Miffed in Munich

At no point did we regret the decision not to go to Venice. While I have no doubt that it’s a wonderful place to visit, our extra day in Florence was well worth the sacrifice. However, our decision did leave us with one problem: we had already reserved a train from Venice to Munich. In reality, this wasn’t such a problem since Venice was on the way, but it did add an extra few hours to what should have been a relatively short journey. The plan was to arrive in Venice an hour before our pre-booked train, thus giving us plenty of time to find out platform and have a rest. The best laid plans…

While on the train, it transpired that some suspicious fellow was being investigated. Naturally, this caused a delay. First ten minutes, then 20, then 40 and then 55. What was originally an hour break now became a four minute rush to catch our train to Munich. Somehow, we made it just before the train left and, despite the delay, we were now back on track. Sadly, our luck did not last and the second train soon developed an hour-long delay. To cut a long story short, we didn’t arrive in Munich until 10pm – 11 hours after we had first set off. Where was this German punctuality that I had heard so much about? We checked in to Hotel Brunnenhof and, after a struggle with the bedroom door, we were able to lie down and rest after our longest travel day yet.

Munich itself confused me somewhat. I am inclined to blame the Hostelworld guide since it suggested that the city’s biggest attraction was Marienplatz. This is a large square in the centre of town, dominated by a large gothic building and an impressive church. Was this really the best that Munich had to offer? I couldn’t help but wonder what we might do for the next three days.

The ‘big gothic building’ in Marienplatz.

Luckily, the Bavarian capital does have at least one ace up its sleeve: beer. We made our way to the apparently renowned Augustiner Bräu and were welcomed by a quintessentially Bavarian lady in Lederhosen. We scoured the menu, but there was only really one choice: a Maß. 1.8 pints (1.069l) of light beer in the heaviest glass known to mankind, popular during the Oktoberfest period. I’m not usually a beer drinker but this was good stuff, if only a little heavy on the wrist. Not bad for ‎€6 either. I highly recommend it, even if beer isn’t really your thing.

It really is maßive :p
It really is maßive :p

We later took a stroll to the Englischer Garten via Residenz. The garden – more of a park – offered a nice opportunity and explore in the evening. Our inner children insisted that we play on the swings before we headed out to an unknown part of the city. It was too late to go into any of the buildings, but it was nice to see a little bit more of the city which had so far offered little in the way of attractions. In hindsight, there are many things to do in Munich. We didn’t look for the Deutches Museum or go into the Residenz building simply because we didn’t know that they were there. The Hostelworld guide was certainly not the best and we really could have done with a more substantial source of information to tell us more. At the time, I was disappointed in Munich, but now I am disappointed in myself for not venturing out further.

My overall impression of Munich is that it must be a nice place to live. The town centre is big, clean and had a certain familiarity about it. It’s not difficult to navigate on foot (once again, we didn’t use the metro at all) and there are lots of places to relax if all the walking is too much for you. Perhaps my judgement is somewhat clouded, but Munich did not feel like a tourist destination to me. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you have little knowledge of a city, it’s useful to be directed to the places of interest. Maybe a trip in Oktober will change my mind…

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