Today I thought it best to knock over a number of things in Munich, and it looked as though the easiest way to do it, transport wise, was to jump on a city sightseeing bus. Although I’d say €20 was a bit steep, I did get to see streets and monuments that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
So first stop, was Nymphenburg Palace, which I only used as a photo opportunity, but really didn’t appreciate how big it was until we rocked up in front of it. And the photo below is just half of it!
Next stop, Olympiapark – the Olympic Stadium. Munich was the site chosen for the 1972 Olympic Games and the world was nervous, given this was the first Olympics to be held in Germany since Nazi Occupation. The Israeli athletes and trainers were especially nervous as many of them had family members who had been murdered during the holocaust or were themselves survivors. And then it happened. Eight Palenstinian terrorists from the ‘Black September’ group broke into the Olympic Village, killed two members of the Israeli Olympic team and took nine hostages, demanding the release of 234 prisoners from Israeli prisons and two from German prisons. The siege ended with a massive gun fight that left 5 of the terrorists and all nine hostages dead.
However after a 34 hour respect and mourning period, attention returned to the games under the watchful eye of the Munich’s olympic mascot, Waldi the daschund. Bruce Jenner placed tenth in the decathlon, which prompted him to devote himself to a subsequent intense training regime and which everyone who watches Keeping up with the Kardashians knows, led to him winning gold at the 1976 Games held in Montreal (and setting a new world record in the process).
It was also a successful Olympics for Australia’s 15 year old Shane Gould, who won gold in the 200m freestyle, 200m relay and 400m freestyle, silver in the 800m freestyle and a bronze in the 100m freestyle.
I went in the elevator to the top of the tower – good view of the city, but nothing really spectacular – if anything it was a good place to get a photo of the Olympic grounds. I was most looking forward to the…
But all it was, was a sparse collection of bits and pieces and loads of photos of Queen. I particularly liked this one:
And didn’t realise David Bowie had long hair at one stage also:
Anyway, the main sights of the park really left me feeling underwhelmed, though the park itself is really a lovely green space. Back on the bus, lets keep moving. The bus winds itself through the streets of Munich, past Schwabing, which was known as a bohemian quarter in its day, past the English Garden and a host of other buildings and monuments and then back to its starting point outside the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), which is where you then jump on another bus to do the rest of the tour route. I, however, am hungry and while I’m back in this part of town, there’s somewhere I want to go…Augustiner Keller.
Those of you who know me personally, know that my surname is Keller – yes it’s German, and yet I claim to be half Polish. Keller was the surname of my father’s step-dad, Michael Keller. Contrary to what I’d always thought, Michael was actually Polish and its just that with all the moving of Poland’s borders, all manner of nationalities appeared in Poland. Keller is a German surname meaning ‘cellar’ or ‘basement’. And it’s generally associated with ‘beer’. So wherever you are in Germany (I’ve seen some in Japan too) and you see a sign with Keller on it – it usually means its some kind of beer cellar.
This bierkeller (beer cellar) belongs to one of Munich’s oldest breweries, dating back to 1812. The garden itself is huge (it’s Munich’s largest) with tables and chairs stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s a shame that today is a bit overcast because you could just imagine the vibe of the place when the sun is out, the tables are all full, perhaps a German band playing. The menu has a large selection of German specialities, including pork with pepper sauce and spätzl, which I go for. I don’t know what spätzl is, so I’m taking a chance, but that’s what dining in any foreign country is about to a degree. Turns out its nice! And a quick search on the internet reveals its a kind of a soft egg noodle. And of course I have to try the Augustiner Weissbeer. It’s nice and light, very drinkable, which is good, because there’s none of this ‘middy’ stuff in Germany.
Suitably fed and watered, I walk back to the Hauptbahnhof to take up the second half of the bus tour. The bus winds its way through the streets past the Pinakotheken (painting galleries) the Odeonsplatz, and one of my favourites for the day, the Angel of Peace:
We stop outside the Residenz, which was the former home of the Bavarian royals. It houses a museum now, but when I found out you couldn’t take pictures, waiting in the never ending ticket line (not long, but just incredibly slow!) seemed to be not so worth it, so I decide to leave and walk the streets through to the city. The streets here were quaint, large cobble stones and archways and little laneways and alleys, and then you arrive at Hofbrauhaus, which is where all of Munich appears to be today. I was going to stop for a beer here, but the sheer noise inside the hall freaked me out a little and I decided this wasn’t a place I wanted to be sitting by myself. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow if I get time. But for now, the Hard Rock Café is right across the road, and although I have eaten not long ago, I find myself stepping inside, on the pretext of having to use the toilet. And maybe a glass of wine. Oh, but they have steak which has vegetables and I kind of feel like I need that after all the tablets and medicines I’ve pumped into my body to get over the flu before I got here. So what the heck, early dinner. This HRC houses a jacket worn by Mick Mars from Motley Crue.
I do want to try and get to the Viktualienmarkt, but it seems to be closed also today. Sunday is not the day for shopping in Munich by the way. Most things are closed except for some restaurants really. Another one I’ll have to try for tomorrow – just as well the city is close to my hotel!