Guten Abend! I am writing this from a train, ja?
We are somewhere between Rosenberg and Salzburg, still in Germany but soon to be crossing the border into Austria. The scenery outside the window is very green and verdant, a mixture of meadows, forest and mountains with a few towns and villages along the way, the houses very much in the alpine style.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to last Thursday when we departed Christchurch. The 11 hour flight to Singapore went smoothly, although I was disappointed in the food on this sector and not up to Singapore Airlines usual standard. We landed in Singapore and had a 5 and a half hour layover. Firstly we queued up for our free vouchers at the iChangi counter. It is not really advertised but if you are travelling from certain countries (NZ being one of them) you are eligible for two vouchers. $20 for duty free items and $20 which can be used at the Ambassador Lounge for a two hour visit. Here there is a limited food range, drinks and, best of all, lovely showers with towels included. We decided to save these until our return journey when we have 13 hours on the ground. Instead we found a bar and watched some football and surfed the net (free wifi, yay). We then found some comfy loungers and had a wee lie down. Changi is one of the best airports in the world. They have something for everyone including a butterfly garden, koi ponds, swimming pool, transit hotels and movie theatres.
So onwards we went, the second sector over 12 hours, consisted of another meal (very nice), another movie and, thanks to a sleeping pill, 6 hours sleep. Bliss. If there is any better feeling when you are travelling long haul than to wake up to find you are three quarters of the way through your journey I don’t know it.
We landed in Munich at 5am. The place was almost deserted which is just how I like my arrivals hall. No queue for immigration, bags arrived within 10 minutes and no customs check at all. We headed over to the train station and took the S Bahn into Marienplatz. Another 10 minute walk and we arrived at the Mecure Altsadt (in the old town) at 7 am. Needless to say we were just a tad early for checking into our room. In fact check in is at 3pm (but we were allowed in at midday). They did take our bags though and we spent the next 5 hours wandering around central Munich and the beautiful Englischer Gardens.
Jetlag did set in somewhat and we were both asleep by 7pm that night, awake again at 5am.
Anyone looking for a hotel in Munich I can recommend the Mecure Altsadt especially the breakfast. Included in the room rate and very, very good. For the next couple of days we did some serious sightseeing. The BMW Welt and museum was amazing if you are into cars, new and classic. The museum building is reminiscent of the Guggenheim in its concentric design. Across the road is the Olympic park and stadium where they were setting up for a Wings for Life World Run 2016.
We also took a tram out to Schloss Nymphenberg, a summer palace built for the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbachthe in the 17th century and added onto over the years. It’s style is now a happy amalgamation of Baroque, Rococo and Neo-classicism. What really stunned us was the 180 hectare park-like grounds. We walked for miles (actually 10 kms according to my Fitbit) in the beautiful 22° blue-sky day. Just gorgeous.
On the way back I was talked into a side trip to the Mercedes showroom. It’s all about the cars and they do know how to present them, especially the classics.
Lunch at Restaurant Augustiner for a traditional schnitzel and beer followed by a quick look at St Michaels church and the astonishing Asam church, small but heavily and I mean heavily decorated in the Baroque style. I’m surprised the walls haven’t fallen the amount of gold weighing them down! Quite the attack on the senses.
Back to the hotel for a quiet night and this morning after another delicious breakfast we walked back to the Hauptbahnhof station to await our Railjet 65 train to Budapest. We are travelling through Austria having just left Salzburg and in another 5 hours we will arrive at our destination. I travelled through Hungary in the late 80’s and I loved it. We are excited!
Here are some pics of the last few days…