Travel Articles




The Long Night of Museums

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This is difficult, but I need to confess something to you. I hate museums. It's not that I'm particularly uncultured--I'm so cultured I'm practically bacterial. Museums make my legs hurt. If it were possible to run through a museum, I think I'd enjoy them much more. But you can't run in museums. Mr. Bean-like guards stop you. I know.

The Louvre is right up there at the top of my list of Museums That Make My Legs Hurt. I understand the need to visit the most famous museum in the world, but The Louvre is like an enormous corporation that has lost its focus. It tries to do everything and nothing. It was featured in The DaVinci Code, a miserable book. And the Mona Lisa umbrella I bought broke the second I took it out of its plastic. How do you say I'm disgruntled but still adorable in French? I'm looking it up right now. Here it is: Je suis mécontent, mais toujours adorable. So true.

Here's a picture of me at Musée D'Orsay in Paris. I'm having a sit-down while my friends enjoy the impressionists. Actually, as I remember it, I enjoyed the impressionists too--once I elbowed my way around a billion tourists, mostly children (who were running! And no guards were stopping them!).

The Tower of London is my kind of museum. First of all, you have a Beefeater to tell you everything you need to know--why the ravens can't fly away, how many bodies were found under the church, and who is Guy Fawkes anyway? Oh, and then there's Vinopolis, London's wine museum, which is a real winner. OK, I don't hate museums. I may even be a convert.

It might even be time to give Munich's Lange Nacht der Museen a chance this Saturday night. I did it a few years ago with several people who insisted on visiting the MTU Aero Engines Museum. That's right. Airplane engines. And at one o'clock in the morning. The only thing duller would be, um, a telephone book museum or a golf club museum maybe.

If you're going to museums on Saturday night, you might find me running around--or maybe just jogging in place--at the following places...

Hotel Mariandl looks doable with 13 international artists occupying two floors of the hotel. I can run up and down the staircase if I get bored--which I'm sure I won't.

The Museum of Hunting and Fishing, in Munich's pedestrian zone (Kaufingerstrasse near Karlsplatz) does not look interesting at all, but it's high time I strapped on my boots and paid them a visit. After all, they have the world's largest collection of tackle! What has kept me away?

In 1879 a fellow named Friedrich Bodenstedts published a travelogue entitled Eines Königs Reise (A King's Journey), which depicts--apparently quite wittily--King Maximilian II's five-week tour of southern Bavaria in 1858. At 8p.m. actor Hans Jürgen Stockerl will be reading from the travelogue, and I might just be sitting in the audience. Or jogging in place. Haven't decided. It's at Monacensia Literaturarchiv and Bibliothek.

With more than 90 venues participating this year, Die Lange Nacht der Münchner Museen is well worth a few lost hours of sleep (which you will never get back, so choose your museums wisely). The fun costs only 15 euros (which includes your public transport ticket and four children). I wonder if you're allowed to choose the children.

I must be off,

P.S. In 2012-13, this post has started to get hundreds of hits, mostly from Russian spambots. If you are a Russian spambot, please let me know why you love me. Are you using me to conduct really cool espionage? Will I be in the next James Bond film?


Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type.

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