Hello friends! A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to meet up with some friends in Munich. It was my first time visiting Munich and I definitely was not disappointed. Most people are drawn to Munich because of Oktoberfest- that crazy beerfest where people dress up in lieder-hosen and dirndls. However, I am happy to report that Munich offers so much than just pints of beer and inebriated crowds. Munich is an incredibly vibrant city encased in Bavarian friendliness. The architecture, similar to many European cities, is absolutely beautiful and there is always something to see and do.
I arrived on a Friday evening and my friends and I went immediately out to dinner at the Hofbrauhaus- the famous beer hall known for its wiener schnitzel and pints of beer. The Hofbrahaus is HUGE and was packed with people. It definitely is a touristy thing to do- but worth the experience. We packed into a long table with some older guys from Switzerland. We sang German drinking songs, ate sausages and bretzels, and soaked in the traditional German atmosphere. The Hofbrauhaus was surprisingly very economical and we had a great meal. The beer, as usual, was overflowing with deliciousness.
After dinner we walked around the city and then decided to go out dancing. Our friendly hotel staff recommended a few areas known for good bars and dance clubs. We walked around for a bit and finally decided on a bar called Pacha. It was very nice inside but be aware- entrance fees and drinks for clubs in Munich are generally very expensive. If you a girl traveling on a budget then I suggest dressing to impress! If you are guy- bring your credit card because its definitely going to cost you. Despite the prices, we had a great time. One thing that i find amusing in Europe (and randomly enough in Africa) is the popularity of techno/house music. There are very few clubs that play hip-hop or r&b. Apparently Munich also has a great salsa scene, but unfortunately I did not have enough time to confirm this. It is definitely on my list though.
We spent Saturday walking around the city and checking out the sights. As I mentioned before, I love monuments and architecture, especially in older European cities- I literally could not put my camera down! Additionally, due to the train and subway system, Munich is incredibly easy to navigate around. The trains are always on time and are very clean. Taxi’s are available, but keep in mind that they are also expensive.
Upon everyone’s recommendation we made our way to the older part of Munich and stumbled into the famous Marienplatz. The Marienplatz is very lively and is considered the center of old Munich. Besides numerous shops and cafe’s, the famous Glockenspiel is located here. At 11:00 am every day, the Glockenspiel chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures! The entire show takes from 12-15 minutes depending on what tune it plays. The building, itself, is magnificent and dates from 1908.
Although I was unable to get tickets (because they were sold out), many friends recommend going to see a show at the Munich Opera House. I hear it is amazing even if you are not an opera enthusiast. Another thing recommended to me was to try as much German chocolate and pastries as possible! Luckily, this was done almost every time I past a little chocolate shop or bakery. German chocolate is amazing and the window displays alone will lure you into the shops. So have fun and don’t forget…you can always run it off the next day!
On Sunday my friends and I decided to take a walk back in history and visit Dachau, one of the former concentration camps. Dachau is only a thirty minute train and short bus ride away from Munich. It was a very emotional and power experience, one which I will be sharing with you in my next blog post.
After spending the majority of the day in Dachau, my friends and I returned to Munich tired and a little down. So we decided to lighten the mood a little by taking a late afternoon break in a charming cafe tucked away on a quaint little street. All of us decided to have some hot chocolate and kuchen (traditional German cake). As we reflected on all that we had seen and experienced that weekend, we unanimously agreed that Munich is a beautiful and enigmatic city to visit. As always, i wish I had spent more time in Munich, however, I know for a fact that I will be back soon.
Thanks again for reading and as always, travel well and travel often!