Wow, today was a little overwhelming, but I enjoyed Munich the longer I stayed there. I might be visiting it again on my free day, but I am not sure yet!
We took a 45-minute train ride to the big city and got off into a bustling train station. Unlike the United States, there was minimal security, and everything was much more open. It still felt safe, and I felt that people trusted each other more than in bigger cities in the USA.
We walked down Munich’s main street, which is also the main shopping center. At first, I felt a little overwhelmed because of how many people there were. It was a different culture than Augsburg, and it was much more energetic.
We took a two-hour guided tour with our tour guide, Dorthia. She did a fantastic job explaining the historical buildings of Munich and gave us a good orientation for the city itself. In Germany, there is a rich heritage of beer because it used to be the drink of choice for the ruling families. Beer gardens were all over Munich, and they are a place where communities come together and enjoy their days outside. Beer gardens are characterized by their chestnut trees that used to shade the cellars of beer. Over time, communities wanted a place to come together, so they built tables and chairs and create the beer garden seen in German towns today.
Munich also has an amazing produce market with fresh vegetables and fruit. They are more expensive than grocery stores, but locals still do their shopping in the market because the produce is much better than grocery stores. Most of the market shops have been family owned for generations and have been a proud part of the family culture.
Another cool building was the Munich Opera House, which is one of the best opera houses in all of Europe. The opera house stands next to the wealthiest street in Munich, where all the designer clothing stores are located. When we stood in front of the opera house with our tour guide, dozens of exotic cars drove by us. There were Bentleys, BMW i8s, a Rolls Royce SUV, and a countless number of BMW and Mercedes sports cars. Back when it was created, Opera was known to be an event of the wealthy class, and it was interesting that today, the luxurious clothing brands decided to lease their stores right next to the Munich Opera House.
Also, there was a cool plaza where there were two historical monuments created by a King and Queen of Bavaria a couple hundred years ago. The cathedral in the plaza was built after a promise that the King and Queen could have a baby boy to rule the throne.
The heart of Munich is the old town hall, where the main spindle holds a glockenspiel and moving figurines of old royal families. Every two hours, the glockenspiel is played, and the figurines move around, and I was lucky enough to get a video of the town hall moving its small figurines.
After the tour, we had a couple hours of free time. The entire student group decided to go to the original Hofbräuhaus in the world. The food was decent, but the group was so big, so we had to wait a while for service. Maxi, one of the German students, came to Munich with us today and we got to walk around the city with him. He guided us to some cool places in the town.
Munich has a famous surfing river in the middle of the city where the river produces natural waves. Nick, one of the Pitt students here, is a big surfer, so Maxi took a couple of us to go see it. It was very impressive and was weird watching guys surf in the middle of one of the biggest cities in Europe.
We also walked to the clock tower in the city and walked up over 300 steps to see the view of Munich. The city is gorgeous, and there are only three skyscrapers in the city. There is an unwritten rule that buildings need to be shorter than their infamous cathedral, so the town is short but extremely spread out.
I checked out some souvenir shops, but I really did not like any of the gifts. I am not a souvenir kind of guy and would prefer spending my money on other things (i.e. tickets to climb to the clock tour).
We ate dinner at a very tasty burger restaurant. There is a craze of burger restaurants in southern Germany, so there are many options to get burgers in Munich or Augsburg.
I walked over 11 miles, more than 22,000 steps, and over 26 floors. I crashed when I got home. I am starting to work on the final presentation and am excited to pitch our final project to the entire group.
Overall, I enjoyed Munich as the day went on, but I enjoy Augsburg better. Augsburg is more manageable, but it is still quite energetic. The town is roughly the same size as Pittsburgh, so it also reminds me of home. I would choose to live in Augsburg than Munich, but maybe I need to get to know Munich a little more before I completely make up my mind.
Tomorrow, we are going to the Dachau Concentration Camp, so I really am going to clear my mind. I know it is going to be eye-opening and important to visit, but I need to prepare myself first.
I will be in touch with my thoughts on Dachau tomorrow.