Munich, Münich, München. There is so much to do here that after 5 days of exploring I still feel like I only did half of what there is to do! I am exhausted and moved on to a small town to recuperate! After an overnight bus sitting next to a very chatty German I slept for half of my first day before going out and seeing the main square and Christmas markets at night. Luckily the “Smart Stay Hostel” allowed me to check in at 7am, and gave me the key straight away so I could sleep! Awesome.
Many of the buildings around Marienplatz (Mary’s square) are beautifully lit up at night, which meant I got to see the most famous attractions that first night, as well as see the traditional Christmas market in the Marienplatz. I followed this with the most delicious meal at a very well know vegan restaurant “Gratitude”. I can’t say it was traditional, especially having had the thai curry, but it was just what I needed.
Next morning/ Day 2: A rush to clean clothes, checkout, check in to the new hotel and get to my walking tour by 10:45am happened to be too much. So instead I explored the English Garden, a huge park on the north of town where people surf on the river, and explored the streets. The English Garden feels like it doesn’t exist in the city. It is calm and idealic, and even has its own small Christmas market which is equally calm. I had dinner at Augustiner Bräustuben. The German food is, well: let’s just say people come here for the beer and the atmosphere. Time passes quickly after meeting a few Germans and a few Americans, we have shots and chat for a while, while people start getting rowdy around us, one guy even ends up on top of the table in a bad rendition of Coyote Ugly. I like this place, it is like the town is dead outside, but inside there are no spare tables, the beer is good and new friends are easily made.
The next day I finally get to the walking tour. The tour is great and gives a good overview of where the main attractions are in the city. The guide tells some great stories, mainly about beer and how this has shaped the city. My favourite is about the devil visiting to build the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) after he came to town for a drink. The story goes that the devil was coming for a beer with a friend when he went to this church. It was being built and he entered from the towers and saw that there were very few windows. His initial plan was to destroy the church, however after he saw the lack of light, he thought that diseases would spread and the health of the church goers would deteriorate. He promised the builder that he would help build it as long as no additional windows were added. When he came back to check on the final product he saw masses of light entering the church, and told the builder he would take his sole as the windows were huge! The builder replied saying that no further windows were added, when viewed from the towers, the columns completely block out the windows that were already built when the devil last visited. If you go to the church you can not see any of the windows from the towers, despite the church having huge windows throughout. It is a very simple church other than this, but worth going inside to live the story of the devils visit.
Christmas markets are next, with two in town as well as the very famous Tollwood to visit. One in town is small, and is just a little quieter than the others around, the other is a medieval market where I drink Feuerzangenbowle flaming and from a goblet, delicious. Tollwood is what I really came to Münich for. I researched it a little while ago when I was looking at what to do in Germany. It is a huge Christmas market with a science theme. This year’s theme is garbage, and many of the art works are related to this. At the gates there is a huge army of soldiers made from garbage. Inside there is remnants of the theme throughout, as well as seeing the traditional Allgäu dance with animal costume as I traverse the packed grounds of Theresienwiese (the same place Oktoberfest is held). The shopping is immense, and local. It is definitely in line with my style of supporting small business and sustainable products. I bought a belt, made by the man I bought it from, and tried the most delicious pesto and goats cheese crepe. I love this place and will definitely be back in the future, although maybe not on a Saturday night again as it was absolutely packed.
I finally managed a sleep in and a chance to do Pilates the next morning. There is a lot to do here, but I always feel like having a good start to the day by doing Pilates or yoga makes the rest of my day even better. While I love churches and historical buildings, there is something in my blood, probably because I grew up with a brother who loves cars, that enjoys learning about engines and car technology. Lucky for me, the BMW Welt (world) is in Munich and has all of the new BMW cars, as well as Rolls Royce and Mini. I was quite surprised initially when almost every car had very bad fuel economy, so I was delighted to find the X5 xDrive 40e with a fuel efficiency of just 3.3l/100km, even better than my Prius, and about twice the size, perfect for my life of adventures. I find plug in hybrids exciting, with this car getting 40km off a charge, which means city driving could be done on electric alone. Next were motorbikes, having me dreaming of touring Europe by motorbike. The factory and museum are also within the vicinity, however the museum is closed Monday’s and a tour of the factory must be booked 6-8 weeks in advanced.
With just a couple hours left in Munich there was a few churches I wanted to see, being the inside of the Frauenkirche and Asamkirche (St Johann Nepomuk). This church is not in any of the lists of things to see in Munich that I have seen. Luckily it popped up as a suggestion on my phone and I was enticed by the beautiful pictures. The church was no disappointment and really is more of a must see than any of the other churches I saw in Munich. The detail and decoration is breathtaking, despite the church being very small. Gold adorns the walls and the roof is painted with a scene of the ‘Life of Saint Nepomuk”. Look up in the foyer and you will see the sun smiling back at you, or look ahead and you will see a golden skeleton threatening a cherub. From the outside the church is something you may walk by and not even notice, however once you know it exists it stands out from the nearby buildings.