Drama to Munich

Now here was a trip that took more than it should have to be realised. Originally it had been something my boyfriend and I had booked to celebrate my birthday, up until the point I ended up boyfriend-less (for various complicated reasons) with flights and hotels already paid for. It didn’t make any sense to cancel the trip and well there is no better cure in my opinion than travelling to get over a breakup (and I have definitely been travelling more since). There were a few more hiccups along the way when my flights got cancelled due to a Lufthansa pilot strike, which took a while and more than a few tears to get sorted and there I was, finally on my way. I had managed to convince my cousin living in Heidelberg to come down for a day and the remaining two days I spent with a friend of mine and her boyfriend already living in Munich.

Early Spring in Munich
Early Spring in Munich

Still early in April, the weather was being a bit fickle but it’s always amazing to see the trees recovering from the somewhat harsh winter they had been through. And it was definitely warm enough for a trip to the Munich Zoo – I had sort of been fixated on visiting since I learned that they just had polar bear babies (well technically a polar bear mummy had them). There was definitely more to see at Munich Zoo than just polar bear babies and it definitely makes a good day out although I was a bit appalled at the tiny space the tiger(s) had.

Cheeky polar bear cubs
Cheeky polar bear cubs

My cousin, being an academic in training, sort of has a fascination with universities so we headed to the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, one of the oldest and most prestigious of Germany, found on Ludwigstraße (Ludwigstrasse) which is one of the city’s four royal avenues.

We then headed to the Marienplatz which, given a Friday evening, was filled with tourists and local alike. It was a bit too late for us to go up the tower but managed to catch a glimpse of the famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel which tells two stories from the 16th century, usually at 11 am (as well as 12 and 5 pm in summer).

It was quite impossible to not finish in one of the local beerhouses for dinner. I was a bit surprised at the communal tables but it was a pleasant experience nevertheless. We ended up being sat to two locals who were giving us advice on what to order and what to not.

Locals enjoying their Friday night
Locals enjoying their Friday night
Went for a vegetable strudel in the end
Went for a vegetable strudel in the end

The real Munich tour really started the following day. Our first stop was Viktualienmarkt which is not far away from the Marienplatz. This is probably the place where you can find local fresh produce for not very expensive. They already had a Mailbaum, may pole, erected for Pentecost (Whitsun) and which in the earlier days used to represent the all things that grow and bear fruit.

Local florist at the Viktualienmarkt
Local florist at the Viktualienmarkt
May Pole
May Pole for Pentecost

We then made a stop at Hofbräuhaus, the most famous beerhouse in Munich. Although it was still early in the morning, tourists could be seen seated next to the locals playing cards.

Cosy atmosphere at Hofbräuhaus
Cosy atmosphere at Hofbräuhaus

We also passed by Schubeck’s (one of Germany’s top chefs) tea and spice shop.

Looks like tonight's meal will be somewhat different.
Looks like tonight’s meal will be somewhat different.

On our way to the Olympic Park, where the 1972 Summer Olympics were held, we had a glimpse of some classy wheels at the BMW World.

I know nothing about cars. Fact.
I know nothing about cars. Fact.
Walk by the lake at the Olympic Park
Walk by the lake at the Olympic Park

Germans love their potatoes and apparently ones of the rising fast foods in the area is mashed potatoes served with toppings. Before continuing on our tour, we did also indulge in some ice cream, Spaguetti Eis (ice cream in the form of a spaguetti dish).

Spaguetti Eis, because birthday cake is overrated.
Spaguetti Eis, because birthday cake is overrated.

Then off we were to the Englischer Garten, which even at this period of the year, offered a spectacular scenery with all shades of green present. Locals could be seen sat by the beer garden by the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) or climbing up to the Greek monopteros. The more daring ones were down at the mouth of the Eisbach river riding the waves. Who said one couldn’t surf in Munich?!

Walking past the Haus der Kunst (House of Art), we made our way to the Maximilianeum, a palatial building which also houses the Bavarian Landtag (the state parliament) while taking in the views ot the Isar River. After a homecooked meal (which I had been missing since moving to Turkey), we ended up bar hopping and had some really interesting chips seasoned with curry powder.

My last day in Munich was mostly spent in art galleries, namely the Alte Pinakothek (Old Pinakothek), which is one of the oldest art galleries of the world, and the Neu Pinakothek (New Pinakothek) which houses mostly recent 19th century paintings. We also had a peep at the Pinakothek der Moderne (Modern Pinakothek) which had some funky art on display.

The Alte Pinakothek
The Alte Pinakothek

We ended the day at Café Vorhölzer, a rooftop bar perched on the 5th floor of the Technical University of Munich which offers a stunning view over the city. On a good day, you can see as far as the Bavarian Alps but we weren’t that lucky. We had some tea, British style, whilst others sipped on their beers, resting our disgruntled feet complaining about how much walking we had done.

Smiles despite being knackered
Smiles despite being knackered

Before I made my way off to the airport, we made one last stop at a beerhouse for some Kartoffelkloesse, German-style potato dumplings, which kept my tummy happy till I made it home. Without any drama, I should add.

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