Saturday, 28 September 2013

Sights of Freistat Bayern and Munchen...

.Freistat Bayern, Munchen, and a Half Marathon (accidental!) 

After Powerman Zofingen, my real vacation started! YAY!
First stop was Frankfurt, to see my cousins (Shuchita and Sunil) who graciously accepted to host me while I’m in town. 

For the most part while I was in Frankfurt, I didn’t do much! My legs were tired and after eating those 3 dark chocolate bars after the race, this is how I felt:

I didn’t sleep all night, packing to get out of Basel the next morning.
Since I was barely working out anymore, my mind still wants to feel like I’m being active, so I’ve been doing walking “workouts”! Just out of kicks, I arbitrarily decided to somewhat track my walking while I’m in Munich.
Obviously, I didn’t record EVERYTHING, (dreading the wait for my Timex to catch satellites made sure of that!), and I usually remembered to switch it on in the middle of an excursion, rather than at the start.

I’ll go through this chronologically...

12th September 2013

This is the hostel I lived in. I did a few quick searches on the web before booking it and the reviews lived up to the laid back atmosphere and clean accommodations.

My only complaint is that the neighborhood, although very conveniently located next to the railway station, is not very welcoming or nice. However, it is a 10 minute walk away from the center of town: Marienplatz. 

Walking in the rain…
Rain really hasn’t left me alone since Powerman Zofingen! It just follows me wherever I go. Seems as if the sunny Basel weather was the last we saw of the summer-like weather for this year.
Anyway, Marienplatz. First time I explored this area was in rain, but it was still gorgeous:

13th September 2013

Munich Day Tour…
While hunting around brochures for things to do in the hostel lobby after check-in, I came across a poster for “Free Daily Walking Tours” for central Munich area. I thought, what the heck, I’m going to roam around the whole town anyway, might as well learn a thing or two roaming about in a tourist group for an hour!
But I was in for a surprise! At the start, the tour guide calmly announced that the tour would be ~4 hours, mainly non-stop, but with two 30-minute sit-down history lectures promising to educate us of Munich’s culture and evolution, ensuring we don’t leave this city being “idiot tourists” (exact words!). So we were in for some fun. 

Interesting facts I learnt:
  • Bavaria, and Munich in particular, was the epicenter for Hitler’s rise to power in the initial period between WWI and WWII.
  • The region of Bavaria (Bayern), is a Free State. In other words, it has not signed the German constitution despite it being listed there as one of its constituent provinces. It “chooses” to align itself with Germany for economic/political stability, but in theory it is a “Free State”, hence, you see the phrase “Freistaat Bayern” almost everywhere. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:
  • We visited through Munich, and learnt of the famous Hofbrau brand, relating to “Royal Brewery”, and how beer (Hofbrau and Lowenbrau) literally saved the economy of Bavaria during/after the plague and the great depression 
  • Munich‘s Marienplatz is VERY expensive…like Champs Elysees kind of expensive. Average rent for a small apartment is roughly 4,600 €!!
  • Lots of other tidbits about the political and social atmosphere in Bavaria and neighboring German states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Berlin sounds amazing. Must go there next time.
  • As a gross generalization, people in Germany are more receptive to communicate in English compared to the French!!
 Munich Run…
After 5 days of lazing around without exercise, I gave into the idea of going for a run and sightseeing. Munich is an awesome city and I got deliberately lost quite a few times.
Here’s a map of my run:

I ended up running close to 25 kms in total, so it was actually a 3 hour affair with lots of stops for pictures and looking up directions! It was my first “workout” after Zofingen, and really, the only workout till I got to India!

14th September 2013

Schloβ Neuschwanstein
Everybody knows Neuschwanstein, well, at least you know this:

Yes, that’s the Walt Disney Sleeping Beauty castle, a big marketing part of the Disney brand. This is actually based off of the Neuschwanstein castle in Schwangau region of southern Germany. There is a reason Mr. Disney was inspired by this place, it’s breathtakingly beautiful!

I made a few friends while in the Munich hostel (Viktor, a Ukraine native in Finland, and Courtney, a fellow Canadian from Newmarket!) and we visited Neuschwanstein together.

Schloβ Schwangau
Schwangau castle is a neighboring castle in the same region, it directly overlooks the lake in the above pics and is in the distinct yellow and black colours. I didn’t go inside and took a few pics outdoors of the lake and the surroundings.
This one pales in comparison to the Neuschwanstein castle, but it’s really nice on its own as well.

This region, in general, is amazing. I think the only place with natural beauty that’s impressed me more was Interlaken (Switzerland) back in 2003…but then, I haven’t seen much of the world at all!

Pretty little town at the base of the Schwangau region where we caught the bus to go up to the castles.

15th September 2013

Bavaria is home to one more important brand: Bavaria Motor Werks (BMW)!
It was my last day here and I wanted to drool at some concept cars and history of the brand, so I made the 8.5 km round trip trek through the Olympiastadt park and BMW Weld (BMW World).
Of course, everyone knows about the 1972 Munich Games and the events that happened there.

Olympiastadt Park
Unfortunately I didn’t get to see this park fully as I was running out of time, but it’s a very nice area to walk around and also family friendly  with aquariums/rides, etc.

BMW Welt + Museum
Welcome to BMW World, I am the Rolls Royce Phantom.

Aerodynamic drag!

BMW bakery..?

BMW Gift shop had this decent bike selling for twice its worth just because it had a "M" badge on it... 2600


This is a nice square. I stumbled by it accidentally while running at night, and really wanted to take a picture, so right before boarding the train back to Frankfurt, I quickly ran to this place to snap a few pics.

Walking “workouts”:
·        Total walking distance in 3 days: 40-45 kms
         Total time walking: ~12.0 hours
         Total running distance: 25.0 kms 
         Total running time: 2.0 hours 

On a side note, Garima did a small local race in New Delhi on the 15th, I would say it was a pretty impressive outcome, so wait for her to chime in!  

Keep pedaling.

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