Welcome to Part 2 of 3 of my Taking Time Off Tour Guides! Spending spring break hopping from country to country is not the most relaxing vacation, but definitely one of the most enriching vacations I’ve taken. A piece of my heart is still in Munich. A city that was quite a surprise to me, and unlike any other place in Europe I have ever traveled to. It’s a place where the extremely old and traditional merges with the sleek, new and high tech. Here are a few suggestions if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in old Bavaria! Genießen!
Before you go:
Language: Well you guessed it! They speak German in Germany. Now here’s where it gets interesting: many of the locals (waiters, drivers, etc.) don’t speak English unlike other European countries I’ve visited. They also don’t have English in tiny print under their signs in places like an airport or train station which made things a little tricky. If you don’t know German, go on guided English tours where a guide can help you find your way!
Currency: Exchange your dollars for Euros. Current exchange rate as of March 2019: 1 Dollar = 0.89 Euros.
Transportation: Straight from the airport, our taxi pulled up in a Tesla. I was surprised to say the least! I began to realize that lots of people were driving very nice cars and most of the taxis were a BMW or a Tesla. It’s quite a fun change if you’re not used to being in a luxury car. We used a taxi from the airport because it was waiting outside and it was convenient, but Uber-ed back which worked out nicely.
Otherwise, they have the most efficient subway and train system I have ever experienced. The rides were so smooth and a new train came every 3-5 minutes. Buying a ticket will allow for unlimited travel on all U-Bahn, S-Bahn trains, trams and buses from the time validated until 6:00 am the next day. The most interesting part, is you don’t scan your ticket in. You just have to have it with you if someone should ask to see it. I imagine a lot of people get on the trains without a ticket and hope that they don’t get caught and fined.
Miscellaneous: The power outlets are different there. Be sure to buy a couple Type E two-prong plugs so that you can keep your phone charged and ready to take pics!
When you get there:
Where to stay: I ended up staying in a suburb just 10 minutes walking to Marienplatz. It was a cozy little neighborhood called Mariahlifplatz. Just 30 minutes driving from the airport, I found this apartment through AirBnB and it ended up being somewhere around $170 a night for 2 bedrooms. And well worth it! It was a wonderful place to stay, and if they had this apartment in America I would move in in a heartbeat! It looked out
to this gorgeous gothic church that I found myself quite enamored with. The sidewalks were full of little children riding alongside their parents on tiny tricycles, their parents groceries from the local market. It’s a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown, while being very close by.
Where to eat: Beer. Hall. Food. I could not get enough. We visited two different places, the iconic Hofbräuhaus, a beer hall from 1589 and Augistiner Keller, the oldest beer hall (1328). If you don’t like jumbo pretzels and wienerschnitzel, then come for the atmosphere. Slide right into a booth with 10+ strangers and enjoy a beer as big as your head. The menus are fairly large and there’s something for everyone, especially us Americans who are used to the traditional meat and potatoes. Besides the beer hall food, I will be returning to Germany one day specifically for their pastries. I know France is known for their baked goods, but every single thing I had, even just at the Rischart bakery in the train stations was to die for. Have a danish! You won’t regret it.
What to see:
The absolute musts… and What I wish I had time for…
Dachau Concentration Camp * Neuschwantstein Castle
Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall * Deutsches Museum
Marienplatz * A football game at Allianz Arena
Viktualienmarkt * Oktoberfest