Monday, December 31, 2012

Winter Vacation Leg Three: Munich!

Third leg: Munich!

Although it was sad to leave Vienna, we were excited about going to Munich. Joe because of the immense amount of history and his previous love of Germany, and me... well, supposedly the German Christmas markets were some of the best. Since we'd purchased our train ticket to Munich when we arrived in Vienna, there wasn't much issue getting to Munich. We took a cab to our hotel (Admiral Hotel - another gem) and took it easy, since the markets had already closed. Can you guess where we went first?
Haha, of course we went to the Hoffbrau House first. But we decided on a different place to dine called Restaurant Opatija based on peering in on our way past.  It did not disappoint - I had turkey schnitzel and it was probably the best meal of the trip.
So delicious. And then we headed to the Hoffbrau house for liters (!!!) of beer. The place was pretty touristy, but fun anyway. I got to practice my coaster skills... I'm pretty impressive, you know.

Anyway, the Hoffbrau house kept up out late, so the next day we took it pretty easy and wandered around the main part of the city. The Christmas markets were cool, but not AS cool as I had expected.  Plus, they closed at 2pm because it was Christmas Eve... so things were really hectic and people seemed to be packing up. 

Next we wandered through St. Peter's church and climbed to the top for a beautiful view of the city. (Well, after we caught our breath that is... and managed to work our way through all of the people up top as there was about 3 feet to move around the entire tower.)

Here is the view down to the Marienplatz, which is a truly impressive town square, complete with a Glockenspiel! (How much fun is that to say?! Try it!) And obviously so much history... but I'll get to that later.
One of the traditions is to put a lock on the railings to symbolize your relationship. I loved this one.

After fighting the crowds, we were ready for some space. So we stopped at this square which contained a giant cauldron inside, and had... wait for it... mulled wine! (I wasn't done with it afterall!)
As I said earlier, because it was Christmas Eve, everything was shutting down. So Joe & I just started wandering around, and we found ourselves in a nice park along the river.  It was relatively empty, so we just took it easy and enjoyed the sun. And some interesting graffiti.  

That evening, we did more wandering. The town was empty, which was eerie and reminded Joe of that Arby's commercial, "Where is Everybody?!" I made a new friend, again. 
And due to the lack of crowds, finally got to enjoy one of all-time favorite store windows full of theatrical stuffed animals.  Seriously, teddy bears playing trumpets!? Monkeys doing laundry!? So cute!!
Luckily our restaurant from the prior night was open, so we returned there for dinner.  We got there right in time because the place was full from then on out.  Lesson learned: you should probably get reservations for Christmas Eve dinner.  It all worked out though.


We were first worried about what we would do in Munich on Christmas day. All the material we read said everything is closed, and therefore we planned on going to a park and reading for the day. however, Joe realized that we could go to Dachau and see the concentration camp.  Obviously we couldn't say no that opportunity, especially because I had been telling him earlier how regretful I was that I didn't go on BBYO's "March of the Living" in high school. 

I'm not really sure that I can put the experience into words. So I won't for now, with the exception that I don't think it's possible not to leave a place like that without experiencing a deep change within.


To lighten our mood, and because it was one of the only places open, we had Christmas dinner at the Hoffbrau House. It was a fitting way to end our time in Munich.

Munich Impressions:
1. At first, I wasn't impressed with the city. In fact, I was somewhat let down because everything seemed plain and commercialized. However, the more I think about it, the more I would like to go back and experience the attractions that were closed, and take some day trips around Bovaria.
2. In much the same way I felt about wanting to learn everything possible about Pearl Harbor after visiting, I want to learn more about WWII. I think revisiting the city with a renewed knowledge base would be very interesting.
3. I don't think I could ever learn German.
4. Munich needs to step up their Christmas Markets! Vienna and Budapest had it beat!

And with that.... we were off to France!

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