With the weather so crappy of late, we have been restricting our explorations to close to home. Luckily, we have the Deutsches Museum Verkehrzentrum just five minutes’ walk from our house! The Deutsches Museum is a museum of science and industry, and it has several different locations around Munich. (You’ll recall that we went to their aviation center at Flugwerft Schleissheim a few weeks back.) The one near us in Schwanthalerhöhe is dedicated to all things transportation. Because of Covid, you have to purchase your ticket ahead of time online and wear your mask at all times inside.
There are three halls. The first one is devoted to urban transport, and it was full of cars and motorbikes. I was very excited to finally see a Trabi in real life!
Some more highlights from the first hall. I’m not really much of a motorhead, so I tend to look at these machines in purely aesthetic terms. I am definitely drawn to retro designs! I loved that blue “Vicky” German moped, and if such a thing were available today, I’d be buying one. We also had a laugh when we saw the Goggomobile. (There’s a famous Australian commercial that features one.)
There were a lot of bicycles too, including some very unusual designs. This one with the springs was meant to provide a smoother ride (since it had solid tires rather than pneumatic). I did a double-take when I saw these other ones. “Is that… crochet??” I said. It was. These are “Damenfahrrad” (women’s bikes) that featured a “skirt guard” to keep your skirts from getting caught in your wheels! They were really beautiful, and each one was unique.
There was one other special vehicle we couldn’t resist checking out… a Waymo self-driving car. “So this is what I’m meant to watch YouTube ads in while I’m whizzing down the Autobahn in the glorious future??” To be honest, it’s really goofy looking. I had thought they were the size of a Smart car, but they’re actually much bigger. With that camera wart on top, I think it was taller than me! This looks like something from Playskool.
The second hall was themed around “travel,” and it had more cars along with horse-drawn carriages and full-sized train cars. You could walk alongside and above some of them. The other guests were mostly families, and little kids were really going nuts for the trains!
We are so embarrassing. There were several points at which we would point to something and mutter to each other, “Now that looks like something from Indiana Jones…” Here are some of those.
I fell in love with some more over-the-top retro car designs.
The third hall – “Mobility and technology” had some very special exhibits of rare and concept vehicles. I don’t think I’d ever seen a “Tin Lizzie” (Model T Ford) in person before! I was also intrigued by an exhibit of the “VaMP” – a self-driving car from the 1990’s. I’ll admit I burst out laughing when I looked in the back seat. It was loaded up with desktop computers with multiple monitors and keyboards! (There was another one in the passenger seat!) But apparently this thing was able to drive from Munich to Copenhagen with the human driver only having to take over a couple times. No GPS – just computer vision! It even changed lanes! I had no idea people were tackling this problem 25 years ago…
There was also an interactive area filled with kids where you could watch a model train, fire up an engine, or try different types of brakes. I spotted a pennyfarthing and, to our delight, it had a sign nearby inviting you to climb aboard! I had the first go, and sadly, I couldn’t even make it with my bum knees. The Snook managed to clamber up there though, finally fulfilling his destiny as That Beardy Hipster.
To finish our day, we used our normal-sized bikes to ride over to the Augustiner Keller, the third-largest beer garden in Munich. (It has 5000 seats!) Unfortunately with the cold weather, the only people outside were a few lonely smokers. We headed in and enjoyed a quick “hoibe” (that’s Bayerische for half-liter of beer). We will definitely have to go back for a full meal sometime!