Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Munich - The Devil Wears A Size 9 and the Freaky Shrine of Saint MJ

I`ve been in Germany for an exchange programme and I was to busy to write anything lately. I usually don`t write in English but for the benefit of my German friends I`m going to share some of my more interesting German experiences in English.

I got the opportunity to visit three German cities namely Munich, Berlin and Cologne. Every city is very different. Two main reasons for this exists. Firstly you have a host of provincial differences in living life that gets reflected in the buildings.  Secondly, the different ways in which the leaders of every city decided to react to the challenge of rebuilding their cities after it was bombed to the ground was somewhat different.
Berlin and Cologne decided to modernize while Munich went the more conservative direction. Munich was originally one of those medieval towns that were surrounded by the city walls and gates where farmers sold their wares in St Mary`s Square now known as Marianplatz. This historic part of town is still there and is still used to sell produce although the supply of farm produce has been replaced with luxury brands.
Apart from the places of consumerist worship there are also many places of the more conventional religious worship. Within one of these cathedrals there happens to be a footprint that is exactly dead centre in line with the cross. This is called the devil`s footprint and although many different variations of this story exists I`ll retell the version I heard in the cathedral.
The builder of the cathedral was faced by an enormous amount of setbacks that varied from structures toppling over to problems with the supply of raw materials. The builder came to the conclusion that the devil was putting in an extra effort to the delay the finishing of this place of worship and decided to strike a deal with the devil.
He promised the devil that he will finish the building without any windows if he would not interfere with the rest of the process. The devil obliged, delighted that nobody would like to worship in a cold building without any stained glass windows. When the devil, who used his friend the wind for transportation, went to inspect the site he was delighted to see how dark and cold it was. 
What the devil did not know is that the builder made use of planks to hide the beautiful windows that eventually adorned the walls of the cathedral. When the devil eventually noticed that he had a fit of rage and walked out of the cathedral after stamping his foot. In this fit the devil forgot to take the wind with him hence the constant howling wind in the area of the cathedral.
When our group got to the footprint one of the Germans put his foot, that happened to be the exact size as the devil`s (a European 44 – UK 9) on that of the devil before being verbally escorted out of the cathedral.
Around the corner there is a statue in honour of some composer whose name I cannot remember. His name is not important seeing that after the death of Michael Jackson the statue got converted into an impromptu and very freaky shrine to the late king of pop where he is venerated Roman Catholic style. There is even a woman that prayed in front of it. All this because MJ once stayed at the hotel on the opposite side of the road. 

1 comment: