We went to Munich because Aimee wanted to.
We arrived at about 10pm at night so didn’t really do much when we arrived, just checked into our hotel and went to bed. En route to the hotel from the airport we did see the Allianz Arena (somewhere we’d be returning to later on) all lit up in red which was kinda cool!
Refreshed after our early night we got up early and set off on our first day seeing the sights and what Munich had to offer. This was the first European city break we had ever been on and we quickly realised that location was the most important factor in choosing a hotel to stay in. This was our first of 3 big mistakes we made on this trip! Our hotel was about a 15 minute walk to the nearest U-bahn (Metro) station and another 10 – 15 minutes to the main square of Marienplatz. Walking around a residential neighbourhood in the pouring rain trying to establish where the closest station was was a steep learning curve but a mistake we’ll never make again!
Although not in the main centre, we wanted to go to Cafe Katzentempel for our breakfast so made our way there first. Katzentempel is basically a normal cafe, but unique in the fact that they have resident cats that are allowed to roam free inside. We LOVE animals so this was what made us want to go here. The cats just sat and minded their own business the majority of the time anyway so didn’t really bother people. For breakfast, we opted for traditional Bavarian choices of white veal sausage and a salted pretzel.
Next up was going in to the heart of Munich and exploring Marienplatz, with it’s iconic Rathaus-Glockenspiel. At night time we were booked on a Bavarian Food & Beer Tour, taking us round some old bars and haunts in the town. There was only 2 other people on the tour, an American father and son, which is good because the tour guide was so bad (I wouldn’t normally say that, but it was pretty awful). The places we visited though were really good, sampling a LOT of different beers and more Bavarian snacks before finishing up in the famous Hofbräuhaus. A HUGE beer hall, where your hosts are clad in lederhosen, beer is sold in litre glasses and there is a live ‘oompah’ band playing.. A majot tourist hotspot, it doesn’t get much more German than this! We got on great with our new American counterparts, and for some unknown reason myself and the father from their party ended up betting over who could drink the most pitchers of beer.. After 5 litres each we drunkenly congratulated each other’s competitive nature and called it a night.
Definitely go to Hofbräuhaus when you’re in Munich, but definitely don’t attempt to outdrink someone on litre beers.. Especially when you’ve got THREE tours booked the following day. Our 2nd mistake.
First up for us was a trip to Dachau, a small town 20 minutes train ride from Munich Central Station, where there is a former Nazi concentration camp situated. Our tour was simply going to this camp only, so I’m not sure if there is much else to do there tbh. Although nowhere near as big as Auschwitz (which we have since been to) Dachau is still a location where terrible atrocities took place and was the first large-scale concentration camp in Germany. There were lots of German school kids there, our guide explained to us that all schoolchildren in the country has to visit one of these camps as part of their curriculum in order to learn what happened there and help prevent this happening again in the future. I agree with this sentiment, although there is a very harrowing and somber atmosphere in this kind of place it is still something everyone should experience at some point.
Secondly, now back in Munich, we were booked on a Third Reich Walking Tour. We used the same company as we did our trip to Dachau, and had the same guide for each tour who was absolutely brilliant! He was very very knowledgeable and kept the tours interesting but informative at the same time, we’d definitely recommend doing both of these when in Munich. It was a lot of walking though and by this time our feet were killing us, which was our 3rd mistake.. We were perhaps a bit naive then and now one of the first things packed before going away is comfy trainers so we can do plenty walking!
Third tour of the day, was a Munich Ghost Walking Tour. Something we’d done in other cities we’d been to and enjoyed it, but this one wasn’t worth doing. Not only that, we’d also told our friends from the night before we were going on this Ghost Tour as well and convinced them to join us, but they also agreed it was pretty crap and they probably shouldn’t have bothered. No litres of beer for us tonight, tired and sore we got a taxi back to our hotel.
The day I’d been looking forward to most because we were going to Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena. If you’re not familiar with these names then they are 2 of the top football teams, not just in Europe but also throughout the world and have some of the best players on show. One of my friends had friends in Germany who went to a lot of Bayern Munich matches and put me in touch with them before we went over. They were also going to the game so we arranged to meet up for some drinks beforehand, although we still didn’t have any tickets until the night before the game! They eventually got hold of 4 tickets, but they were in different corners of the ground. About 15 minutes before kick off I managed to swap tickets so me and Aimee were sat together.. But that is a loooong story involving punches, polizei and an angry German with a hotdog.. I’ll tell it another time.
I had an amazing day out at the football, meeting our new German friends in Munich city centre we then walked (what seemed about 20 miles after the day before) to a traditional bier-garten. I was informed that this one was better as it was locals that went there and it’s not full of tourists. We had several more litres of Bavarian beer before taking the subway to Allianz Arena. Unlike in British football the fans weren’t totally segregated and you can drink in the stadium, a total novelty to me. Dortmund won 3-0, so the locals weren’t happy. I’m a fan of Dortmund, although I didn’t dare tell them that, so was quite happy. After the game we had some more drinks with our friends, before they had to get a train back to their hometown of Ulm, and then we went back to our hotel.
Up and about early again to get the train to go see Neuschwanstein Castle. This building is amazing both inside and out and was apparently the inspiration for Walt Disney and what he based his Disney castle on. When you see it it’s easy to picture why. It is based in the small village of Hohenschwangau in Bavaria, just a couple of kms from the Swiss border. The village is stunning, a picture perfect landscapes consisting of lakes, rivers and trees. Neuschwanstein Castle sits atop a hill here surrounded by trees. The best place for your photo opportunity is a bridge that looks far too frail to hold the number of people on it. We were hesitant at first but eventually established that the number of people just kept going up and wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. Plus the Germans are efficient at everything, so surely the bridge would be fine. We ventured on and got our photo without the bridge giving way and sending us to our death in the valleys below, thankfully.
When we got back to Munich we spent our last night going for a nice meal and then having our last few drinks.
Our flight home wasn’t until later on in the evening so we had plenty time to kill before we had to go to the airport. We didn’t have anything planned at all for this day so we just decided on the spot what to do really. First stop was the olympic village area, where we explored around and went to the viewpoint at the top to get some nice views over the city. From there we saw the BMW museum, literally right next to us, so we decided to go there and look about as well. Aimee’s mum has a Mini so we decided to buy her a Mini Mini as a souvenir! We then got the train to airport, where there was a very drunk guy with his top off who no one wanted to sit anywhere near so he had about half a carriage to himself. The flight back to the UK didn’t have any drunk people on it (not that I noticed anyway) and passed without major incident.
Overall we learnt that location is probably more important even than the price when booking a hotel, always take comfy trainers and don’t try and outdrink someone that’s about twice your size.