We have been so busy, I've barely had a chance to write! On Wednesday, we spent the entire day in Mittenwald. The weather finally turned from cold and wet as it had been since I arrived, to beautifully sunny and warm. Our view of the mountains from anywhere within the town was incredible. Right outside Haus Karner, our little B&B, there was a path into the mountains, past a series of waterfalls. About halfway up, we took a chairlift, which was tremendously peaceful and offered stunning views of the Alps. At the top, the restaurant was closed but we encountered a map that showed the name and height of each peak we could see. To one side, there was a little lake where we all posed for pictures. We hiked a little higher, then began our descent down. The UM students are very pleasant company with this old alumnus, sharing snacks and stories all the way down.
The next morning, we were off to Munich again, but we stopped in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a look at the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics where a ski jump had been constructed. People still train there, although ski season is now past. Behind this manmade creation was an even more impressive design by Mother Nature herself, the Partnachklamm, a gorge with rushing water. Since I don't have a raincoat, I took my little umbrella with me to avoid getting soaked as we walked through the dark, dripping caverns. There were also little openings where we could pause for photos, and an idyllic place to sit and enjoy the scenery at the end of the walk.
After our return to Munich, we went to see the Marionetten Kleinespiel where we saw Kurt Schwitters's Zusammenstoss. It was very visual, so that helped my comprehension immensely. The marionettes were made of found objects as opposed to being made in a traditional style. The premise was that the earth was headed for destruction. Of all the characters, my favorite were the two little aliens that sat above the stage commenting as if they were Statler and Waldorf, the two grumpy old men from The Muppet Show.
Given we had only a little over twenty-four hours during this turn in Munich, we packed in as much as we could. We attended a student matinee of Terror at the Metropol Theater, written by Ferdinand von Shirach. The story followed the course case involving a fictional terrorist attack in which a plane was about to land inside a stadium with 60,000 people, when it was shot down by a fighter-pilot on the ground, killing the 160 people inside the plane. At the end of the play, the audience, acting as jury, was asked to take a recess and give their decision upon their return as to the guilt of the fighter-pilot, who made the decision to shoot down the plan on his own. The teens attending the show asked some very astute questions in the ensuing discussion.
After grabbing a quick snack at a local Baeckerei, I headed to the Pinakothek der Moderne where I saw countless famous works of modern art including Paul Klee, Picasso, Max Beckmann, Dali, and many more. The building itself was starkly beautiful. While I ran through rather quickly, I could have easily made it a full day.
To top everything off, we went to Janet's favorite restaurant near the Frauenkirche (Women's Church) in the center of town (The goulash soup was delicious!), then attended Die Selbstmord-Schwestern (The Virgin Suicides) at the Munich Kammerspiele, which was based on The Virgin Suicides, a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. I won't say too much, but it was a very uncomfortable play to watch. While the set was beautiful, the play, under the direction of Susanne Kennedy, was meant to depict the psyche of young adolescent girls who decided to take their own lives. I left with very strong images to ponder. Perhaps the most surprising thing to learn was that the actors, who had worn manga-type masks during the entire show, were actually men.
Off to Berlin tomorrow!