Munich may have turned out to be my second favorite city on our whole trip. Tied perhaps with Florence. It’s a tough call though.
I’m not really sure why I liked Munich so much, I think it was the open streets and the architecture. The old buildings mixed with the new, the gothic styles mixed with the baroque and neo-renaissance, it was charming and different.
Anyway, on our arrival we walked across from the station to our hotel which was very nice by the way, and up to our room. I should mention here that I am irrevocably in love with the bedding in Germany. Feather tics, down blankets and squishy pillows it is simply heaven and ridiculously difficult to talk yourself out of them to get up and see the sights. In fact if we would have not had the weight restrictions we did I most definitely would have brought some back with us to Tokyo. Amazing. Anyway… I digress. The first day we popped on the hop on hop off bus tour (not really worth it when they have above ground trams which seem to go to more convenient spaces), and we did the loop only to hop off at Marienplatz, which is this awesome square which holds the amazingly interesting Marian Column which is basically the town hall. The top of the column/tower is graced with the very famous Glockenspiel clock which goes off 3 times a day for almost 15 minutes each time and has dancing and twirling figurines which act out historical events to the now rather out of tune music. It’s totally worth seeing.
In fact the whole plaza area around there was a great place to simply wander through. Plenty of very talented buskers were out with their violins, box drums, pianos even and our favorite, two accordion players who were simply amazing and played the Bach Toccata and Fugue as if it was as easy as chopsticks.
Just around the corner is a lovely market which has of course sausages and pretzels as well as a beer garden which is run alternately by the various brew houses on a monthly basis giving everyone the chance to relax with their favorite beverage. They are serious about their beer here. Seriously serious. There were people drinking from about 9am with their .5 liter glasses. A word should be said here about pretzels as well. Amazing. Have 10 or 20, they’re great. Enough said. Strudel is good too.
This day we also went to the world renowned science and technology museum as well which was fantastic… and huge. The exhibits were really well put together with enough English that we didn’t have really any trouble. They have huge sections dedicated to each focus area and the best part is you can get up close and personal with everything and touch and feel things to see how they work. We spent about 3.5 hours here and barely grazed the surface. We could have spent a week at minimum.
We finished the day with a few more loops on the hop on bus and headed back to our hotel where we promptly passed out. Unfortunately Luke had gotten a head cold (which I would get the next day) and so we were both needing a bit of rest.
The following day we went to Dachau which was sad but beautiful and also extremely well presented. That evening we spent some time wandering the city after dark and taking some photos:
The final full day in Munich we got up early and took a train to Neuschwanstein castle. for those who don’t know this is the castle that inspired Disney based Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the theme park; and for good reason! It looks and feels completely fairy-tale when you are there.
Built for King Ludwig the II who was pronounced insane and unfit to rule and therefore removed before it was finished, the castle was actually designed by a man who was a set designer for Operas. A big Wagner lover, Ludwig had the castle built to honor Wagner and almost all the fresco’s inside are scenes from his operas.
It was a pretty good 40 minute hike up to it but extremely beautiful and totally worth it. Plus it was really nice to take the 2 hour train journey into the countryside.
Sadly as it was cold and we were already under the weather I did get properly unwell here which ended up cramping our plans up for Berlin. I spent the next morning in bed trying to recover while Luke ran around seeing last bits and pieces. We flew to Berlin late the next day and did a very fast and completely inadequate tour of the city (definitely have to come back and spend a concentrated amount of time) we did manage to see Check point Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate but that was about it really. Then we had to repack our bags and got ready for our flight which we left for around 4am the next day. 😦