A runner with an appetite for adventure!

Munich in A Day September 27, 2011

Filed under: Europe,Germany,Travel — Kelocity @ 8:07 pm
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After a fun morning in Munich, we found ourselves back into the center of old town completely alone. What? No tourguide? No bus waiting for us? No itinerary? It’s really no wonder we love Contiki, we need a little structure to our traveling or we get anxious we’re going to wander around and miss something important. Some people like to travel like that, but I prefer to check sights off a list.



Munich is like the crazy younger sibling to Berlin. It’s a little wild and crazy and trying to be different. Bavaria used to be it’s own state and has such unique characteristics than than the rest of Germany. It was previously ruled by a long line of crazy dukes before the outbreak of WWI.

This is the famous Glockenspiel right in the heart of Marienplatz. It only goes off three times a day, and we weren’t there when it did, but from what we hear, we didn’t miss much. It’s cute though.


But at the base of the clock, we met up with a free walking tour (Hooray! More tours! I was so excited!) When you have someone explaining what things are and why they are important is so much better than walking around with a map and wondering why I should care. We had a great guide.

He was excited to point out this funny sign to us too. Parking for dogs! huh?

One of our first stops was to see the Frauenkirche Church, also known as the Devil’s Church. There was a rumor that the devil had commissioned it and demanded it have no windows.

However as you walk inside the church, you realize there are lots of windows hidden behind each of the pillars.

The church was bombed with the rest of Munich by the Allies in WWII. During the raids the church was destroyed. After the war, the Jews of Munich gave money to help rebuild the church. As a way of saying thanks, there is a menorah painted on the ceiling if you look closely.

Nearby was another church that was also rebuilt after the war. Piece by piece they reassembled it exactly as it was…

And if you look closely, you can see a medieval cannon ball lodged in the sides. They made sure to place it right back where it was.

We also learned on our tour that the people of Munich looooove Michael Jackson. We passed a rather large memorial to him with all kinds of tributes on it.
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Then the tour took us back in time a bit to when the Nazis were vying for control of Munich. Hitler was gaining popularity and the Nazis were rallying for support. This led to the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 when Hitler tried to overthrow the government. He was later thrown in jail for his actions, at which time he wrote Mein Kampf.

During the Putsch (which means “coup d’etat” in German), 16 Nazis were killed, along with four policemen. Later when Hitler was out of jail and clearly in control of Germany, he erected a memorial to be placed in a public square in this place.

See below what it looked like in the 1930s. Hitler required that anyone who walked by give the Nazi salute. Of course the residents of Munich were angry about being forced to salute a regime that they didn’t support. So in protest, people started avoiding the monument by walking around it instead of past it.

Anyone caught walking the alley instead of going past the wall was then captured and probably tortured or killed. A subtle memorial now remembers those people who tried to resist the regime. It’s a path of gold bricks to represent the route they chose to take.

Despite learning about the sad more recent history of Munich, we also learned about the happy traditions, and the city’s great love for their beer. It made sense then to head over to the Hofbrauhaus after our tour.IMG_7914





I know it’s super touristy, but Irving and I are the ultimate tourists and were excited to eat there.  Inside, it’s set up with long tables and you are encouraged to sit next to strangers. We found a seat next to some people from the UK and had fun chatting with them about their travels.

When in Munich… get the beer. We ordered a liter to share and it was pretty amazing.

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Irving ordered some sausages that he said were pretty great. [EDITED TO ADD:  he actually used the  phrase "amazing" and "that was the best sausage I have ever eaten, in my ENTIRE life."] I got a potato casserole that wasn’t anything special, but still pretty good. And we shared the bread basket of rolls and pretzels. Tip: Order the pretzels from the girls that walk around and not from your server. The ones from the kitchen are half the size of the ones the girls have.

On our way out we heard some German Folk Music playing inside. Such a fun, festive night on the town. We only had one day to do Munich and I think we definitely made the most of it. Tomorrow, we rent a car… wish us luck!


Munich: Stadiums and Arenas September 26, 2011

Filed under: Contiki,Europe,Germany,Travel — Kelocity @ 7:00 am
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We woke up in Warsaw and prepared for our all-day drive back to Berlin. This wasn’t part of the tour, but they offered a free shuttle back to Germany if you wanted (they had to get the bus back there anyways). We extended our trip to explore Munich and Salzburg on our own after Contiki was done, so the bus back was perfect.

But first. Breakfast! We had a great breakfast spread at the Marriott that had way more options than our previous hotels. They even had a few American-style items (pancakes and omlettes) that was a nice change from the usual rolls with jam and cheese we’d had prior.


Then it was right on the bus to hit the road as early as possible. Special thanks to our tour guide on our trip, Meitek. He was from Poland and was entirely entertaining.


Only half of our original group opted to take the bus back to Berlin, so everyone had an entire bus row to themselves. SCORE! I lounged out and read The Hunger Games. (Don’t spoil the end for me though, I’m still reading the rest of the series!) A few hours later, we stopped for lunch at a rest area. I was surprised to actually see a decent looking salad there. It was really good!

See! I really did tried to sneak in some healthy stuff when I could… although I did balance it out with this.

But tried to burn them off quickly by jumping up and down numerous times to get a good bus shot.

We love Contiki, what can we say? I am so sad this is the last bus day.

We got into Berlin around dinnertime and headed straight for the train station. We booked an overnight train to Munich from there.


Soon enough, our train arrived. Right on schedule. I love the European rail system.



We booked this train months ago through Distant Lands in LA (a store that we highly recommend, by the way). We would be sleeping in a 6-bunk couchette and we were praying we wouldn’t have to share the room with wierdos or scary people.

We each had the top two bunks and it was crazy hoisting all of our stuff up there with barely any headroom. We were laughing so hard.

Turns out the other four beds were filled with some elderly Germans who thought it was just the funniest thing. They were laughing and talking in German to tell us to turn the light on, turn the light off, lock the door, unlock the door. I had no idea what they were saying but they were very impressed that we brought our own travel sheets. Either that or they were making fun of me for doing so. Don’t laugh. I have no regrets! (Although sleeping in your jeans really stinks. But I still slept through the night, hooray!

When we woke up, we were just pulling into Munich. We packed our things and found our way to our hotel nearby and checked our bags. Then, map in hand, we found our way to our first stop of the day. The BMW Welt.

Here they have one of the BMW factories and also an extensive collection of their finest cars. I sat down and let Irving do his man thing (aka look at cars).

His favorite was this car commissioned by Steinway pianos.

Next we made our way in the rain around the corner to the Munich Olympic Park.

Munich was the home of the 1972 Summer Olympic games. The design was extremely modern for the times (and still looks impressive now).

In order to get the most out of the park, we opted to do an audio tour of the grounds (well worth it too).
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The aquatic arena was exciting because this was the place that Mark Spitz won all of his medals. He was the guy that Michael Phelps was aiming to beat in Beijing.

If you look close, you can see his name below in a few places:

Also in the park is the big television tower that was renamed the Olympic Tower. We didn’t go inside, but we’re told it had impressive views from the top.

When the park was built, they had long term plans in mind for making it accessible to the public. It’s really pretty now and they use it for all kids of events.




These Olympic games were really unique because it was the first time that Germany was hosting them since WWII. The games had been in Berlin in 1936 when the Nazis were in power, and Munich was ready to show the world that this was a different Germany now.

However the games quickly turned tragic when the Israeli Olympic team was taken hostage and then killed by a radical Palestinian group. It was a very sad event and was a great loss to the world.

This was the apartment that the Israeli team was staying in when the kidnappers broke in.  I always think of the Olympic games as a reason for the world to come together, this tragedy is so unfortunate and I was glad we got the opportunity to pay tribute to those athletes.

After our audio tour, we had lunch inside the commissary. Schnitzel for Irving (of course, right?!)…

And some pasta for me.

And then we jumped on the metro to head to our next sight: Allianz Arena. But first, a little fun in the train station!

There was a mirror on the ceiling that we used to take some pictures!

Someone nearby thought we looked funny and offered to take a picture of us looking at the ceiling. LOL

Then we arrived at the stadium, just in time for the last English tour of the day.

This is where two of Germany’s biggest soccer teams play: FC Bayern Munich and TSV Munich. It was also the site of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. As you can imagine, Irving was in heaven.

The tour was great and we got to learn a bit about the stadium and the teams.




After our tour, we headed back into Munich for another (!!) tour of the city. Stay tuned!


Munich April 6, 2003

Filed under: Europe,Semester Abroad — Kelocity @ 4:46 pm
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Well, I haven’t written in a while… Whats new? A lot I guess. I’m very homesick, and I’m Sooooo ready to come home now. I think I’ve felt this way since the middle of March. The weather has been unexpectedly amazing. It has been so warm and so sunny all the time. Its great. I’m working on my tan! Ok… so I’ll fill you all in on basically what I have been up to.

Last weekend, I was in Munich. My whole group (79 of us) took a train, overnight. We got there Friday morning, and we went to some palaces, some main squares, some museums. It was all nice and stuff.


Saturday, we went to some museums, I saw some older museums, and then a really great modern art museum. Modern art is my new favorite thing ever. I love it, I spent all day in there! Saturday night was the best night EVER!

First, all of us (yes, 79 of us) went to the Beer Hall. It’s a bar that holds 1,500 people, just on the first floor. Its awesome. We all drank and had fun. Yea Yea Yea… then….Melissa and I went to an awesome techno dance club in downtown Munich. We stayed till almost 3am, although I could have stayed much longer. It was awesome. We met some guys from Switzerland, we couldn’t figure out if they were either very European, or very gay… either way, whatever. We had a great time.

Sunday, we went to Dachau. It is the first concentration camp that Nazi Germany used during WWII. It was a strange experience. I felt like I should be moved by it, but I actually felt numb to it. I felt like something so terrible could never happen and I tried to convince myself that it was all fake. Its just too terrible to imagine, I guess. But I was glad I had the opportunity to see it because it’s such a big part of Europe’s history.

Dachau, Germany (Nazi Concentration Camp)

On a side note, the best part was when Chester Lee, our Chinese program leader, told us all on the bus there that “You must bring food to Dachau. If you do not bring food to the concentration camp, you will starve!” Ironic huh?

Monday, I went to Fussen, a town in southern Bavaria, 2 hours from Munich. I went with Dara and her boyfriend, Will. In Fussen is the castle that the Disney Castle is modeled after. It is way up on a mountain, and we took a horse and buggy up the hill. It was cute. The horse farted so loud the whole way up, I thought I was going to die! Lol jk. It was a beautiful castle, but for what we paid to get there and go in, it kinda wasn’t it worth it.

Bavaria, Germany (This castle is the one that the Disneyland Castle is modeled after!).


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