Beamers and Boards in Munich!
August 10, 2014
We started our second day in Munich by jumping on the U-Bahn (subway). We were on our way to the BMW Complex located north of Munich. The complex consisted of the corporate headquarters, the BMW Museum, BMW Welt(World) and the BMW Munich Plant.
When we exited the subway station, we were in front of a cloud-shaped glass and steel building.The spectacular modern structure was the BMW Welt. We entered the impressive high tech building and were immediately entertained by a stuntman zipping around on a motorcycle. The spacious building displayed all of the newest BMW motorcycles and cars.
On our walk through the building, we marveled at new Mini Coopers, Rolls Royce and electric cars. We got a chance to sit in some of the models and dream. I personally enjoyed sitting on the decked out, high tech motorbikes. Along with exhibiting the latest and greatest BMW had to offer, the Welt served as a delivery area. Up to 160 daily customers received their brand new BMWs there.
Our next stop was the BMW Museum, which charted the history of the car company. Founded in 1916, BMW built airplane engines. In 1923, they started manufacturing motorbikes and eventually in 1928, they moved forward with the production of cars. Shortly after WW II, the Allied Forces dismantled BMW’s factories and the company was only allowed to manufacture household utensils and bicycles. In 1950, BMW returned to the production of cars.
For the next hour we strolled by exhibits of airplane engines, cars and motorcycles from 1916 to the present. It was interesting to see the first BMW that looked like a delivery truck, evolve over the years into a high tech, sleek glossy car. While we were there, the museum was having a Rolls Royce exhibit, which displayed antique and modern models. After walking through years of history, we decided to jump on the U-Bahn and head to the English Garden.
The English Garden is a 900-acre public park in the center of Munich. It is one of the world’s largest urban parks and stretches from the city center to the northeastern city limits. The park, created in 1789 is named for the English style of landscape gardening. Along with a beautiful lake, the park main attractions include two beer gardens, a Chinese Pagoda, a Japanese teahouse and a Greek-style temple.
After lunch, we entered the sprawling park filled with acres of open space, shaded woodlands, streams, lakes and footpaths that followed along the river or through the countryside. It was a beautiful, tranquil place to spend the afternoon. The park was full of people cycling, jogging, swimming, paddle boating on the lake, sunbathing, and enjoying horse drawn carriage rides. On our walk, we came upon the Chinesischer Turm beer garden. We were surprised to see a pagoda-style Chinese tower there. The all-wooden structure was five stories tall and outfitted with a German oompah band playing foot stomping music. We walked around the beer garden but didn’t imbibe or chow down because we were on a mission to find some river surfers.
There aren’t many places in the world where one can find World-Class river surfing, except right in the middle of the English Garden. Munich was the birthplace of river surfing and has been the center of surfboard riding on stationary waves since the early-1970s. The wave, which reaches a height of two meters, was created by concrete slabs that were placed on the riverbed in the 1970s to weaken the rivers flow. We watched barefooted surfers in wetsuits line up along the bank taking turns entering the water with their boards. Surfs up river shredders! Who needs a gigantic ocean wave to Hang Ten?