Hauptbahnhof. It has to be my favorite German word.
Feeling adventurous, I decided to fly directly to Munich and check out the city before going to Bonn for an appointment. This meant a five hour train ride via the ICE, the express service which gets up to a thrilling 157 mph between Frankfurt and Cologne (the speed staved off the increasing jet lag and my need to nod off).
There are two places I check out in every town: the market, and the train station. Like so many German post-war stations, it was built in cheaply, quickly, in the International style. Supposedly it incorporates portions of the old 19th century station, but the only glimpse I saw of this was some glazed tile in a stairway leading to the basement a la Penn Station (see my posts on NYC Penn Station here and here). What I did notice was the good old rich railroad station atmosphere that we miss in so many American stations. A glassed in food hall offered counter service a la Fred Harvey and Harvey Houses (see my post here). A full restaurant sat in a vaulted space at the end of the corridor (perhaps an old portion of the station?). And there were old school lockers to stow your luggage while you saw the town.
Here’s a few visuals from my time at Munchen Hbf.