03 Jan 04 European Vacation 05 Jan 04
In case you didn't realize it, you can click on the pictures for a bigger image.
Sinday, 04 January 2004
You got the history lesson from yesterday's page, so we'll just start with the story. We got going at a reasonable hour this time. It was a pretty overcast day, and there was a little snow still on the ground from the night before. That's me pointing out our Holiday Inn in Munich. When this picture was taken we had checked out of our rooms and were headed to the Bahnhof to store our luggage.
We had decided to spend the day unencumbered by our bags. It was still morning but close
enough to lunch time that we thought about getting some food. And our food of choice for lunch was Bratwurst ... ah, the elusive bratwurst. We started by looking for some of the Imbiss stands that we'd seen the day before, but they were closed (Sunday strikes again). We did eventually find an Imbiss at the
bahnhof, but it had no pommes for the day. Imagine the outrage! All Jen really wanted for lunch were pommes. Andrea and I weren't really dead set on lunch right away since we weren't truly hungry. Mostly we thought we should eat because it was lunch time. So we decided to postpone lunch until later and head out to the 1972 Olympic park and BMW museum.
On the way to the BMW Museum the weather started to take a turn for the worse. As you can see from the
photos of the Olympic Stadium above and the picture to the right, it started to snow and picked up as we got closer to the museum. We rode the U-bahn to Olympiazentrum and exited the terminal into a cloud of snow and wind. We hopped a bus hoping to get closer to the museum, but alas, we ended up further away towards the far side of the Olympic Plaza. So we hopped off the at the first opportunity and found a bus back to the train station. From there we walked the 4 minutes to the entrance for the BMW museum. (Basically we pulled a Spaceball). Jen vowed to
bring shoes with traction on her next winter trip where snow may be involved. There were some pretty nasty ice patches in
addition to the snow, which was getting deeper and deeper as the day went on. We decided to spend time at the museum and risk needing a snow plow to get out later. Definitely a good choice on our part. We spent several hours drooling over the cars. Well, Jen and I did most of the drooling while Andrea did a lot of smiling and nodding.
I managed to find one of my dream cars, albeit not in the condition I want it in. I couldn't help but snap pictures from every direction.
Other than my 7-Series obsession, there were many other great cars from BMW history. One of my favorites also happens to be another one of my dream cars...The 850i. They didn't have the real car there, but the hologram was pretty darn cool.
I'm actually somewhat surprised that the photo came out as well as it did. Besides ogling the cars, we learned quite a bit about the company. BMW was founded in 1916 and it's first production lines were nearby at the current site of the Olympic Park. They originally developed and built aircraft engines. They built their first cars in 1928. BMW remains the only European car manufacturer which also produces motorcycles and aero engines.
Construction on the BMW Museum started in 1971, at the same time construction began on the Olympic Park next door. It was designed by the same architect who designed the BMW Building... Dr. Karl Schwanzer from Vienna. I didn't have my
portable jet pack handy, so the picture on the left is a publicity shot I pulled off the web. The BMW Building is shaped like and represents a "Four-Cylinder" engine. Each of the 22 floors was built on the ground, then pulled to the top where it was suspended from the level above. The museum on the other hand was designed as a "self-supporting body". The reinforced concrete shell supports the roof. The spiral path inside rests entirely on the columns while also supporting the four platforms, which increase in size the further up you go. The top of the Museum has a giant BMW logo on it.
It was still snowing when we finished up in the museum, so we passed on the Olympic village. As you can see
from the photos it was getting dark out and we realized we wouldn't see anything from the tower anyways. By this time we were pretty hungry, so we decided to just go back to the café at the bahnhof. That was one of the more uneventful parts of the trip so there's really no need to go into details. Basically we went back the way we had come (minus the bus ride).
After dinner we spent some time walking around the bahnhof. We found a booth with examples of several of the different Euros from various countries. We each reached into our pockets and compared our loose change to the coins on the chart.
The biggest thing to come from our wanderings was to Andrea's benefit. She had decided a while back to get pot holders for her parents, but we didn't find them anywhere during the day. We then noticed that just around the corner from the coins was a display of...you guessed it ... pot holders. Yay! She was somewhat pleased, as evidenced by the picture to the left. The photo was taken back at the café where we returned to decide what to do until our 1am train.
After a bit of discussion and a soda or two we decided to brave the cold and wind and check out Marienplatz
at night. So we polished off our sodas and headed out from the Hauptbahnhof. Knowing that it was going to be cold and windy, I decided to emulate the girls and bundle up. And a good thing too...it was cold out there. The snow picked up and I'm sure Jen was very happy to have a weatherproof digital camera. You can browse through a gallery of our pictures below.

Marienplatz at Night
Munich - Late Night Wanderings

After exploring Marienplatz for a bit, we headed back down to the U-bahn and decided to get the most out of our 24-hour passes...time to ride the train and hop out every now and then and poke our heads out to see the sites. Sort of the 'Bop the Gohper' approach to tourism...only this time, we're the gophers.
At one stop we found ourselves in a neat little plaza. With a name like Königsplatz (King's Plaza) how could we
miss? We came up for a quick peek and found ourselves exploring to figure our what the cool buildings were. Turns out we had found the museums. Too bad they weren't open or we could have had a great time exploring. Among the museums was the Kunstbau, which was built in 1994 to extend the exhibition area below Königsplatz for works by Munich's great artist Franz von Lenbach.
Once we were cold enough we worked our way back to Marienplatz to hunt up some hot chocolate.
We didn't have any luck finding hot chocolate. No hot chocolate on a cold and snowy night...what's up with that? But Jen found a fish friend, I found Wormland, and we found Schmuck Jewelers. We even walked by
the Augustiner Restaurant, where we had lunch the day before. Eventually, we gave up on searching for chocolate in Marienplatz and went to the U-bahn station to go back to the Hauptbahnhof.
The cold must have frozen our brains because we hopped the wrong train and ended up at Ostbahnhof. Rather than head back the other way we took a break at the café and eureka! HOT CHOCOLATE! Not just any hot chocolate either. This was really good, rich hot chocolate. I guess it was meant to be since we hadn't found it anywhere else.
We located the train back to the Hauptbahnhof and double-checked that it was the
right one this time. When it arrived we hopped on and realized we were the only ones onboard. Who else would wander around this late on a Sunday night? Back at the station we kicked back in the waiting room and did a little reading to kill time. I walked down to
the restrooms on the first floor and found the McDonald's of bathrooms ... McClean. It wasn't free but it was clean. I also stopped off at the store downstairs to see what they had in the way of snacks and drinks. I noticed that they had Bacardi and cola in a can. Now, Jen has been telling us about this drink since before the trip. It's not that we didn't believe her, but we did a lot of smiling and nodding when she was describing it. I asked when the store was closing and returned to the
waiting lounge where the ladies were reading. I disclosed my new information and Jen had to go take a look. We confirmed that it was the same drink she was talking about and grabbed a few for the train along with some candy and snacks. Andrea went down later and picked up a few things, including some Caipirinha hard candies.
Needless to say, Jen was very happy to have witnesses that the drink was indeed real. For those who didn't believe Jen in the past, Bacardi and cola is in fact available in a can all mixed and ready to drink. We returned to the lounge to wait for the train because everything in the Munich Hbf shuts down from 0030 to 0400. The pay bathroom closes at 0000 and the Burger King (with its free but dirty bathroom) closes at 0030.

When the time came, we got on the train, found our seats and started on our way to Brussels, but now that it's Monday, you'll have to read about it on the next page.

03 Jan 04 European Vacation 05 Jan 04
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