Today was the first morning we didn’t have to get up really early, which was a big help. I got my usual breakfast at the hotel and then went with the group to Augsburg’s train station. This was my first time on a train and I was surprised by how smoothly it ran. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the Munich train station, which was massive with several train terminals. This further proves that the public transportation in Germany is phenomenal and really well organized. I wish the U.S. had a similar service.
Once in Munich, we walked to Marienplatz, the town square at the heart of the city. We arrived at 11:00 which is when the Rathaus Glockenspiel is turned on. It was really fun to see all the statues on the spinning platform, and the history behind what they were doing. My favorite part by far was when the knight got de-horsed by the Bavarian knight. Immediately after watching the Glockenspiel, the tour of the city began.
The tour was phenomenal. As we walked through the streets of Munich seeing all the impressive cathedrals and monuments I was in awe of the city. There was so much history, and so many of the buildings were still built in the traditional style. My favorite part about the buildings of the city was that they could be no taller than 100 meters, which was the height of the tallest church, Frauenkirche. This made the city feel really open and picturesque as none of the buildings were modern skyscrapers.
After hearing about the city’s rich history and all of its kings, we had a four and a half hour block of free time in our schedule. This was the best part of the day. My friend Frank and I made it our goal to see as much as possible in that time frame. The whole group went to the Hofbrauhaus where I ate bratwurst for the first time. It was delicious. After that, a group of us went to the St. Peter’s cathedral where we climbed its tower to get a really good view of the city. After walking up 13 stories of narrow stairs well finally reached the top and had a fantastic view of the city.
After going seeing the city from above, we returned to the market that we visited on the guided tour to pick up some fresh strawberries. The market itself was so nice and I could easily see myself spending a day just there enjoying the local food. Everything was so fresh and family owned which is in contrast to how I typically get my fruit in the U.S, from a big grocery store. After devouring some strawberries, we then went to see the famous surfing spot.
In Munich, there is a surfing spot on a river running through the cities park. Even though it was pretty cold, there were plenty of surfers in wet suits surfing on this standing wave in the river. It was really funny to watch because a lot of the time they just fell into the water. The surfers that did get it were really impressive, especially this guy with an orange board who did a small jump at one point.
After that, Frank and I split off to go check out some of the cathedrals. On the tour, we got to see the outside but we wanted to see more. While I’m not religious, I was just fascinated by the architecture and how massive these buildings were. My favorite one was Theatinerkirche because of its all white interior. Inside we also got to see the tomb of King Maximilian of Munich. We also went to see Frauenkirche which was where the devil’s footprint supposedly was. The legend goes that the builder asked the devil to fund the church’s construction, but it would have no windows to celebrate darkness. The builder tricked the devil, by making one spot in the church have no visible windows. Out of anger, the devil supposedly stamped his foot onto the ground, leaving the footprint.
After seeing the churches, we went shopping. Ironically, we met up with the rest of the group at a store near the Munich Hard Rock Cafe. I bought a nice, blue Munich t-shirt. We then went to meet back up with the group, but our meeting spot was near an anti abortion rally in Marienplatz. Walking around the protesters was interesting. German police were everywhere in riot gear making sure nothing broke out in violence. It didn’t seem like they were armed, but I wasn’t looking super closely. None of the normal police are armed to my knowledge, which is very different from America.
After meeting up, we got dinner at a good burger place in Munich. I talked with one of the German students about Game of Thrones and it was a good time. I checked how far I walked that day to find I walked 9.2 miles and 27 flights of stairs. Needless to say I was pretty tired. During the trip, I learned about a travel abroad program Pitt has where you can get a certificate in Aerospace Engineering by taking a semester of classes at Munich University. If it fits my schedule, I’d really like to do that program because I loved Munich.