SKD DEP: Dublin Ireland 0730
SKD ARR: Munich Germany 1055
ACT DEP: 0757
ACT ARR: 1101
Boeing 737-500 EI-CDH (St. Ronan del 27/4/92)
Photo © Michael F. McLaughlin
Due to the downturn in the aviation industry there really are some bargains to be had out there with regards to airfares. I hadn’t planned any more weekends away since I had already been to Paris only 3 weeks before and have a trip to Manchester coming in November. But for the money I just couldn’t resist a trip to Germany. The fare was $110.00 roundtrip. The bad part about it was that I would have to travel during the morning rush at Dublin airport. This time wasn’t as bad as the last time I went out to Paris (reported already). Check in was already open for Europe with separate lines for Germany, Italy, Paris, and Brussels. Germany had a very long line since there was my flight to Munich, and the others to Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. But I was anticipating that come 600am that another 1 or 2 desks would open. Sure enough this did and I ran on up to the front of the line probably saving myself about 40 minutes of a wait. I was a bit surprised when I looked at the boarding pass to see that my flight was going out of the A gates at Dublin. For anyone who is familiar with Dublin the A gates are the ones that you walk out to the plane and use either the built in airstairs or the truck to board. It’s very old fashioned and in this day and age a very big security risk. Simply put this should not be allowed.
Fortunately I was seated in the first row of economy at 4D. The EI 737 fleet is starting to show their age when compared with newer airbus’ and the new 777 style interior featured on many of the new Boeings. Nonetheless I still enjoy flying the 737 more than the 320 or 321 that EI operate. I find the seat pitch to be more generous (well hey us Americans did build those Boeings!) than the European Airbus. The downside of this flight was that there was no inflight entertainment. I didn’t anticipate any but for a flight scheduled at 2 hours 35 minutes you need to be prepared by bringing something on with you or be prepared for utter boredom.
Very shortly after takeoff our breakfast was served. I call this the standard Europe flight breakfast. I received the exact same thing 3 weeks ago on a flight to CDG. I actually like this breakfast and the entire tray was finished….which for economy food is pretty unusual for me. So, it consisted of a cup of OJ, a scone, a roll, a cup of tea/coffee, and then for the main meal two sausages, a slice of bacon, and black pudding. And yes, I did eat the black pudding…..I’ve had better but it wasn’t bad. What I really prefer is the white pudding! You’re all probably thinking I’m insane!
So, after the breakfast the cabin crew disappeared for the remainder of the flight until just before the approach to Munich when they came around with the inflight shopping. Nothing but crap if you ask me. But for some reason people did buy some of it!
Arrival at Munich was very efficient. Our gate was literally 2 minutes away from the baggage claim and baggage was delivered expeditiously. The airport in, my opinion is the best I have ever been in, but I will comment more on that in my return flight report. I followed the signs for the S-Bahn to take me to the Hauptbahnof (Central station). I boarded the train and exactly 40 minutes later I was in the center of Munich. The train was absolutely amazing for a suburban service and puts our Metro North RailRoad in New York to shame. It was 16,00 DEM one way for the journey. I didn’t think that was a lot of money considering the length of the journey.
Now, normally I just do flight reports but this time I am going to babble on a bit more on my 2 days in Germany. So, anyone who doesn’t want to read this can now just skip on down the return report.
People always ask why I don’t stay in Hostels when I travel in Europe. For most of you who recognize my reports and have read them you probably know I am a student over here doing my law degree. I hate hostels, period. I probably would stay in them when I travel with friends but on my own absolutely no way. Especially now, with all the US haters out there now. So, I found a rate of $109 per night on Travelocity for the Four Points Arabella Sheration Central Hotel Munchen. It was one of those rates you had to prepay so this actually suited me just fine. The hotel was quite a walk from the Hauptbahnof and on the way to it there was a load of seedy hotels. The area was good it was just some of the other hotels that bothered me. It seemed to me that any of the good hotels that are in Munich are all located a good bit away from the city center. While the city center is loaded with hostels, pensiones and budget hotels. I thought the hotel was great. I got a free breakfast included with it in the morning which is something I never get when I travel to the UK.
The first day in Munich I decided that the shopping would have to come later than sooner because I had the weekend planned out with things I wanted to do. So the Friday I went off to the BMW Museum and the Olympic Park. Since I arrived at my hotel at 1pm these two events took me right up into the evening. Both sights are well worth a visit if in Munich. After that then I decided that since the shops are open until 8 I would go down to the Marienplatz to check out if there were any toy shops. Yeah even at 20 I am still a kid at heart. I found a Steiff Galerie on the Neuhauserstrasse where I got a really nice Snowman for my sister for Xmas. Then up at the other end of the shopping thoroughfare at the Karlsplatz I found an FAO like toy store. It’s coming up on Xmas so the Marklin trains will be coming out and it’s the only time of the year I take an interest in them so it was convenient to be in Germany now. I was like a kid in a candy store here. Unfortunately, I was on a little bit of a budget but I did manage to pick up a few carriages. The prices were very reasonable…..much much cheaper than US retail. And everywhere I went people spoke perfect English.
The next day I had planned to go to Fuessen to see Ludwig’s castles. I had checked out the DB website to see how much this excursion was going to cost me so I had planned on about 72,00 DEM. I planned on taking the 8:51am train which got me into Fuessen at 10:57am. But the ticket agent said that if I got a weekend ticket it was only 40,00 DEM and that I could go anywhere in Germany provided I didn’t use the InterCityExpress or EuroCity trains. So, that was great. And the trains in Germany run on time and I arrived in Fuessen at exactly 10:57am. I grabbed the bus and that took me to the castles which were 5km away. All I can say is that visiting these castles was the most unbelievable experience in my life and it is well worth the journey to get there. It’s a tourist trap but at least it is enjoyable. It was very busy the day I was there and I could only imagine what it must be like in the summer.
I saw Hohenshwangou first and then Neuschwanstein second. Once I climbed up to Neuschwanstein I was starved and grabbed a bockwurst and sprite for lunch. Absolutely delicious. I grabbed another after I took the tour! By the time I finished all the walks and tours it was nearly 5pm and I still had a 2 – 21/2 hour journey back to Munich so I figured I had better get a move on. So, I grabbed the 6.05pm train back. It was loaded with people…mostly Japanese tourists. We arrived back at the Hauptbahnof on time at 8.16pm. By the time I grabbed some snacks for the hotel it was 9.00pm and I still had the ½ hour walk back.
Thank god it was the night for the clocks to go back so I could get some sleep!!!!
The next day, my last day, I spend walking around Munich until 5pm because all the shops were closed. I went to the English Garden for a walk. This is the park that allows nude sunbathing….none of that the day I was there….what a shame….but I did get to visit the Beer Garden up by the Chinese Tower. My god…..I drank a whole liter of Lowenbrau! Fortunately, I got another bockwurst and a pretzel to absorb all that alcohol! You have to pay a deposit for the glass but I stole that as a souvenir. I went back to the hotel to collect my luggage and it was back off to the Munich Airport.
Aer Lingus #579 28/10/01
SKD DEP: Munich Germany 1940
SKD ARR: Dublin Ireland 2115
ACT DEP: 2006
ACT ARR: 2125
Boeing 737-400 EI-BXB (St. Gall del. 27/10/89)
Photo © Chris Sheldon
So I was on the S-Bahn back to Munich at 4.52 pm which would arrive at 5:35 into the Munich Airport. I knew I was going early but at least the shops in Munich Airport would be open! I found my way to the D check in where BA was the handling agent for the flight. Despite BA handling flights to LHR and Manchester as well there was no line whatsoever. The nicest lady checked me in. She even turned the computer screen towards me so I could pick my seat. So I took 4D again. I wanted to buy more trains and figured there would be a toy shop at the airport and sure enough I found it. The airport is quite remarkable. It reminded me of a shopping mall with check-in desks every so many feet. Just like the mall they even had maps of where the shops were. So, the toy shop was disappointing because they only sold engines and not carriages. Engines would do me no good due to the difference in voltage. Pity though, because they were much cheaper than the US. Figured I would have one last beer so I went to the airbrau…the airport beer garden. What an amazing place. I also was able to get another souvenir!
90% of the shops were pre-security so I held out as long as I could before going to the gate. The line for security ended up being 25 minutes. There were 3 stations open with 4 people working each. One person put your stuff on the belt. Another monitored the metal detector….and gave the wand to every passenger regardless if you set the detector off. Another person was controlling the xray machine. And there were 2 screens to view the xray. One was for the technician and the other was for the lady at the end of the belt who was looking for computers and electronics. Security was tight but of course I didn’t mind. It just annoys me though to see that some people haven’t gotten the message that nail clippers and scissors are not allowed on board.
I went over to the gate and boarding already had begun and I noticed a 737-400 parked at the gate. I thought maybe I had read my itinerary wrong because I was sure that a 500 was scheduled. I’ve never been on the 400 so I was delighted. There wasn’t really any difference between the two only that the 400 had 26 rows while the 500 has 20. Fortunately, no one was sitting next to me so it was a very enjoyable flight. The flight was about 2/3 full but I think it would have been full if the 500 operated the flight.
The meal was the standard evening meal. You got a tray with a choice of sandwich….I get the chicken and bacon. Also a cup of water, cup of tea/coffee, and a cookie. After that complimentary bar service. Flight was late leaving Munich due to ATC restrictions but it wasn’t too long.
We touched down in Dublin at 925 pm and parked at a remote stand. We had to wait 25 minutes for a bus to come get us. Now, I have to say I had a great weekend but coming back to Dublin Airport spoiled it all. Aer Rianta need to give Ryanair another terminal. There isn’t enough room for all the planes coming and going at Dublin anymore. The management are incompetent nepotists and the airport is poorly managed at that.
Baggage was going round by the time we arrived and I went out to catch the aircoach into the city center where I live. I arrived in my place at 1045pm.
It was a great weekend and I would love to go back to Germany….it’s well worth a visit.