I must admit that the idea of going to Munich, Germany was not a huge thrill for me. Munich was not a city on my bucket list of Great Adventures to Have. I did however set about researching Munich with the same energy as I would any other city already on the Great Adventures to Have list. By the day of our departure, I think I would say that my interest in Munich was piqued but I was still not what you might call overwhelmed by enthusiasm.
I wanted you to know this little bit of background so that you could really understand me when I say that I absolutely loved Munich. Loved it. Munich is a pristine city in every aspect; neat; clean; ordered; organized; navigable; tourist friendly; rich in architecture, culture and beauty. My only regret is not staying longer; there is so much more to see and take in than we were able to in two and a bit short days. Well that is just the one regret; the other is not having room in my belly for one last pretzel.
We arrived in Munich at about 7 am local time after a long flight of very little sleep and much general economy class discomfort. By the time we had cleared passport control, taken the train into Munich City Center and found our hotel it was well past 9 am; but still early enough to have a full day ahead. We decided to hit the ground running i.e. go to Starbucks. As it turns this was a very strategic start as we walked 15 km that first day.
Our hotel was in the best location. We were literally a ten minute walk from Marienplatz Station and the famous Glockenspiel; a two minute walk to the gorgeous Viktualian Markt (more on this later)and a fifteen minute walk from the famous Hofbrauhaus.
We spent the day sightseeing, strolling from Marienplatz to Karlsplatz, in and around the beautiful Frauenkirche (the first of a gazillion churches we visited this trip), past the spectacular Royal Residenz and all the way into the English Gardens which are breathtaking even in early spring.
There, under the Chinese Tower, we enjoyed our very first pretzel and Dear Husband his first beer. It was so peaceful and completely unreal to finally be there. Just Dear Husband and me. Alone. For the first time in years.
With full bellies we made our way back to Marienplatz strolling along the banks of the Isar River and stopping along the way to admire the Angel of Peace and the Maximilianeum.
Being just before Easter, every market stall and fancy store in Munich was dressed for the occasion. Pastel bunnies and beautiful painted eggs were everywhere to be found, the Easter thread visible and celebrated. It made me add visiting the German Christmas Markets to my ever growing bucket list of Great Adventures to Have. But for this trip, the gorgeous window displays were enough.
The famous Viktualian Markt was a stand out highlight. The fresh produce was outstanding and I could not help but wonder if the Munich locals had any idea how fortunate they are to have this market available to them, every day of the week. The selection and quality at each stall was staggering. I felt a bit like I did when I visited Borough Market – really sad. It is hard knowing that at home in Paarl at times even getting good quality apples requires great effort and a visit to three different stores – why is this? Why?
We returned three times to walk the stalls, so staying so close to the market really helped. For our first evening we simply ate from the market. We sat at the beer garden in the center of the market and took turns buying German Bratwurst with dripping mustard on fresh buns, and pulled pork rolls from the vendors. There we were, sipping beer right along with the Munich after work drinks crowd. A great ending to a fabulous first day.
It is impossible to put everything in to one single post, so I have decided to split up the posts to make them a bit more reader friendly. I will link forward and back as I go along. In the next post I will share a bit about our trip to the Dachau Memorial Site just outside of Munich, and give you some of my top tips for travelling in Munich.