Weekend trip to Munich

Apr. 8-13, 2009 (Easter weekend)

Wed. Apr. 8

Met Louise at the Copenhagen main train station after work at 6 PM, got on the direct train to Munich in plenty of time. We had a compartment with 6 seats in an old-fashioned European-style carriage. Two other fellows came along; Oscar was a psychology student from Sweden who spoke perfect English and Frank was Danish and studying film. They were both visiting their girlfriends in Germany for the weekend. The train went west to Odense and Jutland, then turned south to Germany. We had our picnic dinner and I chatted to the two fellows about all sorts of stuff. Louise slept on the top bunk (there were three on each wall and a portable ladder to climb up). I took the other top bunk at 11 PM but slept fitfully as the train made a lot of noise and was bumpy. The two fellows got off in the middle of the night. The train was an hour late.

 

The train yard in Munich.

 

Thurs. Apr. 9

When the sun came up, we could see the German countryside - big farms and small neat villages. We went to the dining car and bought breakfast. The train got to Munich at 10 AM and we felt pretty tired. I'd booked a package deal of return train tickets and a hotel near the station, so we took our suitcases there and left them. It was nice and warm out, more spring-like than Denmark. We walked through several parks in the middle of the city and looked through a museum about the Siemens company (displays about medical and electrical equipment).

 

Louise soaks up the spring weather and sunshine in a park in downtown Munich.

 

Ate lunch at a Persian restaurant - the rice had a funny spicey taste. Checked into the hotel at 2 o'clock and slept for two hours. Walked down the main pedestrian street of Munich, which was packed with people, with many tourists from Italy. Looked inside a church and a touristy store with wooden cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest selling for €300. Ended up at the Victual Plads which has plenty of open-air restaurants but it was really crowded, so we found a renovated turbine hall nearby which had lots of restaurants and room to sit. Musicians were setting up on the stage. We had Indian curry and beer which cost €31. Enjoyed window shopping on the way back to the hotel.

 

The main shopping street in Munich on a holiday afternoon.

 

Fri. Apr. 10 (Good Friday)

Had buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room which was fairly crowded with other guests. We walked north to the Glypotek which contained Greek and Roman marble sculptures in an old building that Hitler built. It had been ruined after the war but was partly restored.

 

The Glypotek sculpture museum.

 

In the contemporary art gallery, a painting depicting Germany in the 1920's.

 

Found an excellent map showing the location of all of the city's museums, so selected the contemporary art gallery to see next. It portrayed modern design, which mainly came from Ikea! Other huge galleries showed jewellery, 20th century designs and German paintings. We left after lunch at 2 o'clock and headed to the English Garden park which attracted lots of people for walking, bicycling and catching some fresh air and sunshine.

 

English Garden park on Good Friday. Kids were swimming in the river, even though the water was only 8 degrees.

 

Young fellows and girls practising surfing on the fast-flowing river.

 

The river was brimming with mountain runoff and a gang of young people were practising surfing on the fast current. It was exhausting watching them, so we set off in search of ice cream but instead found a Starbucks shop with iced coffee. That perked us up enough to tackle the Royal Residenz, very worthwhile seeing. It's an absolutely huge palace with hundreds of rooms full of statues, china, paintings and furniture.

 

Brian listening to the audio tour in the Residenz Palace.

 

One of the many artifacts on show in the Residenz Palace.

 

We had our dinner at an "authentic" German restaurant which was well set up to cater to bus tours. Our feet were sore after all that walking but it was an interesting day.

 

Sat. Apr. 11

Got up at 8 AM to try and beat the rush in the dining room - that worked. Louise's back hurt but she pressed on. Took the underground train for 3 stops and got off near the German museum of industry where we spent all day including lunch at the public cafeteria. Admission cost €8.50 each. The museum has superb displays on every imaginable subject - photography, construction, optics, measuring tools, microscopes, and a very interesting section depicting underground mining. Left there at 4:45 and walked around the city centre in 22 degree heat. It was packed with people. Returned to the hotel via subway train to rest our feet for an hour, then had pasta at an open-air cafe. Figured it will be hard returning to chilly Denmark after spending the weekend in the warmest place in Europe.

 

A display of all kinds of photography equipment, at the German industrial museum.

 

At the same museum, two globes made in the 1500's.

 

Sun. Apr. 12

Another sunny day. Packed up, left bags at the hotel's front desk and took the train north to Freising where we'd arranged to meet Louise's relatives Albert and his daughter Julia. It took less than half an hour on the train. We walked around the town and through parks by the river, then returned to the station where Albert and Julia arrived at 1 PM. They'd spent the week in Malta. We treated them to lunch at a Greek restaurant; we sat outside in the courtyard. We voted to accompany them to Regensburg where they live, so Albert drove on the German autobahn. That didn't take long! They live right beside the Danube River, opposite a big cathedral. We walked around the town which was popular with visitors enjoying the heat. Our destination was the grave of Louise's second cousin Rose, who sadly died of cancer in 2005.

 

Brian, Julia and Albert having lunch in Freising.

 

Brian, Louise and Julia in Regensburg, beside the Danube River.

 

We took the train back to Munich, retrieved our suitcases from the hotel and bought sandwiches and drinks for dinner for the train ride back to Copenhagen, which left at 7:15 PM. This time, a Danish lady and her 10-year-old daughter shared our compartment. I also spoke to a delightful 20-year-old American girl who ended up in the same compartment as a drunken Frenchman and wanted to be relocated. I played a game of chess against the 10-year-old girl but she was much more proficient and easily won. We went to sleep at 10 PM and this time it was more comfortable and not as bumpy.

 

Mon. Apr. 13 (Easter Monday)

The train conductor woke us up at 6 AM. They were fixing the train tracks in Denmark so we all had to get off and board replacement buses for an hour and a half ride across rural Denmark in the dull fog. Then we were dumped off at the railway station where the only shop was closed due to the holiday (and no coffee for 300 thirsty passengers). Spoke to Oscar again who enjoyed his weekend, and the American girl who survived the night. So we finally made it home and brought pleasant memories, although the 15-hour train journey each way was a bit wearying.

 

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