Munich. Period. Full Stop. End of the Road. The Last of my Firsts. Miene Letzte.
Took the train from Vienna, Austria to Munich with a short stop in Salzburg – home of the Von Trapp Family. Since I’m not really a super Sound of Music fan, I decided to skip this. We also had to stop at another station because some guy decided to jump in front of the tracks. R.I.P.
One thing that I enjoyed about the 2-hour train ride was the scenic route from Austria back to Germany. All those hues of greens and blues.
Got in the city just in time for the worst heat wave in years. Thankfully the hotel was just 2 stops away on the S-Bahn. Hotel Jedermann was a cool hotel that was built in the 60’s. It had old decor but the rooms were modern. The biggest surprise was – wait for it – no AC. Yep, no AC and a heat wave. Felt like being back home in the Philippines. Had to sleep with the windows open and well, appropriate attire haha. Check out my review of Hotel Jedermann here: Where to Stay in Munich
The hotel had super awesome pillows and a great breakfast spread made of traditional Bavarian fare like cold cuts, crusty breads, cheeses, fish spreads, more cheese, fruits, random meat stuff, yogurt, pastries and salads. Some were not that tasty but the cold cuts were yummy!
Being super close to the Hauptbahnhof was very convenient. Not only did it have a lot of restaurants and coffee shops inside the station, you could go wherever you want – around the city or even to neighbouring towns, provinces. We hopped on a 2-hr train to Füssen to visit Castle Neuschwanstein. Read about my day trip here:
Neuschwanstein: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle
Munich is a large city. There are so many sights to see and beers to drink. Here’s a couple of must-visits and must-dos. Hope you can check them off your list and add more too. Enjoy!
From the station we took the U-Bahn to the city centre – Marienplatz – a large open square with the Old and New Town Hall right in the middle of it and lots of cafes and restaurants, most of which were pretty pricey.
The New Town Hall or Neues Rathaus is the seat of the local Munich government home to the city council, officers of the mayors and administration since 1874. The Rathaus is a magnificent structure. Done in the Gothic Revival architecture style, the town hall has 400 rooms and has a 100 meter long facade featuring statues and one of the city’s top tourist attractions – the Rathaus Glockenspiel – a clock that chimes and re-anacts stories from the 16th century every day at 11am. I didn’t really get the show but at the end of the 15 minute tune, a small golden rooster chirps three times.
Check this view of Marienplatz from www.santegidio.org
Here’s a close-up view of the Glockenspiel taken from www.notabletravels.com
Off to the side of the square is is the Old Town Hall or the Altes Rathaus. The building can trace its beginnings to the 1400’s, which makes it pretty old. It has undergone a lot of alterations until 1934 but the tower is actually older, built in the twelfth century as part of Munich’s fortifications. Today, the Old Town Hall building houses a fun toy museum- Spielzeugmuseum.
One of my favourite spots in the city is the Viktualienmarkt, a daily food market with more than 100 stalls offering local food, fruits, vegetables, flowers, meats, juices, spices, cheese, breads and more. Since I was missing deep fried pork from back home in the Philippines, I order myself one whole schweinshaxe, which is like the german version of the ‘Crispy Pata’ or pork leg. It came with mustard and ketchup. If only I had soy sauce and vinegar I would have died happy.
A picture of the Viktualienmarkt taken from www.expedia.com
Right beside the Viktualienmarkt is St. Peter’s Church, the oldest church in Munich’s history records. I went in, lit a candle, said a prayer of thanks and stood in awe at the ceiling, which was decorated with hundreds of paper birds. A beautiful sight.
To beat the heat, I drank a lot of Eis Kaffe or Coffee with Ice Cream. I forgot the name of the cafe but it was somewhere in the Angerviertel area. After all the natural and organic food and pasta and cheese, I was so happy to find out that the Germans especially the Bavarians loved pork. So with deep fried pork skin in hand and some cold Radler, I continued my tour of Munich.
Head down to Maximilianstraße and walk around the neighbourhood. From the S-Bahn, alight at the monument of Maximilian II of Bavaria. Walk a few blocks to St. Lukas Church with the big dome. Forget about shopping because this is one of the pricey areas in Munich.
Being the home to the world’s biggest beer festival- the Oktoberfest- Munich is of course also home to some of the best breweries in the world. If you are in the city, you MUST NOT MISS a visit to the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, Munich’s oldest and famous beer halls built in in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian I. So I got lost and went in through the back door and found like dozens of half naked men. Oops wrong door.
Anyway, the hundreds of years old Hofbräuhaus is a local watering hole with a lot of old dudes leaving their personal steins stored inside the hall. I ordered a couple of mugs of their Radler – original helles light beer and lemon soda mix. One of the server ladies came by with some hot pretzels so I bought one just to look cool but blergh, it was like eating a a crusty loaf of salt.
I would like to take this moment to thank the Lord, the Bavarians, the people of Munich for beer. By glass, mug and liter. The best beer. Cold beer. Citrusy Radler. The answer to life. Prost!
As the famous Hofbräuhaus song goes “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus, oans, zwoa, g’suffa!” (“There’s a Hofbräuhaus in Munich—one, two, down the hatch!” )
Here’s a picture the facade taken from www.ebn24.com
So the Bavarians have the weirdest taste in music and lederhosen. I’d also like to take this moment to thank the stars for Hard Rock Cafe, where the AC is as cold as the beer and the music is as hard as rock harhar. I spent more time here than anywhere else actually. They had an awesome playlist of System of a Down, Florence and the Machine, Led Zeppelin and Michael Jackson. Went perfectly with some more Radler. I think I drank more than my weight of beer during this whole trip.
Next stop is Nymphenburg Palace – Castle of the Nymphs and summer residence of the former rulers of Bavaria. Walked through the massive grounds, forest and gardens for so long that I thought I had to leave breadcrumbs. When I finally reached the actual palace, I was so tired from the heat that I took a few pictures, checked out the gift shop and walked towards the S-Bahn stop. After eating 2 scoops of ice cream, I hopped on the tram and headed to Hard Rock Cafe- the best place ever in Munich.
Munich is also infamous for one event in history – the 1972 Olympics. The actual Olympic Games was overshadowed by the tragedy that now known as the Munich massacre where eleven Israeli Olympic team members were taken hostage and eventually killed, along with a German police officer, by the Palestinian terrorists. Behind the stadium is a memorial for the victims.
The Olympiapark is still impressive after more than 40 years. The grounds are perfectly maintained although the stadium is looking a little rundown. It’s still better than anything back in my hometown of Cebu.
I wanted to visit the BMW Welt and the Allianz Stadium- home of Germany’s biggest football club Bayern Munich but then I also wanted to go back to the air-conditioned paradise that is the Hard Rock Cafe. Oh well…
Next thing I knew, it was time to leave. The Munich Airport is one of the best in the world. I have to agree. The Lufthansa lounge had free coffee and tea facilities for everyone. Now that’s awesome service.
After touring the city. Liters of beer. More walking. My eurotrip finally drew to a close.
It’s funny that at my last stop I didn’t have any pictures anymore. It’s like I stopped taking them. I didn’t even visit a single museum. I just drank beer. Lots of beer. I don’t even like beer. I think a part of me was already on the plane back home, excited to see my friends and family and tell them about the crazy 2 months that I spent away from home. The other half was sad, wanting to stay, refusing to believe that my sabbatical was over.
At the end of my comfort zone what did I find? Life.