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The Bavarian Adventures Of A Tea-Loving Dave - April 2015

Discussion in 'Germany' started by TeaLovingDave, 3 Mar 2015.

  1. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    In a little over a month I am going to be embarking on another zoo-visiting trip outside of the United Kingdom - this time, to Bavaria and the Austrian borders - and once again I will be travelling with my girlfriend Helly, her parents and a family friend.

    I'm making good progress on putting the final touches to my report on my last trip now - only an account of Leipzig and a final summary of Tierpark Berlin left for me to post - so I fully expect to be finished by the time I embark on my NEXT adventure! And like my previous trip, I felt it would be wise for me to post a thread asking for any advice, pointers and guidance which members of Zoochat may be able to give me in advance - in point of fact it is all the more important due to the fact I know a lot *less* about this area of Germany, and the collections in this area, than I did about Berlin and the surrounding area. Naturally I will use this thread to post an account of my trip upon my return, too :)

    You may ask why I am visiting this area, given the above - it's pretty simple; Helly's parents were interested in visiting Bavaria, and Munich in particular!

    The flights and hotel rooms are booked, so the timespan of my visit is locked in: we will be flying to Munich on April 8th 2015 and returning to the UK on April 16th 2015. I've roughly planned which collections myself and Helly will be doing, but not decided on what order I will do them in barring one or two exceptions. As such, although the following list will hopefully be accurate as to *where* we will visit, the *when* is much more plastic.

    April 8th: Arrive into Munich
    April 9th: Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich)
    April 10th: Wilhelma (Stuttgart)
    April 11th: Alpenzoo Innsbruck
    April 12th: Vogelpark Olching (open only on Sundays so I'll either do it then, or not at all)
    April 13th: Tiergarten Hellbrunn / Haus den Natur (Salzburg)
    April 14th: Tiergarten Nürnberg
    April 15th: Zoo Augsburg
    April 16th: Return to UK

    However, as noted above I know little about many of the cities and collections I plan to visit - as such anything which you can think of to tell me about will be useful. I've done a fair bit of picking people's brains via FB and through private messages, but there is no such thing as knowing too much in this regard.

    If there are particular things we should be aware of in terms of the transport system, the regional culture or getting around in the cities we will be spending time in - I want to know :)

    If there are odd little things tucked away which are easy to miss in a given collection - I want to know :)

    If there is a nice place to eat or something which merits our doing sightseeing in a given location after visiting a collection - I want to know :)

    If anyone can suggest a collection which is worth doing instead of one of the collections I plan - I want to know :)

    Basically, any advice I can get, I will be happy to take. The only collections which are non-negotiables are Munich, Alpenzoo and Stuttgart; everything else is plastic and based on feedback and advice. One thing I *will* be doing is writing an extra-detailed enclosure-by-enclosure account of Alpenzoo, akin to the account I wrote for Magdeburg Zoo, as considering this is a collection many people rave about it is amazing there is literally no discussion of the place on Zoochat, and only about two-dozen photographs.

    I await your input, Zoochatters :D
     
  2. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    At stuttgart, don't waste too much time looking at the kaka because they're only bloody parrots :p (and be aware there's more than one, I nearly had a heart attack when I saw 2nd and 3rd)

    In seriousness, stuttgart is a fantastic collection, you'll enjoy :)
     
  3. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd be interested to hear your tips and pointers as to a) how best to get to the zoo from the Hauptbahnhof b) how much time to allow for this and c) how much fluency in English you found the zoo staff to have :p though if you coped I suppose I will be fine as I can understand more German than you!
     
  4. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    We just got a taxi :p, but I think there is a stop outside the zoo for train/tram. I could cope ok but had Ang with me. There was a member of staff who we kept bumping into and he was exceptionally helpful, providing us with different bits of info on different parts of the zoo and even booking us a taxi with an English speaking driver back to the hauptbahnhof.
     
  5. chizlit

    chizlit Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest Vienna, but as it's over for hours by train from Munich plus extra time getting to the zoo, I'd say it's not a starter, however in my view Vienna Zoo is in the Euro top 5.
     
  6. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    From the Hauptbahnhof to Wilhelma there are regular trams / s-bahns departing in the basement of the station (where they sell nice Streusselschnecke :p), I takes about 15 minutes to get to the zoo, the tram stops at 1 minute walk from the main entrance.

    I would say Nürnberg is also non-negotiable as many people rate this as one of the best German zoos. I have not yet visited myself, but I will visit in June ;)

    Vienna is too far away, There are regular direct connections to Vienna, but they take 4 hours and are at least 29 euro's pp one-way and there are very limited cheap tickets. So you will end up paying a lot more if you do not reserve 3 months in advance. The same goes for the travels to Nurnberg, Stuttgart and Insbruck, unless you use a schöenes Wochenende ticket (or for Nurnberg a Bayernticket, which is cheaper for 2 persons).

    I do not know how long it is to Stuttgart by train from München, I have done it years back, but I remember it was quite long (over 3 hours?? with an IC), so that could be quite costly and as the Wilhelma takes a whole day to visit, it would be a long long day. Imo it is however a zoo that is really worthwhile to visit and I would rank it as the third german zoo (after Leipzig & Cologne), from what i have visited ;).
     
  7. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    I would say that both Tiergarten Nürnberg and Zoo Augsburg should not be dropped,both have very good reason to visit the first because of its Dolphins and Manatee,as for Augsburg all I have to say is Bird House,and that coming from me is high praise!
     
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I am looking into getting advance tickets for Stuttgart and Innsbruck at the very least. All the other collections are covered by the Bayernticket I believe :)

    It *is* a bit of a long slog, and travel time will mean I will likely have to miss stuff, but I think it will still be worthwhile :)

    Most likely to be dropped is, as I imply above, Vogelpark Olching :) followed by the two collections in Salzburg. Much as I very much want to visit these collections, if travel costs or Helly's stress levels mount up, these are the ones I can best live without!
     
  9. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    If you want to get tickets in advance, book them NOW via the website of Deutsche Bahn, as the prices will only increase more and more.

    Regarding Salzburg. I once planned to visit both Haus der Natur and the Tiergarten on one day, but I just did not make it, especially when incorporating your traveling distance, I would say that you should pick one of the 2. I visited the Haus der Natur about 10 years ago and I was impressed by the size of it, the aquarium and terrarium part are not too big, however the whole museum is. If you choose Haus der Natur, you can also visit the very nice inner city of Salzburg. Tiergarten Hellbrun is a pleasant zoo, with it's biggest drawpoint being the scenery. It is built on a mountain slope and you can get good views of the Alps (and of free flying griffion vultures). The collection itself is not too inspiring or large but still nice. Btw. Salzburg is also one of the very few west European cities who still have a trolley bussystem ;)

    Honestly I am a bit surprised that you did not pick Western Germany (+ the eastern part of the Netherlands) as you next goal, as there are some species like boto, douc langur and others that probably will not be around much longer and the travelling distances are a lot smaller ;)
     
  10. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    Hi TLD,

    this is quite an ambitious and potentially quite stressful itinerary, but nevertheless doable (been there, done all of them couple of times). You might have to rush about now and then.

    1. Shed the notion that the Deutsche Bahn is reliable and always on time. It might have been in the 1950s, and it's still more punctual than the train systems in various other countries, but it isn't reliable. An allegedly 2,1 hour drive from Munich to Stuttgart via ICE will usually take at least 2,5 h. Try to avoid changing trains.

    2. I assume that you'll rely on public transport. This might slow you down and decrease your flexibility (you won't be able to visit the awesome White Sausage Thursday at Baindlkirch :D), but also allows you to avoid the insanity of driving in Munich and the Autobahnen from Munich to Stuttgart /Nuremberg, which are notorious for occasional heavy traffic jams (spent some time in them). Be aware that the Bayernticket does not include any travels with the "fast" train system ICE. You will have to use the more sluggish IC and EC. You can't use it to go to Stuttgart (different federal state, aka Baden-Württemberg) and Innsbruck, BUT you can use it to get to Salzburg.

    3. Salzburg's Haus der Natur is a very nice mix of natural history museum, aquarium and reptile zoo. Salzburg Zoo offers the already mentioned great scenery and free-ranging griffon vultures. Like lintworm wrote: it's possible, but tough to do both on one day. Better choose one and visit the touristic Getreidegasse there.

    If you're not much into birds, skip Olching. You can go to Wildpark Poing, Munich's lovely botanical garden (including a very camera-friendly giant gourami), Munich's SeaLife centre (standard), the museums of paleontology/natural history (Nymphenburg) or Hunting instead or book a guided tour to Munich's reptile shelter (including a nile softshell turtle).
    Startseite - Wildpark Poing
    http://www.botmuc.de/de/
    Start
    Paläontologie München
    www.jagd-fischerei-museum.de/Start Willkommen im Deutschen Jagd- und Fischereimuseum München
    Auffangstation für Reptilien, München e.V.
    https://www.visitsealife.com/munchen/

    As previously mentioned by others, Stuttgart's Wilhelma and Tierpark Nuremberg are worth a visit. Zoo Augsburg has improved significantly over the years and displays interesting species (two species of slow loris, East Caucasian tur, Ruby-topaz hummingbird, Magellanic penguin, Mindanao water monitor, Striped hyena, Forest buffalo kept together with Hamadyras baboon etc.). I'd recommend a visit.

    I assume that you want to use Munich as your "base camp", to which you intend to return from day trips to the different zoos. It's possible, but time-consuming and pricey. What about doing Munich-Augsburg-Stuttgart-Nuremberg-Munich, with an overnight stay in Stuttgart and Nuremberg, respectively?

    Culinary specialities you can enjoy when staying overnight:
    Stuttgart
    Regionale Spezialitäten aus Stuttgart und der Region
    Nuremberg
    Tourismus Nürnberg: Nürnberger Spezialitäten

    Otherwise, what lintworm wrote: the sooner you book your train tickets, the better. And think about reserving seats when going to Stuttgart. Or get a bus ticket

    https://www.busradar.com/

    There are also other facilities in Bavaria that might be of interest for you, like Hof, Regensburg, Straubing, Ulm etc., but rather tricky to visit via public transport.

    Let me know if you need further information.

    And if you decide to rent a car-enjoy the German Autobahn. ;)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRgzr3gc7Ys
     
    Last edited: 4 Mar 2015
  11. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    @Batto, Bayernticket does not include IC or EC trains only "nahverkehr", which means RE and RB.... Except from that you are completely right. It is indeed a very interesting option to check if there aren't any busses going from Munich to the places you want to visit. Long distance busses are getting increasingly common and are even getting quite comfortable and they are in general much cheaper than trains ;)
     
  12. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    @lintworm: so you have been to White Sausage Thursday at Baindlkirch, too, to verify my statement? ;)
    You can add the option of using EC or IC to the Bayernticket. I haven't done it myself, but friends of mine claim to have done it in the past. But you're correct; the normal version limits you to the RE and RB as well as Trambahn, S-Bahn, U-Bahn or that strange yellow hybrid of both Stuttgart calls an "U-Bahn" ;). So be prepared to plan in some extra time.

    The long distance bus option has taken off considerably in Germany over the last years and poses quite a competition to the DB. Its disadvantage is its reliance on said German Autobahnen and thus the danger of delays due to traffic jams. And don't believe the ads; the WLAN on the bus hardly ever works.
     
    Last edited: 4 Mar 2015
  13. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    Regarding Munich:
    Your gf's parents should think about getting a City Tour Card while in Munich.
    MVV - Tourists & Leisure Passengers

    Nymphenburg Palace is good for a nice stroll. So is the English garden, with the last remains of Munich's first zoo located next to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. You probably won't see its famous nudists in April, but the surfers at the Eisbach bridge should be there.
    On Sundays, the entrance fee for the Pinakothek museums is reduced; be aware of long queues.

    In general, Munich is a rather posh and pricey city with plenty of snobs (originating from other German cities, but claiming to be "echte Münchner") that is continously losing its original Bavarian character (for better or worse). Some remains of it can be seen at local markets, the largest one being the Viktualienmarkt. If you eat meat, try the horse butcher there. The collection of offered honeys at the Viktualienmarkt is also pretty impressive; so are the (very pricey) exotic fruits. From there, go up the tower of Old Peter's church for a nice overview over Munich.

    Worth a visit while in Munich: the German Museum and the beautiful Müllersche Volksbad (one of the nicest public baths in Germany).
     
  14. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Request from Pertinax......Some photos of the design of the new Ape house at Stuttgart(I've heard its fairly old fashioned actually), and the Gorilla enclosures at Munich and Nurnberg would be appreciated among all your other photos...:)

    I've been to all the above Zoos and the Alpenzoo too, but so long ago there is probably not too much comparison with how they are now!
     
  15. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I’m sure that you will enjoy Stuttgart (Wilhelma) Zoo; it is probably my third favourite German zoo after the two Berlin zoos and I have fond memories of the days when Stuttgart’s collection included elephant seal, mountain tapir and proboscis monkey. As you know, it is a combined zoo and botanical gardens so visiting in spring should be a good time to see the horticultural displays too.

    The new ape accommodation was under constriction when I was there last, so I haven’t seen it completed yet although I will be visiting again this autumn as ZooHistorica will be held there this year. I would be interested in your opinions of this new development in advance of my visit.

    As others have mentioned, it is possible to catch a tram from Stuttgart railway station to Stuttgart (Wilhelma) Zoo; it is only a short ride. However it is a very pleasant walk from the station to the zoo through an attractive park; there is also a zoology museum within the park which is well worth visiting if time permits.

    I think that Stuttgart, though, is really a zoo that demands two full days to see it properly so, since it appears that you will not have much time, it will probably be best to get to the zoo as soon as possible, either by tram or taxi.
     
  16. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    Hi TLD,
    was the provided information what you were looking for? A little feedback would have been nice...
     
  17. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Tickets for our travel to and from Stuttgart on Friday 10th April, and Innsbruck on Saturday 11th April, have now been booked, and for very reasonable prices. So that is one less thing to worry about.

    Duly noted - I will decide which to prioritise, then.

    Myself and Helly were interested in a visit there, or possibly Prague and the Czech Republic, but Claire and Helly's parents rather wanted to visit Bavaria so we decided to go with this option. Much as I'd very much like to see Boto and Douc Langur, it's the overall experience that matters rather than the lifeticks - so we'll always have another chance to visit these areas even if those species are gone.

    I'll add all of these to the list of places which myself and Helly may consider doing if we decided to skip Olching, or indeed which Helly's parents and Claire might want to do :)

    Our hotel rooms in Munich are already booked, so it would be pricier to get new hotel rooms elsewhere at this point than it would be to use Munich as a "base camp" :p

    I'll be sure to suggest all these options to them - we're arriving into Munich very early on the first day so myself and Helly will quite likely look into some of these too.

    Our hotel is just opposite the Viktualienmarkt, so we will certainly be spending plenty of time there!

    Duly noted - I'll be doing a full trip report anyhow, so this will not be difficult for me to achieve!

    Lucky bastard :p :D

    Everyone's feedback thus far has been very useful :)

    If anyone has suggestions as to optimum routes through any of the collections I am planning, species which we have to ensure we do not miss and which are hidden away in obscure corners, and any other tips relating to how best to "do" the collections, this would be very much appreciated! Recommendations for places to eat in Munich, or local foods which we should try in the other cities and towns, would also be of interest.

    Otherwise, just getting any thoughts and tips that occur to people will be nice :)
     
  18. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Any information from people who have visited Vogelpark Olching would be good, on reflection :)
     
  19. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    I've. See my above suggestion.
     
  20. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    As far as I can see, all you have said about the place is that if I don't like birds I might want to skip it :p assuming you mean the post which I quoted and replied to above.