Posted: 3/24/2008


    Diego Rivera is one of my favourite artists and on many occasions I used to visit the Hotel del Prado in Mexico City and gaze at the detail in his gigantic 50 foot long mural finished in 1964: DREAM OF A SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN ALAMEDA PARK. It depicts 3 stages of Mexican history, The Conquest, Partiriate Dictatorship and The Revolution of 1910. Alameda Park is opposite the hotel but when it was damaged in an earhquake a quarter century ago it was moved, with great difficulty, to Museo Diego Rivera.

   I love city parks and the largest park in Europe is The Englischer Garten in Munich, near to the University. I spent a few hours there yesterday and headed for the Chinesischer Turm, the exotic wooden pagoda with its outdoor restaurant and bier garten seating 7,000!!. The sun was shining and they were even advertising rental of deck chairs at E1.50 a half hour, with no takers. Kids on bicycles, skate boards and in line skates, dogs without leashes, including a three legged white one, visitors eating popcorn, chocolate covered hot nuts, and splendid horse drawn buggies with their drivers in top hats.  In the summer you see nudists but the only naked things this day were the trees, although some buds were trying to peek out. There are 100 bridges, 50 species of birds and 578 km of paths.

   It was also great to stroll around Olympic Park, built for the 1972 XX Olympics which to me is still the best Olympic venue ever. You have the Olympiastadion where I watched West Germany thrash USA 7-0 and two years later the same country came from behind to beat the Netherlands 2-1 at FIFA World Cup 1994. I spoke with the referee Jack Taylor straight after the match and he was so exhaused he was hoarse. He had given a penalty in the 1st minute. I also witnessed The Netherlands play Total Football in 1988 to win the European Nations Cup over the USSR.  There is also the Swim Halle where Mark Spitz won 4 individual and 3 team gold medals in 1972 only to be whisked out of the country after 5th September and the Black September hijacking at 31 Connally Strasse in the Olympic Village, about which I have written many times. The Olympia Arena is advertising Backstreet Boys on April 3, KISS on May 11, and Neil Diamond on May 27th.  Also in the park is an Aquarium, SoccaFive hall, an ice arena and a wonderful lake.

   There is a memorial to the slain Israelis at 31 Connallystrasse where the delegation lived. The village itself is now private apartments. There is another memorial on the way from Olymiastadion to the S Bahn station that I hadn't noticed before. It has the names of the Israeli athletes in Hebrew and also that of Anton Fliegarbauer, the German police brigadeer killed at the shoot out at Furstenfeldbruck military airport in an incompetant failed rescue attempt. Only 5 German marksmen with not night vision sights, no body armour and no helmets and no walkie talkies against 8 heavily armed terrorists.  11 Israelis died in the village and later executed by kalishinkovs or grenades.  There were some small stones placed in memory on this memorial. I searched in the woods and added a small stone myself in silent memory.

   Walking through Brundage Platz named after the  American IOC chairman in 1972 and down Lillian-Board-Weg, is THE SPECTACULAR new BMW WELT (WORLD) and museum,modern architecture at the cutting edge, Nearby is the BMW headquarters next to the factory employing 6,000 or more autoworkers. That building was used in a movie called RollerBall. I visited in 1974 with a group and was so impressed by some of the nicer BMW Beemers, that I later bought a second hand VW-well only 2 letters instead of 3!!!

   The new building is free to enter with lots of new auto models and cafes, restaurants and shops, and you can even order a test drive or pick up a car. I visited the 3rd floor BMW DO & DO CLUB Restaurant to look at the menu but was turned away by a rude ERMO-(easily replaceable minor official), a waiter who I would have sent to Tijuana to shine shoes and sell chiclets. However the charming Stephanie raced to the rescue, gave me the grand tour and some nice books. The museum next door doesn't open until June of this year when there will be an entrance fee, unlike the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart next to the HQ of VfB Stuttgart and the Gottlieb-Daimler World Cup stadion, but group prices are reasonable.