After a pleasant (but wild) stay in Amsterdam during last year’s April vacances, I headed out to my next destination on my itinerary: Munich. I would be meeting up with my parents there, as they were planning to visit me while also visiting Europe: we would be traveling together for the rest of the time, spending about three nights in Munich and taking day trips out to neighboring places before boarding a cruise ship for a tour along the Danube River. Lots of things to do in such a short amount of time, but it would be a rewarding one.
As a capital of Bavaria, a German state located in the southeast of the country, Munich is not only home to a large 1.3 million people, but also to the annual Oktoberfest and famously-crafted beers, a famous one being that from Augustiner-Keller, which I actually went to with my parents during our first night there. Culturally and historically-rich, the city is also considered one of the leading ones in Germany in terms of modern technology and international relations.
I took an afternoon flight over from Amsterdam, arriving in Munich around 17h00. From the airport, I took a shuttle to the city center, stopping right in front of the central train station (“Hauptbahnhof”) and just crossed the street over to the hotel that I would be staying in with my parents (who’d booked the hotel and basically everything for the trip, which I greatly took advantage of, but also greatly appreciated!).
My parents had already arrived and checked into the hotel earlier that day, so I met up with them outside in the lobby; we rejoiced after having not seen each other for almost seven months. We went up to our room where I dropped off my belongings and together we headed out to dinner, making our way to the famous brewery-restaurant Augustiner-Keller. It’s one of the oldest beer-gardens in the city, and we had a hearty dinner which, of course, had to consist of beer!
Now, I’m not a huge beer drinker, but when in Germany, I was open to trying it out. I ordered a pint along with pork knuckle, and altogether it turned out to be an *extremely* filling dinner, to the point that I had a little potbelly going on at the end of it! If I had the chance to roll out and back to my hostel on my round belly, I would have totally done so! Nevertheless, the food was good, and once we got back to the hotel, I was ready to turn in for the night.
The following day was our first (and only) full day in Munich, so we decided to make the most of it. We started off by heading into the historic city center, where we popped into a bakery-cafe for a breakfast consisting of rich, buttery pastries and coffee (water for me). We then made our way to Marienplatz, the main historic square where the Neues Ratshaus (“New Town Hall”) was located and contained a glockenspiel which played once a day at 11h00 (at least during the winter and spring months).
We arrived too early for the glockenspiel show, so we wandered around for a bit as we were killing time. Popped into a few of what seemed like a dozen churches in the heart of the city– Frauenkirche, Peterskirche, and Asamkirche— checking out both the inside and outside. Architecturally-speaking, Asamkirche has got to be my favorite, with its elaborate interior just absolutely shimmering with gold and silver. View-wise, Peterskirche was the best; it was about 1-2 euros to climb the tower, but it was definitely worth as I was able to see the red rooftop views of the city from above. Didn’t expect German churches to be impressive, but they were pleasantly so!
Around 11h00, we returned to Marienplatz where the glockenspiel show was just about to start. Essentially, it consists of moving puppets rotating around in a circle as they recount the history of Bavaria. I admit, it was very cute, not to forget informative!
Next, we headed over to the Residenz, a former palace of Bavarian kings which is today a museum featuring over one hundred rooms and opulent halls which were just lovely. My parents and I spent about 90 minutes to 2 hours touring the entire place, funneling through the rooms and hallways filled with plush bedrooms, silverware and china, and richly-decorated walls. We also visited the Treasury which contained crowns, scepters, and jewelry from the royal past. Admittedly, it was overwhelming, but also pleasantly lovely in architecture: I especially enjoyed the Antiquarian Room and the Ancestral Gallery.
It was around 13h00 when we finished up our visit of the Residenz. We hadn’t had lunch yet, so we decided to head to a bakery for some quick pastries to fill our stomachs, as means of fueling us for the last stretch of our visit for the day. We headed to the Nymphenburg Palace, considered the main summer residence of Bavarian kings back in the day. It was located just a bit outside of the city center, so we took the tram over. The palace turned out to be smaller than I’d thought, and we ended up not going inside of it, choosing instead to stay outside and wander around the massive gardens with lakes and forests to complete it. Nothing much to it, although it was pretty; I think we were quite tired by then, so we didn’t have as much energy to see as much as we could have at Nymphenburg.
Around 16h30, we took the tram back to the city center, where we got an early dinner at a restaurant near Marienplatz. I ordered a schnitzel (thin fried meat usually made from pork), which was amazing- crispy and piping hot! Served with some lightly-boiled potatoes, it proved to be a filling, enjoyable meal.
Our meal done and over with, at last we returned to our hotel to relax for the rest of the night, tired but happy to have seen so much in one day. Again, it would be our only day to visit Munich, since we would be taking day trips elsewhere for the other two days.
Munich turned out to be one of my favorite cities on that trip; I wasn’t expecting anything from it, but it ended up surprising me in so many ways! From the architecture to the food, it went above and beyond my expectations, and I’m glad to have visited such a beautiful place in Germany. Before, I hadn’t had much interest in visiting the country, but afterwards, I was interested in exploring more of what it had to offer!
More to come soon- next up: Salzburg, Austria!