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.