We were there in June so the weather was perfect. It was breezy but not warm. We arrived in Franz Josef Airport and took the S Bahn (electric rail transport system). We purchased the Airport-City-Day-Ticket , which took us to the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) of Munich, which is near our hotel. This took 35 minutes and costs €18.80 for each of us.
I found the train trip very smooth, quiet, clean and fuss-free. Along the way, we saw a lot of low rise houses and every time the doors opened at each station, a nice breeze swept in.
Our holiday has begun.
When we reached Hauptbahnhof, we alighted and were pleasantly surprised to see that it is actually a very nice big train station, with lots of food. The train station was spectacular to us. In Singapore, we don’t have train stations anymore. Following an agreement between the governments of Singapore and Malaysia, railway operations at the 1 and only train station in Singapore ceased operations from 1 July 2011. And as much as I know, our train station did not have nearly as many tracks as this one. Munich Hauptbahnhof has 32 tracks. We see passengers buying food and walking toward their tracks.
We bought some snacks too.
Armed with the information that the hotel has provided, we crossed the road and walked 15 mins to the hotel. We bought fruits from a stall for further snacking too.
Lugging our luggage on the cobblestones all the way to the hotel was quite an experience. All we could hear was ‘tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk, tuk’. I kept on praying that the wheels would not come off from the stones on the floor. And that the locks on the luggages are secure. Imagine the horror and embarrassment if the locks broke and everything spilled out on the road on our 1st day in Germany. I can also imagine us quarrelling with each other over this, especially after a long flight like ours.
I would strongly recommend anyone going to Munich to stay at the hotel that we did.
Hotel Jedermann: Hotel garni Jedermann, Familie Jenke, Bayerstrasse 95, 80335 Muenchen
It is certainly not the fanciest hotels that we have stayed in. In fact, when I first saw it, I was a little surprised at how old it looked from the exterior. The check in was smooth and efficient. The counter staff were friendly, informative and spoke good english. The beds were also super comfortable and soft and the rooms were a decent size. I remember opening the windows in the room and feeling the cold breeze come in, as we rested after our long flight.
On our 3rd day at breakfast, I remember sharing with the waitress that we were going to Neuschwanstein on the next day and I wanted to confirm directions with her as we are not going with any tour groups/ day groups etc. She was extremely helpful and gave us the confidence that we could do it on our own. She said many tourists do it on their own and there is no reason why we could not. It might sound complicated but it is not. I have read a lot about travelling to Neuschwanstein before our trip and with her assurance, I felt sufficiently confident that we can venture there on our own. And guess what, because we had to leave for Zurich at 5am on the last day in Munich, the kitchen staff came in early to prepare breakfast just for us. We had checked out the night before and the counter staff had asked if we wanted breakfast earlier than 630am. I agreed, thinking that it could be a simple breakfast like cereals and milk or bread but we were very happy that it was like the usual breakfast spread of ham, eggs, plenty of cheese, sausages bread, jams, fruits, milk, juices etc. The kitchen staff even came out to chat with us and ask about our stay in Munich and where we were headed off to next, on our Europe holiday. When we were leaving, they even gave us paper bags to bring along some food for our train trip. I was unsure if you can eat on the trains but the kitchen ladies shared that we can.
Sometimes hotels that touch us are the ones that go the extra mile. I will always remember Hotel Jedermann for its warmth and hospitality in Munich.
Here are 2 interesting observations that I must point out:
– During our time there, one fact is evidently prominent – there are a lot of BMWs on the road! I recalled that Munich is home to BMW. Did some googling and Venere.com shares this:
The number of BMW’s on the streets is immediately obvious and is disproportionate even for a city with the wealth and prestige of Munich. Other high class German car brands are noticeably absent from Munich.
This is true – we saw A LOT OF BMWs. And not much less of other brands of cars.
– Oktoberfest actually takes place mostly in September. I realised this when I read it in flyers in Munich while they were promoting for Oktoberfest. Anyone would have ASSUMED that it takes place in October right? not September.
Here is what I remember fondly from our Munich trip –
We ate a lot! We went to quite a few beer gardens & really enjoyed our meals there! We can drink beer by the mugs by lunchtime!
Below are pictures of what we ate at Augustiner Braustuben for dinner on our 1st night. This restaurant was very near the hotel & I had read good reviews about it so we went to try. We were famished and food was plentiful and delicious. We sat on the 2nd floor of the restaurant and the crowd was slightly quieter than the rowdy fun bunch downstairs and we were able to really kick back and start our holiday. The sausages were good and meaty and portions were big. I remembered that almost everything comes with huge ‘balls’ of meat/ flour and I found out they are actually potato dumplings. It is not as touristy as Hofbrauhaus and very homely.
We also ate at Hofbrauhaus – which is the most famous beer garden in Munich. When we reached the restaurant, we immediately knew we had come to the right place. It was crowded and very lively. There were a lot of tourists and locals alike. We had a good time there too. We sat at the courtyard and as the sun set, it was beautiful. We were astounded every time the beer ladies (super strong) came by the tables, juggling 8-10 jugs of beer and balancing all of them perfectly.
On the way out, my mum blocked one of the ladies without realising and one of the beer ladies screamed and shouted at us for blocking her. We all jumped back to let her pass…
I ate a lot of schnitzel, sauerkaut, bockwurst (smoked sausage), wiener sausages, crispy roasted knuckle of pork, escalope “Vienna style” & my favourite dessert in Munich – Apple Strudel.
I always have a hard time deciding which sausages to order! The only one I didnt fancy was the white kind (weisswurst)- it is made from very finely minced veal and fresh pork back bacon.
We also drank a lot of beer. Our favourite is Radler, which is actually beer with lemonade. Very refreshing. We drank it like water!
2. Beautiful buildings
During the 2nd and 3rd day, we strolled and shopped along the busy Viktualienmarkt. The Victuals Market, only a few steps from the Marienplatz (what Times Square is to New York) , is Munich’s most popular open air market. While we walked here from the hotel, we enjoyed the beautiful buildings with colorful murals on the walls. It seemed like everywhere we turned, another building made us smile with the gorgeous colors and creativity.
The Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s top place to shop for fresh produce, dairy, bread, and Bavarian specialties. In every country that we go to, I love to go to their farmers market to look at the produce and sample their fruits and cheese. In Singapore we do not have farmers markets and even when they do have one periodically, our weather is too hot here to really enjoy the atmosphere or the food. And we do not have much farms left in our urbanised city, so not much of a farmers market to speak of either if we have them here.
3. Stag Party
I have saved the best for last – this is the most unusual memory that we had in Munich.
We were a little jet lagged from our trip and on the 2nd day while we were shopping in Maximilianstraße, we sat down near a building that was in the shade and took a breather. A group of Germans came up to the 4 of us and wanted to know where we were from and we found out that they were in fact, having a stag party! They were extremely friendly and interested to know where we came from and to help the groom with his ‘assignment’ – he had to find 30 tourists to draw 30 maps of their country in his notebook before his friends can let him off the hook for the day. They were very excited to find that we were from Singapore and my mum excitedly drew the Singapore flag in his book for him.
After that he even gave my sister a kiss!
It is true what they say about Munich – With its busy shops, roaring beer halls, superb german cuisine, the vibrancy of this city and its people, it is very easy to see why it has been voted one of the most liveable cities in the world before.
Something interesting that I read about Munich from NYTimes:
– Work-life balance seems to be the city’s mantra. Make no mistake, people in this city work hard. With some of the highest apartment rents in Europe and all the shiny BMWs on the streets, they have to. But with high prices comes high quality, so it’s no surprise that Munich has one of the fastest-growing economies and lowest unemployment and violent crime rates in Germany. The city works hard to promote innovation. “This city got biotech going in Germany,” says Professor Axel Ullrich, 63, a leading international anti-cancer researcher and director of molecular biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried. The city is also home to corporate giants such as BMW, Siemens, Allianz, Microsoft, and is the center of the German film industry.