Deutsches Museum, Munich


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November 28th 2013
Published: December 1st 2013
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This morning we packed out bags and arranged to store them in the office at Pension am Jakobsplatz until early afternoon. We rugged up and headed out into the cold again, walking towards the River Isar and the Deutsches Museum that is located on an island in the middle of the river.

The Deutsches Museum is made up of 50 exhibition areas showcasing the history of science and technology. I wanted to see the Enigma Machine so we asked where we would find it so that we could have a look at it first and then browse as many other exhibitions as time allowed. We took the lift to the third floor (of six) and started in the Kartography section where they had globes ranging from the Middle Ages to the present. It was interesting to see the earliest globe which didn't even include America and compare it with one that showed the Earth's continents and oceans in relief. There's not much of the Earth that has not been mapped now.

After working our way through surveying we ventured into the Cryptology section where we saw the Enigma Machine. So small and yet such a critical device used to send encrypted messages during WWII. I have to confess that I thought that coded messages were a relatively recent invention, but code dates back almost as far as the written language itself! It has just become more and more complex as time has gone by.

The balance of the third floor consisted of early mathematical instruments, telecommunications and computers. I'm no mathematician, but even I could appreciate the cleverness and artistry of some of the early devices that were crafted to facilitate calculations.

With time limited we worked our way down from the third floor completely missing the astronomical displays on the fourth to sixth floors. On the second floor we wandered through the glass and ceramic displays then spent a bit of time exploring the photo and film section of the museum before descending to the first floor to look at the energy technology and aeronautics areas. On the ground floor we saw shipping and marine navigation displays and a second aeronautical area. With a train to catch at 2.16pm we had to leave the museum with vast amounts of its collection unexplored!!

In light snow we walked back towards the centre of Munich via Isator, another one of the cities old gates. We went to the Christmas market near Pension am Jakobsplatz for some more street food for our lunch. Because there are sausages EVERYWHERE we had sausages in rolls for lunch again today. Even though I never eat sausages at home there is something comforting about a hot sausage in a bread role when it is zero degrees! At the kiosk where we bought these sausages they had huge ketchup and mustard dispensers hanging from the eaves. These giant condiment dispensers have a teat at the bottom that you squeeze to add your ketchup or mustard to your sausage. Just like milking a cow!! We ate our lunch in the shelter of a small roofed hut with a brazier in the centre while it snowed all around us. Magic!

After our lunch we collected our bags from Pension am Jakobsplatz and dragged them back to Marienplatz Station. We bought our short trip tickets without any trouble, but then had to work out the right platform and direction for a train to take us to Munich Hbf where we would catch our train to Dresden. We only went down one wrong escalator and had to carry our bags back upstairs before we found the right platform.

As Bernie had booked first class tickets for our trip to Dresden we were entitled to wait in a lounge area. This was much warmer than waiting around down where all the platforms are! Even better, we were able to enjoy a complimentary beer and hot chocolate while we waited. Very civilised!!About 15 minutes before our departure we ventured down to the platform and climbed aboard the Hamburg train. Unfortunately the trains don't run directly to Dresden, we had to change at Nurenberg. With the expected level of German efficiency, we left Munich right on time at 2.16pm, BUT we were a couple of minutes late arriving in Nurenberg. That meant that our 18 minute changeover time was reduced. Still we managed to change platforms and board the Dresden train without any trouble. Or so we thought ...

When the conductor came around he was trying to tell us something in German which we couldn't understand, but seemed to be along the line that we were in the wrong seats. He didn't speak English so gave up on us and wandered off. Fortunately the girl seated across the aisle provided a translation. We weren't just in the wrong seats we were in the wrong part of the train - the part not going to Dresden!!! At the next station the conductor came back and escorted us to the front part of the train - the part actually going to Dresden. Phew, that could have ended badly!! We didn't find out where the back part of the train was going to, but wherever it was it's not where we had a bed booked for the night.

After six hours on the train we arrived at Dresden Hbf. We found the taxi rank easily and were taken to the ApartHotel where we will spend the next two nights. We couldn't believe that our accommodation was right next door to another construction site. When we checked in at Pension am Jakobsplatz it was to the accompaniment of jackhammers hard at work on the site next door. Fortunately we didn't hear them again for the duration of our stay in Munich. Next door to the ApartHotel they are in the midst of an archaeological dig pending the reconstruction of the site to it's pre-war appearance. It did not bode well that we found earplugs by the bed when we got to our room. Once again though, we were undisturbed by the works for the duration of our stay.

With the evening getting away from us we headed out to find something to eat. The first restaurant we came to was a Mexican Steakhouse so we decided that sounded OK and went in for dinner. We both had the fillet steak with chips and salad. Not traditional Saxon fare, but very good indeed.

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1st December 2013

Wrong destinations
20+ years ago when we travelled Europe by train for 2 months, the carriages had boards on the outside near each door saying where that carriage was going. Have a look - they might still do that. We had a number of close calls, particularly on overnight trains, before we worked that out! Often we would be totally unaware that our train had been split up mid-journey until we alighted and discovered that we were now at the back of the train instead of the middle. Sounds like you're having a lovely time, if a little cold for my liking!

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