We are wrapping up our four-day stay in Munich, and as I write this we are watching the opening ceremony of the European Champion League’s final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. Doubt we will stay awake through the whole thing, however, because we put 10 miles on the shoes with an extended walkabout and each of us is pretty tired. Tomorrow we head to Berlin by train for phase two of this trip.
There was no specific plan for the day other than to take in a different part of the city. We decided to start with a visit to the BMW museum and the site of the 1972 Olympics, which are adjacent to each other. This involved our first use of public transit without the aid of a tour guide. It took about 10 minutes to figure out how to buy a ticket, and that was using the English language version of the ticketing machine, but we managed. Once on board the tram trip took about 10 or 15 minutes to head north through an area known as Schwabing.
The BMW museum was interesting if you like cars, even if you aren’t a fan of BMW itself. We did, however, find the routing through the exhibit kind of confusing. There are guided tours, but one wasn’t available until well after we arrived. It’s likely the flow would have been better on a tour. The interesting thing was that most of the people at the museum were Germans. It’s popular with locals because BMW often changes some of exhibits, though the one “special exhibit” we when through felt like a lot of typical corporate back-patting.
A BMW factory is next door to the museum along with something known as BMW Welt. You can get factory tours but only during the week, and we were there on a Saturday. The Welt is a space-age looking building that’s really a glorified showroom with shops and several restaurants. Like I said, the locals like it. You can peruse all of the cars, pick up your car if you bought one, and also rent a vehicle. (Didn’t look into that, so I don’t know what the deal is.)
After the BMW museum we took a brief stroll into the Olympic Park, which also appeared very popular, then hopped on the subway (the U Bahn) and headed over towards the English Garden. Think Central Park, only bigger. We saw just a small part of the park. To really traverse its entirety it would be best to rent a bicycle, but the small portion we saw was filled with people enjoying a Saturday.
Before heading into the park we came upon a street fair and stopped for lunch and, well, another beer. Lunch was a sandwich with leberkase. It’s a local pork product that I would describe as a cross between pork roll and bologna. It’s a Munich staple. Like pork roll, it’s tasty and enjoyable on occasion, but I don’t think I’d want a steady diet of it. Vegans would be appalled.
It was fun that a women sitting next to us interrupted to help find us the proper mustard to use. That’s the fun of travel and today was really about getting out of the old city, which is heavily touristy, and out into some local neighborhoods. In that we succeeded. We finished up by coming across the spot where people “surf” in the park. There is a point where rushing river water creates an eddy that allows people to ride the current a bit. California surfers would probably yawn, but the people doing it were clearly having fun. A short video follows.’
By the end of the trek all we had the energy for was grabbing a bite to eat at the hotel bar and heading back to our room to relax. Munich is a very enjoyable, safe city, and as is often the case I wish we had another day to explore.