The Bavarian state in Germany has been on our wanderlust list for an age – and Munich was right at the top as a base for a city break. Bordering Liechtenstein, Austria and the Czech Republic, and complete with Alpine mountains, infamous beer halls, fairytale castles, an outrageously fun national costume and an accent other Germans find difficult to understand, we knew that a trip needed to be booked in to this quirky city.
Reassured that 3 days would be plenty to get a taste of Munich life especially when the Christmas markets are on, we conversely decided to book a week long stay at the height of summer, avoiding the crowds that turn up to Oktoberfest (last year they think 7.5 million revelers turned up to the city – no thanks…) for something a little different. I think as a blogger I’m obliged to use the label #slowtravel but in all honestly we just didn’t want to be rushed.
We weren’t disappointed. Escaping the proposed 30°C (86°F) temperature they often have, we had a combination of sunshine and rain showers, all at a perfect 25°C (77°F) level. Perfect for exploring.
Largely destroyed by Allied bombers in WW2, the German authorities have tried to recreate the city as it was. Some buildings are recreated, and a few rely on creative painting to make them look much older than they really are.
We met a few hilarious characters along the way, a bit of history on the walking tours, and the brilliant fact that locals consider themselves to be Bavarian first, German second and often tend to be the butt of jokes in a nation not really known for their sense of humour.
Our itinerary was simple;
Day 1: Relaxing (we sunk into terrace chairs and read books as the sun charted across the sky)
Day 2: Training through winding valleys to an alpine peak
Day 3: A day at Neuschwenstein Castle + a swim in the alpine lake
Day 4: Exploring Munchen city by foot
Day 5: Another day trip, this time out to Nuremburg
Day 6: Our most emotional day – visiting the memorial gardens at Dachau
Day 7: Coffee with the lovely Linda (a Munich instagram buddy who lives in Korea) + packing for home
1. Get the Touristy stuff out of the way
We took in a walking tour, got lost, drank a lot of coffee, wrestled with rain on camera lenses, gave up on taking photos, learned more history and a few fantastic stories (most involving beer, which is often cheaper than water and was much healthier in medieval times), watched the cheesy but still awesome Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Marienplatz, admired the buildings, trudged up the worlds smallest hill, nibbled in the Viktualienmarkt, marveled at how similar to English German can be, and yet so far and got lost again.
2. Find a Beer Garden and watch the sunset
We were pointed towards Augustiner-Keller, a local’s beer garden. Full on a sunny Monday evening, there were parties celebrating a pregnancy (both men and women, though Mum was drinking lemonade), couples on dates, dogs on leads pleading for tidbits, a band in the background, a playground for kids surrounded by content parents, English menus if you caught the waitresses eye and the general hubbub of happy people.
3. Drink a beer as big as your face and nibble a pretzel chaser
Closely related to number 2, in fact almost indistinguishable, we tried a few of the local brews all served in 1 liter steins. After two I was wobbling and drunk messaging friends back in England whilst being laughed at. True story.
4. Get in a few day trips
Munich was a fun city with a great vibe, but the magic was on our day trips on the Bavarian regional trains. Glorious mountain ranges, castles, alpine lakes and living history (auto spellcheck changed that to thirst – go home you are drunk spellcheck). Munich (or Munchen) was the perfect base.
5. Cuddle a few of Munich’s feline residents at the cat cafe
Yes, I know you’re rolling your eyes and I don’t care. Within 15 minutes of sitting dejectedly in a central coffee shop watching the rain roll down the window panes, we were cooing over the inhabitants of Munich’s vegan cat cafe.
6. Eat sausages and sauerkraut, ideally in a beerhall next to blokes in lederhosen
YES! We were told to visit the Hofbrauhaus, a state owned drinking hall and it was awesome. Crazy busy, but absolutely awesome.
We even managed to pick up a few local recommendations and brunch to my blogger hearts content (when not eating plum pastries for breakkie on regional trains that is…)
8. Acknowlege the historical rise and fall of the great city
With a historically dark past that is acknowledged in many myriad ways, we learned so much about what has happened and the steps they are taking to prevent anything happening in the future.
9. Visit the BMW Museum
IT WAS COOL! And full of bearded dudes wearing check shirts…
10. Explore the city Palaces
This is the only thing we were disappointed to miss, but holiday naps took precendent unfortunately.
Our top tip: Book ahead and carry cash. The amount of times we had to wander back to a cash machine were frequent and rather annoying despite having a myriad of cards on us…
Right, that’s the business end of the trip shared – now to the real magic…