BMWs and Wurmeck the Dragon

We had the fun of navigating through Munich’s fairly awful one way systems, and as its a german city is was full of BMW and Mercedes drivers, who are deeply unclear on how to drive a car properly or what an indicator is used for. We made it to the parking garage we’d found in one piece and it opened out into a large underground shopping mall. We later discovered it was not nearly as large as we thought, we’d just been going in circles trying to find the right way out of the mall.

Karlsplatz was our exit point and we had a look at the outside of these impressive buildings, before heading into the centre of town to see a bit more and find somewhere for lunch.

The main thoroughfare takes you past a number of key sights, we stopped to see St. Michael Kirche and then moved on to Marienplatz, one of the more famous locations in Munich so we could see Wurmeck The Dragon crawling up the walls of Neues Rathaus which also featured the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in the central tower. 

We are not lucky enough to see the movements as we were there at the wrong time, but its still an impressive building with some very quirky decorations. 

Following that we walked past two churches facing each other over the road, Peterskirche and Heiliggeistkirche, before finding our lunchtime destination of Hofbräuhaus München a huge state owned beer hall and restaurant. We found a spot outside and I polished off two steins of good dark beer and a suckling pig. It was simple ‘peasant’ food, but well cooked and the beer was excellent and brewed on site.

Having done enough site seeing for the day, we crossed the bridge to the Deutsches Museum, situated on one of the islands on the river. The museum is a technology museum that suffers from trying to do too much. It is spread across six floors, though the ground and first floor are much larger than the higher floors. It covers astronomy, mechanical engineering, ceramics, physics, computers, renewable energy and much more. The lack of theme and focus detracts. I was however hugely entertained by the punchcard driven ecology game, where ten terminals ask you a question and punch a hole with your answer and the results are fed into a machine and your ecology type is printed out. I was a globalist. Not a surprise as an active traveller, technologist and part time anarchist. 

We were at the museum about two hours and had to leave due to its early closing time of 5pm. We filed out, along with everyone else and walked back into old town, via Gärtnerplatz, where the Staatstheater is. Its a lovely courtyard in the centre of a roundabout. We walked along further, finding two museums I’d like to have seen, the Spork und Göffel Museum, simply because it’s a hilarious and unique idea for a museum and Jüdisches Museum München because with Munich’s history it is likely to be fascinating.

We stopped in Patolli Kaffeebar for a iced coffee to manage the ongoing heatwave before heading back to the car. We stopped briefly in the shopping mall to buy water, my friend once again accidentally getting sparkling rather than still water. Nice though it is, its not as refreshing as regular water.

The drive back to the hotel was simple, once out of town it is mostly motorway and we spend the time taking options for our final day of the driving tour. I was flying out earlier but within Schengen and so we’d have to be at the checkin desk at about the same time, 5pm, and would have to drop off the car before that. We were thinking of the BMW museum as its outside Munich central and so easier to get to and leave from without risking traffic and perhaps going along to the Dachau Concentration Camp, though that would be a depressing and serious note to finish the holiday on.

Once back at the hotel, we went down for drinks and a buffet dinner which was fairly mediocre as buffets often are. I then went for a sauna and actually did some weight training making use of the small gym area in the basement of the hotel. It was nice to be back in northern Europe for the Sauna as the south europeans keep their Sauna’s quite mild in temperature.

It was then time to retire to the bar for the customary evening drinks and journal writing of the days events. The final time this would happen on the trip, as we fly home before the end of the evening tomorrow.

Our final set of trips and we decided the €23 breakfast was not worth the money. Our first stop was BMW Welt, which was not where the BMW Museum was located it turned out, it is a large hub for things like BMW on demand and other services. It did have a nice cafe for a croissant and a latte.

We then walked across the bridge to the actual BMW museum, housed at the front of the BMW Tower. There are two exhibitions, and it would be easy to miss one as the entrances are not entirely obvious. We did the temporary exhibition first. Nominally on sustainability but actually just an excuse for BMW to market its “i” series of cars. It was interesting, but it did heavily depend on showing various features of the latest generation.

The second exhibit was the history of BMW, with motorcycles and cars from its history. It would be easy to miss the fact the museum has not been updated in over ten years. The latest M series car on display was the 2003 model, and in the hall of advertising there is not even a section for 2010 despite it being almost over. Which is disappointing as the overall layout and decor is spacious and modern. We ended up finishing the museum just before 12, and walked over to the olympic park to have some lunch.

We ate at Restaurant Olympiasee, a semi-self service place where they cook the pasta when you ordered and you wait for it to be done. its very inefficient. We were lucky and got there just before the lunchtime rush. 

After lunch we went through the Sea Life Munich aquarium. Its expensive to get into, but overall it is a good experience, very kid friendly. The main attraction is the small shark tank in the centre where various types of sharks can be seen, often popping their head about water.

We’d decided earlier not to go to Dachau, as it would be a depressing end to the trip, and the aquarium had taken less time than we expected. Whilst we had a beer and discussed this and older American tourist tried to give us options, and we felt a bit bad that we’d seen everything he’d suggested.

We decided to do the Olympiaturm, the tall olympic tower as our final event. I’d left my spare lenses in the car and so only had the 50mm not the wide angle, so knew i’d be complaining to my mate about it and gave him fair warning. The tower is 190 meters high, and has the worlds highest (and likely smallest) Rock and Roll museum. a few signed guitars, a drum kit and a lot of posters. It is apparently only 1% of the collection and all that can be shown. Other than that, you have a glassed in terrance, and above that an external walk way with railings, and above that a smaller walkway so your view is not obscured by the metal railings. Its a good view, but suffers from not being near enough to the centre of town to have a particular view of anything. You can see the olympic village and stadium, and of course the BMW building, and in the distance the Bayer Munich stadium but the beautiful buildings of old town are not visible except perhaps a spire or two in the distance.

We then headed back to the car, paid for the parking and found the nearest petrol station to the airport to fill up the car before returning it. There were no issues with the car when we returned it and so we said goodbye at the lifts as we were going different directions and I went into Terminal 2.