Munich, more than Oktoberfest

A Youth Backpacker in Europe
Chapter X Part I
Munich, more than Oktoberfest

City: Munich
Country: Germany
Currency: Euro (€)
Dates: 15th January 2008 - 19th January 2008
Travel buddies: Stella, Egon, Rahma, Sid, Chris and Meghan

Caption: Olympia Tower in Olympia Park

It was intriguing to observe how every alphabet flipped in an old-fashioned way as the schedule changed in Budapest central station. But what occupied me the whole night was by having Budapest setting such a high standard in travel, will Munich, city lived and promoted excessively by Soon Hooi be able to live up with the expectation?

Anyway, the Budapest-Munich train ride was definitely nowhere close to a comfortable 10-hour. Despite the fact that Germany is probably one of the countries in the world that produces the best trains, the journey was surprisingly awful as the train was crappy and completely worn out. Not to mention also how slowly it paced. But I guess this is just the nature of international train - except no quality train, unless you are willing to churn out money from your wallet.

Munich, as described by Soon Hooi as one of the coldest cities in Germany contradictorily welcomed me with its warm hug. There wasn't a single snow fall during my entire visit. And in fact, it was the time when I was relaxing in Olympia Park Munich that I had to unbutton my jacket to feel the soothing winter breeze.

Caption: Lake in Olympia Park (left) and interestingly, was it feeding ourselves or feeding swans?

Yes, besides the worldwide acclaimed annual Oktoberfest event, Munich certainly has a huge galore of fun to offer. Olympia Park, as mentioned previously, was built for the 1972 Summe Olympic Games. It was the first Olympic complex I have visited in my life. Wondering how monstrously huge an Olympic Stadium would be, I found the park was lovely in size.

Visiting Olympia Park in the morning was definitely the smartest decision of the day. Surrounded by groups of swans gliding smoothly in the beautifully created artificial lake, birds flying by the park and occassionaly added a closer-to-nature scent to the park, and the scattering crowds of people eithier practicing sports or leisurely strolling around the park like I did, I asked myself, what could be more relaxing?

Ascending to the Olympia Tower however may seem to be luxurious treat as it offers nothing more than a panoramic view of the industrial hub of Munich City. With so many historically erected monuments in Munich city centre offering fascinating sceneries of the Bavarian capital, it really is hard to convince that a climb to the Olympia Tower is necessary. But I did give it a try and found that it really was... nothing much.

Caption: Olympia Park (left) and BMW world from Olympia Tower.

If you are willing to spend the money for the tower, then it is absolutely idiotic if you choose to skip the guided tour to BMW Manufacturing Plant in the BMW Weld (BMW World), which is located just less than a few hundreds metres from the Olympia Park.

Germany, a nation often associated with state-of-the-art high speed trains and luxuriosuly good performance automobiles certainly would render disappointment to mechanical technology fanatics impossible. Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkwagen are all originated from Germany. But most importantly in Munich is home to another automobile giant - BMW.

With the newly constructed BMW World, BMW certainly promises to provide the ultimate pleasure and intense excitement to cars lovers by cramping a BMW Museum which unfortunately was under renovation during my visit, manufacturing plant, exhibition and sales centre with test drive facility all under the same roof.

The feel-free atmosphere in the centre was so encouraging that no matter who you are and whether you can afford a BMW, you are encouraged to jump into any model of BMW on display, except the very exclusive F1 race cart centred the exhibition hall like the king of the kings. Filled with information, interactive games and friendly staff fluent in multiple languages, satisfaction is assured in the world of BMW.

Caption: That is the logo that everyone is chasing after. And to the right, observe the test drive runway which appears as a bridge as seen from below.

But the highlight was surely a guided tour to the manufacturing plant. It was one of the single most important events in my winter trip. Being able to witness this state-of-the-art manufacturing plant which adopts robotic aid in 95% of its operation was stunning. I was first impressed, and then amazed, and lastly fascinated by how a half-a-million Euro automobile is produced to its every detail. Not a mechanical enthusiast myself, the charm of the tour proved to be irresistible.

As mentioned, cars are not the only proud product of German. Trains, on the other hand is also an affair Germans take very high pride in. The delusive impression of German trains not too long before vanished after train journeys within the nation embarked. By deliberately served ignoring the supreme quality of train rides and just amplifying the types of trains in the nation, it is already sufficient to impress train commuters.

It was wonderful to travel in Germany by trains, not to mention my superb night train from Munich to Berlin. I was even travelled from Berlin to Hamburg just for the sake of trying out the ICE train at one point of my journey within Germany. You can tell that I was hooked to the quality of German trains. Although price concern travellers might find German trains slightly absurdly priced, but trust me, it worth the money. But in order to travel wisely, I would still advise you to buy a railpass.

Caption: BMW F1 and posing next to BMW.

From Olympia Park to BMW World to German trains, I trust I have given Germany a superior technology giant coating. The admiration to this highly developed nations is without a doubt. But the history behind Munich and the charm of it from an historical point of view surely will not surrender to dazzle visitors. Of course, all these are coming in the next entry.

Have I already told you that Munich is my most favourite city of my entire winter trip?

Caption: Allianz Arena which hasn't been mentioned in the post.

Great Yarmouth, Cheap Tourist City

I know it has been a long while since my last update. The reason, internship. Travelled to Kalimantan in the beginning of July and then came back to the Netherlands after three weeks. And then got re-posted by company a day after to England. So voila, here I am in Great Yarmouth, east coast of England. Heard that this is probably the roughest coastline in the North Sea. Well, so far, the nasty English weather is not prevailing. I guess summer season does help.

So, I guess you know this is not going to be a typical travel post that I normally make. Accessing the internet from wireless connection in hotel, nothing much to expect. Constant discontinuation is more likely. And everytime when there is a huge amouth of data transfer, I will get disconnected. It means no upload of picture. Therefore, this is not an ordinary travelogue from Sambaldeli.

Anyway, I will still share some travel experience with you. But they are my travel experiences in Banjarmasin and Great Yarmouth because under the reason of travel light, I didn't bring my travel diary with me, and my winter travel diary is inside.

Firstly, Banjarmasin. It is the capital of South Kalimantan. I thought it would be a huge city, but I was disappointed. Not that it is not huge enough. But it is monstrously huge just because of the population. As any typical city in Indonesia, the only thing to see in Banjarmasin is human, human, and more human. It is evident that the city is expanding because of the population and nothing else.

The traffic on the street, it was hardly imaginable. There wasn't a lot of cars, but motorcyclists were everywhere and they costed me five minutes before I managed to cross a road. There was apparently a floating market which according to my colleague, a waste of time. There was also something called a boat trip to a monkey island. But apparently, you only sit in the boat passing by the monkey island.

Sounds like I am complaining. But I am not exactly. Growing up in Malaysia, how much difference I would have expected between Indonesian and Malaysian was obvious. Monkey, it might be interesting to European, but not me. Floating market, perhaps it is just people selling goods on boats. By having said these, I didn't involve to any of the aforementioned activities.

Great Yarmouth, on the other hand, is a complete different story. According to my colleague, it is a, C.H.E.A.P English toursit city. Funny? Yes, indeed!

After slightly more than a week here, I have to agree with my colleagues that Great Yarmouth is indeed a popular beachfront city for poor English people. Not the mention the nasty English weather that mostly rain prevailing. It was because having a beautifully wide sandy beach but a deadly cold North Sea just doesn't make it interesting for, at least me, a typical tropical beach lover.

I went for a swim in the North Sea for the first time in my life last weekend. The moment I was in the water, I thought I was going to meet my creator in a few minutes. It was deadly cold. Okay, maybe it wasn't a great idea in the very first place to swim in the sea. But if you keep moving, you will soon get used to the sea temperature and be able to enjoy a little bit. But still, don't spend too much time in it. Because the harbour my company is building is just a mile away.

What to say? Poor English people.

Okay, you may have noticed I am not revealing a lot here. Because this is just an update for greater travel stories in the future. I will be back with more detailed travel bites in Banjarmasin and Graet Yarmouth. See you soon! I hope.