Monday, May 22, 2006

Munchen I & II

Munchen I

I rolled into Munich around 6:30-7 p.m. It was dark and painfully cold—so cold it took my breath away. I found the tourist office (just outside the train station) and asked about Hostels. The 3 hostels inside the downtown area are all right next to each other, and they are all less than one block from the train station. I chose the Jaagger Hostel. Not for any particular reason; they pretty much all have the exact same facilities (none have a kitchen, none have laundry services, the Jaagger is not set up with Internet). I paid 60 euros for 4 nights in a mixed, 6-person en suite dorm. The first night, I would be bunking with a man in his 30’s with rank feet, a Korean student who was backpacking through Europe, and a young Spanish couple. I installed myself on a bed, shoved what I could into my locker* and headed out for dinner and Internet. Across from the train station, there is a large Internet café and call center. Around the corner from that, there is a much cooler, much cheaper Internet Café and call center. Coffee Fellows, offers fresh juice, good coffee, great foccacia sandwiches, and desserts. Munich internet cafes were a bit expensive, but I was able to post about my first days in Berlin, answer some e-mails, and look into airfare for 7.50 euros.
Later, I decided to take a walk and discover the neighborhood. There is a giant mall/movie theatre complex a few blocks away—no O.V.’s that night, several kebab stands, and a few large department stores. Nothing too spectacular, but a safe and (relatively) clean neighborhood.

*Unlike most hostels, the Jaager doesn’t rent locks for the lockers they provide. Instead, for 3 euros, you can buy a pad lock and 3 keys. Pas mal.

Munchen II

The next morning, I was the last one out of the dorm (around 9:30 a.m.). First stop: the tourism office where I got a map of the sights, and information about castle tours. Then, I hopped on the tram and headed to the middle of nowhere (tram line 17 terminus) to Nymphenburger Palace. That may or may not be the exact name/spelling—but, as I don’t internet access and didn’t save any of the info, we’ll just keep it as it lies. The tram stops not in front of the Palace, but in the park behind. One must walk through wooden gardens, cross a bridge, then circle around and enter through the front of the building. A beautiful fairytale stroll if not for the artic cold and wind that cut off the feeling in my toes (despite wool socks and boots) and hands (despite fleece-lined mittens). Worth the pay-off.
The house is incredible. The highlight being the portraits of beautiful women collected by Ludwig. Ranging from his Italian mistress to the local delivery girl: all beautiful, all beautifully captured by the artists of the day. The gallery is filled with them—each one different, each one more beautiful than the next*.
From there, I walked over to the carriage house and spent way more time than I should’ve enjoying the Cinderella carriages, the museum of porcelain, and then, headed out back to a little retreat guilded in silver and swathed in silk. If you ever make your way to this castle on the outskirts of Munich—and is of the opinion that everyone should, pay the extra 3 euros for the carriage house, museum, and small annex. The time and money are well worth it.
A few hours after arriving by tram, I left the same way. I was en route to the Munich Olympic Village, stadium, and tower.

The day had turned from sunny and cold to dark gray and miserable with tiny pebbles of hail blowing horizontal. But, I was there… and I didn’t have a lot of time. I stayed. Starting with the BMW museum, I walked around the park and headed up the tower for views of the city—obstructed by the fog. If making the trip to Munich’s Olympic Park remember the following:
1). Bavaria is frickin’ freezing in the winter.
2). The “Rock Museum” at the top of the tower is considerably less impressive than the collection at your local Hard Rock Café.
3). While under construction, the BMW museum is not worth the visit. Wait until its completion in 2007.
4). The facilities—while perhaps ‘state of the art’ in the 1970’s, you’re just looking at an old stadium (small), and a few matching buildings. Also, if you’ve seen one radio tower, you’ve seen them all. Visit the Space Needle, or the tower in Berlin; the one in Munich is old, and doesn’t even have a rotating restaurant on top—isn’t that, like, you know, some kind of requirement or something?
I rounded off the evening with a movie: Rumor Has It in OV. Munich has a very groovy theatre called—of all things—“Cinema.” It’s all OV, all the time with sneak previews every Friday, and a bar. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a walk from the Yaager, and public transport stops running at midnight, making the 11 p.m. sneaks impossible to stay for.

*After touring some of Europe’s most opulent castles, I’ve grown rather tired of painting after painting, portrait after portrait of the king’s inbred wife, his fat mistress, and his ugly—even more inbred children. My favorite are the anecdotes that accompany each queen/mistress/child: “The King was smitten by her beauty and agreed to make peace with…, not kill…, serve her the head of…, hang and quarter…,” etc. One is left thinking that the king either had very low standards, was blind and she had a great personality, or the subject just wasn’t that photogenic…er, um…


Blogger Serena said...

these are shit posts, but I had to get them up, sorry.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Glad to see you back.

A scarier thought is that perhaps she really was that much better looking than the other women around...

9:14 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

I've heard alot of good tings about Munich over the years. Still sounds like anice place to visit.

5:05 PM  
Blogger UrbanCannibal said...

Hey Dollface, nice to read you again

8:10 PM  
Blogger European said...

"The highlight being the portraits of beautiful women collected by Ludwig."
*grin* Did he collect portraist or women or both?

I've overnighted in a subway tunnel entrance in Munich because the trains had stopped running for the night. It was warmer then, and me and we were still drunk enough not to mind so much.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Kind of a tease, aren't you?

Hope all's well.

8:59 PM  

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