A Munich Tour and some flight training.....

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
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Trip End Oct 02, 2012


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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

12 August 30 – Thursday

Despite the effects of jet lag, I slept reasonably well on my first night in Europe. I was ready for breakfast by 07:00, and anxious to see what type of meal would be provided.  I was pleasantly surprised to find not only the usual German fare (cold meats, dark bread, etc.), but also scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, etc.  I made sure I filled up, as I doubt that I'll be finding a breakfast like this anywhere else in Europe.  I’ve found over the past few years that Hotels in Munich always provide an incredible breakfast!  From what I’ve seen so far, Hotel Royal is now the winner of the "best breakfasts in Europe" contest.

I went back to the room and got my day organized.  I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do today, but I figured the first order of business would be to buy tickets for my trip to Castelrotto on Saturday.  I wanted to use the EurAide office rather than Deutsche Bahn, as I’ve found them so helpful in the past.  Unfortunately their office wasn’t in the location I remembered and it took a bit of a search to find it.  They’re now located inside the DB Reisezentrum office.  There was a short line, and while I waited I visited with a couple from Australia, a family from Dubai and a family from Saudi Arabia.  The people that I've met from the middle east so far all seem to speak good English, which I found a bit surprising.

The agent mentioned that there will be a change in the route to Bolzano due to track maintenance.  The train now terminates at Innsbruck and passengers then transfer to a Bus for the trip to Brennero.  This should be interesting!

After buying my tickets, the plan was to drop them back at the Hotel and then get some lunch as it was about 11:30.  However, I was starting to feel a bit tired, so thought a half hour nap couldn’t hurt.  Unfortunately, I didn’t wake up until about 16:00 so I guess I’d have to settle for dinner.

I stopped at the front desk to have a short visit with young lady working the afternoon shift and ask a few questions about validating tickets, etc.  While there I also chatted with a couple of women from San Francisco (just arriving) and a family from Seattle.

The weather had become somewhat inclement and it was raining steadily so I decided to take the Metro to Marienplatz rather than walk.  The S-1 seemed to be the best option so I bought a ticket (€2.50, 1 zone) and made my way down to the tracks.  The trip only took a few minutes, and the cars seemed to be air conditioned, which was sure nice as the inside of the underground stations is usually very "muggy" .

I was a bit disoriented when I came out of the Metro station, but I soon got my bearings.  I thought about stopping at the Ratskeller for a genuine German dinner, but the prices were horrendous.  It seemed like too much of a “tourist trap”, so I continued on, hoping to find a place I had visited in the past that served wheat beer, Weisses Brauhaus.  I eventually found it, and although it was VERY crowded I decided to stop there for dinner.  There seemed to be a lot of “locals” there, which is always a good sign when checking out restaurants!

I decided to try the "original" Wheat Beer (T7) and an order of Sauerbraten, which came with a mixed salad.  The food seemed to be somewhat “institutionalized and mass production”, but it wasn’t too bad.  The Beer was really good!

After dinner I decided to have a brief look at the HofBrauhaus, in case I don’t manage to get there tomorrow.  I wandered through the main hall and the "Oompah band" was taking a break so it was unusually quiet.  I went to the banquet room on the top floor and the band there was also taking a break (must be "union rules" or something), although they would play one song and then take another break.  I was going to have a beer, but none of the servers even looked at me, so I eventually left.  It was really quiet throughout the Hofbrauhaus, and didn’t have the same raucous atmosphere that I had remembered from previous visits.  One thing I did notice is that they have replaced the “Vomitorium” in the men’s washroom with a newer and smaller model, which is now located inside its own stall.  Nothing like having the facilities modernized!

It was a short walk back to Marienplatz via a covered shopping arcade, which as it turned out exited right at the restaurant where I had dinner.  It didn’t take long to find the Metro stop and get back to the main station.  As usual, I used the wrong exit back to street level and it took me a minute to get my bearings.

When I got back to the Hotel, there was a different Clerk working and he seemed a bit suspicious of me and had to check my name in the Register.  I had planned to have a shower, but found there was no hot water.  He said that his boss was on the way, and the problem should be corrected soon.  He called the room about 15 minutes later and reported that the hot water was working again.  I had to let it run for a LONG time to actually get some hot water.  For some reason, I've encountered "hot water problems" at two different Hotels in Munich.

The rest of my night was spent updating my Diary, making a brief entry on my Blog and charging my gadgets.  Tomorrow I plan to visit the Museum of Flight, which is a “satellite” facility of the main Deutsches Museum.  It’s apparently a short ride on the S-1 back towards the airport, but not too far.

12 Aug. 31 - Friday

I was pleased that I had decided to pack along my small travel alarm clock, as it was making it much easier to get into somewhat of a routine and keep regular hours.  While I could also use the iPhone as an alarm clock, I'll be in a Hostel on one occasion so it's probably best not to leave the iPhone "unattended" while I'm sleeping.

It’s hard to believe that this is my last day in Munich.  The time has passed so quickly and I feel like I’ve hardly done anything.  The weather is again miserable and rainy today, so I imagine that will slow my touring down a bit.

Breakfast was much the same as yesterday, so I decided on scrambled eggs again (it may be awhile before I can get this type of breakfast again).  The people from Seattle that I’d been speaking with yesterday were also having breakfast so I had a visit with them.  They're also very interested in WW-II history, so we had lots to talk about.

After breakfast I had a short visit with young lady at the front desk.  She won’t be working tomorrow so I wanted to tell her how much I’ve enjoyed my stay.  She had printed up a map showing me how to reach the Museum of Flight, which is located in Oberschleisheim (just north of Munich on the S-1 line to the airport).

It took about 15-20 minutes to get there, and when I arrived I found that the rain had increased.  There was NO way I wanted to walk, so went into the small Bar there and asked if there were any Taxi’s available.  The Barman handed me a business card, and I called the Taxi firm (which was labelled as a "Mietwagen" Service, which sounded a bit unusual).  The car arrived within about 10 minutes, and the driver was a very nice woman, who fortunately could speak some English.

The ride to the Flight Museum was only about 5 minutes or so, and I went inside and paid my admission (€6.00).  The exhibits started with WW-I and older aircraft, including Gliders.  I was interested to see a Lancair displayed, as that's a high-performance kit-built aircraft.  This particular plane was on loan from a local Doctor, and had been flown on some fairly long journeys including to Antarctica.  The exhibits progressed into a larger hall at the end that had WW-II and newer aircraft.  There were some interesting displays including a Dornier VTOL aircraft that had about six engines.  I don’t think it ever flew in service, but it was a design before it’s time.

After wandering through all the displays and getting photos, I stopped at a Helicopter Flight Simulator for a closer look.  I had a chat with the person running the Simulator and decided to try a 15-minute “flight”. He sat beside me for the first minute or so and explained the controls, and I was able to figure out the flying part fairly quickly.  However, I couldn’t figure out how to make it land ( I should have booked another session for that).  I had a few “passengers” for the first part of the flight, but a young boy was losing patience so his mother removed him from the cabin.  It was an interesting experience, as the simulator had all the sensations of a real Helicopter, including of course the sounds but also the vibration.  The video display in front was excellent!

I had a coffee in the small Gift Shop and then asked the woman at the front desk if you could call a Taxi.  She was going to call a different firm, but I asked if she could call the same service again, as I had told her that I would get her to run me back to the station.  She arrived within about 10-minutes and when I arrived at the station there was an S-1 on the platform but it left before I could get there from the tunnel.  It was about a 20 minute wait for the next train.

While I was waiting, a German man asked me something about Marienplatz, but I told him I don’t speak German.  Fortunately a very attractive blond girl sat down next to him and her English skills were excellent.  She said that he was asking how long it would take to get to Mairenplatz.  I showed them my small transit map, and indicated that the trip would be about 20 minutes, as Marienplatz is two stops beyond the Hauptbahnhof.

The trip seemed to pass quickly.  Once again I noticed the shiny new Leto Motel in Moosach, which would be an ideal place for someone to stay if they had an early flight.  When I arrived at the main station, I happened to be walking by a McDonalds, so decided to get some lunch (I was getting hungry by this time).

At about 18:00, I decided it was time for dinner.  I asked the Desk Clerk if he knew of any reasonably good restaurants in the area, and he suggested the Bistro Domenico, which is located in the Hotel Astor in the next block.  It was very small, but I decided to give it a try.  I ordered the Spaghetti Bolognese, along with a glass of Chianti.  The portion was a reasonable size and the quality was good.   The waitress had a slight accent, so I asked her if she was Italian, and she said “No, Russian”.  As I was leaving the restaurant, I overheard four Australians musing about whether to try the restaurant, and I told them the food was good so they went in.

After dinner I wandered up one side of the street to the station plaza and then back down the street to the Hotel, getting photos as I went.  When I got back to the Hotel, a young couple were just exiting, and I asked where they were from.  I was surprised when they said “Victoria”, so we chatted for about half an hour.  They were chain smoking, but I tried to keep my distance.  The girl was a big Rick Steves fan, so we had lots to talk about.

Back in the room, I got my gear organized for the trip tomorrow.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what Castelrotto looks like, and hopefully the weather is nice.  The rail and bus trip should be a bit of an adventure.


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