European Adventure Part 2: Munich and Bavaria
Before I get into Europe: Part 2, I just have to say that Alaska was AMAZING.
And Dave and I are officially homeowners. NBD.
But now, back to Europe.
If you missed Part One, check it out here: Amsterdam and the Netherlands
Our next stop after Amsterdam was Munich, Germany. We took a flight in and then, after a bit of detective work and language guessing, we made our way on the train to our hotel. We stayed at another NH hotel and this one was even better than Amsterdam. Although there were two twin beds (pregnant me secretly enjoyed this), we were on the 12th floor and had a spectacular view of old city Munich.
We didn’t do too much the day we checked in, just walked around and ate dinner al fresco at a local restaurant called Zwickel for dinner. It was so delicious! If I learned anything about cuisine on this vacation, it’s that Germans know how to make potatoes. I’ve always loved German potato salad, but man, they just nailed it every time.
Wednesday was Dave’s birthday and we went on a tour of Bavarian castles. I found the trip on Viator.com- a site that I’ve used for several other tours (including in Paris and Turks & Caicos) and I highly recommend it. Although it was more expensive than the other options, it was well worth the money! In our small tour group (less than 25 people) we received a snack box, the most luxurious tour bus ever, and admission into all the castles, plus plenty of time to wander around.
First up, Neuschwanstein Castle!
This is probably the most popular castle and inspired Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland. We took a small ride up to Mary’s bridge, which gives a pristine view of the castle and the town below it. It was a gorgeous day for castle touring!
Looking down from Mary’s Bridge.
We then walked down toward the castle and our guide got us our tour tickets.
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures inside most of the castle. Boo. We used audio guides to take us around and tour this quirky palace. King Ludwig II built Neuschwanstein as his “fairy tale” castle, designed in Romanesque Revival style in the mid-19th century…this is at the same time the Civil War was taking place stateside! We quickly discovered that- no disrespect to him- King Ludwig was off his rocker.
After the tour, we hiked back down the mountain (and can I say how stinking hot it was? There was a heat wave in Europe and it was in the 90s the rest of the trip!) into the town of Hohenschwangau and ate lunch at Hotel Muller. Nice and light and very tasty!
We made it down!
Although we couldn’t tour it, we also got to see the palace where King Ludwig’s predecessors lived and is now privately owned.
We hopped back on the bus and headed to Oberammergau, a smaller, picturesque town where we wondered around on our own for an hour or so. Dave went photo happy here, and I can’t blame him- it was beautiful and so quaint.
The last stop was King Ludwig’s Linderhof Palace. It is small as palaces go, but ornate. This is where King Ludwig lived most of the time, alone with only a few servants. He stayed up all night, slept during the day and went into public as little as possible. Like I said, he was a strange bird.
When we got back to Munich, we freshened up then headed out to Augustiner Biergarten for dinner. It is the oldest and largest biergarten in Bavaria and it was packed! Food is served cafeteria style (get in line with a tray) and they don’t skimp on portions. Then we found an empty bit of table and sat down to eat.
The only bummer about this experience was that they didn’t seem to have water or soda. They had club soda (gross) and beer, so I was at a bit of a loss. I ended up buying a popsicle for hydration, haha! But it was a cool experience and the food was really good.
-We never learned not to play with our food.
Thursday we took the train out to Dachaus, which was a sombering experience. We didn’t take many pictures because it felt wrong, but we did learn A LOT. Seeing how the prisoners were treated and not just reading about it in history books was an eye-opening experience that I can’t put into words here.
Back at the hotel, we cooled off and drank
some a TON of water because it was so hot out, then walked through an Old City gate and to the Frauenkirke before dinner.
Dinner was a sausage fest at Nurmberger Am Dom and was delicious. Again, they nailed the potatoes.
Our last full day we spent mainly in the city, beginning with breakfast outside in the Marienplatz (city center). It was a gorgeous day and breakfast was delicious…especially Dave’s mocha! We explored the Rathaus afterward and climbed the tower to get a great, 360 degree view of Munich. When we came down, we waited in the square for a bit until noon and the Glockerspiel performed. How neat!
We went inside the Residenz Museum next, which used to be a palace for the Wittelbachs. The Residenz offered many neat exhibits. We saw original pieces from when it was a palace, plus some incredible relics including pieces of Jesus’ cross and different saints.
But one thing, that really made me stop and think were the white, plastered rooms. These rooms were unable to be restored to their original grandeur, as the signs said, and we realized were bombed out during World War II, most likely by our troops. It was like experiencing two pieces of history at once.
We picked up a quick and tasty lunch at Richert and ate in a park.
Then, since we had time, we decided to go check out Olympic Park. It was a bit of a train ride out, but it was neat to get out of the main city and see it. You have to walk a mile or so to get the park from the station.Since the park itself was under construction admission was only one Euro. Which was perfect because, while it was a neat place to go in, it was so hot that it wasn’t enjoyable after a while, so we headed back to the train and into the city.
Our last dinner went out with a bang- we went to the famous Haufbrau Haus, of course! It was just a fun experience. The food was good, Dave said the beer was good (my orangeade was good), and the atmosphere was just cheerful and fun. A great way to end our Munich experience!
Saturday morning we were up bright and early for the last leg of our European adventure: Lucerne, Switzerland!