Munich Study Visit, 19-24 April 2006
An early start from Colston’s on the Wednesday morning meant we arrived at Heathrow in time to catch our 9:35 flight to Munich. Having landed at the Franz Josef Strauss airport, we had our first experience of the efficient S-Bahn, the train that took us across Munich to our hotel by a lake on the south west side of the city. Adam and Nick soon learned that the doors shut quickly and do not re-open! After unpacking we explored the local area and lakeside, and found a good place to have an evening meal.
The next morning we were up early to get to the BMW Werke for 9 o’clock, where we had a fantastic tour of the entire factory. The tour was in German, but Mrs Henderson kindly translated it into English for us. We saw body parts being moulded into shape, components put together, and new cars being tested before being sent off to the customers. Peter Hingley was invited to sit in on one of the tests!
Later that day we visited the Allianz Arena, the new stadium built for the 2006 World Cup, and had a tour of the sights of Munich. The outer surface of the arena can change colour depending on which teams are playing.
On Friday we visited the Deutsches Museum, an enormous science and technology museum containing whole aircraft and locomotives, lasers, musical instruments, and a selection of unusual sundials! This was followed by a look round the Olympiapark and an impressive lift ride taking us almost to the top of the Fernsehturm, the 291m high TV tower, at a speed of 7 m/sec. Unfortunately Nick and Mr Aspden had to look after the bags. It was a warm sunny day, so finishing with a swim in the Westbad Leisure centre was much appreciated.
The day out to Neuschwanstein castle near the Alps was a highlight for many in the group – this was where Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was filmed! We travelled 2 hours by train to Füssen near the Austrian border, then walked up to the fairy tale castle and had a tour of King Ludwig’s dream home. It was an amazing place and there were great views of the mountains and lakes nearby.
Sunday began with a visit to Dachau, a memorial site on the grounds of the former concentration camp. There was a museum with lots of photos and information about the horror of life there during the Second World War, and a very depressing film.
Later that day we went to Schloss Nymphenburg, a stately home on the edge of Munich with a large park and fountains. We ended the afternoon in a nearby café, indulging in milkshakes, cream-cakes and ice cream! We had a variety of meals during our visit, including Italian food and local Bavarian specialities.
Early on Monday 24th we caught the S-Bahn for the last time before catching our flight back to England. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip, and we learnt a lot about Munich and Bavaria as well as improving our German.
Many thanks to Mrs Henderson and Mr Aspden for making the trip possible, and to Mr Shaw and Major Scarll for getting us to and from the airport.
Adam Geddes and Steven Hanney