Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From Munich with Love...but heading to Russia

I suppose I can't really claim that arriving in Munich in an Audi, going to the Munich zoo by myself, and then making some new friends in a pub in central Munich has anything to do with a James Bond movie but I do like Munich. I can only imagine what the city looks like in the summer. Such a great mix of the (very) old and the new buildings, and tree lined streets and rivers. I should back up. I drove to Munich to drop off Kikk's US Ski team Audi. I had a full day until I was due at a friends place in the Bavarian Forest. I thought I would shop...turns out everything is closed on Sunday in Munich. So I took the advice from a British family I met at the airport hotel I was staying at and bought a single day pass for public transport in Munich and took the bus-train-subway to the zoo. I have to say that the transport was really easy, even for a non-German speaking tourist like myself and the zoo visit was worth every penny. Pics to follow. The last zoo I went to was San Diego over ten years ago and I can say it was much different going to a zoo in the winter. Highlights for sure, as always were the wolves and the big cats, and the monkeys were monkeys and shockingly human at times. After my adventure to the zoo I needed to eat and took the subway back to Marien platz (Munich centre) to find somewhere to eat dinner. I found a great place, sat at the bar, had a great meal and a few Weisbier and conversation with a couple of Brits and Scots. The best part was that with my single day ticket all I had to do was walk back to the subway and then get on a train to the airport and catch a shuttle bus to the hotel. No taxi, no driving, no stress. Monday morning I woke early to get to the airport and pick up my rental car (VW Polo...bit of a letdown after the Audi)as I had a 9 am breakfast waiting for me at the parents of my friend Thomas Freimuth in the Bavarian forest. It is about a 150 km drive from the airport to the northeast, right against the Czech border. Another area I have to see in the summer. Heavy evergreen forests with telephone pole straight tree trunks that are a 100ft tall. The surrounding valleys are dotted with sleepy farming communities. I haven't been in the area since early 2010 when I first came to visit. I met Thomas the year before at the Arctic Circle race in Greenland. Great to get back for a visit, with him and his parents. Last night, despite a language barrier between his parents and I, the four of us ate chocolate, drank wine and played board games. Thankfully the language of laughter and good times is universal! Thomas and I got out for two skis in the 30 hours I was there. Looking forward to the next visit. A couple more pics from France and my trip to the zoo.
Of course the best weather (everyday was nothing to complain about) is always on the day you pack up to leave!
Just a bit of snow on the roofs on the main drag.
Le Very...stands for Le Very much snow.
Bye Les Saisies
One of the beautiful rivers in the city (or maybe the same one). Hundreds of swans. It was on my walk from the subway to the zoo.
So I learned that when couples get engaged or married it is somewhat common to put a lock on a bridge (often engraved with names and a date) and then throw the key into the river. Pretty cool.
Locks everywhere.
This Rhino was absolutely massive, and I think quite old.
I made a friend!
So good.
Right from a movie. Bustling old city centre square with live music.
The subway exit at the marien platz stop comes out from under this building.
The view at night.

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