European Castle Tour - September 2006

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München Arrival

View Photos from September 12 (27 images)

Not too long after daylight, about 1:00 am Central Time, we were served croissants and yogurt for breakfast. Even with the long delay before takeoff, we had no trouble with our connecting flight in Zürich. We landed at about 10:00 am local time, which gave us a good two hours before the 12:00 Swiss Air flight that took us on to München. We boarded the 45-minute flight right on time, and touched down in München around 1:00 local time. After withdrawing some Euros from an ATM and grabbing a croissant (for Ginger) and some coffee (for Neil), we figured out how to purchase the right kind of train tickets to get us to the Hauptbahnhof in the Zentrum, or city center. From there it was an easy 5-minute walk to the Ibis Hotel. After checking in and showering, we went to the market down the street for some groceries (sandwich and snack stuff to keep in the hotel room), and planned how we would go about our first event of the stay in Munich: the guided tour of the BMW Plant.

It looked to be about a 3 km walk, so we decided not to spend money on a train or bus, and set out toward the plant, which turned out to be quite a bit farther than we expected. We left just after 5:00 and barely made it in time for the 6:00 tour. It was easy to find the huge plant itself, marked from several blocks away by the distinctive main building. But once we arrived at the plant it wasn't apparent where on the premises the tour group was supposed to meet. We got some sketchy directions from a couple of workers, and ended up going through the main building to a gate on the inside of the plant where a small group of people were congregating – just a couple minutes before 6:00.

Our tour guide led us up some stairs into a briefing room to show us a short film about the history of BMW, and then gave us each some equipment – receivers and earpieces so we could listen as she walked ahead with a microphone; lab coats (to protect our clothes); and safety glasses (just in case, for the assembly area where sparks flew from welding).

Our legs were doubly tired from the hike to the plant and the tour inside the plant, but it was probably best to walk back rather than figure out where and how to buy train tickets, and which one to get on to get us back to the hotel. So we decided to walk back, treating ourselves to a stop for gelato along the way. We got back to the hotel before 9:00 and crashed pretty much right away, worn out from the very little sleep and very long walks.