Olympic Park Munich : Beautiful yet tainted by a dark past

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Olympic Park in Munich | Tainted with a dark past #One day in September

The eighth stop on the U3 train is labeled Olympiazentrum, adorned by five gray interlocking ring and you don’t need translations.You are in Olympic Park, as well as be taken into 1972 Massacre site.

One of the highlight of our recent Munich trip was the visit to the Olympic Park. We went there  to bring my daughter to her first Aquarium & Sea Life adventure in Europe.She was still too young back then to appreciate the sharks & clown fishes in Kuwait ‘s Scientific Center  but in Sea Life, she definitely had a blast. I highly recommend this for young toddlers, and for a family outing.

Just a reminder : Prepare to WALK!

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Plenty to see and Do

Sea Life in Munich has a variety of more than 4,000 animals in display! They have an Interactive Rockpool where you can touch mollusks, Anemones and starfishes. My daughter loved splashing waters whenever, whatever!This is a great place for an exploring toddler to watch the marine life with a delight in their eyes.It pays off to book tickets online to avoid long lines.

After we’re done with Sea Life, we walked into a green, spacious hilly esplanade , with modern tent-like structures and theme park with a little blue train passing by. It’s like taken from the past, we made it into Olympic Park München.

I did not expect that this place has the World’s highest Rock Museum, Yes, up there in the Olympic Tower! It has tons of memorabilia, from signed guitars, concert tickets, posters, clothes, and so on. I love seeing the Beatles , Deep Purple, David Bowie,and my daughter is poking Pink’s poster with glee.

So much outdoor activities to enjoy. Lots of cycle paths, so you can cycle til you drop.Have you ever tried Flying Fox and roof climb?

Or what about doing a roof climb with Abseil stunt? You think you can brave heights?If you’re like an Architecture buff like my husband (So do I!) then you can just join the Architec tour which focuses more on the buildings & concept of the whole design of this complex.

Near the lake was the Munich  Olympic Walk of Stars (MOWOS). It’s like the Hollywood thing but here is more of National and international legends from the worlds of sport, music and entertainment. You can see their precious marks with hands and signets in the concrete and take their place on the Olympic Park’s MOWOS.

 

I have never been to an Olympic park  in my life.Only now! I’m glad that travel allows me to learn something from the past. For those who doesn’t knew, just like me  (before ) this same park with beautiful architecture & filled with joyous laughs  is the same place that hosted the 1972  Munich Olympic Games,wayyyy  back from the past that I was not even born . The place where you see history in blood and naming the dead.

The World’s best Olympic Park even Tainted with a dark past

This post has triggered my curiosity about how host countries famed, struggled       and  ( strained from planning for years ahead) eventually created their marks in history when it comes to Olympic games that is happening every 4 years.Figure this ;

It took Canadian officials 30 years to pay off the cost of the 1976 Montreal Olympics and they’re still stuck with a stadium that’s rarely used. In Atlanta, the scene of the 1996 Olympics, the stadium, which was reduced in size for the Braves baseball team, is being demolished as the team move to the suburbs.

In Athens, where the Olympics returned in 2004, a beach volleyball court, baseball stadium, an 8,000-seat tennis table venue and other buildings are unused and crumbling, sparking public outrage as the Greek economy stagnates. In Beijing, the famed Bird’s Nest stadium that was the central venue for the 2008 Olympics  has no consistent tenants, and costs $11 million in yearly upkeep.

The best turn out for an Olympic Venue with a sad past.

But in Munich, things are different. Even though the Bavarian capital was the scene of one of the darkest days in Olympic history, when Black September  terrorists took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and total of 17 people were killed in 1972, the Olympic Park now looks so alive to be one of Munich’s pride & tourist attraction.Everyone who visited the mogul car giant BMW & its museum most likely  went to this green paradise.It’s worth a visit if you are in Munich area.

The whole site is built with an unusual architectural style, depicting ‘Happy Games ‘ designed by Behnisch and Partners. Viewed from above it looked like a continuous flow same as the rhythmic elevation of the Swiss Alps. The site itself is made up of a number of sporting facilities including an indoor swimming pool, ice skating rink, mini golf, indoor soccer and athletics arena as well as a large park and lake.This lake was lovely. I could sit here all day just watching the ducks swimming and the clear reflection of the clouds & the sky gleaming in the clear waters.Don’t miss out on the Stadium, the great work of Otto Frei. If you’re more into the design, you can read it from Here. It was last regularly used for Bayern Munich matches before Allianz Arena was built for the 2006 World Cup.

The focal point of the park is Olympia Hill (Olympiaberg), a man-made mountain which provides a great view over Munich, and in good weather to the Alps in the distance. Interestingly, the hill was largely constructed out of the ruins caused by bombing from Allied forces during World War 2. On the Olympia Hill is Munich’s highest beer garden, the Olympia Alm.Now who doesn’t want to have a beer while enjoying a great view ?

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Olympic Village where the Munich Massacre happened in 1972 | #Building 31

The place where the massacre happens stands up to this day.Just type 31 Connollystraße into Google Maps, and it will lead you to the massacre apartment.The Olympic village was turned into a student housing now and you need the permission of the residents to view it.

Do you want to know what exactly happened on the day of Massacre? You can find it Here .

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Memorial for the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics | #Black September

We climbed the Olympic Tower. Reaching on a height of 190 metres. With a toddler in my arms, I’ve got the best views of Munich, including the majestic Alps.The Olympia Tower (Olympiaturm) is not for the faint-hearted, it has an open air platform on top. If you’re afraid of heights, then think twice. My husband climbed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and yet was squemish about the open air observation deck. The tower is 291m (955ft) in total  height, with an observation platform 190m (623ft) meters above the park. Underneath the observation platform is a rotating restaurant which seats over 200 people.

After seeing Olympic Park and learning about its dark past, it made me thought of Led Zeppelin’s song –Immigrant Song ;

“So now you’d better stop, and rebuild all your ruins.
For peace and trust can win the day, despite of all your losing.”

May we never forget so it won’t happen again.

No one wants to open old wounds. No one wants a remembrance of violence. Or maybe no one wants reminding that no place is safe.I’ve heard laughs and seen smile of people in Olympic Park, but then thought that thinking back of the massacre, doesn’t make much sense nowadays. They were all gone.Only the Names remain.

Do you find this post interesting? If you want to know more about the Summer Olympics Munich Massacre and how the Germans handled it, then you can read further Here and Here.

When was the last time you’ve learned something from your travels? Did you bring home stories from the place you’ve visited or only left with Selfies & photographs?

Would you like to visit Olympic Park in Munich? Tell me what you think , I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

Feels like Home…

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My perfect landscape..a view of Mayon Volcano

What’s the picture now in your mind whenever you think or look back from your hometown?

When was the last time you were back into your old home, or even the place you were born?

No matter where I go, I always look back to where I came from. Suddenly, thinking about the place  where I spent most of my childhood create a nostalgic feeling inside me. I remember my fondest childhood memories spent gazing at this beauty…everyday! From the time I open the window I see her. She’s our ever-present backdrop. Our ever beautiful wallpaper. She is so alluring that many have tried to climb her, some have succeed, but some have been unfortunate. Many are enamored by her mysterious perfect cone.From dusk til dawn she’s constantly changing. One day she is clothed with fluffy clouds and only her cone is shown, other times, she is totally hidden, like a shy maiden covered in veil.

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Mayon Volcano with Cagsawa ruins

I have seen her fierce eruptions. I tell you, She is one fierce ,active volcano. Despite her enigma, which has left a trail of death and destruction brought about by almost 49 eruptions in the past 400 years, her tantrums has become spectacular fireworks displays to behold.We spent the night looking at her cone tip with visible lava flowing. It was a sight I could never forget. Until now I remember those times I saw it as something exciting & yet terrifying. I would always asked my Grandmother what if the lava reaches our house? Where shall we do? But then on, I got used to this.I have heard of the tragic stories when she became so furious and left a disastrous eruption and devastation that I couldn’t even imagine. Just picture a church tower was the only visible ruins that  remained from the eruption, the ruins of Cagsawa church.

The  Cagsawa Ruins (the church tower up above in the photo )  was a lavish Spanish church before it was buried by the 1814 eruption of Mayon Volcano, the worst in history. For almost two centuries the Cagsawa Ruins has stood as a symbol of Bicol region’s impressive landscape, rich history and the people’s strength and resiliency to face and to rise from the ravages of Mother Nature. I love to visit this park whenever I have the chance to go . It has been a long time, and now I am longing to see it once again.

And yet, even though I have seen beautiful castles, and wonderful nature from other parts of the world, Mayon Volcano is still my  Muse. She was & will ever be.

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Quitinday Hills

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.~Lin Yutang

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The view from Sumlang Lake

Never forget where you came from…Never lose sight of where you want to go.

If you have the chance, would you like to visit once again your birth place?

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Trier : Rome of the North

 

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Set my foot in Trier!

Trier (in Latin Augusta Treverorum ) is the oldest city in Germany, and was the largest city in the north of the Alps. With its prime location in the  Moselle Valley (Mosel) , not far from Luxembourg, the city is a treasure trove of Roman ruins. Known as the “Rome of the North,” Trier served as the key city of the Roman northern territories. Trier boasts not one or two, but NINE (9) UNESCO World Heritage sitesIt’s  also the birthplace of Karl Marx. For those of you looking for a great place to find Unesco sites in Europe then Trier is the best place to start.

Here’s more reasons  why a visit to this wonderful city should be in your Bucket List!

An experience of Walking Barefoot 

It was a wonderful day in Trier, and since its a very walkable city, after we parked the car, we head on with excitement. I was busy fumbling on my purse to get the cookies for my daughter when i saw this young lady walking barefoot on the grounds approaching Trier Haupmarkt. I have never seen someone like this on modern days, let alone in a city packed with tourists like Trier. Then i remembered that right in the heart of Black Forest in Germany, there is a Barefoot Park where one of attraction  is to have a extraordinary experience of walking barefoot inside the park. It’s no surprise that Germany is leading the way for having more than 30 Barefoot parks!

Also, as we approached “Saint George’s Fountain “after we toured the insides of the Cathedral, we saw this small park for children to stomp their bare feet on the ground with flowing water. What a brilliant idea! Especially during hot summers that a child needs to let out their steam, this is a perfect place. Children love to run around barefoot, and feel the different textures under their feet .I tried it myself while my daughter gasp in excitement while running around barefoot.

This is really one of the quirkiest sight i saw in Trier.

Splurge on the grandeur of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

What makes Trier an ideal destination ? It boasts of 9 UNESCO world Heritage Sites, all in one vicinity! INCREDIBLE right? Walking through the streets of Trier is like being into a time machine transported to the ancient times of Celtic tribes, Emperor Augustus & the Roman Empire with its fierce Gladiators and Romans walking the city square in ancient robes. The city was the main center of Christianity north of the Alps, and was the residence of at least 8 Roman emperors over time. As Roman power ebbed, the French took over the city in 459. Later the territory became part of Charlemagne’s empire. In the 12th century, Trier became an important center for the bishops and archbishops, who were also electors in the Holy Roman Empire.

There’s the Porta Nigra ( The Black Gate ) which is built in 180 A.D., still standing tall & proud.This is without a doubt, the most renowned emblem of the historic Moselle town and an imposing Roman construction in the north of the Alps.

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Porta Nigra : Emblem of Roman power

The largest construction materials used in Porta Nigra weighs approx. 6 tons, and in most cases,the stones were shaped using mill driven bronze saws.The Blocks were place on top of each other without using mortar. What an amazing structure! Next to the Porta Nigra is the City Museum (Stadtmuseum Simeonstift) and the Trier information center.

As we continued walking, we saw the “The Roman Imperial Throne Room” or the so-called Basilika, Constantine’s throne room, is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times. The Romans wanted the architecture to express the magnificence and might of the emperor.Its the first & oldest Protestant church with  a splendid organ answered by a seven-second echo.

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UNESCO Heritage- Konstantin Basilika

 

A trip to Trier won’t be complete without seeing the Imperial Baths or known as  Kaiserthermen , You can tour the large complex, including the underground areas. The incoming cold water was heated in altogether six boiler rooms, four of which are visible in the 19m (62 ft) high ruins which later served as a part of the medieval city wall. The 40° C/104° F hot water was then conducted into the three semicircular pools for the bathers.

Having a glimpse of the Roman Amphitheater gives you a picture where the cruel games of Gladiator with an animal becomes a sight of entertainment in the old times. The Arena, built in the 2nd century A.D. and had a seating capacity of about 20,000.Nowadays,with its crystal-clear acoustics, the Amphitheatre serves as a venue for the Antiquity Festival and is used today for occasional open-air concerts.

We had a drink in front of The Cathedral (DOM ) or Trier’s St. Peter’s Cathedral (Hohe Domkirche St. Peter zu Trier), like the city itself, is the oldest in all of Germany. Destroyed and rebuilt many times, the cathedral, built on the foundation of a Roman building, was once much larger than it is today. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the cathedral was damaged by WWII bombing raids and underwent an extensive restoration from 1960 to 1974.

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Splurging on Architecture with the DOM in the background.
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The lush garden with the tombs at the side of the Dom

Exploring the St.Peter’s Dom in Trier is a wonderful experience. One of the highlight is seeing The High Altar where the Holy Robe or (Der Heilige Rock)  is placed. When you see the Hanging Pipe Organ, it could take your breath away. I was wondering how awesome it is to hear it playing. I felt so blessed knowing that I had the chance to see this church.

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This is far by one of the most beautiful Cathedral I have ever seen. Inside, adorned with so many relics and religious pieces carved in beautiful architecture.

A visit to the Crypt and the Treasury Room is a must too. I had the chance to light some candles inside.

Children flocked outside where there is a man blowing bubbles which adds so much fun while we marvel at the beautiful church in front of us. Other highlights of our trip were marked by seeing the majestic Church of our Lady,we have learned that this is the oldest gothic church in Germany, built in the 13th century. A special feature is the cruciform floor plan.

 

 

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Embrace the Striking City Market Vibes

This place is full of beautiful monuments, open squares & Markets which is adorned with beautiful Statues and facades. The Market Fountains and Steipes are all rooted from 300-year struggled for supremacy in this city. So much history in every structure.

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Half-Timbered Houses in Trier

Another fascinating Architectural detail i found is the existence of  the Half-Timbered Houses.  If you visit the largest plaza in the city, locally known as Hauptmarkt (Main Market). Interestingly enough, Trier has very few half-timbered houses which are so typical for German cities. The building style of the Romans was quite different; they preferred stone over wood. At the Hauptmarkt, however, you’ll find many more of the typical German wooden facades.

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Trier’s Haupmarkt

Finding our Paths to the Secret Garden 

This is my first trip with a baby so we had to do so many stop overs along the way. What a relief to find a place to just breathe and enjoy some peace & quiet within the city. What i appreciate in Trier is that it’s totally  Baby-Friendly. I saw tons of babies in stroller, and i love how the city is so pedestrian friendly. Many times we crossed the street that cars are stopping. We felt so welcomed. Another highlight is when we find this  secret Garden (Palastgarten) just after the Constantin Basilika. Right in front of The Electoral Palace which is considered one of the most beautiful Rococo palaces in the world. This beautiful palace serves as a perfect backdrop facing the garden.

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Flowers in the Palace Garden

The Palace garden was intricately adorned with benches, with a pond in the central, with statues and with a beautiful fountain settled in the sprawling green with summer blooms. I have learned that the garden was designed by Johannes Seiz and the sculptures were crafted by Ferdinand Tietz. People lazily lying on the grass &  basking out in the sun .A perfect secret garden experience!

There is so much more in this vibrant city along the banks of the River Moselle.Having a taste of the delicious &  succulent dishes from the wide srrays of restaurants sprawled in the city will for sure satisfy your gastronomic appetite. Nature and leisure goes hand in hand while you feast your eyes on its rich Historical sights. Make sure not to leave Trier without sampling on its best wines & bread.

There is so much more to tell about Trier but im not gonna write that here. It’s up to you to create your own memories when you visit this place. If you want to plan your next Europe destination particularly in Trier, then this might help you. Check Here.

Do you want to know more why Moselle Valley should be in your list for Top places to visit in 2016? My post  Why I fell in Love with Moselle would give you more ideas how to enjoy yourself in the charming wine region of Rhineland Palatinate.