I wasn’t quite sure where to put this blog… I’ve been writing country by county to this point, yet my time in Germany was split by Czech and Austrian adventures. So instead of tacking Munich on to the end of my ramblings about Berlin, I’ve decided it will get its own little post. And I reckon it deserves it.
We arrived on Wednesday afternoon from Salzburg, only a couple of hours by bus. In the evening, our Busabout guide kindly showed a few of us around the city, as a way to give us some grasp of the orientation of things. A new Busabout mate and I then went and had dinner at the Augustiner brewery, which I understand is amongst the most famous in Munich. It didn’t disappoint.
Being my only full day in Munich, I was keen to make the most of Thursday. Unfortunately it poured with rain. Nonetheless, Matt (aforementioned new Busabout friend) and I braved a bike tour around the city. Only two other people were as silly as us. When I wasn’t thinking about my poor wet feet, or my soaking jeans, I enjoyed the day. Munich has some amazing sites to see. The neo-gothic New Town Hall, which dominates the central Marienplatz, resembles a cathedral built many centuries ago – even though it was only completed in the early 20th century. The old royal residence is predictably grand, and the churches are brilliant inside and out.
Munich also has a great deal of history, as our guide capably conveyed. It was the setting for a lot of Hitler’s work, and like Berlin, this is not something the city shies away from. But the city has an interesting story well before that, stretching back to its foundation in the 12th century.
We also visited the English garden, which is the largest park in any city in the northern hemisphere, including New York’s Central Park. It was gorgeous in the rain, and I only wish I could have spent some time there on a sunny day. Interesting features include locals surfing in the river, and an area for naked sunbathing. Fortunately, given the weather, there were no sunbathers of any form.
The tour finished off at the Hofbrauhaus, which is perhaps the most famous place to visit in Munich. It’s a beer hall of epic proportions serving beers by the litre. Sure, it’s touristy, but it’s also a whole lot of fun. The beer is good and the atmosphere can’t be matched elsewhere. It was a perfect place for Matt and I to dry off for an hour or two.
The beer must have worked some magic, because when we came out it had stopped raining. I wasn’t sure it ever would. So we made the most of this brief window and climbed up the tower of St. Peter’s church. We were told if the day was clear we could have seen as far as the Alps. Although the sky was grey and there were no mountains in sight, we had a great panoramic view of Munich. By sheer luck, we were there on the hour, and could watch the performance of the Town Hall’s glockenspiel. I didn’t find the musical show to be overly inspiring, but I think it’s fair to say we had the best view in the city.
On Friday morning, to my delight, the sun was out. I had a few hours left in Munich before I needed to get to the airport, so I decided to walk around again and see the sights in the sunlight. What a difference the sun makes! It certainly made for some better photos than the ones I’d taken the day before. I also took the opportunity to visit a few places I hadn’t seen, including the synagogue, and the viktualienmarkt. The latter is a vibrant market of fresh food and other bits and pieces. I always love a market and enjoyed picking out some fruit and lunch from the various stalls.
All in all, Munich was lots of fun. New friends, great beer, cool sites, good vibes. The large amount of rain managed to dampen my experience only a little. Now, I’m in Switzerland. I’m head over heals with this place and already itching to write about it, but I must resist for now. Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you again soon.