A day in Munich (part 1)

Our next adventure takes us to Munich. I had to fly to Japan, and in my typical attack of hard, logical reasoning, instead of routing over the Pacific for a short 15-hour flight, I routed over Europe. This allowed me to land in Munich early in the morning, then take the late night flight on to Tokyo; and to, you know, “diversify” my experience, I did the exact same thing on the return, except via Frankfurt. So it was all good fun.

The flight started with an uneventful positioning flight to Toronto. Of course, I got my upgrade, having status (and it being Air Canada), but this wasn’t the flight that I was concerned about – the next flight is what worried me the most, considering that was the ultra long haul one. Oddly (or maybe not so oddly, considering that’s just how AC does business), out of 9 seats on this Embraer, 7 were taken up by Air Canada captains. Probably to account for that deadweight, they loaded no food onto the flight, either, so we had to go hungry. Great!

So we got to Toronto. Checking into my Lufthansa flight, I tried to sweet talk the checkin girl into upgrading me to business; but with utmost German efficiency (but, a comment on my resemblance to… you know who, which sadly, got me nothing this time), she printed my exit row economy seat. I marched off to the lounge and to boarding.

The gate was a mess as usual. I got to the agent and scanned my boarding pass. It beeped in a funny way. “Seat reassignment”, it told me. This is normally cause for panic because it tends to mean that there’s an old lady somewhere who took over my exit row seat, and I am now squished in a middle seat between two bodybuilders (or pie eating champions for their respective counties). The agent told me she needs to reprint my boarding pass. Then, this came out:

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Oh baby!

As a footnote – and I realise just how ostentatious this is going to sound – but the one thing you most value, oddly enough, is the thing you no longer have, but that you get back. That, in and of itself, hardly sounds ostentatious – if anything, it probably sounds wise, serene and worthy of a kung fu master holed up in the mountains of Wuhan. Until you apply it to premium class of travel (like in cases where your company policy stops allowing premium travel for some reason). Then you just sound like a total dick. But you know. Nobody wants to read philosophy on the Internet… everyone’s here for a quick dose of amusement at someone’s invented plight. So when I got that boarding pass… I knew things were going to be all. right.

Boarding the plane, I also realised that as an added bonus, this was the brand-new business class that Lufthansa spent like two years retrofitting to all its A333s out of MUC.

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Huge LCDs!

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The piano-like seat control panel is amazing. I have no idea what most of the buttons do, and I can’t be bothered to look for the differences, but it has the “go flat” button and that’s all I really need.

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The food was rather good. I don’t want to wax lyrical about it, considering that at some level, it’s still airplane food, but considering I am writing this post somewhere above Anchorage in a United GlobalFirst “first class” seat where, for dinner, I could not tell the difference between the chicken and the beef (having tried both, and having found them both to have exactly the same rubbery taste), it felt appropriate to at least give credit where one is due.

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Smoked salmon appetiser.

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Schnitzel with mashed potatoes (I’m on a German flight, after all!)

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Cheese plate with pretzel bread.

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Landing in Munich, I had a realisation. The landing path is actually parallel to the highway, and it occurred to me that one way to tell that you’re landing in Germany is that when you touch down on the runway and look at the highway…. you suddenly realise that cars are moving faster than you.

Well, speaking of cars, it was time to go rent something. Now obviously, when I’m in Germany, I only deal with my favourite car firm…

Sixt Rocket

…. so it was time to check out what they had for me. The Diamond lot was full of serene, bland German premium vehicles.

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I don’t like serene premium vehicles. I like fast, unreasonable cars. So I chatted with the manager, and seeing as I am a Diamond member, which is a fairly rare status for Sixt, and seeing as I was only renting for the day (my onwards flight was at 8pm), he offered me… a Jaguar F-Type convertible. Woohoo!

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Really not much to say there. The car is absolutely fabulous, and of course, on German autobahns with no speed limits…… it’s a blast. Sadly, because this was the “low end” version, it was speed-limited to 260 km/h… so I just kept it there most of the time.

I went to Munich proper to explore a bit.

Came across a really fancy mop.

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Main square of Munich.

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Lots of ugly Minis parked every which way…

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… and since it’s Europe, TONS of bicycles.

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The long, narrow streets of Europe. I really like these. This guy seemed somewhat unhappy with my picture taking, though. Or maybe he just looked generally unhappy.

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That’s Hofbrauhaus in the distance. Arguably Munich’s most famous brewery (and one of the city’s oldest, dating back to 1589!), and even one where Hitler used to conduct meetings to plot his nefarious deeds, it seems (though you’ll be hard-pressed to find ANYTHING about that in their extensive historical wall signs).

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And here it is – the brewery where EVERY TOURIST must go (but honestly, the HB white is actually really, really good – and I like their sausages).

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A nice Huracan was parked nearby.

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As well as a Panamera with pretty cool vanity plates.

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So that was the early morning part of my visit to Munich. After this, I decided to go somewhere that was somewhat more somber, especially considering the history of it, but I felt that since I was in the general neighbourhood, it was important to not only appreciate the beer houses and the Jaguars, but the dark past that festers just beyond our comfort zone. More on that later, though.