Munich. Vrrrrrrrm.

I call dibs on this mean red BMW.

07/10/12 4:40PM Just passed Brenner, Italy-Austria border, en route to Venice.

I haven’t been the most productive with my writing so I carry a fair weight of guilt as I pick up my pen again and try to remember what’s been happening in the last 3 days since we arrived in München (Munich). Upon arriving in München in the afternoon, it felt somewhat familiar, like pulling into Frankfurt again upon seeing all the German signs and “Würstl” signs.

It was getting dark so we took the U-bahn straight to our hotel, the Ibis München Süd, located next to the highway on Teegernseerstraβe, by Wittgenstein Station. It was possibly one of the most economically designed hotels I have lived in to date, and by that I’d like to emphasize its interior build. I drew a picture somewhere in my journal because I don’t think I will see such a unique layout in a long time- corners cut in the walls to slot in a boxlike bathroom, sloping curves for wardrobe doors to create the illusion of a larger room- es ist brilliant.

“Only the weather” is outside of their control for the comfort of our stay, the hotel brochure confesses modestly.

That’s okay. I just hope you could strengthen your crappy wifi for which you need a login per device from the front desk. At around 9PM Daddy’s friend, a Munich local, came. We said hi and had dinner in an Italian restaurant down the road. Props to the waiters for their friendly service! And thanks for understanding me when I tried to order wasser: your food was delicious!

Quick recap of what else we did in the capital of Bavaria: exploring the Deutsche Museum, BMW Welt & Museum, and Olympic Park. Last of all, we had a little tour of the Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich). Overall impressions: what a modern city!

BMW Headquarters, Munich.
Entrance to the BMW Welt (BMW World) – a multi-functional customer experience and exhibition facility.
Its interior design is slick.
And so are its cars.

Give yourself abundant time for visiting the Deutsche Museum- there are over 50 exhibition areas covering more than 51,000 square metres, a gigantic sweep of science and technology on display. I couldn’t find the stairs leading down to the Mining Exhibits, which I heard were a must- such a bummer… Our 3 hour quota was not a good idea. As for the BMW Headquarters, one visit was enough to recharge my faith in this solid brand. I mean, I’m not a huge car person so given my limited knowledge of this industry, BMW’s marketing powers have captured me for good. At the Olympic Park, which hosted the 1972 Olympic Games, we ascended a windy hill to take in a 360 degree panorama of the city. This would be an ideal place for daily jogs.

Vintage model or not, every one of these beauties outdid themselves. As you can see here, I am merely a prop.
Taking a break on the hill top by Olympiapark with Munich spread at my feet.
View of Olympiapark from the hilltop. There’s the Olympic Stadium and the lake. The Games were hosted here exactly 30 years ago!

The university town of TUM is very different to that of Berkeley, firstly due to the fact that it is located in a real downtown, urban area. What they do share, however, is birthday! Both were established in 1868. TUM’s founder was actually King Ludwig II, whose iconic, romantic Neuschwanstein castle I will write about in a later post. Today , it is ranked number 1 in Germany and one of the top 4 universities in the EU. I had the pleasure of seeing its engineering labs and a neat little cafe with a view of Munich Old Town and Frauenkirche (“Cathedral of Our Dear Lady”). No building in the entire city is allowed to exceed this church in height. Hm, except for the BMW headquarters and the Olympic Tower, from my observations.

I have to say, we are passing some Italian fields right now and it is spectacularly mountainous, except the belly of the mountain is lightly tiered for farming, and the rest are in alternate patches of apple green and pine forest. I think we’re tracing a river as we head South to Verona, expected transfer time 18:58. We got onto the München train at 13:31. I hate to say I’m bored on the train but sometimes it really feels like there’s nothing to do. I think the countryside looks more idyllic with sloping mountains, with your little Bavarian-style house tucked into the nook of the valleys. As we were crossing a narrow stretch of Austria, we were actually pulling through part of the Alps which is why the mountains were much taller and their peaks barer and jagged, some encrusted with snow, debris flow, or remnants of ice deposits that probably swell in winter.

Arriving in Venice in T minus 3 hours!

The border between Austria and Italy: we just crossed an entire country from Germany!
Me setting foot (literally) in Innsbruck Station to mark my brief five minute stopover in this city of Austria.

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