I was a walking cliche in Munich. I happily tried on dirndl dresses, drank beer out of steins larger than my head and of course, we dined on schnitzel! Our time in Munich was laid back and geared toward recharging and reorganizing. It was time to do some maintenance: laundry, haircuts and last minute prep for Africa.
In between errands we found time to visit the most touristy of all Munich spots: the Glockenspiel, the Hofbräuhaus, St. Peter’s Church Tower and a couple markets.
Matt had been to Munich before so he knew some of the ins and outs. We waited so obediently for the clock show, and it was so tiny we could barely see it. You could easily tell those of us who had never seen the clock show before because we all looked puzzled and were squinting as hard as possible. With all that said, I am glad I waited and stayed to the end. I won’t give away the big ending, but it was cute. My advice, sit at one of the cafes and watch from there while you are sipping a drink or eating some great food.
The Hofbräuhaus was pretty much all that I thought it would be except the live band. I didn’t realize they had live music which made it more fun. The beer, the steins, the stein lockers and the shared table seating was great. Take note of the signs above some tables. A table may be reserved for a Stammtisch aka group meeting. If you are unsure just ask. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. Walk around and greet some people. It is a great place to meet some locals and fellow travelers.
Want a fantastic view of the Glockenspiel and the entire city? Take the hike up the 306 steps in the St. Peter’s Church tower. If you can time your visit to one of the clock shows and watch the show from above. Otherwise, just go and enjoy the bird’s eye views. As most tower steps the climb is narrow and steep, but worth every effort.
The German markets were wonderful. I loved strolling through all the different retail stalls from the food to the furniture to the unique trinkets there was something for everyone. We are big on collecting souvenirs, but we did try quite a bit of the local fresh fruits. Overall, I enjoyed Munich but I also felt like it was familiar. The big and modern city took me out of my “travelers” bubble.
- Hello – Guten Tag! (goo-ten tahk) (formal) or Hallo (ha-lo) (informal)
- Goodbye – Auf Wiedersehen (owf vee-der-zayn)
- Please – Bitte (bit-teh)
- Thank You – Danke (dahng-keh)
- Where’s the toilet, please? – Wo ist die Toilette, bitte? (vaw ist ai-ne to-a-le-te, bit-teh?)
Germany is part of the EU; therefore, on the Euro. As with all currencies, there is fluctuation. Check conversion rates while planning your trip. It is recommended that you do your currency conversion at the ATM, and avoid Dynamic Conversion if it comes up during your transaction.
Tipping: As with most of Europe, tipping at restaurants is only done when getting table service, in which case you should tip 5-10%. If you get your food as take away, no tip is required. Taxis are also in the 5-10% range. If you feel your taxi driver went above and beyond, please give more. On the other hand, if you feel you are being taken advantage of and possibly driven in circles, feel free to skip the tip. The only other time you might consider giving a tip is either with a tour guide or very helpful hotel workers, like valets or the concierge.
Train – München Hauptbahnhof is the main train station in Munich is a travelers dream, modern and very efficient. The station is close to the city center and is connected via 2 S-Bahn and 6 U-Bahn platforms, as well as the tram line. The Germans run the best train system I have used and you shouldn’t have any difficulty navigating it.
Plane – Munich’s Airport (MUC) is an easy 40 min ride on either of the two subway lines (S-1 or S-8) that connect it to Marienplatz. A one-way ticket will run you €10.40 or you can get the Munich Gesamtnetz day pass for €11.20, if you plan to use either the bus or train again that day.