Dark at 4.30pm, freezing and full of sausages – every time we wake up and head out for breakfast in the dark, I confess that I wonder what we are doing in Europe in Winter! Munich however is working its magic – and maybe the real problem is that we have been so jet-lagged that we have actually been in bed at 4.30 on one (or maybe even more) days so far….
Singapore Airlines is our kids’ new favourite airline – terrific noodles and unlimited screens – and together with a kip at Changi, the flight exceeded expectations.
I watched a terrific French film (De Toutes Nos Forces – “The Finishers”) and you may be able to match the film with the viewer if I told you that the others enjoyed: Maleficent, Magic in the Moonlight and a 20 hour Monty Python Marathon!!
26 Years since I first saw it, the Glockenspiel is still charming tourists in the Marienplatz and we enjoyed watching it go around, although I doubt that the creators had anticipated the video game generation’s attention span when it was designed. The gorgeous neo-gothic Rathaus, however, had not lost it’s impact and we enjoyed its architecture. Each evening on the balcony, choirs and orchestras played for the entertainment of the tourists and locals below.
At Christmas time, the Christkindlmarkts were in full swing and we enjoyed looking at the huge variety of German decorations. Barrandgirl would approve heartily of their “Thrash the Theme” approach, with entire stalls of gingerbread, feather decorations or wooden trinkets.
We set ourselves a challenge in teams to find particular things and rewarded ourselves at the end with dinner of a bratwurst (officially my last sausage ever) and a hot Christmas drink.
Though almost forgotten already, we managed a visit to the Deutsches Museum. Not that it wasn’t amazing – just that we were almost asleep on our feet.
Ship building, planes and musical instruments were high on the list because the bridge building exhibition was (devastatingly) closed for improvements.
It was all we could do to stay on our feet and we trust our kids will head back here sometime in their future if they ever choose to return to Munich…
A trip to Bavaria included a trip to the BMW plant, where Spike had booked us in for a tour. After taking some time to work out what an M4 was, or a side frame, or “on the line”, I got into the swing of things. I was most interested to discover that the 800 or so robots they use, are all choreographed (probably programmed…) to do things in perfect sync. Sometimes, when they are about to place and weld a side frame onto a car, they have to show the piece to another robot, wait for the go ahead – ie: right piece of the right dimensions etc… before they pop it in. You even forget that it’s 2 robots interacting! There were humans involved, known as “co-workers”, which sounded a little bit Animal Farm to me… but they also had robots with cameras and weight matching, checking their work. Fascinating.
Afterwards, in the show room, we checked out minis, sat inside a new one and decided that we would buy one, if spare money ever turned up. We also saw Motorbike Man who performed a short but interesting set of stunts by riding his bike up and down the stairs inappropriately on one wheel in front of a bunch of kids. Actually the bike he used was the same as the ones they used in Ewan McGregor’s doco Long Way Round – quite powerful I think.
After 3 days of acclimatising and wandering the old cobbled streets with painted facades, the first blue sky was spotted after breakfast on our final day. Naturally it was time to head for the U-Bahn and airport for our next destination – where the forecast was for grey skies, sleet and rain. Aaah… Europe in Winter.