…tour. A BMW tour. You thought we bought a car? Not even close, but more about that later! For now, here we are in Munich, Germany and in some ways it is exactly what we expected–stores filled with lederhosen, BMWs cruising the streets, beer and sausages everywhere you turn. We even met some really cool guys from a German TV show. Weird, but cool. Really, what more could a girl ask for? Sure, we are in Munich one week after the end of its famous Oktoberfest, but it doesn’t matter. This is still a great city with lots for first time visitors like us to see and do.
We got here before dawn yesterday, tired but ready to explore this new city. After storing our luggage (thank goodness for these services at every train station we’ve been to), we decided to walk toward the Deutches Museum. We’ve met several people who highly recommended this science and technology museum, so it seemed like a great way to spend our time while we waited to check into our room. This giant museum spans five floors and covers everything from microelectronics to aeronautics and the history of sailing in Germany. We especially loved seeing the cross section of an airplane which shows us just how little space is taken up by passengers and how much room there is for cargo. We also found the ethical questions regarding genetic testing really interesting–this was partly due to the creepy yet intriguing faces speaking to us from the wall. After pressing a button, they told of their dilemmas regarding genetic testing and then we voted if we agreed or disagreed with the choice. It was interesting to see how our opinion compared to others who had taken the survey before. While there were many exhibits that were interactive and innovative, the longer we were there, the sleepier I got. I found my eyelids getting very heavy as I read the information below each exhibit. While Phil wandered around in fascination, I kept looking for benches where I could rest my very weary body. At this point I realized I didn’t get quite as much sleep on the train as I imagined, and I needed to rest. At my request, we left the museum earlier than planned and checked into our room.
After a lovely, and very much needed nap, we ventured out for a late dinner. Excited that we are in Germany and it is finally acceptable to have a hamburger again, we chose Burger House based on the extremely positive reviews on TripAdvisor. This was our first foray onto the Munich public transportation system and after our ticket debacle in Budapest, we weren’t taking any chances. Like good citizens, we bought out tickets and validated them. We would not be burned again. It is a good thing we did all this because as soon as we got on the train a group of ticket control agents boarded and started checking tickets. Exhilaration rushed through us. We were pretty sure we did all that we needed to do, but it was our first time and we couldn’t be positive. When they checked our tickets, I wanted to shout, “Yeah, just try to say something to me!” They nodded and moved on. Never again will we be caught without the right ticket!
Our good mood continued when we finally found Burger House. As soon as we walked in we were surrounded by the sights and sounds of an awesome restaurant. Not too big, maybe 12 tables in all, people drank beer and ate their food looking truly happy to be there. We were barely able to snag a seat at the bar, just eeking in before their 10pm closing time which seems early to us. I’m so glad we made it because this was easily the best burger we’ve had since we left New York. It is amazing what can happen when simple, fresh ingredients are prepared well. The man next to us ordered the Triple Classic Burger and actually finished it. Quite a feat. The burger, coupled with our first taste of delicious German beer, made for the perfect first dinner in Munich.
This morning we woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the city head on. We tried to get tickets for a tour of the BMW plant, but they require 3 weeks notice. We didn’t even know we would be in Munich as of 3 weeks ago, so we figured we would just check out the museum and the BMW Welt. Phil has great nostalgia for BMW and today’s visit has only made it worse. Now I’m worried he’s going to go back to the U.S. and buy and old 3-Series. The BMW Welt is basically a giant showroom with current BMW and Rolls Royce (also part of BMW Motor Group) models. Admittedly, it was fun walking around and dreaming about which car we would buy. Even though they weren’t on display (and aren’t what most people think of when they think BMW), I think I’d go with a Mini-Cooper. They are so cute. I know I would look awesome cruising around in a red one. Before heading to the museum, we checked to see if there were any last minute openings on the tour and lucky for us, there were! We took a guided tour of the museum, the plant and the welt. This tour is incredibly comprehensive and is something we would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Munich. The museum is modern and shows the long history of BMW, from its days of making aircraft engines to making high performance cars and motorbikes. It would have been a great visit all on its own, but in addition we visited the plant. Here in Munich, they only make the 3-series and we got to see many steps of the process. From welding the body parts together, placing the body on the drive shaft and the process of painting the body, we saw so much more than we did when we visited the Mazda plant in Japan. In some ways, this was almost too much information and we were begging for a break or at least a stop at the restroom. When we didn’t get that, we figured we’d hang in through the last part, which was the welt. We weren’t expecting much, since we had already looked around earlier. What we didn’t see before was the floor upstairs where customers come to pick up their brand new BMW. Each day people come here and are greeted with the car they have been waiting for. They come down a giant staircase and their car is spinning platform waiting for them. After having their photo snapped by a professional, they jump inside and learn the ins and outs of their new vehicle. It was really neat to watch. One car was even waiting with a big red bow. It took me a while to believe that this present wasn’t destined for me. What a great surprise that would have been.
Upon leaving the BMW tour, the cold October rain began to settle in. We decided to take a break from being tourists and head back to the apartment where we are staying. We did manage to head back out for an awesome dinner at a local brewery, but we will tell you all about that tomorrow. Until then, go out and have a delicious German beer and some knockwurst and think of us here in Munich.