Munich is a city with a lot of very interesting history, many great beer gardens and some worthwhile day trips which are easy to get to. Unfortunately it will be my only stop in Germany during this trip, but I think it gave me a good feel of the Bavarian culture.
I did another Sandemans walking tour through the city on my first day which I really enjoyed. Lots of fascinating stories about the city as a whole, the events leading to thy Nazi party taking control and the culture of the city. The old town of Munich is neat, even though most the buildings are pretty new (having been rebuilt after being bombed during the war) they have been reconstructed using original drawings and plans, so it still maintains the feel of an old European city.
After arriving later in the afternoon on a nice sunny day I dropped my bag off at the hostel and walked down to a huge park called the English Gardens. I spent an hour or so walking through here, it was absolutely packed with people out enjoying a sunny Sunday after. I followed the river down to an area which drops away and causes a big constant wave which can be surfed on. Very cool to sit there and watch several surfers jump into their boards from the edge and try to stay up for as long as possible. After that I walked further into the gardens and found the Chinese Tower, which has a huge beer garden around it. Spent some time there enjoying the atmosphere, having a huge and very nice meal of bratwurst, chips and beer.
One day I caught the train out to the Dachau Concentration Camp, it’s quite a chilling experience to walk through the place that saw the worst of humanity. The former maintenance building has been converted into an exhibition which tells the story of the camp and the prisoners who were kept there. It goes into a lot of details which I didn’t know about and I found the whole thing very interesting. In the middle of the building there is a room set up to show a film which was created in 1969 by a group of survivors. The videos and images that are shown in that film were really shocking to everyone in the theater, at least 100 people sitting watching the film and it was pure silence.
I spent around 4 hours there walking through the museum, the reconstructed barracks and the rest of the grounds. I would highly recommend getting the audio guide as well, being able to hear stories from the actual people who were either prisoners or liberators makes it so much more real. Something I think everyone should should visit, seeing and hearing first hand accounts of what these prisoners had to endure was heartbreaking.
I did the longest day trip of my time in Europe so far to the Neuschwanstein Castle about 2 hours from Munich. This castle was built by King Ludwig I who had quite a thing for using a lot of money to build fairytale castles in the mountains, you can probably guess why he wasn’t too popular. This particular one is probably the most famous because it was the inspiration for the castle in Beauty and the Beast. Unfortunately the bridge which have the most picturesque was closed for maintenance while I was there, but I still found a few spots with quite nice views. Not wanting to spend the whole day sitting around I spent several hours hiking up the hills behind the castle in some very nice and peaceful areas. About an hour and a half up one of the trails I found a small restaurant where I enjoyed a refreshing radler while taking in the scenery.
My diet in Munich has pretty much consisted of many sausages, pretzels and beer. I’ve been particularly enjoying the spicy curry wurst and the spicy mustard that I’ve had on most things. The beer is pretty cheap and quite nice, all the Munich based breweries that the beer gardens and beer halls support still adhere to the old laws regarding beer brewing. Where only 3 ingredients may be used: water, hops and barley. All of the German pretzels and pastries that I’ve grabbed before my day trips have been really nice as well.