Munich, Germany

Postcard dated: 17 March 2007

[Postcard/Picture]

On the reverse of the postcard...

(This postcard is sent to my musician friends, you know who you are.)

Tradition + Modernity = Munich

That equation certainly adds up to a lot here. The capital of Germany's most 'traditional' state (Bavaria), Munich is a thriving metropolis that seems to find no conflict between the old and new.

This postcard shows the "twin towers" of the city landmark Frauenkirche ["Church of Our Lady"] reflected in a newer office/retail building, which seems to show the combination well.

One tradition here in Munich is the Biergarten, where you find the Germany you see in old movies and photos. Bavarian bands playing "oompah" music, folks wearing the traditional German Lederhosen (which is still alive and kicking here!), and regulars sloshing large steins of good bier in rhythm. One member of the Lafayette group here commented that the beer-sloshing rhythm matches a 3/4 conducting pattern - perhaps there is a history there! The "modern" aspects of the city enter that picture in when you consider the cell phones inside the traditional lederhosen and that the calls are coming from Japan, China, England, and all over as is typical of a modern networked society.

You know you're in Munich when even the technical/science museum has a Biergarten. The Deutsches Musem, which we visited, houses an incredibly detailed collection of displays on over 60,000 square meters (>645,000 square feet). The elaborate realism in the displays was incredible…it was difficult to believe that much effort was expended for a musuem! The mine “exhibit” (a replica underground mine that might as well have been real) gave me a much greater understanding and appreciation of my ancestors who worked the coal mines of Pennsylvania.

We've seen so much of the city here, but it's still just a portion of what the city has to offer. Near the center of Bavaria (kilometer 0) on Marienplatz is St. Peter's Kirche, which we climbed up for a view over the city. St. Michael's, which we visited a few times, has the second-largest barrel-vaulted ceiling in the world (after the Sistine Chapel).

This trip was one of the five Lafayette/IUB sponsored trips, part of the German Politics and Culture course (part of the exchange program). That's quite nice, especially considering that Munich ranks among the most expensive cities in the world!

Have a great day and don't give up on your own history!

Grace and peace,

Ben

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