In July I went to Munich and had a really amazing experience taking in Bavarian culture as well as Bavarian food and beer. In this space of time I read, travelled and gained a better understanding of where I want to travel in two years time.
17th July: Travelling and day one
Munich is only a 1hr 30min plane journey which meant that when our plane landed at 8am German time, we had a whole day to walk around the town and explore. After spending nearly an hour on the S-bahn we got to Hauptbahnhof and were able to go to the food markets and St Peter’s Church. After that we went to Marienplatz to see the Rathaus-Glokenspiel which attracted a huge crowd everyday, twice a day. It was amazing to see so many tourist groups all gathered around the beautiful building. In the evening we went to the Augustiner Bräustuben beer hall with some friends and this is where I had some of my first German pork with potato dumplings, now let me tell you that these were some of the most beautiful dumplings I have ever had as well as the pork.
18th July: Neuschwanstein Castle
We had our first tour this day so we had to be at Central Station for 9 am where we then went on a coach all the way to Neuschwanstein; the castle was actually the inspiration behind the Disney Castle and also was used in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as the King and Queen of Vulgaria’s residence. It was on the journey up where our tour guide mentioned that the drinking age of this part of Germany was 16- I had no idea! I kept that in mind for when there was the next available drinking opportunity. When we arrived at the beautiful village we were given time to eat and prepare for the uphill mile walk to the castle in 30 degree heat. The castle was beautiful and I would recommend it (maybe in cooler weather) the interiors were stunning and we were able to learn so much about Ludwig and how he surrounded himself in fantasy.
On our way back down from the tour we stopped at a restaurant/café place that is halfway up the hill and this is where I had not only my first beer, but also my first apple strudel. This felt like a reward for all of the steps I had done that day, the strudel was hot but was served with cold vanilla ice cream that cooled me down along with the crisp cold beer that barely touched the sides. As you can imagine, downing a pint at altitude when you have the beginnings of heat stroke are not a good idea so I staggered down the hill very light-headed and put my head in between my knees, waiting for the coach to come and pick us up.
19th July: A day around Munich
This was supposed to be our day off but I walked more on this day than I did out of the whole holiday, we took this day to shop and go round Marienplatz again to be part of the crowd for the glockenspiel, we went to the food markets and also time to have a nap back at the hotel. In the evening we went to the Hofbräuhaus which was huge and my favourite of the beer halls that we visited due to it having a live band that got people up and dancing. It was also here I learnt that you could get beer in litres, which I very happily accepted not for my drinking benefit but because I wanted to take in the culture… okay maybe because I also wanted a drink.
20th July: Salzburg
We went to Austria for the day! This was very exciting because we got to see a really beautiful city that was used for the filming of The Sound of Music. In Salzburg we were able to see some of the really beautiful architecture and the stage for an opera that plays in the summer- seats are around £400 each. We were guided through some beautiful lanes that were like shambles in York with very expensive shops and the fanciest McDonald’s sign I have ever seen. It was a 2 hour train journey where we got to see some of the alps that were beautiful and a lot of the lakes. It is safe to say Salzburg is a very beautiful place and I think if I were to go again I would love to go up to the Fortress and see the city from high up.
21st July: Dachau
I didn’t take any pictures in Dachau as I didn’t want to be disrespectful, there were many poignant moments of the tour where we were able to go inside a gas chamber and see the crematory ovens in the death chamber. It was at that point everything became very real. There were many people inside the chambers on that day, reading from Bibles and Torah’s which is what really affected me because they came to pay respects to family members who had passed whilst at the camp. Inside the grounds of the camp there are memorials for Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Russian Orthodox Christians, these are all spaced out and different shapes but are all there to honour those who were trapped or killed during the Holocaust.
The journey to and from Dachau was difficult, we had to take a bus which is the people of Dachau’s local bus which allows them to travel through the town, but because there are so many tourist groups it means that they cannot travel on their own public transport. As well as this the camp is free to enter now, so as well as being a constant reminder of something that they would like to forget, it brings no money form tourism and also stops other people from spending money in the shops because they are so set on going to the camp then going home.
That evening we went to the Paulaner Brähaus, this was our final dinner in Munich and by this point I had eaten my fair share of beer and pork but I demolished my plateful never the less and then we walked through the park where they will be beginning Oktoberfest next month and it was huge and surrounded by some really beautiful houses, it was clearly in the rich part of Munich.
We then travelled home in the morning of the 22nd of July which then gave us the rest of the day to unpack and get ready for our busy few weeks back home. I truly enjoyed my time in Munich and will hopefully be doing some more travel type posts soon because I have really enjoyed writing this and looking back on my time away.
Let me know if you have any suggestions for any upcoming posts- I currently have a lot of book reviews coming as well as some more personal posts coming soon.