When planning our short trip to Munich I really wanted to make Shel happy. You know how that is, sometimes you just want to see a smile on the face of someone you love, even if it means you’ll be spending a few hours contemplating the endlessly fascinating intricacies of the internal combustion engine in the process. So right at the top of our Munich agenda was a visit to the stunning new BMW Museum.
It’s worth a visit for the architecture alone, even if cars and motorcycles aren’t your favorite thing. This building isn’t the actual museum, but it’s the center of the BMW World complex and is the place to go if you’re looking to buy a new car. Which, in theory, we weren’t.
Coming up from the subway the first things you see are the BMW World building
and what Shel called “the famous four cylinder building.” That bowl at the base of the four cylinders is the museum itself. I invite you to notice what completely escaped my attention at the time: the museum has no windows. Because, in concept, the outside world loses all importance once you’re inside the finely tuned and highly polished world of BMW.
You enter the museum into the gallery of BMW motorcycles, each one presented like a jewel in its perfect setting. In fact, this is the hallmark of the museum, so that even when you’re in a room full of nothing but engines you have the impression of being inside a jewel box, so shiny, sparkling, and well-lit are the objects presented for your enjoyment. There were hundreds of gorgeous motorcycles and cars, but I’m only going to show a few that I thought were especially pretty, lest you suffer a sudden bandwidth crisis.
Because really, if I’d tried to take a picture of every breathtaking little vehicle, we’d still be there today. This absolutely tiny delivery truck definitely made me wish I had something to deliver. The incredible windowless light inside the museum created a virtual lightbox
so that every car looked like a million dollars. Which, in fact, is probably not too far off what some of them would cost today, since there were many famous and flashy cars that had won famous races while being driven by famous drivers. I’m afraid that I yawned my way through that section, thus I cannot show you some of the fastest vehicles of their time. But if speed is your thing, get a ticket to Munich post haste.
Somehow, though, those weren’t the cars that really caught my eye. Just like a girl, I tended to prefer the classic and supremely elegant
and the impossibly cute. This tiny little guy has no doors on the side, you have to crawl in through the front panel.
Shel, though, was really looking for one he could take home with him. He had a BMW when we met, and although we’ve had Hondas, a Volvo, and a Peugeot since then, I could see him formulating a plan to Change All That.
I think the only reason that we didn’t end the day back in the BMW World Delivery Center was that lighting. It dawned on me that it had been a cool, silvery afternoon for far too long, and when we checked the time, we were in fact about to be late to Heinz’s fabulous dinner. Emerging into the pitch dark of an early Munich winter evening and racing to the subway, we somehow didn’t have time to stop off and test drive the new BMWs. But that day, I sense, is still in our future, unless I give in and let Shel buy a motorcycle first. A BMW, naturally.Road Trips in Europe
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