Europe Trip 2010: Day 7, Munich & Deutsches Museum

One continual problem with our Munich experience was the incredible heat. More specifically, how the heat permeated our air conditioner-free room, leaving us unable to get much sleep. Nevertheless, we persevered and had one of the best days of our vacation yet, exploring the Deutsches Museum (the German Smithsonian) and the largest city park in Europe, the English Garden. The full photo set for Day 7 is online, but read on for stories, explanations, and general bewilderment!

We started our day, as per usual, with a tasty buffet from our hotel. This was our first chance to sample Hotel Europaischer Hof’s menu, and although it was less grandiose then our previous hotels’, it was still tasty and varied.

We headed out the same way that we explored last night, heading to Karls Tor, where we captured a daytime view of the magnificent fountain.

Andrew also remembered to capture an image of one of the Munich trams. Munich, like most German (or indeed, European) cities, is simply covered with public transportation options. Munich has an two extensive subway lines, a system of trams above-ground, and buses covering what ground the trams don’t reach. There’s simply no reason to own a car in most European cities. Combined with all the solar, wind, and nuclear power we’ve observed in Germany, and one can quickly see why they are much less concerned with foreign oil (and don’t need to send soldiers to die needless deaths to enforce our cheap oil policies).

Marienplatz was a very different experience during the day, hopping with energetic tourists and sellers– the square was practically covered with stands that were set up! (Including, of course, lots of fruit stands)

We also captured some nice shots of the glockenspiel and some statuary that was difficult to capture at night:

One of the stores on Marianplatz that we couldn’t resist visiting was Max Krug, a specialist in cuckoo clocks, as well as custom beer steins. Amusingly, his sign had German, English, Italian, and Japanese– including a large Japanese inscription saying “O Miyage”, or “Souvenirs!” (Yes, the original Karate Kid’s mentor was named mister souvenir).

Past Marienplatz, we visited the Viktualienmarkt, a large open-air fresh food market and beer garden. It reminded me of the Boulder Farmer’s Market by the Tea house (if you replace the tea house with a beer garden).

At the Viktualienmarkt, our sleep deprivation and general grouchiness started catching up with us, so we decided to grab a meal at the beer garden- schnitzel (which andrew has fallen in love with) and chicken, smothered in mustard (along with disappointing rolls). Of special note, we decided that since we in Germany, in a Beer Garden, on a hot summer day: Well, it was time to actually try a beer. I went with a local favorite, a Radler, which is 1/2 strong German beer and 1/2 Lemon Lime Soda. Amazingly, it was quite good and refreshing– as you can see on both Andrew and Teisha’s faces.

Lunch in our bellies and beer in our throats, we headed out for our real destination of the day– the Deutsches Museum! The Deutsches Museum is Germany’s equivalent of the Smithsonian Institute, a sprawling museum dedicated to science, engineering, and technology.

And boy howdy, does it celebrate engineering. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more gears, levers, engine blocks, and lathes. Don’t get me wrong, it was fascinating. Just a little overwhelming. Here’s a few of our many representative shots.

We took turns choosing which areas to explore, which worked well except for a period forever more known as “Teisha’s Folly”. Still feeling the hot Summer day outside, Teisha chose the underground Mining exhibit. Little did we know that the mining exhibit was an incredible (and incredibly long) tribute to the German craft of mining, with over a mile of detailed reproductions of different mining conditions, bore shafts, and mining techniques. Seriously, after we turned off one coal shaft into a salt shaft into a tubbings-lined shaft into… they started to blend together. It was so surreal that we made a game out of skipping from one room to the next, taunting each other that it would never end. When it did end, we were treated to some fantastic exhibits on early metalworking.

The museum also had a neat biology section, although (and this does my Biochemist heart proud), they call it the “Pharmaceutical Section” and it opens with a large banner proclaiming “All Life is Chemistry”. Boo-ya, and take that biologists. Lots of larger-than-life cell components and exhibits on early drugs were to be had.

We detoured into a great exhibit on early microscopes and telescopes (which segued into some work on holograms that we didn’t even attempt to capture on film).

Next up was a cool exhibit on the history and evolution of musical instruments– including almost twenty pianos, and dozens of oboes, guitars, and much more.
While we explored, the museum allowed an extremely talented Asian man (maybe a visiting musician?) to play on on of their grand pianos. And play he did! It was some of the most beautiful piano I have ever heard in my life, and made Teisha a little depressed. “Depressed?”, I inquired. Teisha explained that it made her wonder how good she could have been, if she had chosen that path. I think she’s chosen a great path, though– and soon, her concern was overwhelmed by the quality of the music.

One of the coolest exhibits was about the evolution of computers- from abacus’ and early calculators, to vacuum tubes, to transistors, to circuit boards. It also had a neat section on logic and mathematics– and Andrew was in love. Note Andrew proudly displaying the Moebius Strip.

Between our main exhibit visits, we caught some other interesting tidbits, like a huge industrial loom and several displays of the history of robots.

On the roof of the museum is a Sundial Garden; not too impressive given that it was overcast when we finally climbed our way up. But it did give us some great views of Munich, and of the Deutsches Museum’s clock tower, which is instead a Hygrometer and Barometer– a great concept!

The last major exhibit we saw was a big temporary exhibit hall on emerging technologies, which had lots of hands-on, thought-provoking multimedia displays. It had some showcases on stem cells (which Teisha enjoyed), lots of demonstrations like a huge bowl of feroomagnetic fluid or non-wetting surfaces based on lotus leaf, and lots of “how technology makes our life better” stuff which was great.

Thoroughly brain-blown from information overload, we decided to retire to the English Gardens– the largest city park in continental Europe, and one of Munich’s greatest attractions. It was a beautiful, forested expanse which immediately reminded us of Tokyo. Jokingly, we both commented that we half expected to see a Japanese Tea house in the middle… which it has. Ha!

We stopped for a much earned dinner at Milch Hausl (The Milk Cottage), a little organic food beer garden in the middle of the park. There, we sat on a huge rocking chair and watched children play with hammocks beside a playground. The best sight was a brother and sister of 7 or 9 were playing really rowdy in the hammocks, trying to crash into each other. Unlike America, where people might have freaked out, most people seemed content to let it proceed. All the kids seemed extremely happy and playful– great dinner entertainment. Germans seem much more relaxed than we expected, more like mid-west Americans.

Exhausted but happy, we made our way back through Marianplatz and to our hotel.

Thanks for reading!

6 Responses to “Europe Trip 2010: Day 7, Munich & Deutsches Museum”

[…] about 3 hours in the Alte Pinakothek, we headed to the English Garden (see Day 7). We went there to meet a relative of Teisha’s. Some of Teisha’s distance relatives were from […]

Paradoxdruid’s Rants » Blog Archive » Europe Trip 2010: Day 8, Alte Pinakothek & English Garden - July 19th, 2010 at 11:53 am

So sorry to hear the heat hadn’t let up, even in Munich. And you know (on a different topic), the physicists would say, “All Chemistry is Physics!”
Great write-up — the most interesting yet! Bob could probably spend days in the technology museum….

Meg - July 20th, 2010 at 8:14 am

[…] out to be an area on the history of medicine. It was not a very large exhibit (it reminded me of the science museum we’d been to in Munich, Germany, which was mostly engineering with hardly any biology). I thought it was cute that they had some […]

Paradoxdruid’s Rants » Blog Archive » UK Trip 2012, Day 4: The Science Museum and the Natural History Museum in London - May 22nd, 2012 at 1:50 pm

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