Olympian

The weather forecast this morning left no doubt. It was going to be rainy and stormy. And that meant Legoland was a non-starter much to Charlotte's dismay. Elliot would also have liked to do Legoland but was probably very pleased to hear we were heading to the aircraft museum.
 
The Deutsches Museum in Munich is the largest science and technology museum in the world. Kate and J had both visited the museum in 1990 when it was all within the main building in the centre of Munich. Since then it has grown so large that many of the larger displays have had to be moved out - the road and rail transport displays were moved to the old exhibition center next to the Oktoberfest site also in central Munich and many of the aircraft exhibits to the oldest existing German airfield at Oberschleissheim in the north of Munich. Since 1995, there is also a fourth site at Bonn which concentrates on science and research post-1945.
 
So off we set for Oberschleissheim and the airfield set directly next to the large three baroque castle complex of the Bavarian royal family. The airfield was built in 1912 to house the Royal Bavarian Airforce which was to replace the Royal Bavarian Motorised and Airship Division. Over the years it has constantly changed from military (German and USA) to civil use and today not only holds the museum collection but is also the home of six flying clubs, a helicopter unit of German National Police and if local objections can be overcome, will also house a helicopter unit of the Bavarian State Police . Until the new Munich International Airport was opened in the early 90s, it was also the site of annual airshows, including Red Arrows – but now the airspace is too busy for such events.
 
As we entered the castle complex, there were masses of police vehicles, parking bans and kilometres of red and white plastic tape blocking off areas. It dawned on me it was the day of the Bavarian State Parliament’s annual evening summer reception for 3,000 “Promis” of politics, culture and most especially for representatives of worthy voluntary organisations in the State. (In the above video linkof the event which happened during one of the World Cup semis, several people including the Bavarian Home Office Minister reckoned on England winning the World Cup). It was all very relaxed though at this morning hour and we were able to park easily and enjoy our museum tour in peace and quiet. Being a Tuesday and not yet school holiday time in Bavaria, there were few visitors and we could browse at leisure.
 
So we walked through the various buildings, starting with the earliest days of mankind's attempts to fly right through to the modern Eurofighter. One interesting hall was the “restoration” department where one can watch new exhibits being restored before being put on display. Barry would have loved to have got involved, he simply loves technical machinery.
 
Poor Charlotte was somewhat “lost” at first, particularly with the sun burning down on the large glass buildings holding the collections. With time, she found a few exhibits to get interested in and I have to give her great credit for not getting grumpy.
 
Finally, we had done the rounds and went out to the shop and café to sit outside and enjoy the now very hot midday sunshine! Our attempts to convince Charlotte it was no doubt pouring down at Legoland were not very convincing. It had been an interesting trip and would be great in combination with the main museum in Munich centre which also has some aircraft and the transport museum. Given the free parking and €7 entrance fee (€15 for the entire family – two adults and unlimited own children), it was certainly value for money. For €19 you can have time unlimited adult entrance to all three sites. During the visit, I often thought about Mathew in the UK, son of Bliper Angelique, and another aeroplane fanatic - he would have been in seventh heaven.
 
We then headed into Munich to visit the 1972 Olympic Park site which at the moment is holding the annual summer “Tollwood” festival. When they were last over in December, we had visited the annual winter Tollwood festival at the Oktoberfest site but as building work gets underway in July for the Oktoberfest, the summer version is moved to the Olympic Park.
 
As my old diesel Jeep is not allowed inside the inner circle of Munich, we parked at the edge of the park next door to BMWs HQ. We could have gone to the BMW Museum just yards away or even the BMW World display of current production models of BMW, Mini and Rolls Royce cars as well as BMW motorbikes. Not even Barry, a BMW motorbike owner and fan felt like more indoor walking while outside the sun was shining.
 
We took a stroll through the park with all the still amazing glass roofs of the various Olympic stadia. The site is quite hilly but until 1945 was an airfield. Neville Chamberlain landed here in 1938 to sign the Munich Agreement with Hitler. After WWII it became the site to dump 10 million tons of Munich city bombing rubble. For the 1972 Olympic Games, there was a massive amount of earth moving to achieve the theme of “Olympic Games in the Green (nature/environment). It is the site for countless concerts and events of all sorts and using not only the stadia but also the lakes and parkland. Just a few weeks ago a major international skateboard event took place followed by a similar event for wakeboarders on the lakes.
 
We eventually got to the Tollwood site and we're doing our initial walk around before deciding what exotic food and drink we would try when we saw very dark clouds heading our way. Very quickly the clouds looked very menacing and we made a quick break for it, hurrying back towards the carpark. We almost made it but the last 500 metres or so were done in a huge downpour and the small amount of shelter offered by trees was not reassuring given the lightning! Perhaps we should have considered the omen at the Tollwood site – the group “Earth, Wind & Fire” were doing a sound check for the evening gig as we were there! Shame we couldn’t have looked around a bit more but as the entrance to the site is free it wasn’t annoying.
 
Into the Munich rush hour and the steaming roads from the rain which was now drying out with the blazing sun back! Eventually, we got home, ditched our bits and pieces, changed and went out again to the Italian “restaurant” in Sontheim, our parish’s main village. In 16 years of living here, we have never ever been even though it is right next door to the train station which Angie used almost daily to commute to Munich. We were “forced” there as the children’s favourite local pizzeria is closed Monday and Tuesday. I have to say that in retrospect, we were very pleased. The food turned out to be fantastic.
 
The restaurant - Luigi Di Sarno Pizzeria Bella Napoli -  is a typical 1960s characterless building, not the place you go for a romantic dinner. We were the only ones seated but lots of locals keep popping in to collect or order takeaways. The Italian owner, Luigi, was the only person and did the entire waiting and cooking. verything made to order and sadly the photos available on Google which include a short video of Luigi tossing the dough are not linkable.When the pizzas arrived they were packed with contents, especially Kate's vegetarian one. Two of us had pasta dishes which were just as good. At the end, Barry announced it was the best pizza he had ever had. I suspect we will be back.
 
Home, a quick dog walk as Angie was at her sports workout/sauna and Kate doing the preliminary search for all the bits and pieces scattered around after a week here. Tomorrow they head home.


Two extra photo collages of the museum and olympic park. AndKate, Elliot and myself fleeing towards the storm which was directly ahead of us. Even though I had told Kate she was seven times more likely to be hit by lightning in Bavaria than elsewhere in Germany, she still had time to start singing "The hills are alive"as she slipped down the steep grass in flip-flops.

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