Hallo! Our first fully casual day in a while was today, which started much later than the other days of the program. At 9:15, we headed to the train station via tram to go to Munich! After many long days of company tours and long presentations, I was excited for a fully cultural day and time to explore one of Germany’s biggest cities. When we arrived quickly in Munich, I loved hearing the announcements and the fast-paced environment that reminded me of the last time I was in Europe in 2017. On our way to Marienplatz to meet our tour guide, the streets were crowded and filled with dozens of restaurants and stores. I could immediately feel the difference in vibe between Munich and Augsburg. Once we arrived at the Marienplatz (Mary’s Square), I was struck in awe by the beauty of the New Town Hall and its incredibly sophisticated gothic architecture. We arrived at around 11am sharp, so the puppet dance on the balconies of the main tower was about to start. Everyone in the plaza was looking up and holding up their phones to record the show.
Music began playing for a few minutes as we were all getting impatient for the puppets to start moving. Once they did, the entire crowd went “oooh” and stared at the twirling figurines. It seemed like it showed a story of two jousting knights, and the Bavarian one was victorious. After the show, we met our tour guide, Natasha, and began walking to different sites around Munich. She was great at explaining the history of the buildings in the city. The most interesting fact was how people believed the devil had helped the Bavarians construct the Frauenkirche because of how tall it was at the time. We also saw many impressive statues, a famous theater, and churches.
After our tour, we had five hours of free time to explore Munich on our own. Luckily, we had our trusty German friend Maxi with us to help us get around and avoid tourist traps. We first had lunch at a German restaurant recommended by our tour guide. We sat outside under the shade of these massive trees that gave a unique ambiance to the restaurant. I ordered a Swabian pork dish with a potato dumpling, and it was delicious! We then got ice cream that hit different on the very hot and sunny day. We stopped by multiple stores to buy souvenirs for ourselves and our families. Walking through Munich to get to these stores was great because we would pass many cool buildings and walk through the large market selling all kinds of fresh produce and treats. There were many fun street performers like a silver man and a headless accordion player!
After a fun day of exploring Munich, everyone on the program met again at Hans im Glück for dinner. This was a burger restaurant that did not disappoint! I forgot to take pictures of this place, and I’m really mad that I didn’t because it was so cool. Fake trees have lined the aisle and in between tables. The food was also really great. I ordered a burger with goat cheese and hot chili sauce with an alcohol-free cocktail!
Overall, Munich is a very fun, historical, and energetic city with millions of things to do. With that comes Munich lacking the local and authentic feel that Augsburg has. With the lack of many tourists, exploring Augsburg feels more real and more as if I’m living in the city than feeling like a tourist. There are still many amazing things to do in Augsburg even though it is smaller and without tourists everywhere and people treating you like a tourist. Munich has been fun, and I definitely want to return. Tomorrow will be another very important day, filled with history. See you soon.