Monday, June 2, 2014

A Bird's-Eye View of Munich

Gettin' High

One of our goals in every city we visit is getting a bird's-eye view of the place. We prefer to do this after having seen most of the city. This way, we can actually identify the places we've seen from the ground. High city views are wonderful anytime, but we like the feeling of saying "Ohh! There it is!"  

On our last morning in Munich, we were ready for that high view, and it was just a quick walk from our hostel back to the old town center. St. Peter's Church was on our walking tour just outside of Marienplatz. It is not only the oldest standing church in town, but it is also the cheapest and most convenient bell tower view. 

St. Peter's Church Tower Munich, Germany
St. Peter's Church Tower

The Climb

We paid our piddly 2 Euro and were on our way up the 306 (!) steps in no time. The climb was a mix of narrow stone spiral steps and replaced wooden steps of varying steepness. Wide platforms every few stories allowed ascending and descending visitors to give way and pass each other. The steps were too narrow to comfortably allow passing of two-way traffic.

St. Peter's Steps looking up Munich, Germany
St. Peter's Steps

Looking Down at St. Peter's Church tower steps Munich, Germany
Looking Down

The View

The climb (both ways...) was totally worth it for the view we enjoyed at the top. Munich has that red-roof charm through the whole of the old city. I'm sure the suburbs look like any other big city suburbs, but the slight mist in the air this day thankfully shielded us from these distant eyesores.

Away from Marienplatz Munich, Germany from St. Peter's Church tower
Away from Marienplatz

New Town Hall and Odeonsplatz, the Yellow Building

Way off in the distance, we could see silhouettes of skyscrapers in the commercial and industrial part of town. This would probably be where most real Munich residents live and work, but it wouldn't have any romantic appeal to tourists. Closer to these skyscrapers, we could see the Munich Olympic Park tower. Munich found a way to preserve much of the 1972 Olympics facility as a public park. The tower in the photo reportedly has another high view of Munich, but it is much more expensive and requires a train ride to and from the old city. No, thank you.

Olympic Tower in the Distance Munich Germany
Olympic Tower in the Distance

More Red Roofs seen from St. Peter's Church Munich, Germany
More Red Roofs

Frauenkirch (left), New Town Hall (right) seen from St. Peter's Church tower Munich, Germany
Frauenkirch (left),  Olympic Tower (distant center), New Town Hall (right),
Odeonsplatz (right edge)

We were glad we waited until we'd already seen the sights in old town Munich. Seeing them from a height gave a much better sense of scale on these buildings we had craned our necks to see from the ground.

Munich is much better suited to a high view than, say, Dublin. Much as we've tried, we can't seem to find a really stunning angle of Dublin. We mostly attribute this to Dublin's relative lack of distinctive tall buildings. Most of the important social and historical sights in Dublin are at ground level in shorter buildings. The charming treasure of Temple Bar looks like a bunch of 1970's urban renewal tarpaper roofs from a distance. The Guinness Storehouse has a nice 360 degree look at Dublin with helpful labels on the glass pointing out historic locations, but Dublin just doesn't have the same visual punch as these Continental cities.

After our look at Munich, it was time to move on to the next city on our long weekend Continental jaunt.

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