A look back to John and I’s first major trip in Germany!
When: April 2013
Hotel: King’s Hotel First Class
Why Munich: John and I discussed a few ideas of where we wanted to go for our first trip together in Germany, and Munich was on both of our lists. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t as excited about Munich at first because every time I heard that city name, my first thought would go back to the 1972 Olympics and scary images of crazy terrorists in stocking masks on balconies. Unfair to hold the city against that one memory? Absolutely – but because that was really all I knew about the town, aside from the fact that it was also the host for Oktoberfest, I wasn’t really sure what we would find. But, the unknown sometimes holds the best surprises, so I thought – why not see what Munich had to offer?
Regardless of my “iffiness” on what Munich would be like, I was super excited to have my husband in country with me (he had just arrived a couple of days before) and was even more excited to be taking a road trip with him! Munich is about a two-hour drive from Stuttgart and we got on the road! Now, of every wonderful thing you hear about the Autobahn – no police, no speed limits – you never hear about the horrible traffic jams, or “Staus” in German, that occur fairly regularly and most of the time for no apparent reason at all. So of course, as we were driving down, making great time and excited to get there – boom, we hit a Stau. It was a complete standstill – which in Germany, is really just an opportunity to turn the car off, get out, stretch your legs, have a smoke and walk the dog. It’s actually quite entertaining and a great way to distract yourself from the fact that you are sitting in a parking lot instead of the wondering why in the world we aren’t moving.
After sitting for 45 minutes for no apparent reason but getting a nice chance to take pictures, we were back on our way to Munich and thankfully hit no other issues along the way! After dropping our bags off at the hotel, King’s Hotel First Class (which hit my three hotel musts: affordable, good location and good reviews on TripAdvisor), we set off to explore the town!
Munich is in the heart of Bavaria – which means beer (bier), pretzel (bretzel) and sausage (wurst) are king – which means our destination, Andescher am Dom, was the perfect spot for dinner. The Kloster Andechs sits outside of Munich, and is fully operated by Monks at a monastery where they also brew their own beer. Luckily, they opened a restaurant in the heart of Munich, next to the beautiful Frauenkirche.
No trip to Munich is complete without a trip to the Hofbrauhaus, which is entrenched in Munich’s steep history. Dating back to the late 1500s, it was also one of the beer halls used by the Nazis to hold rallies before being almost completely destroyed in WWII. Most of Munich was destroyed in the war, but thankfully, the residents choose to rebuild it as it looked pre-war as opposed to making it look more modern. The city is too charming to imagine it any other way.
Day 2 was a full day of site-seeing:
First stop – The Munich Residenz
Lunch at the “Haxnbauer” the next day was trying out another Bavarian staple – the Schweinshaxe (Pork Knuckle); John ate it. Final report – the skin reminded him of pork rinds and the rest was, well, pork.
While walking around, we noticed a bunch of people on a lookout at the top of a steeple in the middle of the historic section. Let it be known that it was John’s idea to climb up the stairs!
We had no idea that there were more than 300 stairs to climb to get to the top (I counted on the way down, and while the exact number I can’t remember, I do believe it was around 350!) – and not just any stairs, tiny and windy stairs that were so cramped, you had no choice but to climb single-file…which made for especially interesting situations when people were coming back down! But I have to admit, the views were definitely worth it!
Final Impressions: I have to admit, Munich is one of my favorite places. We have been back there twice since our first visit – once with my mom, and more recently for Oktoberfest (more on that later – when we cover the amazing German festivals). The people are friendly, the energy of the city (or more specifically, the beer halls) is contagious and every time I have gone, I have discovered something new. There are still parts I want to go back for – to see a soccer game in the crazy space ship Allianz Stadium, watch the people who surf in the river that runs through the English Gardens in the middle of the city and to visit their Christmas Markt. Munich is just a fun and fascinating place. I am already looking forward to going back!