The above picture was taken in the shell grotto of the Residenz Palace. This is an excerpt from Rick Steves' Germany book explaining it.
The "shell grotto" at Munich's Residenz palace is an inspirational story of reconstruction. This artificial grotto was an exercise in man controlling nature — a celebration of humanism, which was in vogue when it was built in the 1550s. This strange structure is made from Bavarian freshwater shells, with Mercury (the pre-Christian god of trade and business) overseeing the action, and red wine spurting from the mermaid's breasts and dripping from Medusa's head in the courtyard. The palace and the grotto were demolished by WWII bombs. After the war, people had no money to contribute to the reconstruction — but they could gather shells. All the shells in today's reconstructed grotto were donated by small-town Bavarians.
I'm just in awe, that Germans gathered all of the shells to have something this old and unique reconstructed. The Residenz Palace was very interesting and I could have spent a lot longer strolling through the maze of rooms. I didn't even bother with an audio guide because the youngest child has a tendency to race through it all. There were many things I saw and wondered about, but I'm afraid I'll have to just return one day to fully appreciate it.
I had to include this picture because she looks like such a sweet and innocent teenager. Uh, yeah... this was snapped after I told her to quit throwing gang signs here in the palace hall called the antiquarium that was filled with 16th and 17th century frescoes as well as statuary. Her little sister was photographing said throwing of gang signs and I figured the CCTV folks watching on their monitors might not appreciate her humor.
Get a load of this doorway! It was inside the palace and it really dwarfs all three of them. I've discovered I'm a big fan of intricate plasterwork that has been gilded, handpainted ceiling frescoes and patterned marble floors with artistic inlays, so maybe I could get some of that included in my next house.
Aren't these just darling? I found them in a Christmas shop in Salzburg. They are handpainted eggs you hang on Christmas trees. Some of them are even decorated with stitching. Love 'em!
I don't have a picture for this last little bit of Munich blurb, but I wish I did. It would have been a group shot, though these people weren't all traveling together. I'm talking about all of the folks on the tours that got on my nerves. Obviously I don't need to sign on for any of those package tours because I would probably be thrown into jail in a foreign country for doing something heinous like slapping the back of the guy's head that was wearing the Texas Tech shirt because he took off his shoes and propped his feet up HIGH on the front bar of the bus since he was in the first seat on the upper deck. Every time I looked forward, I had a clear shot of his big ugly feet to mar my views of the Bavarian countryside. Dude, it's not your recliner back in Texas so let's show a bit of decorum.
The older Filipino couple were working this whole tag team approach. He was loudly jabbering on his phone while the tour guide was trying to give his little spiel, so the guide stopped and asked him to end the call so the rest of us could hear what we had paid for. At first the tour guide tried the old teacher trick, the stop talking and stare so that everyone else in the class/on the bus also stares and thus shames you into shutting your mouth. Good idea, but it didn't work on Filipino man and we all got to hear his conversation really well since he was clueless and had to be asked to cease and desist. And of course the worst part was that he was talking in his native language so it's not like we were getting to hear something interesting.
After he knocked it off, his wife kicked in with her bag of candy. I swear it took her 30 minutes to wrestle open a crinkly plastic bag full of candy. Every time it would stop making all that racket and you would think wow, she finally got it open, she would crank up the bag wrestling again. THEN the sucking commenced for the next 30 minutes. That must have been some really tasty hard candy because she was making these sounds like her taste buds had been burned off her tongue or she had permanently clogged sinuses and couldn't seem to taste the flavor unless she made this sucking noise loud enough to rattle the bus windows. I kept
Finally, there were the ladies from Missouri that all figured out they were from the same city and had to tell each other the story of their lives on the ride back from Dachau. Geesh, the rest of us don't care about the drama of your sister kicking you out because you turned up your nose about living on the south side of town, which obviously wasn't the place to be. And do you have to talk loud enough for all of us around you to be subjected to your ongoing prattle about life back home? There was no need for me to worry about the manners or behavior of our daughters while traveling in Europe. There seemed to be lots of other adult travelers taking up their slack.