I really liked Munich—it has such a pleasant, genteel vibe to it. Berlin is much grittier, which is also cool in its own way of course. Munich was pretty much my free day; I wanted to amble around the Altstadt, check out a few yarn shops, and do a good bit of writing (fortunately, the hostel I was staying at had a pleasant sitting area with working power points and €2/24-hour wireless internet). I found another Christkindlesmarkt here, though not nearly as extensive as Nuremberg's. The merchandise sometimes varied too—I saw stalls selling (handcarved?) Nativity sets and figures in Munich, and can't recall seeing any in Nuremberg. Food and drink (Glühwein, Lebkuchen, etc.) were the same though.
Unfortunately, pretty much all the museums are closed on Monday—the very day I was there—but I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Alte Pinakothek late on Sunday. Best time to visit, as it happened: admission is only a euro on Sunday afternoons! While in Munich, you must visit this museum to see Rubens' stunning two-story painting of the Last Judgment, as well as Albrecht Dürer's famous self-portrait. It was painted when he was my age, 28, so seeing it in person had a certain poignancy I couldn't have felt had I viewed it earlier.
Another highlight was seeing the Glockenspiel at the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) at noon. The figures were fantastic: musicians, dancers, flag-bearers, royalty...even the pope slides out and takes a few bows. The coolest part comes toward the end, when two knights on horseback go for a joust. Utterly delightful, and of course the Christkindlesmarkt spread out over the plaza below added to the magic of it. You can just make out the figures in the tower below:
And of course, I had done my homework on Munich yarn shops, and picked up eight skeins of ggh Silky Tweed from Lanaiolo to make Elaine's Blouse. The yarn is made in Italy, but it's a German label, so I saved a fair bit of cash buying it there (€4.50/ball, compared with $10.50 U.S. retail). Huzzah! (By the way, I finished the blouse over the holidays—photos in a future post.)
Anyway, here's one more cool shot (inside the Temple of Diana, at the Hofgarten):