In my baby boomer travels, I never thought much about Europe as a travel destination. I tend to like places that are a little more exotic, until I spent two nights in Munich at the beginning of a business trip of sorts with my daughter. Everything I ever thought about a country that was primarily Anglo changed then and I knew I had to return to explore more of this vast European continent.
We arrived in Munich in May around 2:00 in the afternoon and were determined to stay awake with the locals. We checked in to our hotel and immediately set out to explore.
Hotel an der Oper
We stayed at the Hotel an der Oper which was in an excellent location. Off the main streets so it was very quiet but just 2 minutes away from all of the activity. It was perfect because there was no time wasted waiting for taxis or buses. We were just so close, just stepped out the door.
Since we only had 2 days our first stop was the Hofbrauhaus the world’s most favorite tavern. It was recommended at a must see. Now mind you, neither my daughter or I are beer drinks, in fact I pretty much detest it, but we decided we would go in, get one of their famous soft pretzels and a small beer to split. Just so we could say “been there, done that”.
It’s huge and it’s crowded and it’s really noisy. The tables are mostly community style, so chances are pretty good that if you want to sit down, it will be with others you don’t know. My first reaction was, no. Not my kind of place.
We sat down at a table that we actually had to ourselves and started looking over the menu. Lots of beer options, so if you love beer this place will make you very happy. The beers come in the largest beer steins you have ever seen. Not sure how the barmaids carry so many at once, but they do. Two or three in each hand and the glass itself is heavy.
We decided on a cheese plate, a giant pretzel and my daughter spotted something on the list of beers that we thought we might be able to swallow. Radler! Have you had it? We ordered one to share and it was really good! In fact we enjoyed it so much that we had a few more over the nearly 3 weeks we were in Germany and Austria.
We wandered around Munich that evening and stayed up as late as we could, which was about 9:30 or 10:00 thanks to the crushing jetlag. We thought, get a good nights rest and we can start early the next day.
I wake up with the sun shining brightly outside and my daughter saying “mom, mom, wake up, it’s 1 o’clock” My response was “1 o’clock what?”, She says “in the afternoon”. OMG, we slept straight through till the next afternoon! About 15 hours. Our day in Munich was going to be short.
Munich or Munchen as they say is a beautiful city, with so much history. Even the Haufbrauhaus has an interesting past, all though it is a dark past that they really don’t like to talk much about these days. I’ll let you look it up if your are really interested.
It was a beautiful afternoon and the streets were busy, but not overly crowded as they were when we passed through a few weeks later in June. The weather was cool enough for a light jacket, but could easily change either way because of the time of year.
A great place to start your day is the Marienplatz having been the central square in Munich since 1158. It is the center of all things social. Beautiful old architecture and the giant cuckoo clock are must sees.
The market place, an original farmer’s market was my favorite area in Munich. I could have wandered around there for days. The freshest produce, fresh bread, fresh seafood, cheese shops and gourmet foods. There were crafts, flowers and a beer garten. There are shops and cafes all around. We had another Radler! Does that make us beer drinkers? It’s beer and lemonade……probably doesn’t count.
Surfing in the heart of Germany…..in Munich? You bet! The Eisbach Wave satisfies the die hard surfers who will do whatever to catch a wave. They surf the river right in the middle of Munich. If you are a surfer and you happen to have your board with you, then you have to give it a try. It looked really cold so hopefully you have your wetsuit with you.
As a baby boomer traveling around the world, two nights in Munich is not nearly enough and we hope to get there again. What a wonderful 2 nights it was, jet lag and all.