Hi friends, welcome to my Germany and Austria series! Back in February, Jon and I decided to be ambitious and plan another trip to Europe at the end of August. After halted international travel the past two years, we’ve made it our mission to travel as much as we can in this season of life. Late August can be pretty hot in Europe, so we had to be thoughtful about a destination, especially if there might not be our beloved air conditioning. We chose Germany because it was on our bucket list and the weather is a little rainy, but not too hot. I wanted to see some of Germany’s famous fairytale castles and visit Eagle’s Nest and surrounding National Park (Travelling Han’s post inspired me), so we decided to explore the beautiful Bavarian region and add a day in Salzburg to live out my Sound of Music dreams.
After a lot of research, mapping things out, and checking direct flights, our trip was confirmed. The Paris/London itinerary took a lot out of me, so it took a while to get back into the planning mindset for this trip. We booked our hotels, rental car, and flights months out, but the itinerary was still wide open. A lot of the itinerary was hiking related and dependent on weather, so I outlined all the must-see spots and hoped for the best. We were looking forward to being in nature and relaxing on this trip.
Jon and I had an uneventful flight out of Newark on a Thursday at 5:30 pm. United was the only airline that flew direct to Munich and we will do whatever we can to avoid connections (even going to NJ 😉 ). The flight was about 7 hours and 15 minutes so we would land around 1am EST. We purposely booked this earlier flight so we didn’t have the pressure of trying to sleep on the plane, and then could take a quick nap in our hotel when we landed.
The flight was pretty easy because we were busy watching movies. We landed, made it through customs pretty quickly, and then took an easy fifty-minute train to Munich. We only stayed in Munich one night, so I booked the Eden Hotel Wolff right by the train and rental car pickup. This hotel is perfect if you’re only in Munich a day or two because it’s less than a twenty-minute walk to the town center and a good base if you’re visiting other places by train. The rooms were clean and spacious, and after we checked in, we crashed hard! I set my alarm for 1 hour and that definitely wasn’t enough time, but we only had a day in Munich so we had no choice but to make the most of it.
The first order of business was seeing the glockenspiel in Marienplatz, the main square in Munich. While we were walking down the main road, it felt like people were walking every which direction all at once. It was one of the most chaotic walks of my life. Munich was pretty busy late August, so I can only imagine how it is during Octoberfest! Every day at 11am and 12 pm, and an additional show at 5pm from March through October, this clock in the New Town Hall (built in the late 1800s) puts on a little show along with bells that draws large crowds. The characters depict a noble wedding that took place in the square in 1568 and lasts about ten minutes. It’s fun, free, and definitely worth seeing once.
The building with the green spires and the bell tower is Old Town Hall. It was destroyed in WWII, but rebuilt. New Town Hall wasn’t destroyed and became the US military’s headquarters after the Americans occupied Munich. The Germans did a great job rebuilding Munich, the buildings look so historic that it’s hard to believe they are all relatively new.
After the glockenspiel show, we needed coffee stat. Jon’s boss was in Munich a few days before us and she recommended this very cute coffee shop called Niu Asian Cafe. They have the prettiest lattes, smoothies, and crepe cakes. We shared a rainbow latte, iced coffee, and Venom crepe cake. If you want a photo worthy coffee, I’d definitely recommend this café.
With a second wind Jon and I stumbled upon St. Peters, the oldest church in Munich, and paid 5 euros each to climb the 306 steps to the top. It was not built for two-way traffic and quite crowded, but we enjoyed the views of the Old City.
We explored inside this beautiful church after and it was a lot larger than it looked. The church was bombed in WWII and suffered a lot of damage, but thankfully it was restored with donations from the Augustine brewery and private donors.
One of the most interesting sights inside the church is this box of St. Munditia who was beheaded by the Romans for her Christian faith. The pope gifted this box to the city for their devotion to him during the Reformation period. I don’t think she ever thought she’d be memorialized like this.
After St. Peters we headed toward The Residenz Museum and admired the streets, architecture, and beautiful day along the way.
I hoped you enjoyed the inaugural post of my Germany & Austria series. Stay tuned for the second part of our day in Munich featuring the Residenz Museum and our first German beer and meal 🙂