Europe 2016 - Munich
Updated: Jul 12
This was my first time to Germany. I was so excited to check another country off the list.
I flew from Paris to Munich. Its a pretty quick flight. Once I landed, I got my luggage and found a taxi to my Airbnb. My taxi driver was very nice and chatty. He told me a lot about Germany and the things we were driving past. We were cruising along the autobahn when my driver says, "Ugh! Look at this traffic!" I couldn't help but laugh. We were still going at least 40 MPH. He asked me what was so funny. I told him this is not traffic. California has horrendous traffic. He said he has seen our traffic in movies and promised to not complain about their traffic again.
I arrived at my Airbnb and got settled in. Grabbed a quick dinner from the pizza place downstairs before heading to bed.
While I am not a beer drinker, I absolutely had to go to Oktoberfest! Unfortunately, there was a mass stabbing in Munich just a few weeks before my arrival. Because of this, they stepped up their security measures at the Oktoberfest grounds. No large bags allowed in, not even backpacks. All bags were searched, and everyone was patter down along with going through a metal detector.
Once inside, I rode a ferris wheel. This allowed me to see just how large the grounds really are. After, I grabbed breakfast. Strudel und nudel. It's like chopped up pancakes the server said. I have plum sauce on top. Hot cocoa on the side as it was still quite chilly. It's very good! They work hard to minimize waste. The cups are not disposable. You pay a deposit to use it, and when you return it, you get the deposit back.
After walking around for a bit to try and figure out where things were, I went into the Augustiner-Festhalle for some beer. It only comes in one size. A liter! So I had a liter of Edelstoff.
Needing to walk off that first beer, I wandered out of the tent. Since I was there at opening, most things were still not fully open. By now, they were. I saw some pretty horses. Bought myself one souvenir in the form of a flower headband and then had a crepe with nutella and banana in it. YUM!!
My friend, Elif, grew up in Germany, Turkey, and America. She was messaging me certain foods to try. One of them was Kartoffelpuffer which is German potato pancakes with apple sauce. I love potato pancakes, so I couldn't pass this up! Again, to minimize waste, the "plate" is actually a waffle. A very bland waffle, but still. The stand also had a free smartphone charging station.
I then headed to the Schottenhamel Spaten Brau tent for a beer. Man, did I feel old in that tent! In Germany, you can drink beer at the age of 16, hard alcohol at 18, and driving is 18 as well. In this tent, most people were 16-20 years old.
When entering a tent with no reservation, you kind of just find a spot at a table, even if other people are sitting there. I did so and the first group I was sitting with were not very nice. The group behind us started talking to me, so I moved to their table. They were fun! 3 were from Germany and 2 from Australia. They had bought beer mug markers that you write your name on so you don't lose your beer. There were 6 in the package and insisted I take one too.
Another thing Elif told me I needed to get was a small heart shaped ginger cookie. I found one that said Oktoberfest on it.
Since I was there so early in the day, I decided to leave around 6p. I also had some work things to deal with, and because of the 9 hour time change, I couldn't deal with them earlier in the day.
One thing I love about Europe is the architecture. It's all so unique and beautiful. I enjoyed looking at it while walking back to my Airbnb. Another fun thing I learned is about the sidewalks. The stone part on the left is for pedestrians. The paved sidewalk on the right is for bikes. There are often 2 different crosswalks, 1 for bikes and 1 for pedestrians
The following day I took a Bavarian Castle Tour. I boarded a bus at the Munich train station and headed out to the countryside. Wow!! It's so green and beautiful! There was some lingering morning fog too. We drove through many adorable little towns. Our guide was telling us that some parts of the road have tunnels under them that go from one side of the road to the other. There was a large lake nearby & frogs would try to jump across the road only to be hit by the cars. Being that the frogs are a very important part of the lake, they built the tunnels for them to pass under the roads. Why did the frog cross the road in Bavaria? He didn't. He used the tunnel. Yep, that was a joke the guide told us.
Many of the homes have spikes, fences, or pipes on the roof. The point is to keep the snow up there. It helps keep the homes warm. The roofs are built to withstand the weight of all that snow.
The first pic is of Zugspitze which is the tallest mountain in Germany
The first stop on the tour was the Linderhof Palace. It is located in southwest Bavaria near the village of Ettal. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed. One of the interesting facts was that if there is a pineapple at the top of the chandelier in the dining room, it means hospitality. However, the king never had any guests. We were not allowed to take pics inside the palace. What you see below is the best I could get.
The last pic is of a fountain that goes off at 10:30a for just 30 seconds. It shoots close to 30 feet in the air!!
Since it is quite a drive from Linderhof to Neuschwanstein Castle, we stopped in this tiny town called Obberammergau. The drive there was still beautiful too. Obberammergau is a town of about 6,000 people and is known for its Passion Play that happens once every 10 years. The story behind why is very cool!! Google it. Our guide recommended everyone try the ice cream shop during our 30 minute break. I had Italian kaffe (coffee) ice cream which was amazing! Oberammergau is home to one of the last certified wood carving schools. The top bike is a rocking bike that you can take off and ride! I bought a cute little, nativity ornament. There is a huge mountain with a cross on it that can be seen from anywhere in town.
When we pulled into the village where Neuschwanstein Castle it located, I was stunned by how many buses are there. It was extremely busy, especially for this tiny village.
Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revivalpalace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honor of Richard Wagner.
When we arrived, we were told that Mary's Bridge had just reopened 6 weeks earlier after being closed for many months to be rebuilt. I decided to walk up the mountain to the bridge. While the views are absolutely breathtaking, see first pic below, the bridge is terrifying! The planks are about 4" wide, an inch thick, and 6 feet long. They are only attached at the ends with no middle support causing them to bow a lot. I literally took these 3 pics and got out of there as fast as I could!
Once off the terrifying bridge, I continued up the mountain to the castle. She is a beast!! Once again, not allowed to take pics inside, so this was the best I could do. In the last pic, do you see the hang glider? Small dot on the left side above the lake.
We were blessed with a lovely sunset on the 2 hour drive back to Munich. Once we were back, I took a cab back to my Airbnb. Why not walk? Because according to my Garmin, I did:
- 14,000 steps
- 34 flights of stairs
- 202 minutes of working out
My knee was killing me! I grabbed some pasta for dinner and went upstairs to pack.
Next up, Salzburg!
- Wander With Mekela