May 2-9, 2017 I was in Munich, Germany on vacation with my older sister. We bought flight tickets over spring break when I visited Cincinnati and didn’t look back. It’s important that I reference the dates because I had a 8-page religion final paper due during my stay and two finals to “study” for when I came back to the states. That’s right, I took a vacation during finals week.
My sister only gets 2 weeks vacation for her job and scheduled it during that time, so it was now or never.
It was a 9+ hour flight to Munich, Germany with a layover in Atlanta, Georgia. We flew with Delta. They gave us honey roasted peanuts as a snack and ravioli for dinner. When we landed in Munich, I felt major jet lagged. It was 3am in the states and 9am in Germany. We soon checked into our hotel, Helvetia, dropped off our stuff, and left to explore the city since it was nice out. For breakfast, we grabbed an apple turnover and pecan pie pastry from Le Crobag. It was SO flaky and yummy. Cville needs a good bakery shop on the corner. We grabbed the metro to Olympic Park, which had a beautiful pond and a lot of open space free to the public and climbed up a hill to see the city landscape. On our way out, we passed by the BMW museum. Then we went to the English garden, which had a random Chinese tower and accordion players playing on the side. How fun!
- No one checked our metro ticket… Does Germany run by honor code? We could’ve easily rode the u/s bahn for free and gotten away with it.
- Crosswalks go from green to red with no warning (Germany waits for no man)
- Bros hanging out together in parks and that being totally normal
- People love to run here. So.many.runners.
Since it was rainy, my sister and I explored Marienplatz. It’s basically the times square of Munich. We passed by Karlzplatz, St. Michael’s Church, and Frauenkirche. At noon, we saw New Town Hall’s Glockenspiel clock move. It depicted the King and Queen’s wedding celebration with knights and people dancing. Afterwards, we went to the Viktualienmarkt where I got a cute souvenir mug and ate carrot ginger soup with a pretzel. I ordered in broken German for the first time! “Ein Karrote and ein brezn please.” He responded back in perfect English. We then went to the Munich Residenz, which was the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach in the centre of the city of Munich, Germany. It. was.huge. We thought we would just stop by the escape from the rain, but we ended up staying there for the whole day. It was filled with huge, decorative rooms and had a treasury filled with valuable pieces. Afterwards, we grabbed dinner at a traditional Bavarian restaurant where I ate pork knuckle and a potato dumpling.
- Relics were more valuable than anything else and were orated pieces with bones of saints kept by the royal family to ensure their salvation…v creepy
- Dogs are allowed to come into restaurants
- German people don’t put leashes on their dogs
- Germans speak SO quietly.
- Don’t let weather.com rain report get you down! Rain here is nothing like in VA torrential downpour. It’s closer to a sporadic sprinkle
- Unless you like meat and potatoes, German food is not that great. I’d recommend saving your money and just eating the pastries here!
We had a late start to the day and ate brunch at the hotel. The bread was delicious, so fresh and crunchy on the outside yet soft like a pillow on the inside. Afterwards, we took a one hour train ride and ferry to Herrenchisme. We had to walk to the ferry because the steam boat that connects the train to the ferry dock only runs only on Sunday. Nevertheless, the ferry ride was BEAUTIFUL. The sun was shining, the wind was gently blowing, and the mountains were breathtaking. It was the first sunny day in Munich and a surprise because it was predicted to rain. When we got off the ferry, we walked through a lovely trail with trees overhead and lush green fields abound. It was such a pleasant hike up to Herrenchisme and the perfect prelude to the majestic palace. I was in awe at how beautiful it was in person! We explored the outdoor part of the estate and got a tour of the inside afterwards.
Herrenchiemsee fun facts:
- King Ludwig II was shy and didnt have guests stay for dinner. He ate completely alone and even installed an elevator table that would lower into the kitchen and brought back up so he wouldn’t have to interact with servants.
- The palace was homage for King Louis also known as the sun king/true monarch
- It’s an unfinished palace because he ran out of money.
- It was modeled after the Versaille with gold foil used everywhere, French architecture, mirrors, and no Bavarian influence.
- Ludwig lit all the candles for their to be light
- Ludwig had a blue orb night light (can’t make this stuff up)
- Meissen porcelain chandelier (check it out)
After the tour, my sister explored more of the palace garden while I sat on a bench. I like to take moments when I am completely still and just enjoying everything around me, so that’s what I did. I soon fell asleep on a bench while soaking up the sun.
For dinner, we ate Mozart chocolate flavored gelato, a strawberry waffle, and a falafel pita wrap. In that exact order.
- Kids are so active in Germany! Instead of being on their phones, they were playing soccer with a hackey sack at the palace.
- Trains are the bomb and super cheap making travel easy.
- Give me access to mountains and I’m set.
- Ludwig II was the Willy Wonka of Architecture.
Woke up at 6:30am to catch a two hour train to Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau. We didn’t reserve tickets ahead of time, so it was important that we got there early. At first, it was hard to find a seat on the train, but God provided after I prayed/did QT! It was a wonderful train ride filled with mountains and fields of beautiful yellow flowers. Absolutely stunning. And tbh I thought the train ride>destination. Neuschwanstein was more touristy than Herrenchiemsee and I felt overwhelmed at times with so many people there. We got lots of souvenirs though, ate, chicken snitzel, these donuts that tasted-like heaven, and enjoyed the beautiful mountains and lake from multiple point of views. They were similar to the mountains seen at Herrenchiemsee but up close! I also saw a man feed a swan, which was hilarious. We were exhausted by the end of the day.
Neuschwanstein fun facts:
- It was Ludwig’s private opera house for one. No opera’s were held inside of it though. It just had paintings of operas all over the walls of the palace. Musical groups did perform for Ludwig though
- It’s unfinished like Herrenchiseme, but a medieval styled castle built 150 yrs ago with a huge gold chandelier and electric stars above his bed. Our tourist called Ludwig a “romantic”.
Hohenschwangau fun facts:
- Prussian eagle and Bavarian lion were the insignias on the ceiling
- In 1891, a loaf of bread was delivered from Russia as a thank you gift and that SAME bread and platter is here today!
- If the experience isn’t going to be pleasant/peaceful or is going to be more stress inducing than fun, I’d rather not visit places as a checklist item.
- Loving the nature in Bavaria
I woke up exhausted from yesterday. We had a late start to the day and ate at the hotel. We braved the rain and went to Nymphemburg palace, the main summer residence of former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach. It was only a 15 min trolley ride from our hotel. It has an extensive outdoor garden with swans and mini cottages surrounding the main palace, but I mainly stayed inside since it was cold and rainy. Nymphemburg had a beautiful great hall and right next to it was a porcelain and horse carriage museum. I sat in the museum looking out into the distance until my sister came back from exploring the gardens in the rain.
We grabbed Mexican food at the metro station and ate back at the hotel. They only gave my sister half of her quesadilla though, so she went back out to grab mango sherbert, an almond pretzel, a pecan pie pastry, and falafel sandwhich…. It was now 9:30pm at night. We went to bed after watching a movie.
- walnuts, raisins, meat and white asparagus are the bane of my existence and the cornerstone of german cuisine
I slept in while unni explored downton Munich. She went inside St. Michael’s church and came to grab me for our scheduled FOOD DAY! Today was the day we’d explore the best of Munich when it came to food because it was once again cold and rainy. We first stopped at Cafe Frifehhut to get the infamous Schmalznudel donut and Kraffton (a pastry filled with apricot jam). Full on pastries, my sister wanted to get a Bratwurst. We went back to the Viktualienmarkt and got a currywurst and fries. It was surprisingly good and cut through the sweet stuff we ate earlier. Then we hopped on the metro to get icecream from The Crazy Ice Maker- In Wonderland. We ate 4 scoops of icecream (beer flavored, peach/lime, dark chocolate, white chocolate). And I swear it was the best icecream I’ve ever had in my entire life! Then we went to Rusticana for dinner where we ate ribs with a side of mushrooms and potatoes. We ordered too much food though and took it to go. We were grabbing Paprika chips from a local mini mart to go with it when the metro went into a state of emergency and told everyone to evacuate. Not sure what happened, but it definitely spooked me. We grabbed chips at a different store. And to finish, I bought an apple turnover from Le Crobag, which I got my first day in Germany. We ate while we watched Lion.
- I’ve learned Men in scarves get me. They just look so good.
- Germany lets you linger in cafes after you finish eating. It’s very relaxed.
- There are a lot of standing tables though to eat on the go. c
- A cookie jar castle is something I need in my life.
- Germans are really nice, always on time, and super hardworking!
- The metro is set up with chairs of four facing one another, so it forces people to socialize.
We got up early to eat our last hotel breakfast and catch the train to the airport. Previously in the week, my sister got sparkling water thinking it was still water. There’s nothing quite like the burning sensation of sparkling water in the morning.
- Not being able to speak German has lead to a lot of moments of silence, which have been really relaxing
- German men wear wedding bands on their right hand and women wear it on their left hand
- I ate 1 serving of fruit this whole week. Yikes!
Movies watched on this trip: Ghostbusters (6/10), Bad moms (9/10), Lion (7/10), The Founder (8/10), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (10/10), Doctor Strange (10/10), Moana (10/10), The Arrival (2/10)
In conclusion, Munich, Germany was a trip to remember and something I will hold onto for a long time. I loved spending time with my sister and being able to travel just the two of us was so special. V thankful for her and wouldn’t do anything differently. I should travel more often during finals week!