Munich for Jewellers

Cathedral, City centre

Another new place to visit: this past week I went to Munich for a jewellery show called “SCHMUCK” (which is the German word for jewellery, but comes from Yiddish, I’d guess). Not only was the trip exciting because of all the jewellery events happening, but for me it was also really exciting because one of my very good friends I went to undergrad with in the States was going to be there! I haven’t seen Kathleen in well over a year- she’s been working in Amsterdam and I’ve been working in Birmingham (the English one, not the Alabama one). It was so great to reunite and get to spend the week with her, my friends from grad school, as well as several new friends we met from staying in the hostel.

SCHMUCK is a jewellery show set up in the Messe Munchen exhibition hall- SCHMUCK is only one of the shows that’s going on there- other galleries and jewellery exhibitions were going on too, and a load of independent art gallery shows were going on all week in the city of Munich. It would have been impossible to go to absolutely every show that was on- not enough hours in the day- and I wanted to be able to see some of the city, too. The first day and a half was spent doing jewellery-related activities, though. Went to several independent exhibitions, as well as spending hours at SCHMUCK (and the related exhibitions like Talente and Master of the Moderne)- there was a giant trade fair going on so not only were there jewellery shows going on, but also ceramics, sculpting, fashion, food…

Messe Munchen Exhibition HallSCHMUCK, Talente

I ended up being able to strike a balance between doing jewellery-related activities and sightseeing/people watching sorts of things, which is what I enjoy most about being in a new place. The jewellery galleries alone were enough to fill up a week, but the jewellery activities combined with seeing the sights and spending time with people made for a CRAZY week. After spending most of a day doing jewellery galleries, I went off to see some sights and do some “touristy” things.

The first destination was Nymphenburg Palace, one of the many summer homes of the king. We walked down a long avenue, lined with trees, that ran along the canal toward the palace. It took a solid 30 minutes or so to get from the beginning of the avenue to the end at the palace. There were two bridges along the way that offered really cool perspective vantage points and showed us a little bit of the large, sprawling castle that we were about to see. You can look up the castle on Wikipedia to see some pretty cool panoramic shots of the entire thing- I’ll just show a few of my favourite castle photos:

Nymphenburg Walk

Nymphenburg Windows

We walked around Nymphenburg for a while, then got hungry and went back to the hostel to eat a “picnic” lunch of food that we bought from the grocery store. Notice that each of us bought our own personal jars of applesauce. Also, please be aware that even though we bought this food with the intention of eating it all at once, it was actually eaten over the course of several days.

Hostel "Picnic" for Three

That evening we took a break from the art scene and Steve, Kathleen, and I went to see Alice in Wonderland at an English language theater that wasn’t too far from the hostel. Kathleen has been living in the Netherlands, and because of some copyright drama with Disney, the theaters there aren’t showing it, so she was quite excited that she was going to get to see it. We saw it in 3D… I really liked the creative twists on the original story, but the ending was severely disappointing: very stereotypical Hollywood ending. The ending went from bad to worse when the film closed with a song by Avril Lavigne. Even though the movie was rather disappointing, the German audience was fantastic. Unlike the English, who sit in the theater in complete silence, Germans laugh uproariously at everything, whether it’s funny or not. We had some older German men sitting behind us, guffawing at everything that happened- starting with the opening title (not sure what’s so hilarious about the words “Alice in Wonderland”?)  Very good experience- I really enjoyed watching a movie with a German audience and even enjoyed laughing aloud myself a few times as the movie went on!

Alice in Wonderland, Deutschland

The next day, it was more gallery openings. The evening opening was a highlight for me: Karl Fritsch curated a show at the Pinakothek der Moderne that was by far the best jewellery show we went to in Munich. The Pinakothek building was gorgeous and had a lot of really fantastic displays from their permanent collections that were up.

Gallery opening at Pinakothek der Moderne

There were a few other openings going on in the Pinakothek, including this one, that for some reason involved a very large-scale fluffy monster thing that was frighteningly cute (in a “I’m going to eat your soul and look really cute doing it” way).

Pinakothek opening gallery- people and cute monster thing

We went back to the hostel from the Pinakothek openings and spend the evening hanging out with some of our new friends from the hostel. We had a really fun evening tasting the local beers and explaining “contemporary jewellery” from an academic standpoint to our new friends, who were a French physicist, an American philosopher, and some British marines. Then, we had show-and-tell and started passing our jewellery around:

Explaining Contemporary Jewellery

The philosopher and physicist contemplate...

The next day I spent a little bit of time wandering around the city, and made my way to a cafe that Kathleen had recommended to me. This cafe, The Glockenspiel, was amazing. The amazing chandelier that greeted me as soon as I walked in the door was enough to make me love the place:

Glockenspiel Chandelier

Broken plates and flying cutlery? Mad Hatters Tea Party? Brilliant! Someday I’m going to make one of these for my house. The whole restaurant was decorated with a lot of exquisite chandeliers (I’m really into chandeliers at the moment, in case you couldn’t tell?) and really lush wallpapers in gorgeous colours. Every room in the restaurant had a slightly different colour scheme and “feel” to it- I found a table and ordered an “aapfelstrudel” (apple strudel, of course!) drowned in vanilla cream. It was gorgeous.

Aapfelstrudel from Glockenspiel

For our last night in the city, all of the jewellery visitors in Munich were invited to go to the Augustiner Beer Hall for a meal, drinks, and socialising. Our group from BCU went and that evening we met a few new friends- students from Dusseldorf and their professor, and we had a really great, long evening talking about jewellery and drinking Augustiner beer. When you get a bunch of jewellers in the same room for any length of time, it doesn’t take too long before everyone starts showing each other their jewellery, and from there it doesn’t take too long before everyone is wearing everyone else’s jewellery. Daniel (one of our new friends from Dusseldorf) wore my earrings, but because he wanted to make sure he still looked manly, he made sure he was photographed with a beer in his hand too!

Beer and Jewellery

Augustiner Beer Hall

We were at the Augustiner quite late: I was the first of our group to leave around 11 p.m. The only reason I left was because “traditional German food” (a.k.a. sausages) didn’t appeal to me at all, so I hadn’t had supper yet. It was our last night in Munich that I discovered the beauty of German doner kebabs. I’ve had doner kebabs in Italy and England, but this German one I had was THE best kebab I’ve ever eaten. I took it back to the hostel and ate it in the bar and got very envious looks from everyone who was in there. It didn’t take too long for the rest of my friends to make it back from the Augustiner, and then our jewellery party continued at the hostel. It was a late night, but it was our last in Munich and we felt like we needed to make the most of it and enjoy the last of our time with our new friends.

[a late night photo with a few hostel friends: Kathleen on the left, who I went to undergrad with and now lives in Amsterdam. Then Steve from LA, who’s spending a few months travelling around Europe for fun. Then Greg, our cardigan-wearing New Zealander bartender at the hostel]. We eventually went to bed and dreaded the next morning, when we had to wake up and pack our bags and spend the day travelling back to England.

It was snowy for our last day and night in the city- the next morning as we walked back to Hauptbonhoff to catch the train, it was so lovely and sunny and everything was glittery with snow. It was beautiful to see, but I was glad I wasn’t staying around and having to walk through snow and sludge for a few more days!

Snowy Bikes in Marienplaatz

The trip back home was a long one, and when I finally made it back to my house in Birmingham, I was completely dead. I still haven’t completely regained my energy and am still trying to catch up on sleep, but the trip was a great experience and was well worth the sleep deprivation! SCHMUCK happens every year, so there’s a very good chance I’ll be back there for it next year- I think next time I go I’m going to have to give myself two days when I get back where I have no obligations and can just stay in bed for 48 hours. That sounds so amazing….

Now that I’m back in Birmingham, it’s back to work. I’ll do a post early next week with an update on my latest jewellery experiments and will also be doing a post on all the crazy-random public transportation experiences I’ve had in the past week. I don’t know what’s gotten up with the general public here, but this week I’ve experienced more bizarre things on trains and buses than I have on the rest of my trips in England combined. More on that later- have a good weekend!



Filed under Europe, jewellery, Travels

2 responses to “Munich for Jewellers

  1. Grandmother Henry

    Oh, Miriasm, Thank you for taking me to places I would never have otherwise seen! Your words are pictures, and then — your photos speak ! In all your peregrinations (Look up that one!) just keep on course. I am so enjoying (vicariously) your life abroad.
    Blessings, GM

  2. I’m so jealous! Looks like an awesome trip. Would have loved to see the jewelry.

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