So, atop my list of happy coincidences, is chancing upon friends on a trip to Europe. Somehow, good company and the charm of a European city can make the gloom seem less gloomy. Even the stress of a packed day, and the impending ‘back to work’ that will greet you at the end of your trip, can seem bearable. This was certainly true for my thirty-six hours in Munich.
The trip was a jumble of train rides, and fantastic German chocolates. But, it was an adventure. And the best way to enjoy an adventure, is to let it happen.
My friend and I wanted to experience something magical. And, the Neuschwanstein Castle was on my bucket list (after all, it doesn’t get more magical than an actual castle). So, we picked Munich since it was the closest big city to said castle.
Where to Stay? (Also, A Note About Train Travel)
Take note, fellow adventure seekers; anywhere you go in Germany, remember that ‘Hbf station’ refers to the town or city’s central station. Since I am never a fan of lugging my bags around during a trip, hence I made sure that we were living close to the Hbf. In my book a ten minute walk is fair, especially when there are lots of good hotels within that ten minute radius of the Hbf in Munich.
What To Do In The City?
I’d start off with a trip to old city or ‘Marienplatz’. It’s a great place to experience both the old and new town hall. I’d say that some scenic views and historic architecture is a great way to spend the morning. Bonus tip; if you want a great ‘wanderlust’ picture for the gram, make sure you visit Monaco Café. It’s the perfect place for a nice view and not-so-bad Monaco-cino.
Right behind the Marienplatz, is Viktualienmarkt (don’t even try to say it). It’s farmers market, Munich style, so expect lots of cheese, sausage and the artisanal goods. You might not love much there. But, it’s a great place to walk around, and if you make your way towards the water, you will find lots of cute concept shops. We found one that hit close to home.
Don’t discount the million bakeries selling pretzels, or simple cheese sandwiches. Because somehow, all bread tastes so much better in Germany than anywhere else.
A thirty minute or so train ride from the Marienplatz will get you to Nymphenburg Palace, which is probably the only other thing you’ll be able to squeeze into a day in the city. It’s a really nice way to spend a late afternoon. But, only on a good day. I can’t imagine that the walk from the train station would be worth it on a frigid, rainy day.
Food-wise, the only serious recommendation we had was to check out a traditional Bavarian bierhall. So we picked the biggest one; HofBrauhaus. Since we were visiting a couple of weeks after Oktoberfest, we did not experience the hall in its full element. I’d recommend visiting it once; unless you’re a fan of sausages. Real talk; my taste buds were getting hospital food vibes with everything that I had ordered. I’m not going to assume that it gets better.
Now, we were not planning to explore the nightlife of the city, with a packed day ahead of us. But, we did head over to Boilermans at 25 Hours Hotel, which was lively. We did have a good time, but to be honest, the best part was definitely the mini-store right outside the bar. And, the carriage parked right outside the bathroom.
I so wish I had the photos to prove that I’m not making that up. Not taking a picture will forever be one of the greatest regrets of that week...
The Final 12 Hours; My Castle Awaits
We woke up on our second, and last day around 9 am (said no one on a holiday, ever). Luckily, our car awaited (PS. make sure you book an automatic to save an extra half hour). So, we could head out early, and get this big, beautiful castle crossed off my bucket list.
Driving on the Autobahn can be great, since there are bits with no speed limit. But also, not so great when you’re driving on a single file road for hours.
However, we did get to experience some great views on our way;
Only to arrive and see some of these;
In a span of five hours, we got to see two beautiful castles; Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Built by King Lugwig and King Maximillian respectively. The former is best known for being an inspiration for the castle on Disney’s logo. And, the castle in a little known Disney movie called ‘Sleeping Beauty’. I’d definitely recommend visiting it, at least once, especially if you’re in the area. Actually even if you're not in the area.
All castles, cathedrals start looking the same after a while. But if you visit just one, this should be it.