Wednesday 8th August
Rest in Munich
“In the morning Andi wrote down some things I should check out in the city. I decided to head to Englisher Gardens, the largest city park. The river that runs through it, flows with such force that under one bridge people are able to surf. Also housed in the park is a very large Beer Garden (second largest in the world, seating about 7000 people), which I pulled into for lunch.
In the city centre, I still felt overwhelmed by all the sights to be seen. So many significant old buildings in such a small area, just made my head spin. So I pulled into the famous outdoor shop called Globe Trotter. Its a pretty amazing place. Four stories packed with outdoor equipment. Exploring the store is an adventure in itself. I had been warned by many people along my route thus far that one could spend days in here. On the bottom floor is a swimming pool, where one can test kayaks and other water sport equipment. Lined along the stairs are thousands of mounted photos of people on their various adventures. A fully fledged ant farm and a rain shower room for testing out waterproof jackets are interesting, but by far my favourite section is the ‘library’. Stocked with a number of travel books/guides and maps of virtually every country. One can pick any of these, sit down at a table, pour oneself a cup a coffee and start planning their next adventure. That’s exactly what I did. You see, I am quite far ahead of schedule and will likely arrive in Budapest with a month still left on my visa. What to do? Well using the resources in Globe Trotter I came up with a number I options;
1. Explore more of eastern Europe, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania etc. the only problem with this is that it requires visas I don’t have, so most unlikely.
2. Fly up to Netherlands and cycle down through Belgium, Luxembourg and then to Paris to catch my flight home.
3. Cycle from Budapest looping back west through Croatia (not along the coast), Slovenia, over the Julian Alps and into Italy. Once in Italy, cycling via Venice, up and over the Apennines, through Florence, and eventually ending in Rome. I would then catch a flight from Rome to Paris from where I fly home. This option that I’ve dubbed ‘the mountain route’ is the most likely one, but I’d be keen to hear some opinions.
The beer eventually sunk in and the drowsiness that ensued prevented any further research. I headed back to the flat for a nap. When Anki and Andi got back we went for dinner at a Vietnamese place. Andi a typical Bavarian, is very proud of Bavaria, wearing the blue and white checks on his sleeve. There is so much tradition and culture upheld here in southern Germany. Anki is very open minded, having studied in Vienna, she told me a bit about what’s in store for me further down the road (or in my case – river).”
Thursday 9th August
Rest in Munich
“Today I decided to tackle the vast history of the city. I signed up for ‘Mikes Bike Tours’ a four hour cycling tour of the city. It was quite fun. The significance of each building was adequately explained, without being boring. Our guide, had plenty of jokes to share at each location to keep things interesting. The tour included an hour at the beer garden, the very same one I had been at yesterday.
After the tour I went back to globe trotter to do more map gazing.”
Friday 10th August
Rest Day in Munich
“Anki and Andi were heading off to a wedding in the Alps. I had made plans to stay in Munich for two more days, with two different hosts. I feel restless staying in one place for so many days and have a longing to hit the road again.
To kill time I decided to check out the Olympic park. The hills there are made from the rubble from world war two (so I am told) and over look a magnificent stadium. It’s not often you get to spend a whole day just relaxing reading in a park, so I relished the opportunity and settled down on a bench to catch up on some reading.
I had arranged to stay with Kerstin and Bernd, a couple living on the outskirts of Munich. They had obviously forgotten that I was staying with them that evening as I arrived at their address, to find the house empty. They returned home to find me waiting outside. They were very apologetic for forgetting, but I explained that it was not a problem at all and that I had not been waiting long.
They are settled now with a family but in the past have cycled for a year and a half on the pan-american route, which runs along the pacific coast, from Vancouver to the tip of Argentina. I learnt a lot from their many stories and experiences. They are open minded and uncomplicated people, passionate about a kindergarten that they helped start and have been involved in running over the past few years. Bernd has a unique perspective on life and reminds me of Atticus Finch from ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ (a book I finished in the park today).”
Saturday 11th August
Rest in Munich
“I headed back into Munich, stopping for a beer and a giant pretzel at the same beer garden I had visited twice before, located in the English Gardens park.
I was meeting Julian (who I would be staying with tonight) at 4.30pm. So I had some time to kill. I spent it finding a new battery for my odometer (as it was playing up again) and re-visiting some of the interesting sites I had seen on Mike’s Bike Tour.
I met up with Julian and his friend Chris and we headed out to enjoy the evening sun, once again in the Englisher Garden. This time we swam (more like drifted down) in the icy cold, fast flowing river.
After drying off we stopped at the grocery store and bought a picnic dinner, which we took with us to the top of Olympic Hill. The sun was just setting as we arrived. The Olympic park was incredibly festive, all the buildings were magnificently lit up and people were buzzing about everywhere. The stadium was full with people watching a Red Bull motorcycling event. From our position we could see partially into the stadium and occasionally the motorbike riders flying through the air.
Julian and Chris decided to show me a bit of Munich’s nightlife. We took the underground tube into the centre of town where we visited a couple bars. Tickets are not often checked on public transport and so, many people don’t buy tickets. If caught you get fined 40€. I decided not to take the risk and did the honest thing by buying a ticket.
While in Munich I have moved around using my bicycle. It is so convenient to have a bike with you and allows you to see a greater part of the city. In my opinion it’s the best way (and cheapest) to explore a city.”
Distance covered while in Munich: 72km
Time on the saddle: 5 hours 50 minutes