Blackfriars Bridge to Victoria Embankment Gardens

Blackfriars to Victoria Embankment Gardens 1 Blackfriars to Victoria Embankment Gardens 2 Blackfriars to Victoria Embankment Gardens 3

My new walk to work is ever so exciting.  I get off the train a stop early at Waterloo East and then take any of a number of routes across the Thames to our offices near Charing Cross.

On my first morning, I decided to go via Blackfriars Bridge and Cleopatra’s Needle.  I saw such icons of London as the Oxo Tower, a blue police box and a red telephone box, a City of London boundary dragon and a plane flying over the London Eye.

Blackfriars to Victoria Embankment Gardens 4 Blackfriars to Victoria Embankment Gardens 5 Blackfriars to Victoria Embankment Gardens 6

I really was having a grand old time until suddenly, I spotted Cleopatra’s Needle (or more formally, the Obelisk). 

Cleopatras Sphinx 1 Cleopatras Sphinx 2 Cleopatras Needle 1

Cleopatra’s Needle is an obelisk from ancient Egypt.  It is one of a trio of obelisks that are erected in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, New York’s Central Park, and, of course, London.  Our obelisk was gifted to London by the ruler of Egypt in 1819.  You can visit Wikipedia to read about the incredible story of the ill-fated transportation of the obelisk from Egypt to London.

Cleopatras Needle 2 Cleopatras Sphinx 3 Blackfriars to Victoria Embankment Gardens 7

A pair of sphinxes flank the obelisk on either side, making this a lovely little spot in London.  During World War II, a bomb exploded really close to the obelisk and sphinxes and the inscription above centre reads:

The scars that disfigure the pedestal of the obelisk, the bases of the sphinxes and the right hand sphinx, were caused by fragments of a bomb dropped in the roadway close to this spot, in the first raid on London by German aeroplanes a few minutes before midnight on Tuesday 4th September 1917”.

Once I'd finished my walk, I stopped off at Victoria Embankment Gardens for a little while to sit and relax.

All of these photos were taken using Instagram, my new favourite obsession.  If you have  smart phone, find me on Instagram (my username is mandytjie) or you can see all of my Instagram photos in one place at Tumblr: mandiloop.  Don’t worry, I’m not defecting or leaving this blog (although I do consider moving to Wordpress, often) but I just love the instant, creative and social aspect to Instagram.  It is a social network based on a common love of photography where words are second to the glimpses into other people’s worlds.

Click on the photos for better views.  I’ve installed Lightbox which I quite liked on other people’s blogs.  Please et me know what you think!  Lightbox is the ability to click on one photo in a post and then have them all pop up in one easy to navigate photo album.

Featured Photo: Frauenplatz, Munich

A Bavarian Walkway

I like the way this photo turned out.  It was taken outside the Frauenkirche in Munich, looking out on to Frauenplatz (translated as Women’s Space).  I didn’t really know where else to put this photo, so I thought I’d give it a little post all of its own.

I loved the clean, geometric lines of Bavarian architecture and it took me a little while to start taking photographs that morning as I was initially too awed.  I cannot wait to go travelling again.

The Munich Frauenkirche

Frauenkirche Liebfrauenstr Munchen

The Munich Frauenkirche is one of the most iconic landmarks in Munich, known especially for its unique Renaissance-style domes.  This magnificent red brick building was built in the late 15th century and was consecrated in 1494, with the domes added in 1525.  It is a Catholic church and the full name is Dom zu Unserer Lieben Frau which translates to Cathedral of Our Dear Lady. 

The church is located on Frauenplatz (Women’s Square) but it faces Liebfrauen Strasse (Loving Women Street) too.  I understand the religious context of the name but I was also quite thrilled to be surrounded by such a love for women!

When you are looking for churches in Germany, do be careful not to add an ‘s’ into the name.  Kirche means church, kirsche means cherry! We had a good laugh about that when one of our party made that mistake.

Interior and alter of Munich Frauenkirche

Like many of the churches in Munich, entrance to the church is free but they do prefer visitors not to come in during services.  It is hard to express how big this church is but it can hold an incredible 20,000 people during one of the regular masses. 

Interior of Munich Frauenkirche

The church was greatly damaged during World War II and renovations continued right up to 1994.  That is not to say that work will not continue on the church and in fact, one of the towers was covered in cladding when we visited.

Pope Benedict XVI statue Munchen Frauenkirche

Der Teufelsschritt or Devil’s Footstep

There is a lovely legend connected to the church and it has to do with this human footprint that can be seen in the entrance hall beneath the chorus.  If you step into this foot, you cannot see any of the windows in the church and at one time, you could not see the middle window either because there was a huge alter there.  It is said that after the building was finished but not yet consecrated, the devil sneaked in and was greatly amused that there were no windows in the building.  There is little use for a building without windows, said he.

The Devils Footstep

He stomped his foot in triumphant joy, leaving the mark you see here today. However, when he took one step further, he saw all of the windows between the columns of the church and realised he was the fool. In a fit of fury, he turned into a violent wind, hoping that he could tear down the church with his might.  To this day you can experience the fierce winds around the Frauenkirche which is of course still standing after all of his efforts.

Isn’t that a wonderful tale?

Das Wittelsbacher Kenotaph Frauenkirche

Das Kaiserkenotaph

This is the tomb monument for Kaiser Ludwig IV der Bayer by master sculptor Hans Krumpper.  Ludwig IV was an incredibly important figure in Bavarian history and lived from 1282 to 1347.  He was otherwise known as King Louis IV or the Bavarian in the English speaking world and was of the house of Wittelsbach.  In his time, he was the King of Germany, the King of Italy and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328 until his death in 1347.

Apparently he is buried in the the Frauenkirche and I am trying not to think about where his body might have been between 1347 and the consecration in 1494, although the church did replace an older romanesque church that was previously on site.

Glasfenster Frauenkirche Munchen

The Glasfenster or stained glass windows were quite exquisite but we could not for the life of us figure out which scenes were depicted!  It would have been nice to attend a tour of this particular church as there was a lot in the way of symbolism that I would have liked to learn more about.

Figures in the ceiling

You might need to click on the photo above to see, but we were greatly amused by these little figures hanging from the ceiling.  They were like benevolent gargoyles!

The basement of Frauenkirche

With a final glance at the eerie display in the basement, we were on our way to see the Glockenspiel in Marienplatz and the sculptured gardens of The Munich Residenz.

A Weekend in Munich

It might seem decadent to spend a weekend in another country but that is exactly what we did last weekend. We left after work on the Friday evening and returned on the Sunday night, spending almost a full 48 hours in Munich, Germany. We booked an EasyJet holiday (which I can’t recommend enough for ease of booking and the option to secure the booking with a small deposit), printed our boarding passes at home and walked on to the plane with only hand luggage, making it a quick and easy break.

We had a fantastic stay in the Hotel Drei Loewen, which has a fantastic location across the road from Munich’s Hauptbahnhof. 

So what can you do in 48 hours in Munich? 

Karlstor on Neuhauser Strasse Munich

You can take a walk through the historic city centre, checking out the three historic city gates (see Karlstor above, taken on Neuhauser Strasse).

Munich Frauenkirche

You can marvel at the gorgeous architecture and the many styles including late-Gothic style, Gothic revival or the Renaissance-style domes of the Frauenkirche above. 

Glockenspiel at Neues Rathaus Munich

You can sit at a cafe on Marienplatz and listen to the exquisite sounds of the Glockenspiel at the Neues Rathaus.

Munich Residenz and Hofgarten

You can visit the Munich Residenz, former home of the Bavarian royal family and walk through the beautiful sculptured gardens of the Hofgarten. 

Theatinerkirche Munich

You can visit one of the many beautiful churches in Munich which are ornate inside and out.  Churches do not charge an entrance fee although some may charge to access specific attractions (such as the tower in Peterskirche).

Pfarrkirche Sankt Paul at Theresienwiese

You can sample some authentic Bavarian cuisine and if you are really enjoying your meal, you can even forget to take photos of it!  As a huge fan of German food, I especially enjoyed tucking into a selection of German wurst and sauerkraut while Stephen enjoyed a roast pork knuckle.

Paul Heyse Strasse Munich

You can take a walk through the new city centre or visit some of the well-to-do suburbs around the Nymphenburg Palace.

Schloss Nymphenburg Munich

You can visit the Nymphenburg Palace and take a wander around the surrounding gardens and woodlands.

BMW-Vierzylinder Munich

You can visit the home of BMW, marvelling at the BMW Four-Cylinder Tower and taking a walk around the BMW museum.  A must if you’d like to see their vintage or Art Car collection.

Olympiaturm in Olympiapark Munich

You can take a walk around the Olympic Park, marvelling at the Olympiaturm (if you are a tower-phile like me).  If you have enough energy, you can even take a walk up the Olympiaberg Schuttberg, the debris mountain made from the rubble left over after World War II.

Allianz Arena Munich

And finally, if you are a true sports fan or football fanatic, you can visit the Allianz Arena, home of FC Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 M√ľnchen.  Do be warned,  there is absolutely nothing else here to see, so this one is for true fans only.

This, of course, is only a fraction of what you can do in the city.  There are free Third Reich tours leaving from most hotels, day trips to Dachau or even Salzburg, Austria, and scores of museums across the city.  Many museums have reduced entry on a Sunday but are closed on Mondays.  If we had another one or two days, we would certainly have liked to take advantage of some of those opportunities and for this reason, we’d definitely return to Munich.  In the next couple of posts, I’ll take you around some of these sights in more detail.

Be sure to visit and "like" my Emm in London Facebook page to see all of my Instagram photos from the trip and more!