i was looking forward to putting my feet up and taking things at a leisurely pace in munich because we had allocated 3 days and nights there. i also may or may not have been biased by the fact that we were staying in a hotel that came with a big, comfy king-sized bed complete with fluffy doonas and soft, plush bedroom slippers. ahh, relaxation at its best. it was that kind of hotel that provided shoe horns, bath loofahs, more towels than you know what to do with and charged you €22 for breakfast, y’know. hahaha.
having arrived in munich around dinnertime we quickly checked in (i spent a few minutes ohh-ing and ahh-ing at our cosy room awash in down light) and wandered out to munich’s medieval christmas market at brienner straße for dinner. it’s probably one of my favourite christmas markets of ALL TIME because there were so many local and traditional food choices. always a winner in my books! the stalls, cutlery and dinnerware were all fashioned medieval style. store owners and attendants were all decked out in medieval livery. we returned 3 times over 3 days for food :D. christmas market tally: 8.
let’s kick off then, shall we?
bread dumpling with creamy mushroom sauce and herbs
a traditional dish with sauerkraut and bacon. yum.
could not resist the medieval christmas mugs, so naturally i took a tinier version home.
roast suckling pig (which you can see in its entirety in one of the photos above) with crackling and potato salad
consuming more than our body weight in carbohydrates meant that some form of exercise was highly advisable, so we took a stroll through odeonsplatz.
we stumbled onto christmas market number 9(?)- even i’m losing track! here i found the most Derriiiicious caramel-coated hazelnuts, which reminded me a lot of nutella…only crunchier! needless to say i returned the next night to buy more of them.
bavarian state opera
last stop on the itinerary for the night was something my boyfriend had been looking forward to- a visit to hofbräuhaus münchen. what makes them so special? well, history has them down as a royal brewery in the kingdom of bavaria….and they serve beers in 1L steins! this place was obviously very popular with locals and tourists alike, as there was not an empty table in sight (until we went up to the 2nd or 3rd floor which had available seating, but not the atmosphere of the beer halls on the lower floors). “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus, oans, zwoa, g’suffa!” (“There’s a Hofbräuhaus in Munich—one, two, drunk!”)- wikipedia.
considering it was Daylight Robbery for breakfast at our hotel, this was our next best option. after whipping up a few sandwiches with the ingredients below, it was our best option for sure! kinda fell in love with the cheese and ham choices in munich. and aloe vera yogurt! why do they not have that here?
when in germany, you gotta check out the haribo selection.
after an undisturbed good night’s rest all i wanted to do was sink further into the covers and continue sleeping ala sleeping beauty, but the pull of going to see the inspiration behind her castle eventually won over and off we went to hohenschwangau. i’m so glad we went during winter because snow magically makes everything more beautiful, but if you’ve been following my posts you’d already know my thoughts on this!
neuschwanstein castle (also known as the fairy tale castle) was commissioned by ‘mad king’ ludwig as a personal refuge, but he died before it was completed. the castle was opened to the public immediately after his death and now serves as one of the top tourist attractions in munich. this place is what fairy tales are made of and i felt like i was in adult disneyland, minus the mickey mouse ears.
to get what is widely regarded as the best view of the castle from the other side, we had to *ahem* ignore two ‘danger, do not pass’ signs and climb up a slippery ICY slope where i rolled around like a little bundled up krispy kreme donut. but we got to marienbrücke (mary’s bridge) in the end!
as neuschwanstein castle is situated high up on a hill, my advice would be to rug up if you were visiting during the colder months. i had layers upon layers of thermal and uniqlo’s heattech clothing. on that day itself the temperature went as low as -10°C and after a while i’d forgotten i owned a nose, 2 ears and 10 fingertips. but my toes were alright thanks to my awesome snow boots! haha.
the next day saw a change of pace as we visited dachau concentration camp memorial site. it was the first of nazi concentration camps opened in germany to hold political prisoners, but soon grew to imprison jews, jehovah’s witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, german and austrian criminals and foreign nationals from countries that germany invaded. we had the opportunity to visit the actual barracks where prisoners slept, ate and went about their daily lives (whatever little freedom they were allowed), and also saw the crematorium and gas chambers, the latter which were supposedly never used at dachau.
remainder of a railway platform where prisoners arrived back in the day
everyone had to pass through this entrance to enter the camp
‘work shall set you free’
a gas chamber disguised as a shower
it was a sobering experience which will no doubt make you question how on earth humans could be so inhumane towards another. i cannot even begin to imagine the mental and physical pain and torture prisoners were subjected to, but applaud the strength they had to keep going without knowing if help was ever coming their way. there is no fee for visiting (although an audio guide will set you back a few euros) and i highly recommend stopping by for half a day. i believe education breeds awareness, which in turn leads to being more open-minded and understanding and that is something the world could do with more of today.
we returned to munich to finish the rest of our sightseeing, popping by christmas market number 10 at marienplatz and finally sampling some currywurst.
the breathtaking new town hall (neues rathaus)
cathedral of our dear lady (frauenkirche)
it had the most amazing stained glass windows.
the buildings and monuments in the surrounding area looked like they came straight out of a movie set.
viscardigasse – under nazi rule, people who showed passive resistance by refusing to salute the feldherrnhalle used this alleyway instead
at the victual’s market (viktualienmarkt)- munich’s most popular open air market and site of folklore festivals
and then it was off to the final stop in our multi-city trip across austria and germany. *waves goodbye to munich.
tips for munich:
– neuschwanstein castle is easily accesible by public transport. take the train (db bahn) to füssen and then a bus right outside the station takes you to hohenschwangau (which is where the castle is). *click* for more options.
– once the bus has dropped you off at hohenschwangau, you have 3 options to get to neuschwanstein castle 1) by foot 2) by horse-drawn carriage and 3) by bus (which was not in service on the day we visited as there was snow and ice on the roads, so we walked the 30 minutes up to the castle- which turned out to be quite a nice, scenic walk).
– a visit to the inside of neuschwanstein castle is only possible within a 30 minute guided tour. tickets can be purchased at the castle itself (not advisable as queues were LONG), so if you want to avoid waiting around for hours before your scheduled tour then prebook online! *click*
– for the best view of the castle make sure you go to marienbrücke (mary’s bridge)
– entrance to the dachau concentration camp memorial site is free, and an audio guide costs €3.50. individual guided tours are also available.
– getting to dachau is quite straightforward, we took an s2 train from hauptbahnhof in munich to dachau, and then a connecting bus (726 towards ‘Saubachsiedlung’) to ‘kz-gedenkstätte’. for other options *click here*
i’d like to take this opportunity to thank all my lovely readers and followers for reading and commenting – happy new year to all of you out there 🙂