Having a boyfriend living on the other side of Europe has its upsides. I do miss having someone to keep my bed warm (awww – but seriously, it’s cold here!), someone to hang out with on the weekends and someone to stop me from eating copious chocolate (addict status is fast approaching). The good thing about having a boyfriend living on the other side of Europe is that it’s the perfect excuse to travel.
Two weeks ago we met in Munich. Being a new starter at my job, I can only travel on weekends, so we squeezed as much into two days as we could. I flew out of London after work on Friday (another battle on the tube) and arrived in Munich late Friday night. From there I caught the S-Bahn from inside the airport to Hauptbahnhof (central station), near which we’d booked a room at Hotel Regent.
Munich is cold! Coming from a pleasant four degrees in London, I was plunged into an icy minus-fourteen upon exiting the train station in the heart of Munich. The snow wasn’t very picturesque but ice and brown sludge lined the footpath, reminding me how chilly I felt. The walk from the train station to the hotel, while only meant to be 300 metres, was confusing and cold. Lesson: print out maps with street names. For some reason, I thought it would be okay to pre-load the Google maps image on my phone (I have since learned that you can actually download fully zoomable maps from Maps for use offline) and match this up with a very pixelated image from the hotel’s website. I ended up walking up and down Arnulfstraße for a distance that was at least four times what I needed to each way, freezing cold, without internet access, tired and without Justin to help me! Once I finally made it to the hotel I waited for Justin to arrive an hour later on the train from where he is living in Leogang.
The following morning, we had breakfast at Café Mozart; I had a boiled egg with a croissant and Justin had their equivalent of the big breakfast. The food was delicious. Following this, we walked along one of the main shopping streets toward Marienplatz. I bought some warm gloves and a beanie (note: these are called “woolen hats” to the British) and some Timberland shoes (so warm!) and Justin bought some gloves. There were lots of stores, from at least four H&Ms to many sporting shops.
We then meandered around the streets and stumbled across a beautiful Gothic church, Frauenkirche. The story of its construction and reconstruction is long, and we didn’t stay long enough or have a guide to show us around, but few pictures dotted around the building give hints as to its history. I’d love to explore more.
In the afternoon we visited the BMW museum. This was a short subway trip from the hotel: Königsplatz to Olymiazentrum stations. The ticket machines, while they do have an English setting, are not very intuitive so we purchased what we thought was a “one day group ticket for the inner zone”. It turns out the museum was outside of this zone, but there are no barriers or gates checking tickets upon entry or exit so, while I can’t vouch for all stations in Munich, ours didn’t have anything/anyone to stop us getting out of the station. The museum was very interesting, and even after getting too tired to read the signage (in both English and German) the many shiny cars, bikes, boats and engines were incredible to merely look at. For eight Euros per person, I would definitely recommend a visit.
Close to the BMW museum is Olympiapark, which was used in the 1972 Olympics. Unfortunately we were there in the evening so it was too dark and cold and we had a bier hall to visit! Good excuse for another trip.
Dinner was had at a bier hall a short distance from our hotel. Augustiner-Keller had amazing food – I had a veal schnitzel served with delicious pan-fried potatoes and cranberry sauce, Justin had pork schnitzel with a potato salad – and nice beer. I don’t drink beer so won’t even attempt to review this but it has Justin’s approval! A huge outdoor seating area would be amazing in summer with a group of friends, if you’re up for battling a sea of Oktoberfest-mad tourists.
On Sunday, we had a few hours to kill before my flight and Justin’s train. We couldn’t leave without seeing Schloss Nymphenburg, a summer home to elector Max Emanuel who reigned from 1680 to 1726. We caught the number 17 tram from Hauptbahnhof. The walk from the tram stop to the palace was beautiful; a frozen canal lined with hedges and trees leads to the picturesque palace, culminating in a partially frozen lake full of an amazing mix of ducks, swans and various other species.
This landmark and its expansive gardens would be beautiful in warmer months. Many of the trees were housed in large wooden boxes; instead of a lush, green park we were faced with an expanse of stark white snow, dotted with an army of what looked like out-houses. Entry to the palace was about eleven Euros per person and allowed us to explore the many rooms, full of signs in English. The inside was quite busy, even in winter, so may be quite unbearable in the summer months. Maybe I’ll come back for a run in the gardens and read about the history online.
We then made our way back to the hotel to check out and head home. Munich is a beautiful city, one I will definitely return to experience again and again. Two days was not nearly enough but a great first taste.