August 28 - Wednesday
This morning we reassessed our plans for the rest of the vacation. When we studied the train schedules we found that it was going to take two (maybe three, I can't remember) train changes to get to Rothenburg and one of those changes was only 10 minutes long. Then leaving Rothenburg it was going to be multiple changes again to get to the Frankfort airport. We had several people tell us how nice Rothenburg was and we were looking forward to it. However, it was the end of the trip and we were running out of energy for all that changing of trains with our bags. Perhaps there will be another opportunity and perhaps we will plan it differently. In any case, we checked with our hotel and we could stay here an additional two nights. I called the Rothenburg hotel and canceled our room there and we were set to stay in Munich. There is a lot to do here and we were happy to just stay put.
We began our art stroll today at the Neue Pinakothek. This museum shows paintings from 1800 to 1920. Painters included were Monet, Renoir, and van Gogh. Of course, many others from this time period were also represented; but, I think Dick and I are agreed that the French impressionists are our favorites.
This painting caught my eye; but, unfortunately I didn't get the painter's name. Anyone out there know who it is? Of course, this depiction doesn't do it justice, but it is so sweet with the grandmother and granddaughter taking a walk through the garden.
I am also a fan of Camille Claudel's work, after first hearing her story on a Paris Walk and then seeing her heartbreaking portrayal of her breakup with famed sculptor Auguste Rodin in the sculpture L'Age Mur (Maturity) in the Musee de Orsay. In this piece La Valse (The Waltz) Claudel captures the love of herself and Rodin.
It was time for lunch and there were no choices other then the café in the museum. They had a very attractive outdoor eating area, but it was full when we first arrived. Inside the service was less then efficient and it took a long time to get our lunch. I had a ham and cheese panini along with a coke and Dick had a dish with Chinese noodles, vegetables, and chicken. He said it was a bit spicy.
There were many open tables by the fountain by the time we left.
After lunch we went across the street to the Alte Pinakothek Museum. This museum has a collection of European masterpieces from the 14th to 19th centuries.
Here there are paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Raphael, daVinci, and Titian. Also displayed were works from the German artist, Albrecht Durer, who broke from the Catholic representations and presented Martin Luther's Protestant viewpoint of religion. The paintings seemed to be arranged by the countries' from where the artists came from. They were in rooms labeled Spanish, Italian, Flemish, Dutch, Early Dutch, and French.
When we were ready to leave here we attempted to find a taxi. The area seemed more residential and taxis were not readily available. We ended up walking to the nearby Moderne Pinakothek Museum and asking the attendant at the information booth to call us a taxi. This young man graciously obliged, but I think he was getting ready to go home and we were afraid he would leave before the taxi came. The taxi did finally come and we were on our way back to the hotel.
For dinner tonight we asked our front desk attendant for advice and he recommended a Greek Restaurant, Taverna Molas. The restaurant seating area is small, but they have outside eating also. It was a bit chilly tonight, though, so no one was sitting outside. I think we got lucky getting a table as there were several reservations that came in after us. Our dinner started with complimentary ouzo. I'm not a fan, so Dick drank his and mine. Next was our starter and we don't miss a chance for tsazki. Here you can see the pita bread is a bit different then usual, but it all was excellent. For an entrée Dick had calamari, rice and salad. I had chicken with feta and spinach, rice and salad. We shared a baklava with ice cream for dessert. We each had two glasses of wine with dinner. Then they brought us each another ouzo. This time I thought it was my duty not to make Dick drink mine, so I drank it down. Suffice it to say, we were happy people by the time dinner was over. It really was a fun evening and that's not just the booze talking. Those Greeks really know how to have fun!! I can't really think of a bad meal we have ever had in a nice Greek restaurant. This one was one of the best meals of the vacation and that's saying something!
August 29 - Thursday
Dick got up early this morning, showered and went down to breakfast. After he got out of the bathroom I got up and got ready. It is a one person bathroom, so sharing is not an option. He wanted to get going early, though, so he could take the subway to the train station and get our train tickets for Saturday's trip to the Frankfort airport. He got back from his errand just as I was leaving the dining room after breakfast. I guess you could say our timing was right on. Back up in our room I checked emails while he caught his breath and then we were off for our next museum.
Today we are going to the Deutsches Museum. This is Germany's equivalent to our Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. There are actually four different buildings in different places, but we are going to the main branch. This building is truly huge - 10 miles of exhibits spread out over six floors plus a basement. We won't be able to cover it all, but gave it our best. There are lots of hands on exhibits and several demonstrations. However, the demonstrations are all in German, so we will probably not go out of our way to find those.
We made a quick tour through the history of mining (coal, potash, and salt mines) and then spent most of our time in the transportation area, beginning with marine navigation. They had models of most every kind of vessel starting with early canoes.
This appeared to be a real sailing vessel and you could go down steps to see the lower deck.
A replica of an ocean liner of many years ago showed both steerage class accommodations and a first class room. They also had a replica of the deck looking out onto the sea which included lounging chairs and paintings with birds in the fake windows. It was set up just like you would see if you were taking a rest while looking out onto the sea as you cruised along.
I thought it would be funny if I faked a nap on the chair while Dick took my picture. How it turned out was even funnier then I imagined. This little boy sat down next to me and was obviously curious as to what in the world I was doing. It's not my most flattering picture, but it makes me chuckle every time I look at it wondering what is going through his head.
They also had little power boats going back and forth along the water along with a display of boat propellers.
There were multiple models of sailing vessels that appeared to be very authentic in their workmanship.
One very interesting display was the U1 submarine that had been cut in half so you could see everything including the galley, engine room, and bunk rooms. This first German submarine, dating from 1906, has been in the museum since 1921. It's much longer then I imagined, but the quarters are so tight it's hard to believe that anyone could actually live in it.
Nearby was a plaque with a quote from Leonardo da Vinci that I found eerily accurate. He said, "The reason why I do not describe my method how to stay under water: because of the evil nature of men who would then commit murder on the bottom of the sea."
It was time for lunch and a quick walk by the museum cafeteria told us this was not where we wanted to eat. So we exited the front door and went to the little shop that was attached to the gift shop. I can't say the food was much better, but the outside surroundings were much prettier. We got one ham sandwich and one cheese sandwich and shared so we each got a ham and cheese sandwich. I had a coke and Dick had ice tea. When we tried to get back into the museum, the girl at first didn't want to let us back in, but we persevered and she let us in. We really didn't realize that we had exited the grounds as the coffee shop seemed to be attached to the museum.
Back in business, we made a quick tour through an electricity exhibit and then on to aeronautics.
This exhibit started at the very beginning with different kinds of birds and their feathers and how they influenced man's desire to fly. Here we have a model of a man trying to strap on wings so he can fly like the birds.
The development of hot air balloons and the gas-powered zeppelins were also displayed.
There is a large display of many original airplanes, including fighters and cargo planes from the two World Wars along with the first functioning helicopter made in 1936. You can climb into many of the planes.
This cut-away of a Lufthansa passenger airplane shows us why there is very little extra room for us.
There was also a model of Wernher von Braun's V-2 rockets from 1944. The V-2 was one of the first remote-controlled rockets/weapons from World War II. Dick found this interesting as Wernher von Braun was his instructor for two classes when he was in the army in 1957 and stationed at Red Stone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Also in the astronautics exhibit are displays of space capsules and the Spacelab. They also focus on the walk on the moon and the Apollo missions. They truly cover flight - from birds to space travel.
From here we moved onto the area that dealt with the harnessing of wind and water power and hydraulics.
James Watt's steam engine was also on display.
Honestly, my understanding of these machines was minimal, but I did find their size and sounds to be remarkable.
The museum holds many more exhibits dealing with printing, musical instruments, chemistry, computers, measurements (weights, surveying/mapping and clocks), and a planetarium, but our energy had run out and we called it a day. Clearly, more then one day could be spent in this impressive museum.
As we left the museum we had to walk past one bridge over the Isar River and cross another one on our way to the subway stop. It really was a pretty little walk and nice to just relax and enjoy the scenery.
After our usual R&R at the hotel we again got a restaurant recommendation from "our man" at the desk. He is a very friendly and helpful fellow who seems to like making recommendations to us. Tonight he has recommended the Ratskeller located in the basement of the Town Hall in the Marienplatz. It was very nice and we were seated in the bar area. We didn't realize how big the restaurant was until we had to use the rest rooms. Our dinners were very good. I had Char fish with a very crispy skin along with some root vegetables. It was excellent. Dick had sauerbraten with potato balls and a super side dish of red cabbage. He had beer and I had white wine. We shared a crème brule for dessert.
Towards the end of our meal a young man was seated near us and we began talking. He said he worked at an office that was located in a suburban town. He told us that many of the businesses had moved their companies to small towns out of Munich due to real estate costs. He added that the town he was located in was "dead" with nothing to do so he had to come to Munich for fun. He also added that there were many Asians who worked with him, but they really liked the little town because it was so "quiet and green."
After dinner we again walked around the area. The Marienplatz was very pretty all lit up.
A side street was looking very festive.
Here I am in front of the Town Hall and the glockenspiel.
We were back at the hotel around 10:00 and were met by the night desk man. He is also very friendly and nice, but an entirely different personality from our daytime man. This fellow is much more boisterous. He loves to tell us jokes or make funny statements and then he laughs this huge belly laugh at his own joke. Most of the time I don't really think the joke is that funny, but his laugher is infectious and you can't help but to join him in laughter. He is also very quick to come out from behind the desk and open the door to the elevator. It's a big door, but not really that heavy. Nevertheless, he goes out of his way to be helpful - laughing all the time.
August 30 - Friday
Today is our last day of vacation. It's been a great vacation, but as usual after several weeks away from home, we are both ready to go home. There are many things to do in Munich, but we did have to choose and can't do it all. Dick thought the BMW showroom would be interesting. No, we are not going to buy a car.
The showroom is right on the subway line so after breakfast we headed to the subway. As we were waiting for the subway to come, some other tourists asked us for directions. Gee, do we really look like we know what we are doing? We must and we gave them the correct directions. We were about halfway there when there was an announcement made. Most of the people got off the train, except for eight of us. We still had five more stops to go. Unfortunately, the announcement said for everyone to get off the train as it was going back to the barn and only the non-German speaking folks (us and six others) stayed put. They took us back to our starting point and we had to go up and over to catch another train. And here we were feeling so smug! That just goes to show you.
The showroom is located right in front of you when you exit the subway. It is a very futuristic and modern looking building.
The showroom itself is free and as you enter you find it is just as modern inside as outside. There are open skyways and different levels all with cars displayed in little areas.
A lot of the cars you can sit in and others are just for show.
We didn't know they also owned Rolls Royce. There was no sitting in this one.
Dick liked this one though.
He also liked the Mini Cooper. We didn't know they owned these cars also.
This vehicle looks to be good on gas mileage!
This was an electric car.
They had a small café in the showroom and we took a break to have some lunch. I truly can't say that their lunch was the same quality as their vehicles, but it was ok. I had my usual lunch (when I don't trust anything else), a ham and cheese panini and a coke. Dick had a couple of wieners, a bowl of potato soup and ice tea.
The museum was across the street over a skyway. As we walked across the chrome curvy skyway we could see people driving out of the showroom with cars they had purchased. Again, no, we are not buying a car!
In the lobby of the museum they had on display a couple of older cars. This one fascinated me with the windshield wipers on the headlights.
Then we discovered that we had to pay to enter the museum and we balked. We decided that was enough and went back across the skyway to the showroom. There were a couple other technical things we looked at and then we left. I understand the concept of souvenirs from a vacation, but we did not buy a car!
Just at the entrance/exit from the BMW showroom is the entrance to the Olympic Park. Built for the 1972 Olympic games it is now an open park. Here we found the schedule for a mini tourist train that would give us a quick overview of the park.
The driver did announce the venues we were passing, but he didn't slow down and it was hard to remember what was what. I know they have opened the Olympic swimming pool to the public, but I'm not sure which of the buildings it was. There was also the big stadium still there, but again I’m not sure which was which.
This was pretty alongside a lake. I don't understand, though, their "cob web" or "net" style of architecture over the rooftops of the venues.
About halfway through the tour the driver stopped the train and people could get off. Another train would be along later. This was the spot for the 820 foot tower that people could go up. Of course there was also a gift shop at its base. We got off, but decided not to go up the tower. Neither one of us is crazy about heights so we could skip it with no hesitation.
There was a lake in front of us and what appeared to be a camp of some sort immediately across the lake. There were tents and kids playing and some kind of crafts being made.
The raft was pulled across the lake by the kids with a rope of some sort. It looked like they made the raft or parts of it or else decorated it. They were having lots of fun.
The park was definitely a place that families came for a fun outing. Many brought picnics and enjoyed the outdoors.
At the other end of the lake kids were rolling around in big plastic balls. That looks like fun if I was a kid.
We watched the activity for awhile until the next train came along. Then we finished up our tour through the park and headed via subway back to the hotel. We got back to the hotel about 4:30 and decided to begin packing some things. Dick got most of his things packed, but I couldn't really pack my big suitcase because my makeup bag goes in the bottom of it and I was using it to hold the window ajar at night. That sounds strange, but it worked. I did get everything folded, though, so it wouldn't take me long in the morning.
We went out for dinner about 7:30. Tonight our desk man recommended Ayingers, a restaurant near the Marienplatz. We haven't been disappointed in any of his recommendations and this was no exception. Tonight was a little warmer and they had outdoor seating. It was perfect for our last night. I did notice that the building was dated 1897 over the doorway into the restaurant.
I chose pork tenderloin that was prepared with mustard and cheese and served with cranberries. There were also great little fried potato balls and super vegetables - cabbage, cauliflower and green beans. Dick had wiener schnitzel (it was huge) along with potatoes, and cranberries. We also each had 2 glasses of wine. For dessert we had a plum bread pudding and to celebrate our last night we added a Baileys after dinner drink. It was all excellent!
I asked our waitress if she would mind if I took her picture and, even though she was very busy, she seemed very happy to do so. We laughed, though, as just before I snapped the picture she laughed and gave her boobs a push up.
We left the restaurant and, as was our custom, we walked around the neighborhood a bit. It front of the Hofbrauhaus I spied a man and asked if we could take his picture. It was Dick's turn to pose. This fellow was certainly all decked out and played it to the hilt.
We strolled around the neighborhood one last time and then grabbed a taxi back to the hotel about 10:30. We stopped at the desk and ordered a taxi for 9:30 am tomorrow morning to go to the train station. With all the bags we weren't going to take the subway this time.
August 31 - Saturday
The alarm went off at 7:00am, but we were both awake and ready to move. We got dressed and packed before we went down for breakfast. We were ready and waiting when the taxi came at 9:30.
At the train station we went to the Burger King area to wait, mostly because we knew they had a restroom. Finally, they posted the time for the train to the Frankfort airport. It's a three hour train ride and Dick sprung for first class seats. We eventually found our train; we are just not used to these huge train stations. Of course, our train was behind another train and was the furthest down the tracks. The seats were very comfortable and roomy. The train left the station about 10:50. About 12:30 Dick went to the dining car to get some soup while I stayed back with our stuff. He said he had a big bowl of vegetable soup with beef in it. He brought me back a coke and had ordered a ham and cheese baguette for me. It wasn't long before the attendant brought it to me. It was probably the best sandwich I'd had.
We got to the airport in plenty of time, checked in and got rid of the two big bags. Going through security the agent was very upset that my passport had not been stamped as to when I entered Germany. He kept questioning me about it and I tried several times to explain that when we first entered Germany we were on the boat and they had had our passports. Later during the trip we had driven across the boarder several times from Switzerland and from Austria, but there had never been any border crossings. I was starting to get annoyed as he seemed to be implying that it was my fault that the passport had not been stamped. Eventually, he shrugged, said I didn't look like a criminal, and let me go on through the gate.
We still had a couple hours to wait so we stopped at an Italian restaurant and got a tiramisu and a big bottle of water. We then wandered our way to the gate and took up a waiting position. The plane loaded late and ended up taking off an hour late. We had great seats though. We always sit in coach, but try to get aisle seats. This time we not only got our aisle seats across from each other, but we each had an empty seat beside us. Yeah!! It's a big plane operated by Lufthansa and each of the seats has a fancy monitor on the back of the seat in front of your seat. It was better then usual and had lots of choices of movies. I watched two of them and read. I'm not a good sleeper on the plane so it's nice to have things to do to pass the time. Almost nine hours later we landed in Chicago where we were met by our daughter, Leslie, and granddaughter, Kate.
We had another grand trip. We consider ourselves so very lucky to be able to travel and expand our horizons. As with all our trips; this one was a combination of fun times, interesting places, and learning opportunities. We came home with tons of memories, loads of photos and a few souvenirs. One of our souvenirs turned out to be very special. As we ate and drank our way through many restaurants and beer halls, we picked up cardboard coasters. When we got home we had a few of them framed and that now hangs on a wall to remind us of our trip.