We had first visited here in 1996, and I had worked here for Siemens in the 1980's timeframe, but we had not been back for quite a while. We have some very good friends who live here
and we wanted to introduce Germany to our teenage son, so staying here for a week was an easy decision.
Munich is the third largest city in Germany. It's a very livable city with modern and historical sites, museums, parks and outside beer gardens to visit for an afternoon pretzel and a beer. Munich is also known for its Oktoberfest held in September every year which is an outside amusement park and festival like no other. The Isar River flows through the middle of the city and there are many beautiful parks that offer views of the river. My favorite is the English Garden which is a very large urban park and beer garden and perfect on a warm summer day. Munich is perfect for visiting with families. Families are fundamental to German culture and the Kinder (children) are included in many ways. For example, beer gardens frequently have playgrounds for kids to enjoy while the parents converse with friends. There are many fun and educational things to visit in the city and nearby such as Ludwig's castles; Neuschwantstien being the most recognizable. Although somber, it's also worth visiting one of the concentration camps that are required to remain in place as museums so as to not forget the atrocities that took place there during World War II.
Munich also has a fantastic public transportation system with underground trains known as the U-Bahn, suburban trains known as the S-Bahn and trams and buses. There is no need to have a car in Munich since the transportation system is so extensive. In fact, the area in central Munich known as "Marienplatz" is a "pedestrian only" area.
NOTE: The same transportation ticket is valid for all these forms of public transportation. You don't need different tickets, if you move from train to tram to bus. Where appropriate, a subway station will have trams and/or buses at the surface level of the station.
If you have never been to Germany, or if you have never had the opportunity to have good German friends, then I would invite you to increase your German knowledge by clicking here to read about German Culture at the "Live Science" website.
Some Interesting Facts about Munich
- Munich Is The Southernmost Major City In Germany, But It Is Farther North Than Any Major U.S. City.
- Munich's Technische Universiät (Tech University) Has Four-Story Slides To Help Students Get To Class Faster.
- Old Town Munich closed down it’s major streets For The 1972 Olympics To pedestrians only and they have remained that way ever since.
- Beer Is considered a food In Bavaria.
- The Englisch Garden iin central Munich has beer tents, restaurants and a nudist area.
- Munich is home to the oldest cinema in the World - the Neues Kino Gabriel.
For discounts on Munich Transportation, Deutsches Museum, Lenbachhaus and other Munich sights,
SEA Life Munich, the Olympiapark Park Railway and to save money while shopping and
enjoying restaurants in Munich - consider the Munich Card.
Click the Card Image to go to their website.
How we got to Munich
On this European Driving trip, we had been Annecy, France for most of a week and our next stop was Munich. Our drive there took us through Switzerland via the E25/E27 and E60 allowed us to cross into Germany at the southern end of the Bodensee. We drove north on the E60, and then eastward to Munich on the E54.
And this begins the portion of the trip, where Suzette (our Tom-Tom mapping device) really earned her stripes. We had rented a condo, in an area of Munich that would give us easy access to not only the subway, but to bus & tram service as well. This condo unit had underground parking, but we were not familiar with the streets there.
The first issue that arose, is that our Tom-Tom device insisted on taking us to Klenzestraße, as though it was a two way street, which it was not. Since we had an excellent Munich street map, we were able to navigate our way around the block, and to drive into the street with the correct driving orientation. Getting back to our rental was a constant challenge throughout the week, complicated by the direction we would re-enter Munich as each day trip was over.
Augustiner Keller Beer Garden
Our first outing, was to the Augustiner Keller (one of the largest & oldest Munich Beer Gardens) for dinner with old friends in Munich. Since it was Jeremy's first trip to a German beer garden, he was fascinated by the people, the food items, especially the HUGE pretzels, and the enormous amount of beer being consumed, etc.
The next day, was dedicated to another friend in Munich that we worked with in the 1980's. He had started a new Chauffeur Service Company (First Class Chauffeur Service), and offered to take us around the city in his new Volkswagen Phaeton. This was an interesting way to see Munich, and even though I have been there a huge number of times, going around the city with someone who lives there and knows how to drive there, is a treat!
Surfing in Munich
Our German friend started the tour, by taking us by the world famous Eisbach River surfing spot. Many years ago as Munich grew, the old river channel was forced into an underground tunnel, which allowed the city of Munich to "grow" over the tunnel. And this produces a river outlet spot with considerable water pressure, as shown in these pictures.
The surfers line up on the bank, and step in as the previous surfer steps out, or falls off. It is truly amazing to watch, as these guys are seriously good surfers and they put on a great show! This is not a spot for surfers who are not extremely experienced, because one does not paddle to catch a wave, you jump on your board and the wave propels you immediately!
- Click here to view a Google Images photo set of this surfing spot in Munich.
Oktoberfest Grounds "Theresienwiese"
The next stop was at the Oktoberfest grounds, where workers were busy constructing the festival tents that will house each "tent". Back in the day, each tent represented a Munich Brewery, however this is no longer the case. Nonetheless, each tent will offer food, beer and ompah bands to sing along with! And just for the people who do not like beer, there is usually a "wine tent" as well.
The first image above (left side), shows the Theresienwiese as it is being prepared for the Oktoberfest festival, this picture was taken in July and the festival starts in the last week of September - so it gives you a good idea of how much work remains to be completed. In the center of image #1, you can see the "tents" being constructed which will house the beer gardens and restaurants. If you do not understand the use of the word "tents" in relation to the Festival, I suggest you click the "tents link" to go to Wikipedia and learn what it means.
The second image above (right side) is of the "Ruhmeshalle & Bavaria Statue" (located on the west side of the Theresienwiese) which is part of an ensemble which also includes a hall of fame (Ruhmeshalle) and a stairway. It was commissioned by Ludwig I of Bavaria, with the specific design being chosen by competition. It was cast at the Munich foundry of J.B. Stiglmair between 1844 and 1850 and is the first colossal statue since Classical Antiquity to consist entirely of cast bronze. It was and is up to the present day considered a technological masterpiece. Because of its size it had to be produced in several parts; it is 18.52 metres (60 ft. 9 in.) high and weighs about 87.36 tons. It rests on a stone base which is 8.92 (28 ft.) metres high.
NOTE: Image # 2 is from Wikipedia, however, they do not have an author, so no accreditation is offered herein.
Our next stop, was the BMW museum next door to the 1972 Olympic Center area. This is a fascinating museum, and it contains a number of BMW cars (including the Mini Cooper) and motorcycles.
In image # 1 that building on the left is the BMW museum, and the building on the right, is the BMW headquarters building.
It is simple to travel to the BMW Museum, for example from Marienplatz take the U3 subway. Taxi and/or
uBer is a brief ride, or you could easily walk as it is only 3.4 miles. No matter how you arrive, the
museum is an interesting visit, and then the Olympic Park is right next door.
NOTE: Image # 2 is the property of Arnaud 25 via Wikipedia.
BMW Museum Day Dreaming
This is the BMW K-1300-S (found in the BMW Museum) which I initially thought was going to be my next motorcycle. Instead, I wound up with a Harley-Davidson VROD (another story). This BMW has tremendous power and gets amazing reviews, so only time will tell if I made the right choice.
As you can see, Celeste and I were trying out the "riding comfort" of the BMW, and then I was explaining to Jeremy what I liked about this BMW motorcycle.
Munich's Olympic Park
After our BMW museum tour, we walked across the autobahn on the pedestrian walkway to the Olympic Park. We rode up to the top of the Olympic Tower (right center of picture) so that we could show Jeremy the amazing view of Munich from that height.
You can see the BMW Headquarters building in the right side of this picture, gives you a
good idea of the proximity of the Olympic Center to the BMW complex. Not a huge walk, Google
Maps indicates approximately 500 meters if you use the footbridge across the Georg-Brauchle-Ring
NOTE: This image is the property of Taxiarchos228 via WikiMedia Commons. All other images (unless otherwise noted) are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC.
Views from the Olympic Tower
As seen from the top of the tower. For those of you who watched the 2013 World Cup Final, this stadium was completely full of soccer fans, watching the final on several jumbo-tron monitors erected for the fans to watch the finals.
DIRECTIONS: As I previously mentioned, our good friend dropped us off at the BMW Museum, and then we walked across the footbridge to the park. If however you are at Marienplatz, you have the choice of riding either an S-Bahn or a U-Bahn to get to the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum Station which is the closest subway station to the park. In fact, we rode the U-Bahn (U-3) back to Marienplatz after our park exploration was completed.
Metro back to Marienplatz
We walked back to the Olympia-zentrum U-Bahn Station and rode the U3 back to Marienplatz Station. This is a large 4 level station, where the S-Bahn (S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S7 and S8) lines intersect with the U-Bahn (U3 and U6).
We exited the station and strolled through Marienplatz (pedestrian area) to watch the glockenspiel march when the hour ticked over.
Not sure that you can tell from these pictures, that it had just stopped raining. Which, given the heat wave that was still over Europe, cooled things off nicely.
Strolling along in Marienplatz in central Munich, and you can see how crowded it is? This is typical for a summer day.
We were looking for a place to purchase an afternoon snack and an iced coffee - and fortunately for us, we found one quickly.
Munich Rathaus Glockenspiel
Every day at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. ( as well as 5 p.m. in the summer) the glockenspiel chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century to the amusement of mass crowds of tourists and locals. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm V (who also founded the world famous Hofbräuhaus) to Renata of Lorraine.
In honour of the
happy couple there is a joust with life-sized knights on horseback representing Bavaria
(in white and blue) and Lothringen (in red and white).
NOTE: Image # 2 is the property of Christoph Braun via Wikipedia.
We were "forced" to find various ways to deal with the heat, and discovered that ice cream worked
very well to reduce the heat effects !
We found a great little ice cream shop, in an alley that led to a shopping area, just off Marienplatz (sorry we did not record the name of this shop). As we needed some afternoon "motivation", the ice cream was accompanied by a cappuccino and we were ready to keep on walking!
Hike to Karlsplatz
We walked to the far western end of Marienplatz to Karlsplatz to catch the bus back to our apartment, and the fountains there always attract a crowd. Of course, some of the crowd here is because Karlsplatz is a major transportation intersection point; buses, tram cars and the subway all converge here.
For those of you familiar with Munich, this is a nice stroll through the center of the city, lined with shops, restaurants and other types of stores. In fact, there is a large shopping center underneath Karlsplatz ( "Stachus Passagen").
A view of Karlsplatz
This is a great picture of Karlsplatz from the western side of the square, you can see the fountains and bus stops. You might not be able to see the U-Bahn sign (to the right of the stairs in the lower right corner of the picture) but the station is just below the square.
The twin spires church is the "Frauenkirche" which is a church that serves as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and seat of its Archbishop. More importantly, in the background are the Bavarian Alps. Beautiful isn't it?
- NOTE: This image is the property of etour.ua
- DIRECTIONS: Click here to view a Google walking map.
The Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshals' Hall) is a monumental loggia on the Odeonsplatz in Munich, Germany. Modelled after the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, it was commissioned in 1841 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria to honour the tradition of the Bavarian Army.
In 1923, it was the site of the brief battle that ended Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch. During the Nazi era, it served as a monument commemorating the death of 16 members of the Nazi party.
Hofbräuhaus am Platzl
This is perhaps one of the most widely known beer halls in Munich, Germany, originally built in 1589 by Bavarian Duke Maximilian I as an extension of the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München brewery. The general public was admitted in 1828 by Ludwig I. The building was completely remodeled in 1897 by Max Littmann when the brewery moved to the suburbs. All of the rooms except the historic beer hall ("Schwemme") were destroyed in the World War II bombings. The reopening of the Festival Hall in 1958 marked the end of the post-war restoration work.
The Nymphenburg Palace is a Baroque palace situated in Munich's western district Neuhausen-Nymphenburg. Combined with the adjacent Nymphenburg Palace Park it constitutes one of the premier royal palaces of Europe. Its frontal width of 632 meters (2,073 ft on the north-south axis) even surpasses Versailles Palace. The Nymphenburg served as the main summer residence for the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach.
NOTE: Image is the property of Richard Bartz via Wikimedia.
NOTE: Click here for a map of the Palace.
This is a picture of the Chinese Tower in the English Gardens, a large public park in the centre of Munich, Bavaria, stretching from the city centre to the northeastern city limits. It was created in 1789 by Sir Benjamin Thompson (1753–1814), later Count Rumford (Reichsgraf von Rumford), for Prince Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria. Thompson's successors, Reinhard von Werneck (1757–1842) and Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell (1750–1823), advisers on the project from its beginning, both extended and improved the park.
With an area of 3.7 km2 (1.4 sq mi) (370 ha or 910 acres), the Englischer Garten is one of the world's largest urban public parks. The name refers to its English garden form of informal landscape, a style popular in England from the mid-18th century to the early 19th century and particularly associated with Capability Brown (real name "Lancelot Brown" an English landscape architect).
The Chinesischer Turm ("Chinese Tower") is a 25 metre high wooden structure, first constructed in 1789 to 1790, from a design by the Mannheimer military architect Joseph Frey (1758–1819). It was modelled on the "Great Pagoda" in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. The Pagoda, twice as high as the tower, was supposed to resemble a porcelain pagoda in the gardens of a Chinese emperor. The Munich tower has five storeys: the ground storey roof has a diameter of 19 meters, the top-most story of 6 meters
On July 13, 1944, the original tower burned down after heavy bombing; but a society aiming to rebuild it was formed in 1951 and the new tower, copied accurately from the original by consulting photographs and old drawings, was completed in September, 1952.
The Englischer Garten offers numerous leisure time activities; Cyclists and joggers train on the 78-kilometer-long (48.5 miles) network of paths, and amateur soccer players meet on the fields for recreational games.
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