New Year’s Eve celebrations are often a bit of a let down. The build up and anticipation of the night is usually more exciting than the night itself. Generally, by the time you get where you are going it is late and crowded with too many drunk people. Then you have to try to get home, which is a whole different problem. No taxis, trains are crowded, streets are dangerous. In general it isn’t a great day to celebrate your birthday. But, celebrate I do and this year I was able to celebrate Munich style!
After returning to Munich from Prague we spent quite a bit of time lounging around the house. Germany is pretty much closed for business on Sundays and both the 31st and 1st are pretty dead days as well. I enjoyed watching some new movies and TV shows with my friends and catching up on my blog and photo editing.
For New Year’s Eve we went to a dinner party at my hosts’ friend’s house. They prepared a raclette dinner. If you have never had raclette, you must do it soon! It is so fun. Basically you have different types of veggies, meats, potatoes and raclette cheese. Then you use the special grill and each person makes their own little snacks of melted cheese goodness. It was so much fun!
After stuffing ourselves we watched a program called “Dinner for One”, which is a German tradition on NYE. It is a British comedy sketch that is quite funny and from what I gather nearly every German family watches it on NYE. It is worth a view if you haven’t seen it.
We then bundled up and headed to Munich’s Olympic Park to see some fireworks. I had been warned that it was scary and pretty dangerous, but also amazing and worth the danger. It was amazing and aside from the spent bottle rocket that landed on my head, it didn’t seem all that dangerous. There were people and fireworks everywhere! Not just your run-of-the-mill stay on the ground type, but thousands of up-in-the-air explosions of color. It was a firework lover’s dream come true. Dangerous, yes, but so beautiful.
The following day, we woke up early to catch the bus into the city. We went to an art museum and had a nice walk around looking at some of the famous works in the “New Museum” at the Pinakothek museums. We enjoyed a nice lunch, then headed to Nymphenburg Palace. We had a nice walk around the grounds of the palace and enjoyed some delicious apple fritters and a restaurant nearby.
January 2 was my last day in Germany and I had a long day there. I boarded the bus in the morning and headed to BMW Welt (BMW World) and the Olympic Park. I really enjoy looking at cars and learning about how they are developed, but the museum was packed. It really took away from my enjoyment of admiring the cars. It was interesting to see and read about the innovations at BMW (especially in relation to “green” cars) and to see some of the history.
I also took a visit to the Swimming Hall at the Olympic Park, the pool that made Mark Spitz famous. I tried to visit the track that punished Steve Prefontaine, but it was closed. It was also here that I remembered the massacre of the Israeli athletes and while looking out over the Olympic Village said a little prayer for peace.
Afterward, I returned to the house packed my stuff up and got ready for my flight back to the UAE. It was probably the worst flight I’ve ever been on. The men in the seats around me were all drunk when they boarded the plane and continued to drink throughout the flight. And lucky me, I got to sit next to the most obnoxious one of the group. Not only did he take up his seat and half of mine, he asked me the same three questions in broken English over and over again. Oh, the joys of travel.