where we were given great hospitality; and then two splendid days out to Salzburg and Mittenwald, the latter a delightful alpine village surrounded by towering mountains. Only Marlene and Rona ascended the Karwendel by cable car, the rest of us indulging in retail therapy , eating cakes and drinking coffee! Altogether a very happy and interesting holiday!

Munich townhall and Frauenkirche Our hosts, Franziska and Jens Rona and Pat in the art gallery that is their home
Nymphenburg Palace The group x 10 in the hall of mirrors

The Mirabell Gardens Mozart's Childhood Home The town from the fortress

Back to Munich

Exotic fruits in the Viktualienmarkt The old townhall, now a toy museum Our favourite chocolates - Mozartkugeln
In the English Garden The pagoda beer garden The university
In the Koenigsplatz The garden of the Lenbachhaus With Gerdi and Joschi at their home

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And now from our Zoo Correspondent, June Gibbs:

On a sunny Sunday morning three of us set off for the zoo, a very easy journey with the public transport in Munich.
The origin of zoos in Munich dates back as far as 1770 when the Elector Maximilian III set up an enclosure for exotic animals, strictly for the nobility in those days, of course.
There were several attempts at setting up a public zoo, but all failed until 1902 when Hermann von Manz was more successful. It cost at least half a million marks and the land was provided free of charge. On 1st August 1911 the zoo opened.
The zoo was badly damaged after being bombed in the 2nd World War but it was able to reopen its doors in 1945. 

We had a very enjoyable day watching the animals being fed. The giraffes were very amusing. A baby giraffe, only one month old and as tall as a tree was trying to get the food and being chased away by what I presume to be his father. Then the elephants gave us a display of acrobatics in their new enclosure which was only completed in December 2007, just in time for Christmas. The wide variety of animals at Hellabrun Zoo gives visitors a fascinating discovery tour of animals representing every continent.
The zoo has a successful international breeding and cross breeding programme of both wild and domestic animals.
As usual, there was insufficient time, but having seen the giraffes, penguins, kangaroos, chimps, orang-utans, big cats, the aquarium and the large play area for children, we certainly had a full day.
By the way, did you know that the gestation period for a giraffe is 450 days? Well, on that note, I’m glad that I am a mere human being!
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A Day in the Bavarian Alps by Rona White:

After having spent a wonderfully varied, but somewhat lively week in Munich and its surrounding areas, I was looking forward to the rather more restful day that Marlene had planned, visiting the beautiful Alpine village of Mittenwald situated on the borders of Germany and Austria. 

This was to be the last day of a very memorable week. Thanks to Marlene’s extensive local knowledge and impeccable German, we were privileged to be able to communicate with the local people (Marlene talks to everybody), and to make our way round using public transport, thus avoiding costly coach tours which can sometimes be too structured. 

Monday dawned and we headed for the railway station where we took a very restful couple of hours’ train journey to Mittenwald. On the way we passed many ‘Swiss chalet’ type villages and magnificent scenery. 

However, as we left the train on arrival in Mittenwald, we experienced the most breathtakingly beautiful view of an idyllic alpine village, nestling at the foot of a range of magnificent mountains. 

Narurally, being a group of seven women, we first ‘hit’ the shops in the local high street, which, because it was out of holiday season, we had to ourselves. There were quaint little craft shops and some of us were able to grab a bargain in the little boutiques, However, I digress. 

It is sad that in England we are generally unable to wander round our old churches in the way that one can in other countries. Southern Germany, being largely Catholic,means that there are so many examples of superb church architecture, Mittenwald being no exception. 

The main street in Mittenwald Beautifully carved pews in the church The Karwendel

We paused for a drink in the local specialist tea shop, where I had a Darjeeling leaf tea, served in a very elegant teapot incorporating a delicate porcelain tea strainer, which one immersed with German-like precision for exactly three minutes in the teapot. I was provided with a timer for this purpose. However, ‘high tech’ comes at a price – nearly 5 Euros for a cup of tea, but well worth the experience, and it tasted good after all that coffee one is obliged to drink after leaving the UK.

Next came the big question – Who was willing to accompany Marlene on the cable car up the Karwendel? Now, I might be described as more wimp than daredevil, but was surprised to find that I was the only ‘taker’ (must be something in the air). I consoled myself by saying that it can’t be much different from taking off in a plane. You are surrounded by the enclosed car, and despite being told that the engineers initially believed that to install a cable car up this mountain could not be done, and that it has only one main support, I still considered that it was well worth the risk for this once- in- a- lifetime experience. 

It costs less to take the cable car after lunch when there are fewer skiers using the service. Coffee and cake is provided free of charge on reaching the mountain peak restaurant. 

The  ascent was surprisingly not unlike going up in a plane. We were surrounded by a sturdy carriage, far less scary than a chair lift. However, as we ascended more steeply, we could almost touch the sides of the mountain and my courage began to waiver. It was a long way up! 

View from the cable car View from the cable car

On reaching the summit, one can appreciate just how spectacular the views are and Marlene and I got busy with our cameras. It is said that you can just cross the border into Austria by simply taking a few steps, but I found that the banks of snow were a little disconcerting as you could not be sure how much solid ground was underneath. So we missed the opportunity of entering the Tirol. 

I was surprised to find a number of crow-like birds (alpine choughs) on the peak, although I suppose the majority of birds would not suffer from a fear of heights. 

An alpine chough near the summit Daredevil Rona Perfect end to the day
An added bonus was that we were taken to and picked up from the cable car by a friend of Marlene’s with whom she lodged during her student days. She has so many German friends, two of whom very kindly invited us to meals in their homes during our stay. 

After being picked up, we were driven to an isolated spot in the hills to enjoy the last hour of our stay. We sat on deckchairs stored in one of the little huts dotted about the meadows.  The sun shone down on us as we drank our water and took in the view. I was disappointed not to see Julie Andrews come down the hillside to greet us but we were in Germany,not Austria. There were a number of alpine plants amongst the grass, but not being a botanist, I was unable to identify them. This was a fitting end to a fantastic holiday.
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