Today we took the train to Munich and went on a tour of the city for two hours. We saw beautiful buildings and learned all about the history. It was a much more busy city than any city that we’ve visited yet, and it is also a younger city compared to how old Augsburg is. I really liked how there are openings that are surrounded by one large building, like a mansion. It is so quiet in these openings and it’s nice if you need to escape the hustle bustle of the city.
But in all honestly, that was why I didn’t love Munich as much as I do Augsburg. It’s just too busy for me. Cars speeding by, sidewalks filled with people going in all directions, and commercialized shopping were my initial issues with the city. However, as we explored the city more, it grew on me. I really enjoyed the market and the historical areas. They were genuine to me, true to the German culture. Another thing that I really liked was the story that the tour guide shared with us about skyscrapers in Munich. As Munich grew, some corporations wanted to build upwards to extend their capacities. However, an unwritten rule existed that no building could be taller than 100 meters (the height of the Frauenkirche). This unwritten rule was there to protect the city from becoming commercialized and untrue to their roots. They wanted to remain a village. However, the companies began to build anyway. They built two skyscrapers on the outskirts so no one really complained. But then they built one that could be seen directly in the distance from a famous landmark in Munich. This angered the citizens and they then enacted for the rule to become a law. It passed and now no other skyscrapers have been built. This is a beautiful story to me. It shows how much the citizens really want to preserve their village and keep it from losing it’s identity.
However, Munich still has some very commercialized areas. Certain streets contain a ridiculous amount of clothing stores. On one particular street we counted about 6 different H&M stores. There are also many touristy shops in the city. I don’t mean to sound like Munich is just a sold-out tourist attraction because it is not. It is a city filled with great history, but not one that I would want to live in. I would say that I view Munich as New York City and Augsburg as Pittsburgh. In my personal preference, I much prefer Pittsburgh over New York City, so it makes sense that I also prefer Augsburg over Munich. So take my previous statements with a grain of salt.
For lunch, we went to the Hofbräuhaus. I can’t imagine a more German place than here. Walking in, you are instantly greeted with live music playing, people drinking and signing, and big plates of food. We went at peak lunch time so we had to go upstairs in a quieter area to find seats. Some people in our group got annoyed because this was part of our free time in Munich and the service was very slow. I imagine most people come here when they do not have any time constraints for that day and just relax. So it took a while for the waiter to get our order and bring out our food. I didn’t care, I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I got roast pork with a pretzel and thought the food was delicious. Overall, I really enjoyed being there and thought it was a great experience! I’m even considering going back on our free day to spend more time there.
After lunch, we split up into groups. I went with the group that explored the city and picked up some souvenirs. Just walking around the city allowed me to enjoy it more in a relaxed setting. Eventually we went to the market and got the best tasting strawberries that I’ve ever had. We sat in the beer garden enjoying the strawberries and some cherries as well. It was a little chilly but the weather overall was nice with the sun out. I love how the city has a quiet area like this where people gather and relax with each other.
We walked back to the meeting spot at the center of the city and saw an anti-abortion protest! I actually didn’t even know that this debate occurred outside the United States so it was interesting to me. It was well controlled and many police were there to make sure no one got out of hand. But still, we didn’t want to stay too long so we walked over to the restaurant for dinner. Here, I got a burger and my table shared fries. It was a good meal, but nothing too different compared to the food back home.
The trip to Munich was a relaxing day for me. I was a little disappointed about how much commercialism is present in such a historical place, but I get why it’s there. While I enjoyed the city, I enjoy cities like Augsburg even more. But that’s just me.