After departing Nuremburg, Germany (view SeekBalanceSea Nuremburg post) Wendy and I caught a train to Munich (München in German)
Munich is the capital and most populous city in Bavaria, with a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of July, 2020 (stats curtesy Wiki). Munich has often been referred to as Germany’s most livable city and is nicknamed “Germany’s biggest village”, and we certainly felt the warmth and hospitality during our stay.
Marienplatz, the central square in Old Town has been Munich’s cultural center since it was founded in 1158. Maximillian I built the Mariensäule (Mary’s Column), for which Marienplatz is named, in gratitude for the city being spared during the Thirty Years’ War. Interestingly, this column is used as a reference point in land surveying as the topological center of Bavaria (click here for reference).
Marienplatz is still a thriving place filled with many restaurants, outdoor cafes, street artists and musicians, and loads of strolling pedestrians. The two major shopping streets also connect here, providing a plethora of shopping opportunities for tourists and locals.
The public transportation in Europe is amazing. Between the train and bus systems, all parts of Europe are accessible to travelers; and it’s affordable for those on a budget…aka, college travelers like us! To me, the public transportation makes a lot of sense and seems to give people back the time they need to read, write, sleep, relax, and visit. While Wendy and I missed our cars during some of the trip, we were happy to have someone else “take the wheel”, allowing us time to regroup and consult our maps for the adventure ahead. Check out Naomi Kaye’s article, “Getting Around Munich; Guide to Public Transportation” on tripsavvy website for help navigating Munich.
Bicycles are a major mode of transport here, as well, and it was normal to see women wearing dresses and high heels and men in suits pedaling the streets. Yelp’s Best 10 Bike Rentals in Munich, Bayern, Germany, would be a good place to start locating a bike. The other wonderful aspect of Munich was the large water fountains and parks everywhere for people to cool off or have a picnic lunch.
The Glockenspiel tower reaches 85 meters high above the Neue Rathaus (New City Hall), which was built by Georg Hauberrisser between 1867 and 1908. Visitors can hear the Glockenspiel chime every day at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5 p.m. in the summer. I remember standing in Marienplatz when the chimes sounded. The noisy square quieted and everyones’ attention focused on the Glock. It was like watching a free sporting event where no one got hurt.
The top half of the tower displays the story of local Duke Wilheml V and Renata of Lorraine’s marriage. The second story on the bottom half shows the Schäfflertanz (coopers’ dance), which according to myth there was plague in 1517, and the coopers were said to have danced in streets to bring vitality to the people.
Of course there are many other historic and cultural places to visit in and around Marianplatz, from the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall) and Mariensäule (Mary’s Column) to the Fischbrunnen (Fountain of the fishes) and The history of Marienplatz. All can be found at this link. Visitors will also find much to see and buy at the Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s farmers’ market.
Biergartens are a way of life in Germany, and the world famous Hofbräuhaus in the heart of Munich, was the perfect to place to spend our first afternoon and evening. The grand bier hall has a large tables for groups and an outdoor courtyard with trees and red and white checkered table cloths. Musicians played traditional German music while the friendly waitresses served up large bier steins to patrons. All pictures below are from the Hofbräuhaus official site.
As we entered the courtyard, we heard people shouting, “Wendy!” “Wendy!”… it turned out there were several people from her Denver Cherry Creek High School who were also traveling that summer. We had a great time catching up with them, discussing where they’d traveled, where they were going next, and of course, drinking some beer and eating some really large Bavarian pretzels with them! The German food, beer tokens, musicians, and outdoor courtyard really helped people socialize and enjoy themselves.
Having a grand time in the bier taverns is just one of the ways to enjoy your time in Munich. Most of Marienplatz in within walking distance to other great sites, or the bus which will take you all over the city. The other wonderful aspect of Munich was the large water fountains and parks everywhere for people to cool off or have a picnic lunch.
We didn’t get to see many of the parks, but there are several great options for a day trip. From the English Garden and the Munchener Tierpark Hellabrunn to the Flaucher and Kabinettsgarten, you’ll find them all here at Tripadvisor’s Nature & Parks in Munich. We visit the serene Olympiapark and walked the grounds for an afternoon with our new friends German friends, the Schlagle’s.
There are many hostels and pensions in Munich to stay. And there are large hotel chains, so travelers have a variety of accommodations from which to choose. We stayed in a pension, which was more private than a youth hostel but less expensive than a hotel. Breakfast is usually included in the youth hostel and pension nightly price.
We had so much fun in Munich! Our three nights and four days there were not nearly long enough for us to see all the sights on our list, but in a future post, I’ll give more information about this wonderful city from a 2017 family trip I made. 2017 Germany trip
And we sent our dear friend Kim a postcard and maybe brought her back a beer stein or wanted to… hard to remember now:)
After leaving Munich, we made a day trip to the Nazi Dachau Concentration Camp. Stay tuned for this in my next post.
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