With Oktoberfest in its last super-crowded days, I decided to see other parts of Munich. The popular Marienplatz is a central downtown area, lined with lots of shops and sights. The photo at left, below, is the “new” Town Hall, with the famous glockenspiel clock tower, where mechanical figures dance and whirl when the bells chime.
The equally famous and seemingly more popular Hofbrauhaus, at right, above, was swarmed with folks. The atmopshere inside was not unlike the Oktoberfest beer tents but, without the high ceiling and openness, it was infinitely louder inside and not as welcoming. But, I had to do my duty, so I had my necessary litre of Oktoberfest Marzen there. Tasty, yes, but not as fun as the tents.
The picture at the left shows a portion of a room off to the side of the main dining area where racks of padlocked mugs, belonging to Hofbrauhaus regulars, are stored. I wonder how many liters you have to down to earn this privilege?! Only about 1/3 of the total number of mugs is shown. There are also tables there that are designated for regulars, so you have to be mindful where you sit.
Sunday was a rainy day in Munich which made it perfect for going to BMW Welt, which means “BMW World”. To me, it was BMW Heaven. If you don't know it, I was the proud owner of a 1995 BMW 525i Sedan for a few years and miss it often. The area is home to BMW HQ and includes the BMW factory (sadly, no tours were on offer during my visit), the Welt (a sort of giant showroom), and the BMW Museum. The company also owns Mini Cooper and Rolls Royce, so they were represented in the cars on display in the Welt, too. This is also where those who elect to pick up their newly purchased BMW at the factory come to collect it (and get the VIP treatment) before driving off into the sunset.
The museum was filled with dozens of gorgeous BMW cars and motorcycles from throughout the company's nearly 100 year history. Race cars, vintage and new motorycles, beautiful coupes, convertibles, and sedans – all were on immaculate display. I have to say that my favorite was the Isetta (shown below) which BMW came to own when it bought an Italian automaker in 1955. It was the top-selling 1-cylinder car ever (yes, one cylinder). If you look closely, you'll see that the only “door” is the entire front of the car. Sadly, it's no longer made (because I know you want one).
I rode the U-Bahn train back to town and whiled away the rest of the afternoon, dodging the rain, at the Augustiner restaurant on the main drag near the Karlsplatz. I've had a great time here in Munich but look forward to my scenic train ride tomorrow over the Alps to one of Italy's best cities, Venice. See you there!