Home of the famous Oktoberfest, Munich, is a city that blends traditional Bavarian culture and a modern lifestyle. I took it easy strolling along the street markets and bought some fresh strawberries to snack on while watching the Glockenspiel in action.
The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm to Renata of France. In honour of the happy couple there is a joust with life-sized knights on horseback representing Bavaria (in white and blue) and France (in red and white). The Bavarian knight wins every time of course. Everyone gathered around and yelled either “Blue!” or “Red!” and it got quite rowdy.
This act is then followed by the bottom half and second story: the dance. The people of Munich were said to have danced through the streets to “bring fresh vitality to fearful dispositions.” Their dance came to symbolize perseverance and loyalty to authority through difficult times. The whole show lasts about 15 minutes. A very small golden bird at the top of the Glockenspiel chirps three times, marking the end of the show.
In the evening, we parked at a long wooden table and got a taste of tradition at a typical beer hall. We ordered some hearty local food like roast pork, and quenched our thirst with a stein of one of Germany’s 5000 brews. Since the steins were so massive, I couldn’t come close to drinking the whole thing. So, I just walked around and held it in my hand. To this day, my key chain is a picture of me holding one of these giant beer-filled steins.