I was shocked and chagrined that free beer and wine are served on all Air Berlin domestic flights. However, equally vexing is that beer and wine must be purchased on their international flights. Interesting. After less than an all too brief 48 hours in Munich, I flew to St. Petersburg via Berlin last week arriving at the seemingly inconvenient time of 1:45 am. That was actually preferable to last year’s arrival in St. Petersburg on a Sunday in July at 4:30 pm when we were prevented from deplaning due to an overly crowded immigration hall. Once we landed, getting off the plane and through immigration last year took over 2 hours. I didn’t plan on flying through the antiquated and wholly inadequate St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport ever again but with the 1:45 am arrival time I figured last year’s fiasco could not possibly be repeated. I was right. The airport was operating smoothly yet almost entirely deserted save for the 24 hour coffee shop slinging massive 95p. (just less than $3) americanos which kept me going through the live internet broadcast (free WiFi in the airport) of game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics’ last victory and in
all likelihood the end of the Big 3 although I expect KG (free agent) and CPP (under contract for 3 more years but has talked of retirement) to be back. Ray is probably gone but offseason surgery may preclude another team from breaking the bank increasing the odds that he could be back in Boston.
I'm now in Listvyanka which is a small town on Lake Baikal in the middle of Siberia just downriver from Irkutsk. I came here today from Arshan (also in Siberia but closer to Mongolia) where it was screaming hot which precluded any sauna or spa visit for which the town is famous. Accommodation and Food
I stayed 2 nights at 4You Hostel very close to the central Munich train station (Hbf). A bed in a 12 bed dorm booked online way in advance was 19€ but I was thankfully upgraded to a six bed dorm. The place is huge and the staff is amazingly friendly considering the many guests’ ceaseless barrage of questions. A nice breakfast buffet and WiFi are included and laundry can be cheaply done on your own in the hostel’s machines. The purportedly sketchy neighborhood around the train station
(actually quite tame by U.S. standards) is full of cheap places to eat of every imaginable international variety. I liked Noppakao Thai-Imbiss at Dachauer-Straβe 21 where a great bowl of coconut milk-based noodle soup went for ~6€. It must have been good because it was full of Thais and just like being in Thailand except for the 10-fold price of the noodles and lack of oppressive humidity, beer bars, or lady boys although one can never be too sure of the latter. There was an unremarkable Indian restaurant on Seidlstraβe not far from the hostel. Transportation
Getting to the airport from the Hbf by train is easy but not cheap at 10€ and takes about 45 minutes after which requires an annoying long walk through a shopping mall to the actual terminal. Trains run all day and night with diminished frequency (1/hour) starting late in the evening. Metro stations are all over the city but I walked everywhere during my short stay. Free Walking Tour
Don’t miss it and try to go with one of the local guides from either Munich proper or Bavaria. Better to meet ~11:00 am at the starting point at Marienplatz which will actually
save some time. It is a 3 hour tour from there finishing at Viktualienmarkt, site of the city’s famous beer garden. Unfortunately way too cold for a beer at the end of the tour. Standard guide tip seemed to be 3€. BMW Welt
I ended up walking to the BMW Museum even though it was Monday and closed. It was a vacation period for many employees and the factory tours were not being offered so I checked out BMW World across the street. I’m not sure what the big deal is about this place since it seemed to be nothing more than a showroom where Russian oligarchs could pick up their purchased cars driven straight from the assembly line. The Olympic Park is very close and I found it vastly more interesting than BMW World.
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