Just 90 minutes away from Innsbruck is one of the most popular German cities – MUNICH!!
If there was one thing that I was hoping for, it was good weather. Every time I passed Munich via train or even when I did visit here in 2009, it was always cold, raining or both! The last time I checked the weather forecast for this day it did predict a good weather, but it has been raining in Munich few days up until Saturday and there was still a chance of rain. Nevertheless, I’m happy to say that I lucked out again.
It was 9:15 am, still forty minutes earlier than my original direct train from Vienna! Hah! (See how spontaneity even lets you start your day early?) As I waited for my friends, I slowly took a stroll to the city center…and wow. I’m really glad I came back to Munich because the city I saw that day was a view that I totally missed out last time I was here. It’s amazing how much weather can influence one’s impression of a city. The weather in Munich on June 23, 2012 was gorgeous. Every moment I took up my camera, the natural lighting made all pictures stunning that I could not stop putting my camera down.
Plus, as I was waiting for my friends in the city center, I bumped into another annual event! (Remember I had good luck with festivals and good weather – this theme of luck seems to continue. Thank you God.) Turns out they were celebrating the new brewers’ work. Hence, along with their graduation ceremony, there was a parade and free beers!! The parade was starting the moment I stepped towards the crowd so I got a chance to see all the different traditional German outfits and listen to traditional celebration music. Ah, what better way can you be welcomed into a city?
“MONICA!” As the parade ended, I turned around to see my friend who found me in the midst of crowd. We smiled and hugged. It’s amazing how small the world is. The last time we all meet in Munich in 2009, I didn’t know when I will see both of them again…yet here I was not only back in Europe but back in Munich meeting them with a smile. We could tell that time had passed as we exchanged our stories in the past few years, but it has changed us for good for we were now a little bit more mature, a little bit more less afraid to face challenges and a little bit more comfortable with life in general. Smile and laughter was one thing that never ended that day, even until the moment we said goodbye.
So what did we do? All three of us being quite ambitious in nature, we first sat down at a cafe to lay out the plan for the day. For those who know me, I’m pretty good with logistics and planning, but seeing my German friends bring out the agenda out of the air, I was speechless at its perfection. Still, they joked how the actual German style would have prepared such plan weeks in advance. By the time we finished enjoying our late morning cappuccino and dessert, we were ready.
Within the next 12 hours we did a lot, even my friends admitted that they haven’t walked this much all day. But we had so much fun that we lost track of time. For those who are traveling here, below are the top 5 things to do in MUNICH that I would like to suggest.
1. Check out the Neaues Rathaus and its clock Rathaus-Glockenspiel. The Neaues Rathaus (New Town Hall/City Hall) is located in the center of Munich. While the building inside hosts the city government including the city council and mayors, this is also a popular meeting spot point. Built between 1867 and 1908 by Georg von Hauberrisser in the Gothic Revival architecture style, the Neaues Rathaus covers an area of 9159m square and has 400 rooms. As someone who enjoys architecture, this is one of my favorite city views in Munich.
Plus, everyday at 11:00 and 12:00 the 16th century two stories Rathaus-Glockenspiel will perform. The addition of this part was in 1908. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. I didn’t know at that time, but the 12-15 minute show of figures moving along with the bell actually tells a story. Since the bells were quite far, I couldn’t take a good picture. But you should check it out!
2. Go up the Church of St Peter’s Tower and enjoy the amazing city view. Just around the corner from the City Hall is this church. We didn’t really see the church inside for the tower entrance and the church entrance was different, but thanks to the great weather, we had an amazing view of the city. In fact, as someone who enjoys city view, this was one of the highlights of my trip here. With few euros, you get to go up the tower to the city view. And wow.. Even pictures cannot portray the amazing view I witnessed from here.
3. Enjoy a walk around the city center area. Within the Alstadt area is where one will be able to find most of the tourist attractions – Church of St. Peter, Virtualienmarkt, Neues Rathaus, Marienplatz, Municipal Museum Cathedral, Munich Residenz, Asam Church, Munich University, and Theatine Church. With the nice weather we had we were able to visit all the places listed above except the museums. We deicided to stick to outdoor activities since I already visited the Residenz last time. But other than these sites, this area is full of stores, cafes, and resturants to enjoy. So one is bound to find something they like.
And Churches! There are many churches in Munich. It’s style is quite different from what I noticed in Austria. In Austria, the inner part of the churches were always grand, detailed and picturesqueness. Yet, the ones in Munich, though big and colorful on the outside, the inner part of the church was quite simple. This is because it’s a different kind of Christianity (Catholic vs Protestant). In fact, those who reside in Munich and is religious have to pay religion tax to the Church. I wonder how Americans would think of this if they were forced to pay such tax. Among the churches we visited, the Theatine Church was interesting. While it was painted bright yellow on the outside, the inner part of the church was completely white (other than this wooden stand in the middle)!
Here are some collection of photos that I took as I walked throughout the city..!
4. Go to the English Garden to enjoy the green breeze, the Bavarian food, and the surfers in the middle of the forest! Yup, all three activities are possible! The Englischer Garten (English Garden) is few minutes away from the city center and is huge. (Apparently this is larger than NY’s Central Park. The 373 hectares is one of the largest inner-city green spaces in the world.) Because it is so close many people (both students and working people) come out during lunch or after work to enjoy and relax under the sun. In fact, one probably enjoys so much for many apparently lie naked here. (I’m not kidding!) In fact, my friend warned me not to be shocked if I do see anyone naked..for it is natural here. It’s a way for them to show off their free spirit! I wasn’t sure how I felt of that, but I do agree that this park is beautiful. And even though I was there for few hours, I felt relaxed and happy to see the blue sky and green grass surrounding me endlessly.
Also, people do surfing here!! How is that possible? There is one spot that forms a standing wave about 1 meter high and has become a popular river surfing point. The water is cold and shallow but since it was dangerous due to the strong stream it was prohibited by law. However, as many continued to surf here they later permitted it. So now just past the bridge near the Haus der Kunst art museum on the River Eisbach is a point where people line up to surf! Quite fun to watch considering this is the middle of the city and in the middle of a forest!
And one must not forget how important FOOD is. Bavarian food at the Beer Garden at the Chinese Temple. (Note: Everything at this park seems to have a name reference to a country – English Garden, Japanese temple, Chinese temple, and beer garden..hm. Interesting.) For those who aren’t able to go to the beer garden here, if you’re visiting Munich you should make a visit to a beer garden! Can’t tell why? Just look at the picture..! I don’t think I need to explain it other than…Who knew sausages could be so delicious..!!
5. Visit the Nymphenburg Palace and enjoy a walk along the 18th century’s palace grounds. Few tram or bus stop away is the baroque Nymphenburg Palace which was the main summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria. The palace was commissioned by the prince-electoral couple Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy in 1664 and was completed in 1675. While additional construction and additions were added now it is open for tourists to visit. The 490 acre park was enlarged and rearranged in French style and was redone in English manner. Hence the huge park has a mix of both beauty. I didn’t know all this history when I was walking, but I could still tell how beautiful and well-kept this place was.
That was a full day..and after a long walk we were ready to..but wait! It’s not done yet! That evening there was another event! UniCredit was hosting the “Festpiel-Nacht Programm” which was a festival of music and opera just for that night. So I ended my day at Munich while watching the opera and listening to live music for FREE.
Munich was the first city that I spent an actual full day (9 am – midnight). And every minute counted. By the time I left, I couldn’t believe I had to leave this fun city and my friends. My friends had lived in this city for few years without disappointment. 24 hours later, I could understand why. Munich, it was good to see you again. See you very soon.
As I said, for my #6 trip, I did see the sunrise in Innsbruck, Austria and sunset in Munich, Germany.