Munich, Germany

I had been to Munich airport many times, but had never been off the airport grounds.  I am glad Oktoberfest and the subsequent meet-up with our friends from The States gave us a reason to go to Munich and spend a weekend, because the city itself was really cool.

Munich is rich in history.  This city was the capital of Bavaria during early times, set the stage for Hilter’s campaign as the seat of the Nazi Movement, and was the site of the Olympic tragedy in 1972.   There are numerous museums and monuments.

The city is beautiful, and had everything you would expect from Germany – – Cleanliness. Order. Lovely architecture.   We explored Marienplatz the morning we were meeting our group for Oktoberfest.  Gabe and I got there early and climbed the Glockenspiel, the tower of town hall, Neuesrathaus.   The sun was a bit bright but we enjoyed the vantage point the Glockenspiel gave us of Munich.

Marienplatz – ground level view

View from the top of the Glockenspiel into the Neuesrathaus courtyard

View from the Glockenspiel, looking out towards St. Peter’s in Old Town

Sunday we also had an opportunity to explore more of Munich with Olga & Heidi, our friends from the States.   We  started in Marienplatz (where the U is in the below map) and walked around the perimeter of Munich centre city, walking to each of the gated walls.   We took our time, exploring the area, people watching, and noting plaques for churches and historical sites.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Karlsplatz (one of the city gates) and the pedestrian shopping streets.  On the above map, it is to the far left.

And our little walking tour led us right to Hofbrauhaus! We knew it was a little touristy, but delighted in experiencing the renowned brewery.   We had a traditional German lunch and a round of Oktoberfest beers, happily singing along with the band which played in the upper ballroom where we were seated.

The Hofbrauhaus

Lunch at Hofbrauhaus.   Oktoberfest liters all around….except a Lauren-sized weissbeer for me.

Beyond being a city that really enjoyed a good time, probably my biggest takeaway was how green Munich was.   Parks seamlessly blended into urban life.   They weren’t necessarily perfectly manicured like a Paris, but they felt very natural and thus, softened the city.

Hofgarten, center city Munich

In fact, the city’s gem, The Englischer Garden ( English Garden ) , is the one of the world’s largest urban parks.  It is larger than Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London.    This park was actually the location of our hotel, as we had Hilton points.   This little waterfall was steps from our hotel:

English Garden

Finally, the public transportation in Munich is excellent.  They have a combination of bus, metro, and train options.  We took all three during our duration and got quite good at navigating around the city.

Olga & Heidi on the Bus

For tourists, you have the option of buying 5-person passes either for one ride or for the day.  It is a great way to save money.   If you are going to the airport though, take note that you need the pass that includes all zones.

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