Munich in one day

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I’ll admit our #McEuroTrip was a big endeavor. It wasn’t an easy vacation. We’d packed a lot in to our 10 days abroad. A big part of that, as a good friend aptly pointed out — we were trying to do as much as we could. But I learned in a couple hours that really wasn’t that much. My detailed itinerary was probably a pretty big life and time saver.

We landed in Munich at 9:30 a.m. after an all night flight. The airport upon arrival was easy to navigate, as was customs. Just follow the signs. We pretty easily found the train station and bought tickets to the Munich hauptbahnhof. It was a 40 minute or so trip that was pretty easy. The ticket machines for the D-bahn are awesome because you can easily select English, which we found to be true in all the countries we visited.

Our hotel was literally a block from the main train station so all considered we were at our hotel around 11:30. The hotel staff were super nice and let us store our bags since we couldn’t check in until 3 p.m. And they offered a room for us to change clothes. So we immediately headed out to see the sights.

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Our hotel was about one mile to all the central sites around the dom but it wasn’t a pointless walk. Once you get to Karlsplatz it’s all pedestrian anyway and it was packed with shoppers and tourists. We easily found the Marienplatz although it wasn’t exactly clear until we realized the giant crush of people had stopped to watch the glockenspiel show at noon. We waited six minutes before the crowd was too much and we moved on.

We walked to the Viktualienmarkt, the city’s big market, a couple blocks away. I’d thought we would grab some sort of snack there but we just kind of meandered through the stalls, looking at the things for sell. I think we were still trying to get used to it all. There were plenty of booths to purchase street food and lots of biergartens on the walk but we were planning to eat lunch at the HB, Hofbrauhaus, the most famous beer hall in the city.

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It was a little longer of a walk than I anticipated but that could be because we got a little lost. The place was huge. First note on Munich beer halls, there’s no direction. You walk in and … that’s where we got confused. You seat yourself, anywhere but at the regular’s tables. You can fill your own glass or wait on a server. We wandered around the giant insides, where there was definitely oompah music, without much luck for direction and then stumbled into the garden out back. The garden looked full but I happened to spot a guy waving us up to the second floor balcony, which was mostly empty. So we found a table and waited. About five minutes later a waiter gave us menus (and then gave us English menus when he realized we were Americans). We ordered our radlers (beer with lemon soda, one of our favorites) and something to split (probably because I think Chas is crazy). The food was OK, not amazing, but the view was great. It was a beautiful day, slightly overcast and perfect temperatures for a beer in the garden. The place was hopping, full of noise and lots of people. That was that. We saw it, we had a beer, we left.

We walked back toward the Dom where we went in to St. Peterskirche.  It was beautiful, with some creepy relics on the inside. I’d read that the best city views can be had from the tower here so we paid the 2 euro to climb the tower. First the tower stairs were ancient and quite small. They also were for both up and down climbers so there was a lot of close quarters and stopping to let other pass. To be honest, that made the 306-steps a little easier. And the view, well, it was worth it. There was quite a crunch at the top since the platform is about itty-bitty and there’s dozens of people trying to snap every possible view.

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We stopped at a nearby cafe for Kaffee und kunchen, coffee and cake, which I’d read is a German tradition on weekends. It truly must be because the cafe was full of people eating cakes and sipping coffee. The coffee was wonderful, as was the cake and the break from walking. But Chas was pretty tired (and I was too) so we headed back on the mile hike back to the hotel to check-in.

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We napped for about an hour and half and I realized the schedule would have to be rearranged. We were supposed to spend the afternoon at the Residenz and the English Garden/beer garden but instead I looked at the map and decided to venture toward Schloss Nymphenburg, which is a little further away. I did some Googling in the hotel room and downloaded the MVV app on our phones so we could take the tram, which easily picked up across the street at the Hbf and was about a 10-minute ride to the castle’s stop.

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The castle itself was closed by the time we arrived, which I knew, so we walked through the gardens. It was beautiful. And then we did a weird one-mile walk through a neighborhood to get to the Königlicher Hirschgarten, the largest biergarten in Munich. The place was giant. It was more like a music venue than a restaurant. A storm was clearly rolling in, which put a damper on our plans to eat outside in the garden.

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The strange rules of Munich biergartens though, and maybe the lack of sleep, put us on edge so we decided not to stay. Plus, rain. So we walked back to catch the tram and decided to hop off a block from the hotel to try another place we randomly saw on the street.

The food was good. It was cozy and empty. And there was beer. So we can’t complain too much.

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All-in-all there was just something a little off about Munich. The people weren’t particularly nice (they weren’t hostile either) and the confusing biergarten customs kind of set us on edge. Plus, coming from America’s craft beer scene where you can try any kind of crazy concoction to Munich’s very strict rules on brewing was a little odd. There’s only four types of beer really so you don’t see the kind of variety you find in American craft beer bars.

I’m not complaining. Munich was pretty and historic. I think we failed on our doing it all in one day routine and we probably didn’t give the city a fair shake. But we were on to Salzburg for day two.

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