Photos: Two days in Munich

Oh, hi! Long time no talk. Long time since being home.

This past week, thanks to a nomination from a friend and mentor who’d done the program a few years ago, I was fortunate to be a delegate at the American-German Young Leaders Conference in Germany. The event brings together early-to-mid-career folks from both countries to learn about and discuss transatlantic issues, including communication and technology.

Before moving onto Berlin and the heart of the conference, the trip began in Munich, gathering the American delegates and giving them two days to beat their jet lag and begin to get to know the country and each other.

It was an amazing trip, one I feel very lucky to have done. Another couple posts will capture the Berlin leg of the journey, and the awesome mix of other delegates on the trip. But first, here’s Munich, or at least what I remembered to photograph. I missed lots of good moments, including all moments where one puts down the phone and has good conversation. A fair trade! So, here the moments that did make it to the lens.

We arrived Friday and had a bit of time to explore our neighborhood.

IMG_0294

I love a serious statue, and they dotted the main nearby road.

IMG_0303

Also, serious room keys. To speed the bonding, we were all assigned roommates from the group. My roommate, Andy, was a major in both Army JAG and most excellent friendliness, and — small world — his brother was a priest arriving the very same day for a stay at… Blessed Sacrament, my family’s church, where my mom of course met Andy’s brother two days later.

IMG_0307

That evening, we went down to Augsburg, the third-oldest city in Germany and home to the Fuggerei, a walled part of the city providing housing for needy citizens since 1516. Continuously.

IMG_0310

With us was Alexander Fugger, descendent of Jakob Fugger, AKA Jakob the Rich, who founded the Fuggerei and basically invented modern banking. The current Fugger, whose title is technically “Count,” was a conference delegate several years ago and is one of the leads of the Fuggerei foundation today.

IMG_0311

Here was our guide with Jakob the Rich, one heck of a nickname.

IMG_0313

How old is the Fuggerei? Some of its house numbers don’t exist anymore, which is a thing I didn’t know existed in the Western world.

IMG_0315

This painting has no historical significance but was amazing.

IMG_0318

This man was also amazing.

IMG_0321

The chapel on the Fuggerei grounds was beautiful. Exempt from modern Germany discrimination rules, residents have to say prayers every day.

IMG_0329

Augsburg was a great little town. Even the manhole covers were great.

IMG_0337

And the cars.

IMG_0345

The graffiti, too. “I don’t understand,” says the German response.

IMG_0339

We walked through town as the sun went down…

IMG_0341

… and ate dinner inside what was, for centuries, the Fugger bank.

IMG_0343

The next morning, back in Munich, we headed out for a bike tour.

IMG_0347

The weather was pretty much perfect.

IMG_0352

Well, not pretty much perfect, but actually perfect.

IMG_0354

I decided on my new German pseudonym.

IMG_0355

The names of a number of Munich establishments were winners.

IMG_0356

Most, really. Hello from Americanos City!

IMG_0357

We biked to Munich Residence, once the city’s palace, now a museum.

IMG_0359

Destroyed during WWII, the building’s facade is now mostly sketched.

IMG_0362

Our bike-tour guide, who was interesting, had us act out the statues in the neighboring square. We were game. We were jet-lagged. But game.

IMG_0363 (1)

Some of us were very game — the lion sculptures, especially.

IMG_0364

The square turned out to be full of chairs for an performance, but we circled to Theatine Church. They don’t make them like they used to.

IMG_0366

Or do they? Allied bombs hit parts of the church hard. But here we are.

IMG_0369

From there, we went north to the Bavarian State Chancellery. Also hit hard during the war, the wings are now glass, representing transparency.

IMG_0372

Our next step was the English Garden — the Central Park of Munich — and, after we’d taken a few photos, before our guide said anything, its Nudist Meadow. We paused our photography.

IMG_0377

For lunch, I ate schweinshaxe — a deep-fried roasted ham hock.

IMG_0379

As a traditional band played, we ate under China Tower, dating to 1790.

IMG_0383

The last of the bike tour saw the English Garden’s main river…

IMG_0385

… and its surfers.

IMG_0391

Surfers!

A video posted by Patrick Cooper (@btrpkc) on

My first ride in 20 years was last year. This one was a success too.

IMG_0394

Successful, yes, but look at this guy! So relieved to be done.

IMG_0395

After the ride, I sat on the porch, read and took a much-needed nap.

IMG_0398

The last of the day was dinner, back by the China Tower. Rain sent us all scrambling at one point, but then it stopped and we ate delicious food.

IMG_0401

The sun came back and at last, after a long day, went down.

IMG_0402

Early the next morning, we headed to Berlin and our next adventure.

IMG_0409

Next: Berlin, the first half, in the houses of power

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *