We went to Munich last week for a “last vacation before the baby arrives!” trip. It was fantastic. Neither of us had been to Germany before, unless you count the time I ran across a bridge as a child from Luxembourg to say “I’m in Germany!”. But I don’t think that really counts. I really had no idea what to expect and wasn’t convinced I would love it as much as France. I was wrong.
I think this preconceived notion was based on a few things:
- My limited experience with German food had previously been greasy meats and cabbage <– not a fan
- Of the languages I’ve studied German is my weakest
So I think it was more an uncertainty regarding the unknown. Which is totally silly, it is Europe! Of course I’m going to love it! Love it I did.
Munich impressed me with its beauty but more with its livability. Every single day we felt more and more sure this was one of the most livable cities we’d visited. The public transport is incredibly easy to navigate and it works. Rush hour? Unnoticeable because they have so many different trains taking similar routes or you could take a bus or tram. Functioning. We didn’t actually get to speak with anyone else who lives there but from what we could tell the work life balance actually existed, not like here in DC. People really seemed to know how to have a great time be it at the Biergartens or the public parks. I fell in love with Munich.
More specifically I fell in love with the Englischer Garten, which we explored the first day we arrived and returned for a relaxing Sunday afternoon picnic. The park is huge, larger than Central Park with a Biergarten, Japanese Tea House, Chinese Tower (where bands play), a folly, a waterfall, and an incredible current where surfers take turns to ride the waves.
Munich is the 3rd largest city in Germany with a long and rich history as the capital of Bavaria. The host of the 1972 Olympics, Oktoberfest, the seat of the inhumane Third Reich, the brave White Rose, and so much more. With each turn one can find incredible monuments to the town’s history from the distant past to the not so long ago.
We stayed at the Residence Inn near one of the main train stations in downtown. This hotel was excellent and I loved it for the following reasons:
- Location, being so close to one of the main train stations made exploring quite easy
- The Staff, not only hilarious they were helpful and kind
- The breakfast, the buffet was one of the best I’ve ever had, similar to what we experienced in Sweden. They had a wide variety of choices catering to the wide variety of nationalities I suspect they cater to. There were breads, cold cuts, cheeses, olives, jams, eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, granola, cereal, muesli, dried fruits, fresh fruits, yogurts, juices, teas, and coffees. Because the breakfast is free we ate larger than usual breakfasts to compensate for all the walking we did.
- The kitchen, the rooms come with a little kitchen which is incredibly helpful to keep costs down and eat healthy.
I’m such a convert to Residence Inns now. Being able to have the kitchen was awesome. We went shopping at a local Aldi and health food store and picked up items we couldn’t get here in the States, ensuring we still got to experience Bavarian cuisine albeit far cheaper. Food is pretty inexpensive in Germany. From the little research we did after buying sausages, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes for 4 Euros it looks like salaries are lower equaling in lower cost of living for items.
What surprised me was how much eating on the go we saw. The train stations have markets and shops beneath the platforms with the most delectable offerings of: breads, pretzels of all forms, meats, and did I say breads? I’ve never seen so many people eating so much bread. Or ice cream. Seriously this town loves ice cream. From cones to massive sundaes we rarely went a block without seeing someone enjoying an ice cream or sandwich.
We missed Oktoberfest by a week which is fine. Any local we heard discuss it made Oktoberfest sound like an expensive spectacle. I’m sure it would be amazing to see but we heard they jack up the price of beer, which while we were there was quite economical.