It feels like just yesterday I was writing from Germany and I am loving being back again! If you recall from my last trip to Europe, Germany really “blew” me away. I chose to not go into any travel I have with expectations so I can form my own opinions and feelings about each place. Trust me, this is not always easy. Especially when I have so many people around me that I am with on a daily basis that are well traveled and the Internet allowing me to research and read about literally anything. It is quite challenging to come in without expectations. Anyways, I am so happy to be back in Germany and, once again, exceeded what I could have imagined.
I had an overnight, nonstop flight from Charlotte to Munich on Tuesday. The plane was empty and I had a whole row (of three seats) to myself! Now I definitely consider that a luxury. Being “comfy” is one of my favorite things in the whole world and I certainly was. Even if it were a packed plane, the flight is quite simple. This time I was way more comfortable flying over due to the seating arrangements, but also since it was not my first time. That helps tremendously.
I arrived in Munich yesterday morning around 9:30 am. The Munich airport is quite large and has about everything you could want or need. There is also a train that takes you from the airport to the city center and that is exactly what I was doing. I, again, felt a sense of ease because I used the trains to travel almost entirely last time in Germany. After checking into my hotel and freshening up, shocking you feel nasty after sleeping on a plane, I know, I had lunch/coffee + cake plans. I had to be at Café Stereo and absolutely fell in love. It is a café above a men’s clothing store. The clothing store had my Drew’s fashion written all over it. In fact, as I see the men walk down the streets my brother has a very European fashion sense. I like it! Anyways, Café Stereo is a very quaint but mighty. I had a beautiful view of the sunny streets of Munich and had the best avocado toast of my life. Never did I think my first bites in Germany would be vegan bites but hey, that’s for you, Mom & Lauren! Something very traditional in Germany is to meet for coffee in cake. At the end of lunch we had our choice of cake and my coffee choice was a cappuccino. I went for the New York style cheesecake just to compare. It reminded me of the cheesecake my Grandma makes and the recipe I have adopted from her…the best ever! It, of course, paired well with my cappuccino.
The same happened last time, but as soon as I touch down in Europe I am transformed into a history buff. By this I mean I am interested and intrigued – not that I actually know history facts. Maybe one day! I try to take it all in but there is so much information it can be quite challenging. Like I mentioned, while enjoying my creamy cheesecake and cappuccino, I was able to see all the people walking the streets below me. One Munich tradition that was pointed out to me by Rupert, my lunch guest, was that citizens believe that rubbing or touching the muzzle on the lion statues in front of the Residenz brings luck. The Residenz is a former royal palace. There is a different in how citizens and the tourists that know about it rub it. Tourists rub the muzzle very concentrated and extensive. The locals make the touch brief while passing by – sometimes even without looking at it. I touched it, of course. I also focused on being brief and stealth about it. I think I accomplished that until I took a concentrated picture of it…I don’t think anyone was looking!
Also on my list was to see theRathaus Glockenspiel climb the tower of St. Peter’s, Viktualienmarkt, and the Hofbrauhaus. The Rathaus Glockenspiel is a gorgeous building in the center of Munich. it is part of the new town hall. It also has figures in the building that tell a story and chime at certain times everyday. A big tourist attraction and just such a gorgeous building.
My legs are still pretty sore even as I am writing, but I climbed the tower of St. Peter’s. I should have counted the steps as I underestimated how high it actually was. I definitely got a good workout in. I also met a monk from Thailand whose mission was to get to the top of the tower. I believe he did and that is the beauty of traveling – such a happy person to meet along the way as my legs are burning up the stairs and I am trying to “play cool”. The views at the top of the tower were perfection. It was a gloomy day but that did not even matter. I felt as if I was on top of the world.
Like I mentioned, one of the beauties of traveling are the people you meet. So far in all my travels, I have met the most incredible people. Today, Bina is on the top of my list, too. She worked for Incantato/Inside Europe before I got there for a little bit but other than that has lived in Munich her entire life. She was so warm, welcoming, and insightful. We enjoyed a heiße schokolade (hot chocolate) and just talked like we have been friends for a lifetime. We explored Viktualienmarkt, a local market that is open daily with the most beautiful fruits, freshest meats, and stinkiest cheeses! My favorites. We then we to the famous Hofbrauhaus to enjoy a pint. In my life, I have always wanted to be a regular somewhere. The Hofbrauhaus sure seems like a great place to be! They have a place to wash, store, and lock your mug for those who come often. I am not sure if they are accepting new “regulars” but this concept was amazing to me. When I was in Germany last I was introduced to the radler – beer mixed with fruit soda or lemonade. You can get radlers in the states but just doesn’t seem to taste the same so that was my beer of choice. Bina’s, too. It was the perfect way to end my time with her and my evening in Munich.
A very important aspect of my travel to me is lighting a candle in each city I visit. I was able to step in and light a candle for my family in one of the churches. It is one tradition I have started when traveling and a simple one to keep up and allows me to reflect in the midst of the craziness travel can bring. To me, lighting a candle in church is my way to bring everyone I wish were with me, here, and live a little mark on each place of the world I go.
What I found that I really enjoyed about Munich was the big city with a small town feel. I found myself always in search of the quaint, charming areas of places regardless of the size. In Munich it is simple to find this and it made me feel right at home. I do have on my bucket list to come back to Munich for Oktoberfest. I am sure I would see a very different Munich than I did in these cold, snowy streets but that’s exactly what I would hope for, too! Maybe in 2017? Until then, I am off to Salzburg, Austria in the morning. Can’t wait to tell you all about it. As a preview, I am staying in the “Sound of Music” hotel – Schloss Leopoldskron. Yes, my life dream of Liesl may finally be complete!