Rob has 2 cousins this side of the world. One is the beautiful Caroline in London, who we’ve caught up with a few times since we moved to the UK. But there’s another cousin who we’ve been neglecting since we’ve moved to Europe – James in Munich.
Rob and I haven’t been to Germany before, so thought visiting James was a brilliant opportunity to check this country out. We were in Munich for 5 days and each was an adventure. Big ups to James and Meike for helping us have such a great time!
A little history lesson first. ***Skip if you don’t care…
Munich was founded in 1158 and in 1255, it became the home for the Wittelsbach dukes, princes and kings who ruled for the next 700 years. It became the capital of Bavaria in 1503 and the region suffered amid numerous power struggles between Prussia and Austria. In 1871, Bismarck finally brought into the German empire. The last king of Bavaria was the mad king Ludwig II who built fantastical fairy-tale castles at huge expense. Unfortunately we didn’t see any fantastical castles while we were in Munich, but we’d love to next time. Post WWI, Munich was a hotspot for right-wing political political ferment. WWII brought bombing and more than 6000 civilian deaths until American forces entered the city in 1945. Today, the city is centre of major German industries such as Siemens and BMW.
Enough with the history. Our first day in Munich was spent exploring the city starting from Karlsplatz station. We wandered through the 14th century Karlstor gate into the busy pedestrian part of town.
Down this way there are quite a few churches (Bavaria is very religious) like Michaelkirche and Alter Peter. The biggest church there is Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) – a late Gothic edifice of red brick with 2 distinctive onion domed towers. Spectacular.
We climbed up the Alter Peter tower to get a better view. The view was magnificent.
Central Marienplatz is a big square that has one side taken up by the neo-Gothic Rathaus (Town Hall) with a large Golckenspiel inside!
The tower we went up to get the sky high photos we the tower of Alter Peter (Church of St Peter) has phenomenal panoramic views. However, we were a bit novice and didn’t take a photo of the Alps from up here. Darn!
The day was so warm (31 degrees!) that we needed to find somewhere cool to relax. James and Meike recommended a busy beer garden – Augustine – where the beers only come in steins!
It was a sunny warm Thursday evening and this beer garden was *packed*. One thing that was quite cool was the locals bringing picnic dinners to have with their beers. Was really communal and easy going. Loved it!
We had our own picnic but bought some fresh pretzels from the bar too. Delicious!
All-in-all, a great first day. We saw the city, enjoyed the wonderful weather and sampled plenty of tasty German bier.
Next post: The Deutsches Museum and More Beer!