When Marion suggested to visit Munich on my fourth day, to be honest I wasn’t really interested. Munich is such a big city, and I knew I wasn’t the biggest fan of big cities. I’ve always preferred walking around than taking public transport to enjoy a place, as I feel walking gives me more chances to interact with the locals and get involved with whatever is going on. It was Friday, and we already had plans for the weekend, meaning I only had time for a day trip. I was dying to go to Dresden, but since time didn’t allow, I thought Munich wouldn’t be so bad. It’s the capital of Bavaria, so there must be something interesting there.
That day, Marion had to go to work so I went alone, taking the train from Regensburg Hauptbahnhof. She’d given me some recommendations, and assured me that Munich was fairly easy to navigate so I wouldn’t have much problem (not that I worried, Germany’s U-bahn system is brilliant). It took 1.5 hours to get to Munich, and as soon as I got there I went to the central square, Marienplatz.
The place was packed with tourists, and in other places, I might not have enjoyed it so much, but it was so stunning that for once, I didn’t mind.
The palatial new city hall (Neues Rathaus) was absolutely impressive. From afar it looked magnificent, but once I stepped closer I was more in awe with the elaborate architecture.
It seemed that there were street performers in every corner, and trust me when I say they were good.
There’s something about street performers that always makes a trip more memorable. I guess it’s because it’s always a nice surprise to find them as you turn into the next street. Having schedules and plans during the trip can be a bit exhausting, and seeing street performers gives me the chance to take a break and really enjoy what the city has to offer, which really puts me at ease somehow. Whenever I spot one, I always stop to listen, and listening to them in a new place I have yet to explore gives all sort of feelings. Excitement, gratitude, and a bit of apprehension. In my travel, I’ve encountered many street performers, and while I’ve always loved listening to them (how could they make any song sound better than the original version?), there were only a few that could stir some emotions. These guys with their xylophones were quite special in that way.
Still hearing the music in my head, I walked to Viktualienmarkt, the famous food market.
It was brimming with stalls and shops. People were eating outside, enjoying the (slightly) warm weather, while the smell of grilled sausages wafted from every corner of the place. The whole atmosphere was just lively.
After having lunch there (Weisswurst, because, why would you eat anything other than that in Germany?), I walked to Odeonsplatz, another square nearby. If I hadn’t been convinced that Munich was beautiful before, this walk would have changed my mind.
Odeonsplatz is a square lined by classic buildings, with the Theatine church on one side. If you’re a fan of history or just people-watching, this place is for you.
This place is monumental, in a way. On the order of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, the Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshal’s Hall) was used to honor the tradition of the Bavarian Army. Later on, it witnessed the Beer Hall Putsch, the coup attempt by the Nazy Party which was led by Hitler. This event, albeit the failure, brought Hitler to prominence. During the Nazi era, Hitler used this place to commemorate the fallen SA (Sturmabteilung) in the failed putsch.
Moving on from the history lesson, and from the Feldherrnhalle…
I walked a bit and found myself in the Munich Residenz, the former royal palace of the Bavarian Monarchs. Now, at this point I had seen quite a lot of palaces and castles in Germany. While they were all so grand and splendid, they were quite similar that after many outings, it was hard to differentiate one from the other (they all jumbled in my head and I had to take a closer look at my pictures to see which one was which). And I guess as I got used to it, it didn’t take my breath away as it had in the early days.
But this one, it blew me away. It was the most majestic, impressive, and extravagant place I’d ever seen.
Such a big statement, I know. But let me walk you through some of the things.
The Renaissance Antiquarium,
The Baroque ancestral gallery,
and the Grottenhof.
The rest of the place was just as beautiful, with intricate ceilings, sculptures, chandeliers, tapestries, and touches of gold here and there. Each room was well-appointed, with its own feature.
I was so in love with this place.
If you go to Munich, don’t skip this place. Trust me.
After that, I took a stroll around Max-Joseph-Platz, a square named after (you guess it) King Maximilian Joseph, a king with who was renowned for his interest in arts and science.
The National Theatre Munich, with its Rococo portico, stood on one side of the square. Built under the direction of King Maximilian Joseph, this opera house is the home for the Bavarian State Opera and Bavarian State Ballet. A monument was built in front of the opera house as a memorial for him. He also founded the Academy of Fine Arts Munich, one of the oldest art academies in Germany.
I spent the last hour before the sunset walking around, aimless. To my surprise, Munich wasn’t exactly like how I’d pictured it. Did I regret going there? Definitely no. But I wish I’d spared more than a day to explore this wonderful city. There were so many things I didn’t get to see. Alte Pinakothek, the Frauenkirche, the Theatinerkirche, Alter Peter (so many churches!), Nymphenburg Palace, and more.
I came to Munich thinking I was going to spend a day in a big city which I wouldn’t be too interested at. But Munich wasn’t just another city. It’s a city of art, cultures, history, magnificent architectures, and many more. I left it with a heavy heart, all the while crossing my fingers as I said a prayer for another chance to visit this beautiful city. It might come with surprises, but I wouldn’t mind.
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