Munich , Day 1 We get “Suited”

We left Berchtesgaden this morning but know we’ll be back. The rain prevented us from doing a couple of things, but did not detract from the beauty of the mountains, the tall, deep forests, the meadows bursting with yellow summer flowers. The rain in the area, combined with snow melt had obviously swelled all of the rivers and washed out at least one part of a road we traversed.

Driving on the A8 Autobahn to Munich, we had a glimpse of something we hadn’t seen for a few days, blue skies. On the way in, we made a stop to fill the gas tank. A little under 7.5 gallons (28.27 liters) was $56.67 or $7.57/gallon. Brent (North Sea oil) used in European refining is about $10/bbl higher than US WTI, but with 158 liters/bbl, that represents only $0.06/liter of the price difference. Crude in general represents about 56% of the pump prices, with the balance of the cost representing costs of refining/marketing and taxes. Oil prices aside, European prices are more a function of tax policy, with taxes representing 64% of the pump price (France, 2017) vs 17% in US. We saw some of the revolt against price increases in France when Macron tried to increase fuel prices, which helped precipitate the “gilet jaune” movement. US consumers would probably react the same if US tax policy were to impose such levels of taxes, where the US doesn’t tax fuel as heavily. The European rates seem to be used more to regulate consumption/encourage efficiency, where we now see more Americans choosing SUV type vehicles (inherently less efficient) exactly because the US pump prices are cheap (US retail gas was recently $2.86/gallon). As much as I’d like not to pay more, the US does not have an energy policy centered on the environment or energy efficiency, even though, the US is now net “energy independent“. IMHO, US energy policy as it regards the environment is completely wrong headed. Where Europe has a much better mass transit infrastructure (trains, subway), for the most part, little of this exists in the US (meaning you have to drive).

We arrived in Munich and dropped off the car at my favorite garage (though I didn’t have to drive up six floors) and walked the couple of blocks over to the Hauptbahnhof to pick up a coffee and figure out how to get to our hotel.

We’re staying in a bit of a different area than usual this time. Over the years, we’ve stayed at any number of places in Munich, but they’ve always been within a half mile of the rail station, it’s just so convenient! But this time we’re out a bit, but only three stops on the UBahn, not far from the Englischer Garten. I was going to use Apple Maps for the last bit of walking directions (it sends directions to the Apple Watch), but as soon as I put in the directions on my phone, my watch said I’d arrived. Duh, it’s across the street. Should look up once in a while 😉. It’s quieter, though still not far to get back to the central part of Munich and, we got an upgrade to a full suite.

If you look just to the right of the cream colored tower in the center of the photo, you’ll see the onion domed towers of the Frauenkirche. Late afternoon, the skies have cleared off a bit more and it is now partly cloudy rather than cloudy with patches of blue.

While sitting in the lobby of the hotel lounge, enjoying a happy hour glass of wine, a party nearby (obviously not Americans) overheard us disparaging Trump. We apologized for him. They bought us a glass of wine to commiserate or in sympathy.

I picked up today’s Süddeutsche Zeitungnewspaper at the hotel. I needed some frustration, but we’ll see how much I can understand.

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