Tuesday 7/6

We're going to Munich today. Jerry has an old University friend living in the suburbs of the city and they've kindly arranged rooms at a local hotel they recommend. We're not quite going straight there but close enough.

Another breakfast in the room with the antlers but this time with added glances across the river at Hitler's private entrance to the railway station. Both are infused with the general creepiness of this place. Chocolate box town on the outside, crawling with a maggoty past if you look just that little bit harder. Fair makes you shudder.

We settle the bill and saddle up nice & early for the trip to collect my new kit. I say "nice and early", actually we leave at a shred after 8 o'clock and I don't think this entirely suits Jerry. He's not that keen on starts that early. Not 'cos he can't do 'em - far from it. He just doesn't think 6 o'clock is a reasonable time to get up when you don't have to. I. on the other hand, think 7 o'clock is an incredible lie in. Thankfully the Capo hasn't sunk into the gravel over-night so I wobble off up the ramp and we set off for the BMW dealership of much efficiency.

We arrive at 8:30 ish and they're already open. My suit has arrived and the smiling Austrian chap leads me off to the person who is to prepare my bill. Who leads me to the person who will present me with my bill. Who introduces me to the Nice Lady that will allow me to pay my bill, all the while giving off a faint air of disgust at this whole financial business. Its a fab combination of 2005 and 1925 :)

The new kit of much German efficiency comes in a pair of boxes. Each item has a suit protector. Crikey. My office suits didn't come this well looked after. Mind you they were about half the price... The boxes get packed away and we set off for Munich.

There aren't any good looking roads around here as far as we could tell from the maps when doing our planning. Besides, we've a goodly number of miles to do over the next few days and besides there being several places we want to see, there's a fixed deadline at the Maginot Line at the weekend - its open this Sunday and not again for a month. We jump onto the A8 and despite it being somewhat dull (the road and the weather - its drizzling again at first) we make a good pace.

The A8 takes up past the Chiemsee lake, which is absolutely lovely. It just appears between the trees to the right of the road as we go past, flickering in and out of view. Rather delightful.

We approach Munich. Its not lovely. In fact once we're inside the A99 (the Munich version of the M25, I think) the city appears to mainly be under construction. I am blithely bimbling along (can you bimble at 80?) thinking "hello trees, hello flowers, hello crane, hello concrete dust" when Jerry shoots past me and heads for the next off ramp. OK. I can do the following thing again. We off, round and ride over the autobahn and into... an large construction area. And the road we're on is not the way in. It just sort of ends. Turns out Jerry's in need of fuel and the GPS had shown one as being here. Drat those pesky Munichians!

We're virtually at the end of the autobahn anyhow so I promise to pull into the first one I see. This turns out to be a tiny two-pump affair on a side street being run by a chap of at least 130 years of age. By now its rather hot and he dodders over to us looking as though he's going to melt in the sun any second. Jerry asks if he takes credit cards. -Blank- comes the reply. Jerry waves a card at the man. -Blank-. This is actually quite important as we don't have almost any cash on us. We bugger off toute sweet leaving the poor old sod looking well confused.

In our meander across town to the Bavarian Film Studios (for that is where we are going), we see a proper, modern looking petrol station and pull in there. Hurrah! Just a mile or so later and we're at the Studios. There's no really obvious entrance for visitors and no shade on the car park at all. We put the bikes up by a fence & toddle off towards what is probably the way in. Signs would be helpful but are positively shouting out their absence. Perhaps there are discreet German signs that we're missing, I dunno.

We go to what looks like the main entrance to the studios, which it is. There's a museum with trips and sets and things but we can't see a sign of it until we realise there's a box office. They sell us tickets and direct us to go "immediately" to the next building for the special show. Turns out to be a rather excellent demonstration of special effects and stunt work, regrettably narrated 100% in German. Nevertheless, it was still perfectly comprehensible and worth seeing. I took several pictures. They came out really crap. Poo :(

Back to the main entrance for the guided tour and Hurrah! there's one with an English speaking guide in a few moments. This turns out to be the most sullen and uninterested young woman. She took us through a dingy looking street set and then a terrible sci-fi set where she proceeded to master her disinterest just enough to get the kids in our small group to make a few moves and say a few lines so that they could see how TV is made. After that a quick walk through old Asterix sets and on to the whole reason we were there: the sets of Das Boot. Actually, there's very little of it there, considering how much must have been built. Still, the torpedo (which is really long) is a good start. We walk to the back of the long grey tunnel and enter through a small door. It shuts behind us and suddenly we're in the forward torpedo room. Very atmospheric. Very claustrophobic.

We let the irritating guide go away with the other members of the tour & start to slowly walk forward. The head isn't overly inviting. Betcha they didn't take a book in there. Jerry practices crash dives but can't quite keep a straight face so instead he torpedoes a helpless merchantman. Or something. I glance up at the way up and out through the conning tower. Somehow it looks too small. Walking past the galley and playing crash-dive by the bunks really only reinforces how small the space they had to live and die in. I don't envy these men at all.

The engines are massive - how noisy was it in here when they were running at full tilt? Mind you, at least there were oranges. For a while. Walk past the engines and the set ends at torpedo tubes, dials and, incongruously, a door. We go through the door and there's no one there. The group has gone. I have me go at playing Herr Kapitain Kater and then we wander over towards the exit. Late lunch ends up being a McDonalds (yuk) and then we set off to Jerry's mate's house. He has a set of instructions written down that take us across Munich to the suburb of Grafelfing and book into a rather nice (if slightly odd) hotel they arranged a room for us to stay in.

We walk down the stairs past the rather peculiar lobby ornament & Jerry freaks: "Was that there when we came in?" It was indeed. Somehow he'd managed to miss it.

Off down the road to see Wayne and his German wife Petra. They met when at university (in the UK) which is also where they became friends with Jerry. What a splendid couple. Wayne is Terribly Clever and doing something in (I think) biochemistry. He explained and I looked terribly interested (and I was) while I hoped he couldn't hear the whooshing noise as it all went over my head due to my tiny brayne. His splendid wife Petra made a delicious meal and was good humoured enough to call out "achtung, Spitfire!" as she brought it in. Ice-breaker or what?

So we talked some bollocks and drank some drinkies and then toddled off home for a night of much sleepiness in the hotel with the bacon slicer in the lobby.

Image of route

Mapsource .gdb file of track

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