Here are some touristy photos of Munich (München, Monaco) that I took on 14-15 August 1999 -- particularly of:

We arrived in Germany and departed from it via Munich's airport, which -- I had been alarmed to learn before I arrived -- is named after Franz-Josef Strauss. But there's no sign of this name either at the airport or on any map that I saw.

Munich's disuse of the airport's name may be a symptom of a recent rejection of the less attractive elements of homo bavaricus. A surprising number of the people in Munich wear "traditional" clothing -- Tracht, which, like so many traditions worldwide, is largely an invention of the nineteenth century. But if they're antiquarian in their clothing, they can be liberal in their thinking. . . .

(A tourist in the city for just two measly days,
and he presumes to essay
a social psychology of its citizens. Ha!)

[Munich] [Munich]

Your standard touristy photos of Munich.

I was going to take a lot more of this kind of thing, but I couldn't really see the point. First, conventional views of Munich at its grandest are well served by postcards and the like -- and as for unconventional views, well, talented and skilled I ain't, so I can provide you with neither the decisive moment nor the indecisive moment. Moreover, my "film" was running short: in little over a week, I'd got through a 48MB card and was nearing the end of my 20MB card as well.

[Munich, grotto] [Munich, grotto]

Here's the grotto that's part of the Residenz complex.

[Munich restaurant ceiling] [Munich restaurant menu]

And this is the kind of place where the indigenous Münchener and tourist alike goes to eat in the evening; first an appalling photograph of the ceiling and then one of part of the menu.


[Munich Rathaus gargoyles] [Munich Rathaus gargoyles] This is the new Rathaus, a late nineteenth-century monstrosity that's famous for its clock with the hourly display . . . but having seen the climactic scene of Orson Welles' film The Stranger, I expect clock marionettes to do something more spectacular than rotate and dance. So I gave it a miss and concentrated on the gargoyles, of which plenty can be viewed without the binoculars or telephoto lens that I unfortunately lacked.

[Munich Rathaus gargoyle] [Munich Rathaus grotesque] [Munich Rathaus grotesque] [Munich Rathaus gargoyle] [Munich Rathaus gargoyle] [Munich Rathaus gargoyle]

There are a lot more gargoyles and grotesques inside the courtyard than outside the building. Munich being Munich, the courtyard (with the basement, and perhaps more) is devoted to the consumption of beer, sausages, and closely related victuals.

[Munich Ratskeller beer] [Munich Ratskeller refreshment]


Munich is renowned for its art galleries, particularly the Alte Pinakothek. Sorry, I can't offer you any photos.

(In the Alte Pinakothek, I kept crossing paths with a teenager and his mother. Neither showed any interest in anything there, but the former was mechanically taking a very short video, or single frame, of every work there. Why didn't they just buy the published catalogue raisonné? But perhaps their dubiously illuminated alternative will appear on the web. . . .)

Art and high culture can get tiring after a while. We decided to see some low culture, too: artifacts peripheral to Sir Kenneth Clark's concept of Civilization.

[Munich, ZAM]ZAM -- Das Zentrum für Aussergewöhnliche Museen, The Center for Unusual Museums -- has them in spades. It's divided into numerous rooms, some large, some small, each constituting a museum of the kind of thing that rarely finds its way into a museum and certainly nowhere else gets a museum of its own. I looked around eight or so of them; three are depicted here.

[ZAM perfume bottles] [ZAM perfume bottles]

Most of the perfume bottle museum (Museum der Düfte) is of little interest to those who don't enjoy perfume, but even I could marvel at teddy-bear and golliwog bottles.

[ZAM Easter bunnies]

Just one scene from the Easter Bunny Museum (Osterhasen-Museum).

[ZAM ERA pedal car] [ZAM Morgan pedal car] [ZAM Alvis pedal car]

The pedal-car museum (Tretauto-Museum) is one of the most impressive, with cars going back a century as well as beautifully finished one-off models presumably made for (and perhaps by) adult collectors -- surely no child would have the strength to pedal them. Here we see an ERA and an Alvis on the right, and on the left the Morgan that was pedaled by its owner (Manfred Klauda, also the founder of ZAM) from Munich to Dresden.

ZAM also contains museums devoted to chamber-pots and bourdalous. I've got several images on a separate page; at least two are tasteless by almost any standards, so don't look if you're easily offended!

The Walking Man

I'm glad I knew nothing of the Walking Man before I first saw him (on Leopoldstrasse). He is big. No, he is very big. See for yourself.

[Munich Re's Walking Man] [Munich Re's Walking Man] [Munich Re's Walking Man] [Munich Re's Walking Man] [Munich Re's Walking Man]

Hans-Jürgen Schinzler, Chairman of Münchener Rück ("Munich Re", the Munich Reinsurance Company), writes in an introduction to the Annual Report for 1995/6:

As a dynamic counterpoint to our Munich Re logo, we have added a stylized pictogram of the "Walking Man", a 17-metre-high sculpture by the American artist Jonathan Borofsky, which stands outside one of our office buildings, on Munich's Leopoldstrasse. This figure allows many interpretations. What we chiefly associate with it are presence, progress, vigour, strength and confidence -- the very qualities that are important both to our clients and to our shareholders. [from (now defunct)]

I've certainly never seen anything as amazing at any building at Tokyo (where I live), despite the fulsome praise given to the alleged originality of new Tokyo architecture. (Perhaps the closest is the unintended amusement value of what Asahi Beer hopes everybody thinks of as a flame.)

[pamphlet about Goya's etching series, front] [pamphlet about Goya's etching series, centre] [pamphlet about Goya's etching series, back]

This was not the only sign of corporate daring. On our way elsewhere, we happened to pass Bayerische Landesbank, which, with Kunstgalerien Böttingerhaus of Bamberg, was hosting an enormous exhibition -- entrance free -- of Goya's etching series: La Tauromaquia, Los Disparates, Les Desastres de la guerra and Los Caprichos (as well as pallid and ignorable derivatives of the last by that old charlatan Salvador Dalí).

For all I know, this sort of thing may all just be intended as a tax dodge, but if so then corporate Bavaria certainly has good taste in tax dodges.

Any comments? Corrections? Write to me (Peter Evans), or tell the whole world.

intro | Augsburg | Bamberg | Dinkelsbühl | Forchheim | Freising | Friedberg
Landshut | a bit more on Munich | Regensburg | Straubing | opticians

Other snaps


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