09 August, 2017

Munich part I - Breaking new ground

How about a little practice between all of the learning-by-heart exam questions that end up in ridiculous multiple choice tests with even more ridiculous results? I guess I'll never really understand the point of a short, intense learning period that gives you a nice grade but no practical knowledge whatsoever.
No wonder that when I first saw the program for this year's Oncology Winter School at LMU, it intrigued me. It would have intrigued me even if only half of it were true. Because what could possibly be better than a close up of real clinical practice, especially if it focuses on Oncology?
On second thought, I had a little doubt about fitting in a *challenging* 4-week course.
However, the idea of spending a month in Munich began to haunt me and a few days short of the deadline, I decided I'd give it a try with my application. I didn't expect I'd have a real chance to be chosen as one of the 10 participating students from around the world, and a rather long period with no response seemed to confirm my thoughts, but all the greater was the surprise upon receiving a message of approval.

And soon after my rather "strange" Erlangen experience, it was time to have another look at Bavaria. I was eager to experience the mix of daily ward routine and afternoon lectures, get to know colleagues from all over the world and above all, explore everything Munich has to offer.
The information given beforehand turned out to be very helpful in getting me to my room, and on a windy March afternoon, I learned how what's being advertised as "Germany's biggest student village" looks like in real life. 
The complex of student buildings and towers with streets named after WWII resistance fighters looks overwhelming at first, but in the end, you end up in your own little room – a little shabby, yet enough to make a student's life comfortable.
And for the next 4 weeks, this would be my view. 
A little depressing and somehow sterile, but then again, it would only be for a month. Still, it was reason enough for me to decide I'd spend as little time as possible inside. Turns out I'd be pretty much right about this one, even though it would be in a way I never imagined.
As usual, the first days were devoted to settling in, getting to know each other, and get familiar with the surroundings. German perfection seemed to work with the University officials as well as our German study buddies, who all tried to make things run as smooth as possible.
And after the duties were done, there was plenty of time to get to know Munich. Turns out the city I previously knew only from various stopovers at the main train station absolutely deserves more than a simple come-and-go visit.

Past the crowds in the city of the lion, off to its most well-known sites...
Odeonsplatz, Theatinerchurch. Its bright yellow rococo facade and the distinguished towers certainly are an eye-catcher, while its interior surprises with nothing but white. 
The square in front of the church itself is huge, a transition between the royal Ludwigstraße and the pedestrian zone leading past the National Theatre Munich and further on towards the Marienplatz. In the other direction, the street is lined by numerous prominent buildings from the main building of the University to the National library, ministries and palaces.
Mary's column at Marienplatz. Lined by the Old and the New town hall, it is without a doubt the city's central square. Accordingly, the area is crowded both above and under surface. 
New town hall with its rich main facade, the famous Glockenspiel, and the Münchner Kindl atop the 85 m high tower. 
Sights of Munich...
... And the city from above, as seen from "Old Pete", the 91 m high tower of St. Peter's church. Was the coughing and puffing worth it? On a day like this, absolutely: views of various parts of the city with the Alps in the background.
Frauenkirche. Due to the law that no building in the city should exceed 99 m in height (the only exception being the Olympiaturm), the twin towers of Munich's cathedral are well visible from all over the place.
View towards the north: new town hall, pedestrian zone, Odeonsplatz, Ludwigstraße.
Viktualienmarkt, the city's daily food and delicatessen market. 
Slowly, it was time to adapt to the professional part, too. For the moment, however, it would be just a stroll through the old inner city campus...

~ to be continued ~