Munich (München), Germany
Munich lives in the heart of Bavaria (Southern Germany). As a matter of fact, it used to be Bavaria's capitol when it was an independent country. Despite it's rich history though, Munich seems very much like a young growing metropolis, filled with yuppies and new industries. But most of all, Munich is known for its beer! Franziskaner, Spaten, Löwenbräu, are all very popular here. Beer gardens abound, and beer is such a big part of life here, they even have a law called Rheinheitsgebot (Bavarian Beer Purity Law of 1516) regulating what can go into beer. If it contains anything but water, malt, yeast, and hops, it can't be labeled as "bier". Instead, they have to call it malt liquor. (Mental note: come here during Oktoberfest one year.) The largest public park in Europe is also in Munich, as well as the 1972 Olympic facility and the BMW world headquarters.
In the town center there's a squared called Marienplatz. The centerpiece of Marienplatz is this mechanized clock puppet show called the Glockenspiel on the front of the new town hall (Neues Rathaus). Every hour on the hour, this thing goes through a 15-minute ritual of music and dance where wooden knights on wooden horses come out and joust, and wooden maidens dance in celebration of the triumph of good over evil. It's a little overrated, but worth seeing once anyway.
A block away from Marienplatz is the Spatenhaus brewpub in Max Joseph Platz. I couldn't resist taking a picture since Spaten is one of my favorites.
One more block down, we come to Odeonsplatz where this monument stands. This is the General's Hall.
Englischer Garten, the largest "central park" in Europe, lies on the East side of Munich, and it runs 6 or 7 miles long along the Isar River. There are lakes, gardens, woods, open grass areas. There are even several restaurants, large beer gardens, a Chinese pagoda (Chinesischer Turm), and supposedly a nudist area where sun bathers don't have any tan lines (although we didn't find it). Scott and I rented bikes one day to explore the park. Let me tell you, bike riding in the park after a liter or two of beer is no picnic. I still have a scar mark on my right elbow to prove it. (Actually, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I fell off the bike BEFORE the beer.)
The 1972 Olympics were held in Munich, and they built a separate park (Olympiapark) for the occasion. All the Olympic facilities, although well-used, still look very futuristic today with its spider-web design as can be seen here in the main stadium. The day we were here, there was a soccer match and a concert nearby. We also watched an amazing dog whose master would throw a stick as far as she could into the pond, and he would swim 30 meters into the water to retrieve it.
Across the street from the Olympic park, the BMW (Bayerisches Motor Werks) headquarters building matches the futuristic architecture with a unique 4-leaf clover design. Although we didn't get a chance to visit it, the HQ building houses a BMW museum.