As our trip started to near its end end Mom and I made our way to the city of Munich, Germany. It had been a last minute decision in creating our itinerary. Looking at our calendar I realized we still had a couple days unaccounted for after Prague. I had to find a city that was easy to reach from both Prague and Rotterdam and somehow Munich ended up being that city.
I had spent a couple days in Berlin with a friend back in October. It had never been a city at the top of my list. I guess in general Germany had never crossed my radar much as a prospective travel destination, I don’t know why. The reason means little, though, for in the end I greatly enjoyed Berlin, far more that I ever expected. So I was more than happy to explore another German city when I noticed the country was so conveniently located between the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Come on, it was practically begging me to return. In truth, I had been hoping to go to Cologne or somewhere else in that region. I have heard good things about it and have a friend living not far. However, it is too far from Prague to have been a reasonable jump. Plus, I figure it’s close enough to Rotterdam that maybe I can swing by for a couple days this summer. Munich was a much more reasonable distance to cover : a little south of Prague, but not too long by train and an easy flight from there to Rotterdam (unfortunately due to out-of-our-control events it ended up being not so simple, but we’ll get to that later).
We arrived in Munich on a Saturday night. Settled in, got some delicious take-out pizza (I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with pizza) and a bottle of wine (we more than deserved it) for dinner and relaxed in the Airbnb after a long day of travel. It was a small apartment, but in a great trendy neighborhood as we discovered on our post-dinner stroll. A lot of interesting restaurants and shops. I would highly recommend the area, it was near the metro stop Fraunhoferstr (just a couple stops away from the train station) and a short walk or metro ride to Marienplatz, a major square in the center of town.
The only thing that I regret about Munich is our choice of days there. Because we arrived on Saturday night and were tired we didn’t do much outside of strolling our neighborhood. Everything was already closed for the most part, so we just took note of what interested us hoping to return later. Sunday, we knew most shops would still be closed so we delegated that as our museum day again. The Jewish Museum is most certainly worth a visit. It had a great permanent exhibit with a strong focus on the Jewish community in Munich historically and today. The visiting exhibit (Jukebox. Jewkbox! A Jewish Century on Shellac and Vinyl) was fun especially as it was very interactive, allowing you to walk around and listen to different Jewish songs and musicians as well their own personal stories and experiences.
To finish off our museum day, also very much worthwhile, was pay a visit to the Munich Residence, the formal Royal Palace. With over 130 rooms on display make sure you save plenty of time to stroll the impressive building and chambers within. The treasury (in the same building but extra ticket) with crown jewels, pottery, and other beautiful pieces is also well-worth at least an hour of your time. (I always enjoy visiting treasuries. And you have much more time to actually admire the pieces than the crown jewels in the Tower of London where the crowds force you to keep moving). We passed on the audioguides in both instances, neither of us having much patience for them and simply enjoying the opportunity to look and marvel at the fine workmanship on our own. They are free though, so perhaps worth picking up just to learn a little more (remember, this already took us at least an hour in each part without the audioguides though!). We didn’t visit the adjoining Cuvilliés Theatre, but given how magnificent the first two were I am certain it is equally astounding. I would have also liked to visit a park or two while in Munich, unfortunately the weather was still pretty iffy this early in the year so we passed on that.
Day two we were excited to explore some of the shops and other places that had caught our attention. This is where I start to wish we had planned out the days a little better. When we got to Starbucks that morning (I know, I know, Starbucks? In Europe?! But sometimes it’s nice to have your familiar comforts and coffee made just the way you like it. Especially after several weeks of travel) we found it was closed. Gasp! Looking at the sign we determined it opened at seven every morning except Sundays and holidays (10 am opening). Yep, apparently the US wasn’t the only country observing a holiday last Monday. The only upside to this was that in most of Europe many places were closed, so it probably wouldn’t have been different had we been anywhere else. So it ended up being a very calm day as we finished our Residence visit, strolled town, and relaxed in the apartment, preparing to leave for Rotterdam the next morning.
On the one hand, it was nice to have no rush while we were in Munich. With everything closed it was a very restful and pleasant couple of days. I do wish we could have explored the city a little more, however, as we saw so much that interested us but didn’t get the chance to experience. I might consider a return visit but I think, considering how much I’ve enjoyed both of my previous Germany visits so far, I’ll also look into the other cities the country holds as well. Exploring Germany more has definitely moved up on my list this year (and I find the language a bit easier to pick up than some of the other places I’ve been excepting France of course). I know I’ll be there this summer at least. Whether by boat or bike, I’ll be paying a visit to the country with my family in Rotterdam and am looking forward to it!
So, any cities to suggest to this newly awakened Germany explorer? I like small towns and big cities (yeah, not very picky I guess). New experiences, fun areas, beautiful places. Everything and anything I am open to it! If you have a suggestion, favorite place, or just somewhere in Germany you are interested in yourself please let me know by leaving a comment!