Nick and I left Prague via train and shared a cabin to Munich, Germany with four others. Two were young Swedish women (with perfect American accents, which they admitted they acquired from watching Friends episodes), and the other two were traveling nurses from Georgia, who were on a 12-week party tour of Europe. For most of the trip the nurses regaled us with stories in their thick southern accents of their (mis)adventures across the continent.
After parting ways and wishing our new friends well, we met our AirBnb host to check into our apartment, which was a very large and well-equipped unit in an old building just north of the city center (with dangerously sloped stairs).
Since it was already early evening, as soon as we got settled we headed out for dinner to Englischer Garten, a beautiful and vast park right in the heart of the city (much like New York’s Central Park, but bigger with several lakes and beer gardens). At the heart of the park is Chinesischer Turm, or Chinese Tower, the city’s oldest beer garden, which seats 7,000 beer lovers and was playing host to a traditional oompah band that night.
(Remember when Nick and I were the only people at Prague’s famous beer garden? Well thankfully Munich didn’t disappoint). We dined on sausages, fries and a liter of beer and enjoyed people watching while we listened to the band.
On our first full day in Munich we headed to Oktoberfest (we strategically timed our visit during the week to miss the hordes of weekend visitors). I have a full post coming with tips for Oktoberfest, but in the meantime I’ll share this photo of Nick and me in our traditional Bavarian outfits.
Despite a full day at Oktoberfest, Nick and I were up early the next day to begin our sightseeing tour of Munich. We only had one more full day in Europe and had a lot to see (and eat) throughout the city. Munich is very walkable, and Nick and I were greatly impressed by it’s beautiful and interesting architecture. Here are some of the highlights from our walking tour:
Near Karlsplatz is Karlstor, one of the three remaining gates of the medieval city wall. The square is bustling with cafes and shops.
While we haven’t yet visited Rome, Munich had some of the most beautiful churches we’ve seen in our travels throughout Europe. Michaselskirche, or St. Michael’s Church, is a Jesuit church that holds the royal tomb of the Wittelbach dynasty, which ruled Bavaria from the late-1100s to the early-1900s.
St. Peterskirche is the oldest church in all of Munich (dating back to the 8th century) and has a tower that offers one of the best views of the city. (I’ve previously mentioned Nick’s and my fondness for towers).
Viktualienmarkt, or the Victual’s market, is Munich’s most popular open-air market. The stalls were filled with an abundance of nearly every product you can imagine, from basic produce to desserts and meats and cheeses. If we had more time in Munich, I would have loved to fill a shopping bag with produce and meats and make a gourmet dinner, but instead we just snacked our way through the market.
With fully stomach’s we continued on our walking tour to Heiliggeistkirche, or Church of the Holy Spirit, which had the most beautiful origami paper cranes suspended from the ceiling.
and Altes Rathaus, or Munich’s old town hall.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking through the compound and gardens of the grand palace Residenz.
After a full day of walking, and because we really enjoyed our first evening at the Englischer Gartens, we headed back there again on our final night in Munich. It was a great way to toast and end our 2014 trip to Europe.
If we had another day in Munich, I would have loved to take the train to Dachu, the first Nazi concentration camp. The memorial site is about 20-minutes northwest of Munich and offers 2-hour guided tours throughout the day. A visit would be at the top of my must-see list if we ever make it back to the area.