Posts Tagged With: public transportation

Prost From Munich!

Hello again from Munich! We’re thoroughly enjoying our time in Germany thus far as we attempt to experience as much as possible over our short three day stay. So far, so good. After some of the more complicated & confusing cities we’ve visited, tackling Munich has been a cake walk. Getting around is a breeze and our single snag was based on the confusing labeling of the “S” and “U” subway system. We’re still not sure why seemingly identical systems have two different labels, but we have to give the public transportation system credit. The subway has remarkable accessibility through ramps, escalators and elevators. Plus, friendly dogs on public transportation is a very common site. Additionally on the helpful side, we’ve found that a majority of Munich residents speak English and speak it incredibly well. Although, once again we have to be head’s up pedestrians because we’re back to dodging bikers in bike lanes similar to Copenhagen. We’re also trying to make the most of our breakfasts because we realize that we’re winding down our time in regions known for delicious morning pastries. Our most important discovery however is that we’ve also cracked the code on exactly what the traditional German outfits are all about. For lack of a classier description, Lederhosen are essential festive drinking clothes.

Through a happy coincidence, the apartment we had booked happened to be just down the street from a local brewery and beer hall. And what trip to Munich would be complete without a visit to a traditional beer hall? We spent an evening in the Lowenbrau Beer Hall – a lively, fun place that was just our speed. Every item on the menu makes for a big, heavy meal that is complimented by gargantuan glasses of delicious, full-bodied beers. The sprawling beer hall, just one of many in Munich, was packed with a boisterous crowd of everyone from tables of regulars who keep their own personal steins locked up at the restaurant to tour-bus sized groups of visitors. Between bites of sausages and german meatloaf (that was really more like a giant slab of cooked ham), we struck up a conversation with a neighboring table of visiting gynecologists and compared notes on musicians popular in Germany such as Anastasia, The Scorpions and, yes, David Hasselhoff. We also learned a lot about Munich’s own Lowenbrau. Loosely Translated as “Lion’s Beer”, Lowenbrau has been in production since the 1300’s and is one of only six beers sold at Oktoberfest. Why? Because all Oktoberst beers must be brewed in Munich. Not surprisingly, but still somewhat sadly, Lowenbrau recently joined the global Anheuser-Busch InBev family of beers.

The next morning, eager to get outside and see more of Munich, we took the train to Olympic Park – home of the 1972 Olympic Games. It was such a sensational place and we’re now considering relocating to Munich for the park alone. The city has done a phenomenal job of repurposing the massive complex to serve as a central city location for green space, sporting events, community pool, concerts and truly something for everyone. In fact, our visit came the day before the Munich Marathon which started in the park and ended right in the middle of the Olympic Stadium. Forking over a few Euro allowed us to take a trip to the top of the Olympic Tower. It may have been just another tower to see on our trip (and we’ve seen several), but “Olympiaturm” delivered the best view in Munich with a stunning 360 degree viewing platform. From this tallest point in the city, we could see for the first time the large number of parks and forests scattered through small neighborhoods that continued out into the horizon. There was also a strangely placed and largely forgettable Rock museum at the top of the tower.

After the tower, we elected to take the “Adventure Tour” of Olympic Park. Not sure where the adventure came in unless the German word for Adventure really means “stand around and listen”, but it was still interesting. Our easy-going, enthusiastic guide delivered the tour in both German and English, but Brooke and I are pretty sure that only about 25% of what he had said in German got translated to English. Nevertheless, it was a great background on the design and history of the unique stadium and complex. Highlights included seeing the swimming complex where Mark Spitz broke all of those Olympic Records years ago and visiting a locker room that was used by the local Football Club for years. For us, it was just an old empty locker room, but the rest of the tour group was buzzing about excitable while taking photos of signs that players had used this particular rack. We found it interesting that no mention was made of the tragedy involving the Israeli athletes, but to be fair we didn’t visit the Olympic Housing section.

Ready to get off our feet, we headed back to the city center to see some of the Marienplatz area and take a quick trip to the legendary Hofbrau House. We were disenchanted at first its touristy location (right next to the Hard Rock Cafe) and the teeming crowds, but we’re glad we went in. We grabbed a seat along side others on a bench and we had giant steins, pretzels and sausages in no time. What a fun, iconic and tremendous place! The lesson there is just because a location is the most well-known touristy place in town, doesn’t mean its not worth a visit. So, all in all, we feel like we have made solid use of our three days in Munich. It’s been a great city to visit and fall feels like the perfect time to be in this part of Germany. Still, what’s taken some getting used to is that we’ve found Germans to be incredibly friendly, but the language always makes it sound like they are angry or yelling. It reminded us of this hilarious old Dana Carvey/Steve Carell sketch. Now, we have a train ride to Stutgart, a very short night’s sleep and then (after a connecting flight through Amsterdam) off to Scotland!


That's a lot of polls to control!

The World’s Largest Foosball Table! Part of The Olympic Stadium. Could get some great games going here!

Munich’s Olympic Park

View of the BMW Headquarters and Museum from atop the Olympic Tower

Brooke soaking up the whole Beer Hall experience!

Categories: Beer, City Visits, Destinations, German, Oympics, Parks, Self Guided Tours, Sports, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Our time in Copenhagen Continues

High a top Round TowerAh, just two days in Copenhagen and we already feel like we’re fitting in. I think we’re ready to be issued our bicycles now. Each day, scores of blond and blonder fit Danes ride their bicycles past me with an inviting arm outstretched asking for a high five. Or they might just be signaling a left hand turn. I’m not quite sure. I know Brooke mentioned it before, but the amount of cycling as a means of transportation is inspiring and stunning. Eveywhere you turn, there are dedicated, large bike lanes spanning a flat terrain full of polite cyclists scooting about town. We’ve also seen a couple of guys on roller skates, but we’re pretty sure that just means that their bikes are in the shop. Thus far, it’s been a blast exploring Denmark’s capital city. It’s a compact area with a sea of orange, slanted roofs and low rises that emit both an old and modern look. In one small area alone, you can walk the serpentine path to the top of the nearly 400-year old Round Tower, shop in a late 19th century storefront or stroll past the modern “Black Diamond” – the striking Royal Danish Library. The city is entirely walkable with (yet another – we’ve seen so many) stellar public transportation system comprised of buses, regional rail and an expanding subway.

People on bikesIt’s easy to think of Copenhagen as a sophisticated, classy, old-world city. Clean, organized, and cultured. As for the locals, I think that the best way to describe the people we’ve met is engaging. Once you a start a conversation with anyone from the bartender to the guy on the bus, everyone is talkative and eager to share. It doesn’t hurt that just about everyone speaks English incredibly fluently as a second language and many speak a third or even fourth language. Reading scores in Scandinavia are higher in general since virtually all television is in English with closed captioning in the native language. Hence, the country’s youth is often reading while watching television.

Oh my, that's deliciousWe realize that reflecting on the food is becoming a common motif in our blog, but some delicacies are too good not to share. If there is one thing Copenhagen does well it would be bakeries. Storefronts loaded with freshly baked pastries, breads, tarts and more are almost as common as ads for Carlsberg. We’ve sampled the ware and they deliver the tasty goods. We also sampled the national mid-day lunch dish – Smørrebrød (don’t worry, we can’t pronounce it either) which is essentially an open face sandwich made of everything from meatball and pickled cabbage to roast beef. Available everywhere, we stopped in an unassuming lunch place to give ’em a shot. Delicious! Only problem was that we didn’t know the custom is to order two or three since they are a bit on the smaller side. Learning as we go.

My wife with no mere everyday weinerAnother sensational “local” dish we discovered is, believe it or not, hot dogs from a street vendor. In a land known for sausage, this is some of the best street meat we’ve had in months. Large, mouth-watering sausages wrapped in bacon loaded with condiments? More, please. These put (most) NYC hot dogs to shame. And, yeah, we’re going back for another round today. Copenhagen also lays claim to the “World’s Best restaurant” – Noma. How is it? Amazing and delicious…are the words that a world traveler who could dream of being able to afford to eat there might.

Example one of how to get lost in Copenhahgen

Street sign commonly seen in Copenhagen or example one of how to get lost

There is so much more to tell you about Copenhagen. Next time we’ll share stories of the Carlsberg Brewery, Christiana (the incredibly interesting community of squatters), and our amazing Air B ‘n B experience.


Stunning buildings on the streets of downtown Copenhagen

Round Tower

The Rundetarn- or Round Tower- build in 1642 as part of a church and observatory complex. Very, very cool walk up.


Categories: City Visits, Copenhagen, Destinations, Europe, Landmarks, Transportation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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