We went from the land of beater Fiats, Alfa Romeos, and scooters, to the land of BMWs, Mercedeses, and Audis. From the land of pasta, pizza, and wine, to the land of meat, potatoes, and beer. Food-wise, I don’t think I would survive in Munich for very long, but Jon was in heaven! I think I had more meat during our quick visit to Munich than I’ve had during several months in Italy!
Munich is constantly on the top ten most livable cities lists, and we could see why. It was clean, walkable, bikable, safe, affordable, and easily commutable. The list goes on and on.
After we arrived at our hotel, we ate dinner at a fondue restaurant. We cooked the meat, consisting of turkey, chicken, veal, and beef, in a pot of oil. Then, we dipped them in the sauces that they provided. Our dessert was real German chocolate melted into gooey hot goodness, which came with fruits and biscuits that we dipped in.
Soaking in Bavarian Culture
During the day, we went to the Englischer Garten (English Garden), which is a very large public park (bigger than Central Park). The name of it refers to the landscape gardening which was very popular in the 18th century.
With limited time in the park, we saw only a few sites and managed to get in a nice stroll. The city of Munich built The Japanese Teahouse to celebrate the 1972 Olympics. In the distance, we saw the Monopteros, which is a small, round, Greek style temple built in 1832. We also stumbled upon a waterfall that was created in 1815.
We passed by the Munich Residenz, which is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs. It is used today for visitors to see its architecture, room decorations, and displays of the royal collections.
In the center of Munich is the Marienplatz, which has been the main central square in Munich since 1158. The New Town Hall is a site to see in the square, and you really can’t miss it. The building is gothic and almost looks like it was built from wax drippings from a candle.
On the tower is the Glockenspiel. Everyday, at certain times, it chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century using 32 life sized figures and 43 bells. The top half shows a joust in honor of the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V (founder of the Hofbräuhaus) to Renata of Lorraine, with the Bavarian knight winning of course. The bottom half shows the Schäfflerstanz (the coopers’ dance), a dance that symbolizes perseverance and loyalty to authority through difficult times.
Since we had planned on coming back to Munich for Oktoberfest we bought traditional German outfits for ourselves. Jon has his lederhosen and I have my dirndl.
No trip to Munich would be complete without drinking in their famous beerhalls. The first one we went to was Augustiner Keller. Inside, it showcased a timber theme with big pine tables and benches, and animals (I hope fake, but probably not) as ornaments. The cellar glowed with warmth and the whole place had a very pleasant and relaxing feel to it.
The other beer hall we went to was the famous Hofbräuhaus. This hall is massive, with each room bigger than the next. Being that it was a midweek night in the winter we found ourselves seats pretty quickly and ordered beers from a “beer wench” passing by.
Beer in this house means you will get a liter of beer… a liter! I had to hold the mug with two hands! Traditional Bavarian music echoed through the hall while Jon and I looked around in amazement.
Future Plans in Munich
We really didn’t have that much time here. After celebrating Oktoberfest in the fall, we plan to set aside another day or two to see:
– Dachau Concentration Camp
– Olympia Park
– Neuschwanstein Castle
– BMW museum
We’re looking forward to our next trip to Munich! The following are some other pictures from our time in Munich.