24 June 2011

Jet Lag Recovery in Munich

"Legroom" on ANA Economy.
Need at least a day for knee
recovery before racing.
For Transalp in 2009, Jerome and I landed in Paris at 4AM Saturday local time, showered and ate breakfast, hopped a plane to Munich, and were in Sonthofen by mid-afternoon, just in time to register, find our lodgings, join mid-way through the pasta party/briefing (why were the only other persons drinking beer the non-participants?), and get one decent night's sleep before the Sunday morning start.  I was groggy at breakfast, and I hit a jet lag-assisted wall on the big climb of the day, as the afternoon heat increased and my body screamed "time for sleep".

Just about the same thing happened to me in 2005 when I flew from Tokyo to Washington DC, then on to Knoxville, TN, for a short night's sleep before a big, big ride at the start of "Matt Tour" -- over the Smoky Mountains and up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This time, I wanted to come early enough to avoid such a big first day fade, so I arrived in Munich Wednesday evening, and today (Thursday) played tourist, choosing several of the many sites suggested by MOB.  Rain was forecast, so I left my bike in the travel case for tomorrow's train trip to Sonthofen, and went by train and foot to see some of the highlights.

Arbeit Macht Frei
This morning I visited a nice, quiet town of tree-lined streets in the Munich suburbs -- Dachau.  I am sure plenty of commuters must board the S-Bahn train from Dachau to come into Munich for work in the morning.  But it seems that just about everyone who is going OUT to Dachau on the S-bahn in the morning has the same destination.  They transfer to the 726 bus (a large, articulated bus, unlike all the others leaving Dachau station), and go to the site of the first of the Third Reich's system of concentration camps.  The Dachau camp opened in 1933, and would become a model for SS-run concentration camps -- a root of much evil.  I won't write my impressions here, not enough time and way off-topic, but I am very glad I made the trip.
Dachau Concentration Camp Assembly Ground.  Entrance/gate bldg at right rear.

By the time I got back to city center, it was pouring rain, so I decided to visit a museum.  Since the Lenbachhaus with its unrivaled collection of Expressionist "Blue Riders" (Klee, before he taught at Bauhaus, Kandinsky, et al, and a nice potential name for a cycling team) which had been highly recommended to me, is closed for renovations, I thought I should avoid another art museum but instead see something that would provide a bit more local flavor.  Why go to someplace just to see some impressionists, or maybe a contemporary/pop art museum with the obligatory Alexander Calder sculpture, an Andy Warhol soup can, Hockney, Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and other usual suspects.  Instead, I headed by underground to the Olympic center and the BMW Museum/BMW Welt.

On the escalator down to the trains, I saw posters publicizing some kind of exhibit involving Ludwig II (a/k/a "Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria" -- he was deposed based upon alleged mental illness, but there is no proof that he actually was mad).  On the map, I saw that the route went under the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat and the Palais Ludwig Ferdinand.  I guess in Bavaria being named "Ludwig" is kind of like being named "Louis" in France or "Henry" in England.  Kings all.

The BMW Museum was a great choice, since the buildings and interiors themselves gave a great sense of German design -- the clean lines, white background and grey and black lettering could have been designed by Walter Gropius himself, at the Bauhaus.

I'm not so interested in the history of the BMW 5-series, the altitude record set with one of the early post-WWI aircraft engines, or the history of BMW's off/on/off involvement with Formula 1 racing.  But there was one exhibit that will be memorable, in addition to the building itself.  

BMW Welt
This was the "BMW Art Cars'.   I had raised an eyebrow at when I heard about MOB's decision to take a perfectly good new carbon bicycle frame and send it off to a painter for a custom paint job.  But after seeing the BMW Art Cars, now I can understand.  This is a long German tradition.  Back in the 1970s, BMW started commissioning world famous artists each to paint one of their cars, and the results are fantastic.

You can see cars painted by Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Jenny Holzer, S. Chia and others.  And they are just great.  Much better than a typical Calder sculpture or Warhol soup can I could have found at another museum.

This evening the skies cleared.  Tomorrow I meet MOB and we head for base camp in Sonthofen.
Alexander Calder


S Chia
Jenny Holzer
Lots and lots of BMW emblems at the museum.

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