I know this is a long time in coming since I haven’t been to Bangkok in over a month, but since I had a lot of not so pleasant things to say about my experience there, I wanted to mention some positives about the city. In particular the public transport systems.
The three systems of public transport right in the heart of the city can pretty much get you anywhere you want to go cheaply, safely, cleanly and in style. The Airport Rail goes from the Airport (imagine that!) directly downtown. The over-ground rail and underground systems take you practically anywhere else you’d want to go within the city.
It took me quite a while to figure out how exactly to go where I needed utilizing these three systems and also a while to figure out the purchase of tickets for the underground rail (I literally stood there staring at maps and watching locals purchase before making my own) but once you get the hang of it, I wouldn’t use any other mode of transport.
And unlike Germany where it’s basically an honor system as to whether you buy a ticket for the train or not, since tickets on public transport trains are rarely checked, nothing gets past the systems in Bangkok. One time I purchased a ticket for the underground (my first try) and got onto the train, but upon exiting my ticket wouldn’t open the gate for me to leave. I went to the help desk, they took my card and scanned it and found out I hadn’t purchased the correct ticket. So I simply paid the difference, they updated my card and out I went.
These three modern and clean systems were a real breath of fresh air compared to where I had been and I finally saw Bangkok as it had been described by those who love it: modern and sophisticated. Again, now that I know about them, I won’t be using a taxi or tuk-tuk again!
Munich is absolutely lovely!!! I was very shocked on how green the city is!! Seriously they have so many parks in the heart of the city!! I figured it would be much like every other city: drowning in nothing but buildings with a token park here and there. But not so with Munich! It is individual, full of history, character and very friendly and welcoming people! There’s the synopsis, now here are the details;)
Before going to Munich, on a whim and on a promise, I shot off an email to Nikki whom I met and traveled with through the San Blas Islands in Panama. In fact, she was the clever woman who coined “modern day pirates” to describe our sailboat crew:)
I say on a whim because though we had exchanged a few emails, we really hadn’t kept in touch a whole lot (I don’t Facebook) and since it had been so long since I’d emailed her, I wasn’t sure first whether she even had the same email, and second whether she would respond. I had made her a promise long ago when we parted in Colombia however that if I ever made it to Munich, I would look her up! So, about a week or so before going to Munich I wrote her an email to let her know I would be in town for the day.
I was humbled to hear back from her and even more tickled that she too had the day off and was able to meet me!! The good in people never ceases to amaze me and it’s a blessing to know people who, even after years of no contact, extend a hand of friendship!!
I made it to Munich early in the morning and after calling Nikki agreed to meet her at a coffee shop near the Odeonsplatz underground station. As I made my way out from the underground I could hear the joyous music of Oktoberfest celebrations and once out on the street was greeted by a lovely parade!! I made my way along the road trying to get somewhere to take some pictures when a very nice group of people offered me a stool to stand on so I could get above the crowd:) Thankfully one of them spoke a little broken English and I asked where the coffee shop was (all I could see was Starbucks and we weren’t meeting there!!). Once directed and all the pictures were taken, I headed to meet Nikki.
Oktoberfest Parade on Odeonsplatz
Oktoberfest Parade on Odeonsplatz_2
Oktoberfest Parade on Odeonsplatz_3
Oktoberfest Parade on Odeonsplatz_4
Oktoberfest Parade on Odeonsplatz_5
Oktoberfest Parade on Odeonsplatz_6
Oktoberfest Parade on Odeonsplatz_7
Seriously it was as if no time at all had ever passed between us! She looked just the same as she did before: fabulous! And we had a great time catching up in each other’s lives and reminiscing on the good times we had during the San Blas trip:) We hung out for a little catching up, then she proceeded to give me the VIP walking tour of Munich!!
First stop was just nearby, a place called Feldherrnhalle, which is where Hitler began the plotting of his Nazi regime before setting up in Berlin. What is amazing is that as he began to take on more popularity and power, it was mandatory that people walking in front of this building had to salute to the soldiers standing in front to show that they were with Hitler. If you walked in front without saluting you would get in serious trouble!! So, for those who opposed Hitler, they would bypass walking in front of the Feldherrnhalle by walking down the street just behind called Viscardigasse. Down this street today you will find a golden path laid out in bronze bricks symbolizing the path of freedom. This path was walked by all who opposed Hitler. It was their way of rebelling Hitler and what he stood for.
Bronze Freedom Path
Across from this building is the Residence of Munich (Residenz Munchen) where the Royal Family lives and the lions statues guarding the entrance are rubbed by passersby for good luck!
Good Luck Rub
Inside the Residence
Exterior of Residence
The Residence of Munich leads onto the Hofgarten where there is a lovely little building topped off with a little monument. Here they have many musicians who come to practice their skills and even monthly they put on a formal waltz dance event!!
From there we headed past the Art Museum and headed to probably the most interesting or at least shocking part of Munich… Surfers!!! Yes, I typed correctly: surfers! Apparently some very clever surfers wanted a way to continue to practice their skills and keep in shape year round without “chasing the waves” so they made their own!! In the Eisbach river, just at the start of it where it flows under a bridge, several stones were dropped to the river bottom and eventually enough were planted in to create a wave!! And due to the natural fast current through the river, the wave is large enough to basically simulate an ocean wave! So darn clever!!!
Surfing in Munich!!!!
Surfing in Munich!!!!_2
Surfing in Munich!!!!_3
This little surf spot is in a way the beginning of the English Garden (Englischen Garten). The English Garden is the largest garden in Munich and it is even LARGER than Central Park in New York City!!
We made our way past the Japanese Teahouse (Japanisches Teehaus Kanshoan)
Japanisches Teehaus Kanshoan
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Japanisches Teehaus Kanshoan_3
to an area where if you choose you could sit out nude
finally to the Monopteros. This monument was once overrun by drug addicts but thanks to an increased presence of cops wandering the streets, the momument was abandoned by the addicts and spruced up for locals and tourists to enjoy:)
Monopteros in the English Garden
Center of Monopteros
Ceiling of Monopteros
Munich Skyline from Monopteros
Quick pose in Munich
From the Monopteros it was on to the Chinese Temple (Chinesischer Turm) where a little beer garden was conveniently located, so of course we had to stop for a BEER!!!!! It was here during a bit of a passing thunderstorm where I learned the history of beer gardens… Long ago when there weren’t any refrigerators, companies cleverly decided to put kegs of produced beer under trees that provided lots of shade (hence natural refrigeration). So much beer was being made that companies would invite people out to these “gardens “with kegs of beer under each tree to drink the beer while it was fresh and cold! All they asked was people paid for the beer, but otherwise you could bring your own food, etc. So these beer gardens began to gain popularity as almost a social or fun day in the park so to speak with cheap, delicious beer, your own picnic and tons of other people to socialize with:)
After a few pints we walked our way to the Siegestor, a triumphal arch that has a statue of Bavaria on top leading 4 lions! It was originally dedicated to the glory of the Bavarian army but today it is a monument and reminder for peace. Absolutely love it!!
On we went past the University to perhaps my favorite building of all I had seen that day: St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche)!! Just absolutely stunning in my opinion and so playful!! Notice the dragon climbing up the church and the timekeeper…
Timekeeper on Church
In the Church Square
Dragon Climbing Church
I could have spent hours looking at the church just discovering new things about it but alas we were getting a bit hungry, so we headed to a great restaurant, had some delicious local food then headed to Nikki’s where she graciously allowed me to crash for the night:) However, NOT before helping her to fix her anklet!! We had both purchased one in the San Blas Islands from the Kuna Indigenous tribe but sadly hers had fallen off. She kept the beads and the strand however so I helped to affix it back on:) Good times!!!