For some reason, the past few months I have really been wanting to go to Munich. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but something to do with my last name being Schultheis, the fact that I’d already seen Berlin, but wanted to know the “authentic” storybook Germany (you know- castles, beermaids, and lederhosen). Don’t get me wrong- Berlin is cool. Maybe too cool. (Side note: I also happen to think that the German accent is one of the best in the world, and am extremely happy in the prescence of such a language). Whatever the reason, I was able to convince my Mom and her partner to join as well, and off we went on Lufthansa to Bavaria.
Upon our arrival via the train station Hauptbahnhof, we found a less than jovial German scene. Mom gave me the “I want to go home now” look, as we passed seedy casinos, erotic shops, and had to walk past some very drunk people. Luckily we found the hotel within minutes, and were comforted with Haribo gummy bears on our beds, and a very cheery, rosy-cheeked German desk attendant.
There were only a couple things on our Munich “must see” list, and as our visit would be less than 3 days, that was a good thing. Must see item #1 was the obvious, Hofbrauhaus, and Marionplatz (yes, that place with the weird glockenspiel). Our experience was less than buzzed at the Hofbrauhaus, as our waiter (I nicknamed him Friedrich) was rude and made an error on the check, charging us twice for a meal. Mom was also terribly distraught over picking the wrong sausage for dinner, which didn’t help matters. We thought things would get better, but they only got worse as we got lost on our way home, and realized that we would not have enough time to see the fairy tale castle, Neuschweinstein 😦
The next day we had planned to visit the concentration camp, Dachau. This visit in itself needs its own post, which I will do with care, and precision. Dachau is not a term you want to throw around lightly.
In the evening, we were able to revive over an excellent dinner at the Ratskeller, complete with dessert. It was definitely the best meal of my vacation (unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the tender, succulent meat doused in gravy).
My mother and Dan would leave the next day to Paris, and I would take on the city for one day alone, before heading home. I had a great plan.. the only problem was that I was far too ambitious (as usual), and I forgot literally how huge the city was. In Amsterdam, you can bike through the entire city center in about 22 minutes. In Munich, it might take days! Because of the afore-mentioned disappointment over Neuschwanstein, I opted to see Nymphenburg Palace, visit the Englischer Gartens, the famous shopping street Maximilianstrasse, visit the student area of Schwabing, the Viktualienmarkt, and catch my train to the airport at 3pm. I realized after walking for 30 minutes from the closest metro stop, attempting to reach Nymphenburg, that it was going to be another 40 minutes walking until I would reach the Palace. Ok, I thought, forget about it- can’t do it.
I moved onto the Englischer Gartens, and after a few steps inside, it looked like I was entering the forest that Hansel and Gretel wandered into.. forget it, I’ll never get out of there. I quickly forgot about seeing the hip Schwabing, and instead opted for the easy- to-locate Residenz Palace (former royal palace of Bavarian monarchs), and close-by Maximilianstrasse. Of course by this time it was about 1:30, and I hadn’t stopped to eat. I still managed to see the both attractions (there was a pink limousine parked outside of Gucci on the Maximilianstrasse!), but it was rushed, and uncomfortable.
Lesson learned: do not try to fit 5 activities into a 6 hour period, before you have to go to the airport. Especially in Munich, where the streets are as wide as the Mississippi, and it takes nearly an hour to locate each metro stop! Yikes. I’d like to say I’ve calmed down a bit with my hectic never-ending “to see” lists when I travel, but I simply can’t seem to shake the habit. On the last leg of the vacation (in Paris) I slowed down a bit, but according to my best critic (the boyfriend), it was not enough. Stay tuned…