BMWs and Wurmeck the Dragon BMWs and Wurmeck the Dragon

BMWs and Wurmeck the Dragon

We had the fun of navigating through Munich’s fairly awful one way systems, and as it is a German city is was full of BMW and Mercedes drivers. They are genuinely unclear on how to drive a car correctly or why indicators exist. We made it to the parking garage we’d found in one piece, and it opened out into a vast 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 several vital sights. We stopped to see St. Michael Kirche and then moved on to Marienplatz. Marienplatz is one of the most famous locations in Munich, where you can see Wurmeck the Dragon, crawling up the walls of Neues Rathaus which also features the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in its central tower.
We were not lucky enough to see the movements as we were there at the wrong time, but it’s still an impressive building with some very quirky decorations.

We then 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 pure ‘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 levels. It covers astronomy, mechanical engineering, ceramics, physics, computers, renewable energy and much more. The lack of theme and focus detracts. The punchcard driven ecology game hugely entertained me. Ten terminals ask you a question and punch a hole with your answer. A machine reads the results, and your ecology type printed. I was a globalist. Not a surprise as I am also an active traveller, technologist and part-time anarchist.

We were at the museum for about two hours and had to leave due to its early closing time of 5 pm. We filed out, along with everyone else and walked back into the old town, via Gärtnerplatz, where the Staatstheater is. It is 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 an 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. Lovely though it is, it is 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 check-in desk at about the same time, 5 pm, and would have to drop off the car before that. We were thinking of the BMW museum as its outside Munich central and so more comfortable to get to and leave from without risking traffic and perhaps going along to the Dachau Concentration Camp. However, that would be a depressing and severe note on which to end.

Once back at the hotel, we went down for drinks and a buffet dinner which was reasonably mediocre as buffets often are. I then went for a sauna and 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 day’s 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 is not the location of the BMW Museum; it is a significant hub for things like BMW on demand and other services. It did have a lovely 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 distinct. We did a temporary show 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 past. Attentive visitors will notice that 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 décor are 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 as you ordered, and then you loiter waiting for it to be ready. It is very inefficient. We were lucky and got there just before the lunchtime rush.

After lunch, we went through the Sea Life Munich aquarium. It is 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. While 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 autographed guitars, a drum kit and a lot of posters. They can only show 1% of the collection, due to the small venue. You have a glassed-in terrace and above that an external walkway with railings. Above that a smaller walkway so your view is not obscured by the metal railings. It is a good view but suffers from not being near enough to the centre of town to have a particular look at 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 the old town are not visible except perhaps a spire or two in the distance.

Lufthansa is piloting electronic bag drop, which worked well. I got my bag through more than three hours before take-off and went through security. I was in gate K, which is quite a way away as Munich Airport is massive. I finally settled into a bar near my Gate for a long wait to take-off.