David’s Not-so-grand European Tour: Part II

The day that I spent in Munich is more of a by-product of flight schedules, as opposed to a planned stop. In order to get a lower-priced ticket, I had to take the 7:00am flight from MUC to LHR. Since I cannot make it to Munich from Innsbruck at 5:00am, I will have to stay a night in Munich (well, maybe I can, but either way I will have to stay in Austria/Germany for another day, so why not go to another place). I am glad that I did, and I will surely visiting Munich again if I get the chance.

I arrived at the Munich Hauptbahnhof at around 12:30 and proceeded to walk to the hotel (a 10-minute walk, contrary to the advertisements). The hotel that I found was probably the cheapest hotel near the main station, stopping short of staying at a hostel. Predictably, the room was small, the furniture is simple (with a “Hong Kong-style” single bed) and of course there’s no view (it does have a balcony though). However, it was clean (my primary requirement), therefore it was perfectly suitable for a night’s stay.

The elevator of the hotel was one of those old manual-door style elevators. It reminded me of the elevator at the primary school that I went to in Hong Kong (except that the one at my old school features a manual inner door). Later, I was told that a lot of European buildings still uses these older elevators. When I was moving into my room, there was no light in the hallway. It turns out that I needed to press on the light switch in the hallway (obviously I’m not a curious person) and the light would turn off after certain period of time. This would save energy I guess?

I didn’t really have much of a plan as to where to go in Munich. I thought about going to the BMW Museum, but it is kind of far from the main station/city center area, and I am not sure if their new museum is ready yet. So, I just bought a all-zone day pass (I can still use it to go to the airport the next day morning) and trot down to Marienplatz, the city center area.

One thing that I liked about the S-Bahn is that some of the more busy stations (e.g. Marienplatz, Hauptbahnhof) have platforms to both sides of the train. Passengers on the train are asked exit on one side, and people will enter on another. Hong Kong’s MTR should really consider doing that.

The general area of Marienplatz is a mix of heritage buildings and commerical district. The central square is surrounded by the old and new town halls, as well as various shops and department stores housed in three of four storied buildings. It is a good example of how traditional-style architecture can work in a modern setting. A lot of people automatically equates old with dispair and think that old buildings are useless relics of the past and they should be demolished to make way for new buildings, for the sake of “progress.” Of course old buildings would fall into disrepair if people don’t cherish it and give it life.

For some stretches in the afternoon, I basically just walked along the streets, not really having somewhere in mind. I passed by the Viktualienmarkt Food Market, as well as Promenadenplatz. It was funny that no matter where I walked to, I’d end up back in the central square of Marienplatz. Later in the afternoon, I went to the Deutsches Museum, but it was too late to look at the exhibits in detail, as well as walking around the Royal Residence in Odeonsplatz.

As lunch, I had a currywurst from Im Restaurant. It was good (it’s kind of obvious that I’m not a good food critic). In fact, I love it so much that I went back there for another one, and a hamburger + potato salad for dinner (and it’s cheaper than sitting down in a real restaurant).

In early evening, I went to Königsplatz (basically just for the sake of it), the Staatliche Antikensammlung (State Collection of Antiques) and the Glyptothek (Greek Museum) did give a mysterious feel at night.

I rested early that day, since I will have to get up at 4:00am to catch the flight to London.

The one-day (or rather, one-afternoon) trip in Munich is a general overview of the central part of the city. It would take days to actually visit all the museums and royal palaces. Munich will certainly be on my list to city to visit when I am going to visit Central Europe again.

Munich in pictures: http://www.davidmak.net/album/v/munich/munich2007/

Next stop: London

David’s Not-so-grand European Tour: Part I

Just to clarify, this is not turning into a travel-only blog. :p

Last week or so, I went to Innsbruck, Austria to attend a conference, and then went to London for sightseeing and a night in Munich in between.

Flew from Vancouver to London Heathrow, and then onto Munich. Although the YVR to LHR flight was delayed, the LHR to MUC flight was delayed as well (delays seem to be commonplace at Heathrow), so I managed to make the connections. Hopped onto the S-Bahn at the airport and went to the Hauptbahnhof (main station). Just missed a train to Innsbruck, so had to wait an hour. The train ride down to Innsbruck took another two hours, making the total length of the journey 20 hours.

I arrived in the Innsbruck Main Station at around 11:00pm. It’s good that the hotel that I stayed in is close to the station (it has an underground pathway connecting directly to the platforms), so that I didn’t need to haul the luggage around and trying to find the hotel in the middle of the night.

The conference that I attended was the International Association of Science and Technology for Development on Software Engineering (long name, I know). It is held yearly in Innsbruck, Austria. I presented my paper on the first day. The presentation went all right, if not 100% smooth (I was too tired from the time difference to practice properly). There were a couple of questions, but nothing malicious, so it’s all good from that perspective.

I attended most of the sessions (afterall, that was why I was paid to go there…) as well as the UML 2.0 tutorial, which I found pretty informative. It is interesting to talk to people in other fields as well. I do find that project management is really a minority in the software engineering community, and most software engineering research are related to tools and methodologies. The conference has a fairly friendly atmosphere (from what I can see anyway), probably because of the location of the conference I guess.

I spent a day touring the city by myself. Innsbruck itself is quite a pleasant place. Think Banff with more history. I spent a day walking around the town, notably the Old Town area and along the Inn River, and of course I took some pictures.

The weather there is not dissimilar to Vancouver’s, it was around 6C to 8C during the day and almost always had the chance of rain. The wind is kind of chilling though, and I had to buy a cap on the first day that I was there (I usually don’t like wearing extra things like gloves and caps, in fear of losing them).

Tyrolean food was so-so for me. I feel that the pasta is a little too “cheesy” (as in having too much cheese) to my liking. But I guess not feeling well in the stomach in those days did not help matters.

So, here are the pictures from Innsbruck:


I have uploaded the few pictures that I had from Taiwan and Hong Kong in last December and January as well. They can be found in their own sections in the gallery.

Next stop: Munich