May 11 – Nine Miles in Munich

I woke up around 7:30, a little tired but more than excited to take on Munich. After four straight days of company visits, I was getting a little tired of it. It felt so good to wake up and put on jeans and a sweatshirt, rather than my dress pants and blazer. We walked in the rain to the train station, where I waited in line to get coffee, which I was craving. To my disappointment, the line was moving too slow and I had to leave to catch the train with the rest of the group. The train was pretty crammed and uncomfortable. I was seated across from the bathrooms, but the gap was so narrow that it was a tight squeeze whenever someone had to pass. When we arrived, I could instantly tell that Munich is much bigger than Augsburg. There were so many more people there, and everything seemed a little bit rushed. My first impression of Munich wasn’t very good. I’ve never been a fan of large commercial areas in cities, and that’s what we saw in the first 10-15 minutes of walking in Munich. But soon we arrived at the large central church called the Glockenspiel on Marienplatz things began to change. Just after we arrived outside of the church, the small figures in the clocktower of the church began to move, much to the delight of the hundreds of people standing there, many holding up phones to take videos of the figures.

The Rathaus-Glockenspiel

As we walked around Munich on a guided tour, I was delighted to learn how historic the city was. The older buildings that lined the cobblestone streets we walked around were such a contrast to the newer commercial-looking ones in the area around the station. There was one street that was lined with fancy stores and cars that strongly reminded of Fifth Avenue in New York. We walked through the market where I saw the reddest strawberries I had ever seen and knew I wanted to come back later.

The Market in Munich

When we were granted about four hours of free time, basically our entire group (and some German students) all headed to Hofbrauhaus, an iconic, traditional German restaurant in Munich. Inside, the servers were all dressed in lederhosen and a band was playing traditional German music. However, considering we were a party of about twenty-three, the service took a REALLY long time. Also, I nearly cried when the waiter said the coffee machine was down. About an hour and a half after we sat down, our meals finally arrived, and I tried bratwurst for the first time. It was amazing, even better than schnitzel! Totally worth the long wait. After we finally paid (which was more than two hours after we arrived), a group of us headed to St. Peter to climb 308 steps (a good warm up for Ulm later this week) to get a great view of Munich. The steps didn’t seem that bad, especially since we had to stop every other minute to let other people pass. But the view was amazing! It looked like a sea of red roofs with green farmland in the background. Totally worth the one euro fee. We walked to the market and I finally got to eat the super red strawberries, which were more tasteful than any I’ve had in the states. Next, we walked pretty far to see surfers, which surprised me because the day was so windy and cold that I could not imagine having any urge to go in water. And yet, not only were the surfers surfing, they were doing a really good job. It was also totally worth the walk. Finally, I went on a long excursion to find souvenirs for my family, which was much harder than I thought it would be. Munich seemed to be set up like a maze rather than a grid, and we kept getting lost and ending up on the wrong streets. But eventually, we found a souvenir shop called Little Bavaria and I bought a keychain for my mom and a mug for my brother. After another long walk, this time to a restaurant a few long blocks from the train station called Hans im Gluck Isarport. It was essentially a burger joint. Each table had two orders of fries (served with guacamole). For the first time in Germany, I ate chicken on an avocado burger. Also, I finally got my fix of coffee.

View from St. Peter Tower

The train home was much more relaxing. There were fewer people and no crying babies. I checked my phone when I sat down and saw that I had walked a total of nine miles. I sat with Maya and Joe and talked to them for the half hour ride home. I went to bed very quickly, happy I got to see Munich and already wanting to return.

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