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Skiing in Europe

For those of you who love winter sports... The ski season has begun! Step out of your comfort zone this year and find new challenges in new places. Top quality snow, modern facilities, stunning scenery and, last but not least, a great après-ski atmosphere! Here is a selection of the best ski resorts in Europe:

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Cultural Weekend Getaway to Munich

There’s a lot more to Munich than the Oktoberfest beer festival and a legendary football team –this city of 1.5 million people is one of Europe’s most important cultural centres, while also boasting a very complete menu of entertainment and recreational options, every day of the year. Here are a few proposals for a weekend getaway to this liveliest of German cities.

Amongst it many attractions, Munich is easy to get to and to get around in, thanks to its huge international airport, excellent rail connection, and the super-modern public transport systems serving the city and its outskirts. Most of the key places for sightseers are concentrated in a relatively small area, and the city is thronged with visitors all year round. Keep in mind that the Alps are nearby, and the city is a staging point for skiers in winter and for climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, and paragliders in summer.

The city’s cultural life is intense, and no tourist should neglect to visits the cluster of three classical art museums collectively known as the Pinakothek –a show of El Greco is now in progress in one of them and will remain open until 12th April. Not far away is the Brandhorst museum of modern art. On the bank of the Isar river is the fascinating Deutsches Museum of science and technology. It has a branch in Schleissheim to the north of the city that specialises in airplanes, and another in Theresienhöhe dedicated to every imaginable type of land transport vehicle. You may also enjoy the recently opened ZNT, New Technologies Centre, with its focus on nanotechnology and biotechnology. Car aficionados will love the BMW Welt museum –BMW is a Bavarian brand, afer all! To learn more about Munich itself, and its long and curious history, check out the Stadtmuseum, and don’t miss the permanent “Typically Munich” exhibition. For insights into the Bavarian people, there’s the incredible Residenz, the old palace of the Bavarian royal family, located in the city centre, and Germany’s largest urban palace. Today it is one of Europe’s leading museums of decorative arts, and its richly furnished and adorned spaces evoke many centuries of history under the Wittelsbach dynasty (1180-1918). At a short distance is the dynasty’s first Munich home, the Alter Hof, later used as law courts, and now the site of the Bavarian Museums Information Office and of a small museum devoted to the Wittelbachs, whose most famous king, Ludwig II, was born in the Nymphenburg castle standing in the western part of the city, next to the entrance to the Nymphenburg park. But just two hours southwest of Munich is one of Germany’s most celebrated castles, Neuschwanstein, at the foot of the Alps, which was Walt Disney’s inspiration for the castle in the cartoon classic Sleepìng Beauty.

Munich, by the way, has three top-ranked orchestras, numerous music festivals in many genres, and dozens of concert halls.

Design
Design is something else Munich is famous for, and this is evident in the way people dress –in style and good taste, like the people of Milan. The city centre is the best place to shop for designer clothes and decorative items, for antiques, and for books. For luxury goods, jewellery, silverware, etc., look for shops labelled as Königlich Bayerischen Hoflieferanten, or “suppliers to the royal household of Bavaria”.

A Bite to Eat, Sports…
It’s almost impossible not to eat well wherever you go in Bavaria, and Munich’s dining is unrivalled for quality and variety. Local specialities include the famous Weisswurst or veal sausages, accompanied by a salty soft or crisp pretzel and sweet mustard; a ration of pork or beef with mash; and a spicy Obatzder cheese sauce with black bread. When it comes to eating, the locals prefer the biergärten –especially in summer—and the friendly beer halls found throughout the city.

For the sports-minded, we recommend a tour of the Olimpiastadion stadium where the main events of the 1972 Olympic Games were held, a milestone in stadium architecture, and still in almost continual use, as is the Allianz Arena, built for the 2006 World Football Cup, and now home to FC Bayern -a team with five Champions League titles to its credit- and the less well-known TSV 1860.

Munich awaits! Check out our fares here!

Text: Isabel y Luis Comunicación

Photos: Deutschland Tourismus, Haydar Koyupinar/ Museum Brandhorst

 

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Múnich by Panenka

By Panenka www.panenka.org

As they did before with Lisbon and Milan, Panenka, a soccer magazine anyone can read, invite us to discover othercountries through their passion for the sport. This time they take us to Munich where they show us their perfect eleven, both for those places related to the football game and for those touristic places.

SPORTING ELEVEN

1 Dantestadion: Opened in 1928, was the setting for Nazi parades and today hosts two football teams.
2 Olympiastadion: Venue for some historical soccer shocks, Beckenbauer was crowned here in 74 and Van Basten in 88.
3 Olympisches Dorf: The Olympic Village in 1972 Olympic games, infamous for the murder of 11 Israeli athletes.
4 Olympia Schwimmhalle: A guy called Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in this Olympic pool. Only available to Michael Phelps.
5 Olympia Eishalle: After soccer, the most popular sport in Munich is the ice hockey: entertainment ensured.
6 Sabener Strasse: Bayern has their sports facilities in the south of the city. Here will be the next office for Pep Guardiola.
7 Neues Rathaus: Also known as City Town Hall. Bayern celebrates the titles won with the fans from here
8 Grünwalder Stadion: The old stadium of Bayern Munich until 1972 and the one for Munich from 1860 to 1965, in the heart of most fashionable district.
9 Allianz Arena: An architecture jewel opened in 2006 World Championship, its front changes color depending on who is playing.
10 Unterhaching: The club of this working class town, SpVgg, met its maximum apogee in 2000 when they go up to the Bundesliga.
11 Kurt Landauer: Next to Allianz, the former president of Bayern inmate in Dachau has a street with his name.

TOURISTIC ELEVEN

A Maximilian-Platz: A visit to this square of imperial beauty will not leave indifferent any visitor.
B Karlstor: Literally, Karl’s door, the entrance to the city heading to the Marienplatz. In winter, an ice rink.
C Frauenkirche: The stunnning two towers of 99 meters height for Munich Gothic Cathedral can be seen from anywhere in the city.
D Pinakothek der Moderne: The museum of Contemporary Art that includes works by Picasso, Magritte, Klee and Warhol.
E BMW Museum: It may be most spectacular see it from the heights, with its form of three-engine pistons, than to visit.
F Viktualienmarkt: It is the square of the supplies: a marketplace where you can buy and taste the typical products of the land.
G Residenz: Former imperial residence, it is the best vestige of courtly life Bavaria met in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
H Chinesischer Turm: The most renowned Munich Biergarten. Tables and benches to drink, eat and chat.
I Hofbräuhaus: Pros: beer is served continuously since 1589. Con: Nazi Party was founded by Hitler here.
J Isartor: The eastern gate of the city which is named after the river that comes from the Alps, runs through Munich and pours into the Danube.
K English Garden: 373 hectare park makes it the ‘Central Park’ of Munich. Its Chinese Tower is its main icon.

By Panenka www.panenka.org

Image: Pep Boatella / @pepboatella

Why not take a trip to Munich? Have a look at our flights here!

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The Exploits of The Ghent Altarpiece

In addition to its canals, the dockside in the old harbour, the Gravensteenor Castle of the Counts of Flanders, the City Hall and the Korenmarkt, one of Ghent’s major attractions is an altarpiece. Granted, it might not sound overly exciting or novel at first glance. If we add that it is one of the masterpieces of Flemish painting and the cornerstone in the transition from medieval to Renaissance art, it might start arousing some interest. And, that it is one of the artworks which, in the course of history, has been stolen most often, as well as having travelled through many countries, you are bound to see it in a different light.

The masterpiece in question is the Polyptych of The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb,also known as the Ghent Altarpiece, the work of the brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck. It is located on the high altar in St Bavo Cathedral and was executed in 1426, commissioned by Joost Vijdt and his wife, Lysbette Borluut. The altarpiece consists of 12 panels painted in oil on both sides and measuring 3.5 m high by 4.6 m wide. It remains closed most of the year, and is only opened on festive holidays, revealing all its splendour. The paintings on the outer panels are more sober, with a marked sculptural air, the central theme being the Annunciation. A noteworthy highlight of the inner panels is their colouring, with a Deësis of Christ the King, the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist as the prominent upper feature, and the Adoration of the Lamb in the lower centre. Without going into the subject, the symbology and details behind the scenes of the altarpiece would fill a whole book.

The startling vicissitudes affecting this artwork date from 1566, when the retable had to be dismantled and concealed in the City Hall to preserve it from an assault by Calvinist iconoclasts.

In 1781, the two upper panels, depicting Adam and Eve, were removed from the ensemble, as Joseph II of Bohemia and Hungary found the nakedness of the figures disagreeable. In the 19th century, the panels were replaced with clothed versions of Adam and Eve, executed by the Belgian painter, Victor Lagye.

In 1800, the Napoleonic troops regarded it as the spoils of war – the wings were sectioned off and sold, while the central panels ended up in the Louvre. Once Napoleon had been defeated, the panels were restored to their rightful place in Ghent. But not for long.

In 1816, the vicar of St Bavo sold several of the side panels, which passed through a number of hands before coming into the possession of Wilhelm II, King of Prussia. They ended up being displayed at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. To provide a better view of them, the panels were sectioned lengthwise to reveal the obverse and reverse sides in the same plane. At the end of the First World War, among the multitude of artworks Germany was forced to return were these panels, which were again replaced in their original site.

In 1934, the panel of The Just Judges was stolen and a ransom of one million Belgian francs was demanded for its safe return, but the deal was rejected. It is still missing to this day and has been replaced by a copy, the work of the Brussels Fine Arts Museum curator, Jef Van der Veken.

Needless to say, the altarpiece was not left unscathed by the Second World War either, forming part of the large-scale plunder perpetrated by the Nazis. After a complex hunt for stolen art undertaken by the so-called “Monuments Men”, it was located in the Altaussee salt mine in the Austrian Alps.

The altarpiece is currently being restored, so not all the panels are on display in St Bavo Cathedral. To make up for this, those interested can follow the restoration project live in the Ghent Fine Arts Museum (MSK).

Now that you’re up to speed with all the ins and outs behind this marvellous artwork, we recommend you get hold of a Vueling and see it for yourself. And, don’t leave it too long, in case it gets stolen again!

 

Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

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