Last day in Munich

16th century Gothic church near our hotel.

Liisa and I woke up early and had a good breakfast at the hotel.  The snow was really pelting down and accumulating on the roads.  We were afraid to drive anywhere and lose our parking spot, so we made a decision to tour the local area.

We started with a large Gothic church, St Paul’s, that was a block away from our hotel.  If memory serves me right,

Interior of St Paul's Church.

it was built in the 16th century.  Unlike many of the churches we toured, this one did not have the bright frescoes painted on the ceiling.  Instead, this church was distinguished

Brass figurine of Saint Chaddaus.

by the massive concrete pillars, marble floors and spire roof construction.  It also had brass figurines of the various saints mounted on pedestals.  I wonder what it’s like to attend a church service here or in any of the churches we toured.  Knowing that your ancestors might have worshipped here in these grand old structures is a reflection of the past and continues with its religious purpose into the future.   For these architectural beauties to survive war and the eroding effect of the natural elements is amazing.

After the church exhibit, Liisa and I ventured across the street to what appeared to be another Christmas Market.  At the entrance, an ice carver was chipping away at solid blocks of

Christmas market with St Paul's church in the background.

ice.   He was raising money for the poor children of Tibet by exhibiting his talent and ice sculptures.

The market was filled with people and vendors hawking their wares.  We were amused by the uniqueness of the wood carved wind chimes for sale.  One of them was a dragon-like character mounted on the top of the cylindrical post

Ice sculpture at entrance of Christmas Market.

fastened to the wind chimes.  Various parts of its body would move when you touched it.  But I just couldn’t see having that at my home in Tampa.

Wooden wind chimes.

Other vendors were selling clothing, jewelry, hot wine, and a variety of food.  Liisa and I opted to sample some Middle-Eastern food.  We were growing tired of the Bavarian menu and wanted something different.  The lamb was very good and tasted quite similar to the meat in the Middle East.  The lamb in the U.S. does not taste near as good as lamb prepared in the Middle East.

We also found merchant selling large blocks of cheese.  The cheese he was selling was very expensive.  We had hoped to visit a cheese factory during our vacation, but it never happened.  We were so occupied with the other sites, this one slipped through the cracks.  I could have easily spent 2 weeks in Munich exploring all of the

Vendor selling blocks of cheese.

historical sites.  Trying to see it all in 3 days was too hard.

Overall it has been a fabulous vacation and needed relief from the combat zone.  It was great seeing my wife and sharing this walk back into history tour and just spending quality time with her.  We also enjoyed being host for my Mother-in-Law along with sharing part of our journey with our friends from Tampa.  But tomorrow, I will pack my bags and say goodbye to my wife again as I must return to Afghanistan to finish out my last 4 ½ months of deployment.  I am hoping to be back with my team for Christmas.

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