Marienplatz, Kaufingerstrasse and Stachus

Like last Saturday, I got up very early yesterday morning and went out to do some photo shooting. This time my stop was Marienplatz, which is situated in the heart of Munich. Marienplatz is usually bustling with people. Kaufingerstrasse, which is one of the streets leading towards Marienplatz is filled with shops for just about anything, departmental stores, restaurants, cafes - you name it. People often go there to shop, window shop, hang out, eat out, watch a movie or simply just chill. It's a very popular spot. Besides these, Marienplatz is the location where some festivals and events such as the Christmas Market, St. Christopher's Street Day and political rallies are held.

I left my apartment at about 7 in morning hoping to beat the crowd to Marienplatz. However, when I got into the train I realized "I ain't gonna beat no crowd". The train was practically already full. So much so that I couldn't even get a place to sit. I was hoping that most of them would not be getting off at Marienplatz and that was true for the most part. It seemed that most of them were headed somewhere else. Anyway, the train ride took me about 12 minutes.

As soon as I got out of the station, my heart sank. There was a huge stage and some tents being set up for the St. Christopher Street Festival and they had sort of blocked that "great view of Marienplatz" I had been planning for before. (FYI: the St. Christopher Street Festival is a gay festival but that will be the subject of another post.) Anyway, I did the best that I could considering the restrictions at hand. I took out my camera , set up my tripod and started taking some pictures.

The most prominent monument you would see as soon as you get out of the train station has to be the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus). I don't know any details about this building other than the fact that it really looks captivating. It's white and has a certain Gothic look and feel about it. It looks even more majestic at night when it's lit up.

Right next to the New Town Hall is the less impressive Old Town Hall. Unless you've been pre-informed, I'm pretty sure that you will mistake one for the other. The reason: the Old Town Hall looks newer than the new one. Don't ask my why.

It is also on this building that you have the world famous Carillon (Glockenspiel). At 11 am, 12 pm and 5 am, the clock chimes and figures on this Carillon dance around for a minute or so. There is usually a pretty big crowd trying to witness this. Try to get there a little earlier to secure the best spot.

For more information about the New Town Hall and the Carillon, click here.

As soon as I was done taking some shots in front of the New Town Hall, I made my way towards the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche). The Church of Our Lady is an extraordinary building. It is 100m high. In Munich, there is a rule that prohibits buildings from exceeding the height of this church. I actually see the benefits of having this rule. First, you can see this church from just about anywhere in Munich, making it a very prominent landmark. Secondly, population density is kept low. By restricting the height (and hence, density) of buildings, development is forced to expand geographically. This results in less traffic jams and better air quality. I doubt that the people thought about the latter when this church was erected and this rule established some 600 years ago but we're sure seeing that benefit now.

I continued along Kaufingerstrasse, moving away from Marienplatz and towards Karlsplatz. It was indeed a pleasant walk. It was still early and wasn't crowded yet. There are places to sit and relax along the way, beautiful plants and flowers, a nice fountain, fruit stalls, cafes, etc. During the day, when the stores and restaurants are open, this street can get really packed. Then, it is more stressful than fun as you struggle maneuvering yourself through the crowd.

It was already starting to get a little uncomfortable with people starring at me as I was lugging around my tripod and camera gear. One guy, who I think was visiting the St. Christopher Street Day came up to me and offered me blueberries. But I said, "no no..." and thought to myself, "He ain't gonna drug me that easily!" Anyway, the signs hinted that I should move on.

At the other end of Kaufinger-strasse is a gate known as Karlstor, which is shown in the picture on the right. Beyond this gate is a square called Stachus - shown in the picture below. The train station here is called Karlsplatz (Stachus). Big surprise, huh?

I often come here to visit Saturn, a big electronics store. In fact, we got our washing machine and refrigerator here. Their prices are really good on discounted items.

Anyway, Stachus was the end of the road for the day. It was about 9 am when I got there. I took some photos, got wet by the fountain, sat down and relaxed a bit and soon, it was time to move on. I made my way back to Marienplatz on foot and took some more photos along the way. I took the train home from Marienplatz.

I bought some rolls from the bakery on the way back for breakfast. We are starting to get fed up with the bread and to-be-baked rolls we buy from the supermarket. It was a good start for the day.


kit said...

I terribly missed Germany ...darn...any jobs for me there ? Kit

J.J.S. said...

I'm sure there are jobs here if you're in the right field. I've read somewhere that Germany has one of the highest unfilled positions to unemployed persons ratio.