Snow Day: München Style

Posted on January 27th, 2015 by

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I must say that picturesque snow, tired students and an excited tour guide was the best way to start our first full day in München. As we began loading the bus this morning around 9:30 am, the snow started to fall. At first it fell so softly and beautifully, then it became more fierce and wild, and finally stopped for the 15 minutes we left the bus. It felt like we were back in Minnesota (minus the wind). The tour was actually quite intriguing today. I learned so much more about München in 4 hours than ever before in my life.

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I want to mention a few topics from our tour that caught my attention or just were interesting. Bavaria, a state in Southern Germany, was completely Catholic, however during/after the reformation Lutheranism came into the area. Because Lutheranism was not the original religion of the area the churches were put outside the city walls. This separated them from the Catholic churches and congregations. However, when the walls were torn down, the Lutheran churches were integrated into the city.

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Another very interesting fact about München was that one opera house for the common people, not the royal court, went through a lot of destruction and a lot of “the people’s money”. Our tour guide said that it once burned down completely and the common people did not have a place to see entertainment anymore, so the duke asked the people to pay for it. And what do you know, with an increased tax on beer, the Bavarian people of München rebuilt the opera house in just over a year. This is incredible! Just look how big it is!

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Of course one of the most important events that happens in München is Oktoberfest. This gargantuan 16 day party, from the end of September to the beginning of October, originally started out as a wedding celebration in 1810 on October 2. The next year, 1811, it became more of a fair with livestock and other produce to be sold. Since then the celebration has evolved quite alot. Today there are 6 or 7 breweries, just from München, that operate 14 tents for the celebration. The city gets about 1.1 billion euros in revenue, which is absolutely amazing! Not only do they get money from the beer drinking but also from hotel prices. We were told that room prices rose 300% during Oktoberfest, so it is really hard to find a place to stay unless you have booked it way in advance.

The last part of the tour our tour guide talked a lot about the Scholl siblings, Hans and Sophie, who wrote pamphlets against the Nazi party and were eventually executed for their beliefs. On February 18, 1943 Hans and Sophie threw pamphlets, with anti-Nazi ideas, in their university’s main entrance. They were caught by a janitor who turned them into the Gestapo and without a fair trial were sentenced to death by the guillotine. Their group, “The White Rose,” was a major resistance group in Germany. Their story is incredible and should be remembered.

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      “Long Live Freedom” – Hans Scholl

I must say that today was a great day. From exploring the old town this afternoon/evening, to seeing the entire city this morning by bus, I was able to learn more history and to get a feel for how life is lived in this beautifully snowy city.

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