Busy busy busy day. With our train to Prague leaving early in the evening, we had two Residence tours, a city walking tour, a church visit, and more eating/drinking to get accomplished in a very short period of time. We started by heading back toward the Residence to continue with the second of the three tours we’d started yesterday.

This time, we hit up the Munich Treasury. We knew we were in for some good stuff when we literally had to walk through a vault door to get into the exhibits. And we were not disappointed. Right away in the first room, we saw a couple of crowns from more than 5 centuries ago, huge gold tablets, and massive jewels. And it only got better from there. We took a ton of pictures, but here’s a few that stand out.

First, the crown of an English queen from the 14th century:

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Next, the crown and royal thingamajigs from another long dead king. He never actually wore this crown. It was just placed on a pillow in front of him when he was at important functions (seems a bit of a waste, no?).

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And finally, a depiction of a saint slaying a dragon, complete with functioning visor that can be opened (assuming you can get through the security glass embedded with trip wires without setting off the alarm and causing a dozen heavily armed gentlemen to come asking questions):

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We then headed to the main plaza for a free tour (you should definitely look for these when you travel because they are generally enthusiastic and really entertaining and informative in order to garner a tip). Over the course of three and a half hours we did a whole bunch of walking, a whole bunch of listening, and a whole bunch of talking about beer. It seems everything in the history of Bavaria is tied to beer somehow. The town of Munich was founded where a bunch of monks were perpetually drunk and avoiding taxes. When the Duke and his army ran away from the Swedish catholic army during the 30 years war, the residents of Munich bribed the Swedes to leave using beer. There was a king who gave away beer to the homeless (and wondered why homelessness skyrocketed during his reign).

As such, we were lucky to be in town on what is essentially a beer festival that only comes around once every two years (though there’s practically some sort of beer festival most of the rest of the time, too). Our tour guide explained that every couple years, all of the main breweries in Munich that are allowed to sell their beer at Oktoberfest bring out their beer recipes, and a priest blessed them. There’s a special couple dances they do, and a creepy clown comes out and hip thrusts at everyone. (Funny story there, it’s an imitation of a dance that was done hundreds of years ago to entice children to come out and play when it was thought a plague was over. The Bavarians would send their children out and if the kids started dropping dead, they’d know the plague wasn’t over and the adults would stay in their houses. So how do you get a kid to come out and play? Apparently by sending a creepy clown out in the streets to hip thrust at them. Weird.) At any rate, there lots of people in lederhosen hanging around drinking huge steins of beer, and women in dirndl dresses bustling about. And wagons for each brewer.

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Oh, and this guy!

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Further on in the tour we got to run some lion noses for luck. There are four statues outside the Residence that can bring you luck in four different attributes: love, weather, long life, and your pursuits in life. The catch is that you’re only supposed to pick three of the four. Rubbing the lion’s nose for all four is a lifetime of bad luck. Both Dawin and I opted to skip the weather lion. And sure enough it poured later in the day. Here’s Dawin rubbing the “love” lion’s nose.

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Closer to the end of the your we also learned of Munich’s darker history, primarily that of being the founding place of he Nazi party. In fact, we stood in the very beer hall where the Nazi party was officially formed, which is on the second level of the world famous Hofbraü Haus. In this very room (rebuilt in exacting detail with one exception after the war since it was destroyed) Adolf Hitler stood in front of the German Workers Party and declared that they would henceforth be known as the National Socialist German Workers Party (shortened to the Nazi Party).

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The one change that was made to the hall during rebuilding was to move the stage from the corner to the center of the far wall. This was done so there would be no place for neo-Nazi’s to stand in Hitler’s place and honor him or speak on favor of his ideologies.

We also stood very near the location where Hitler was very nearly killed in the early 20s as his party attempted to overthrow the Munich government:

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As the Nazi group (3000 or so strong) walked to the right along this street, they walked into an ambush. Dozens of police jumped out from behind the building on the right and formed a barricade, guns drawn. At some point a shot was fired and in the span of seconds, hundreds and hundreds of shots rang out and nearly 20 people died. The man next to Hitler, who had locked arms with him in an attempt to slow the Nazi advance from running into the police blockade, was shot in the chest and died instantly and in the process of collapsing broke Hitler’s arm and dragged him to the ground, more or less where the manhole is in this image. At some point the officers saw Hitler lying there and aimed to cut the head off of the snake, so to speak but just as they started to fire at him, his bodyguard fell on him, taking a number of bullets to his body, shielding Hitler (though surviving to lead one of the most brutal SS units of the war, unfortunately). Hitler fled and escaped in a taxi around the corner, leaving his men behind to be arrested. He was found several days later hiding in a closet across the river and sent to prison for five years (the judge was a member of the secret society that spawned the Nazis, so he was given the lightest possible sentence instead of the death sentence that normally accompanies high treason).

And here is the place where he gave more than 300 speeches during his rule in Germany. This is just around the corner on the right side of the previous photo, actually.

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It’s from the top of the steps at this monument that this photo was taken:

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But enough about Hitler. After our tour we headed back to the Residence to finish, this time to tour the many rooms. There was plenty of opulence to be found, but here’s a couple examples. A room full of dozens of portraits of the royal family spanning tens of generations, a dining hall for the king to eat in public (apparently that was a thing once upon a time) and a place setting that could probably pay off our mortgage.

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We started to head toward on of the main beer gardens in Munich to spend our final hour in the city but it started pouring (I knew one of us should have rubbed the weather lion’s nose), so we ended up back at the hotel before grabbing our train to Prague.