The first stop on my 10-day European adventure with my mom earlier this month was Munich. Germany has been on my bucket list for quite some time for several reasons (e.g. beer, castles, pretzels, history), the biggest of which being, it’s where my grandparents are from!
Fortunately, our overnight flight landed us in Munich just after 7 a.m. and the border control line wasn’t terribly long, so we had the whole day ahead of us to hit the ground running to explore. That is, after we checked into the wonderful Hotel München Palace and took a quick 20 minute power-nap.
When we woke up, we got public transportation directions to get over to the main city center, walked around for a good 20 minutes before finding the correct bus stop aaaaaand ended up hopping on the wrong 100 bus (didn’t realize there was more than one). When we finally made it to the city center, we headed straight for the famous Hofbräuhaus, which ended up being one of my favorite stops during our time in Munich.
While it’s mostly filled with tourists (locals do pop in as well), this place is a MUST VISIT! The tables are long and filled with seats, encouraging people to sit and chat while drinking beers bigger than their heads, and eating pretzels on the same level (see below for proof and excuse my terrible jetlag look)!
We ended up chatting with a nice couple from Minnesota for a bit, while enjoying the traditional German music and food (Wiener Schnitzel) and soaking in the atmosphere of the place. Since we got there around 11 a.m., it wasn’t too crowded, but as lunchtime approached, the seats quickly filled up and the place was buzzing!
Next, we headed a couple blocks over to check out the famous Marienplatz! With the Christmas markets in full force, the square was extra crowded, but still, so beautiful. We were bummed to have missed seeing the Glockenspiel in action (the clock only plays at 11 a.m. and noon) by a few minutes, so it’s just an excuse to plan another trip back!
We wandered around the area for about a half hour before meeting back in the center of the Marienplatz for a free 3-hour walking tour to learn more about Munich from a local and see some of the big sights nearby. I highly recommend signing up for one if you’re visiting a new city!
Along the way, we saw things like a church that was bombed during WWII (you could see the original brick, new brick, and some burnt bricks from bombs still), a super random Michael Jackson shrine (which apparently is maintained 24/7 – supposedly people have come in the middle of the night to disassemble the shrine and within an hour it’s completely filled up again), and the stunning Opera House!
By the time our walking tour ended, the sun had set, and although it was around dinnertime, we opted for dessert instead! When it comes to dessert, mom and I don’t play! We also couldn’t decide since everything looked good, so we picked a strawberry cake, apricot cake, and apple strudel to share. Hey, calories don’t count on vacation!
Needing some serious exercise afterward, we went to explore some of the Christmas markets in the area, including a medieval times market, with all kinds of things from centuries ago. It was quite a sight to see! And of course, more stands of sweets, which we couldn’t say no to!
Our second day in Munich had another early start, as we headed to the bus station for a day trip to see the beautiful Bavarian (German) castles! Since there’s a whole lot to talk about on that, I’m going to write a separate post on it (look for it next week), but for now, here’s a quick glimpse at my favorite, the famous Neuschwanstein Castle!
Fast forwarding to the evening, we decided to eat at a restaurant some locals recommended to us, Spatenhaus. To be honest, we weren’t too impressed with it, mostly because the service wasn’t too great. We think the waitress wasn’t a fan of our lacking ability to speak 100% German, but who knows.
Post-dinner, we ventured out for one last look around some of the Christmas markets (and of course, yummy treats).
And with that, we were back to the hotel for some zzz’s before the next chapter in our adventure, Salzburg, Austria!