If you want to get acquainted with the history of Germany, you must visit Berlin – where there are plenty of historical buildings and where the devastation that occurred during the Second World War is still visible, like open scars meant to remind us the horror left after the British bombardments, even though the city underwent a major restructuring process afterwards. But it’s not about Berlin that I will write below, but about a smaller and not so cosmopolitan city – Munich (or München), the capital of the Bavaria region.
First of all, if you know German – even a bit, like I do – you don’t need to feel frustrated if you don’t understand the dialect. In the southern part of the country, Munich included, the Bavarian German is different in pronunciation from the so-called Hochdeutsch (Standard German).
We took the decision to visit Munich after a short research that revealed the vast green landscape surrounded the city – plenty of fresh air, German beer and sausages, LET’S GO FOR MUNICH, we said! It was in June this year, so the weather was warm, but not as warm as you would expect, because the Bavarian Alps are close and even if it was summer, we still had to wear a jacket over our T-shirts.
Since we stayed there only for three full days, we made a plan and we had to exclude King Ludwig’s II Royal Castes, namely Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, for which we had to take the train. The first one is literally like a fairytale castle and in fact it inspired the castle from Sleeping Beauty. I know, what a shame we couldn’t see them, but we could not afford to “waste” a full day for this so we left it for next time.
The BMW Neighborhood
Leaving these aside, there are plenty of attraction to visit in Munich. First of all, if you are a tech fan and you like cars, you cannot miss the BMW museum, where you will get the chance to see not only famous models from the famous brand, but also cars that never entered the series production and which I would dare to classify as the cars of the future (the photos will show you why).
We booked the tickets in advance directly from their site, which was pretty easy to do. You definitely have to reserve a few hours for this, because there are also advertising materials used from the oldest time of the company until nowadays, Formula 1 models, and materials depicting the history of the company. I guarantee that all these are interesting to see even for someone not familiar with the industry, like I am.
Next to it, you will see the huge factory of the company (with close the 8.000 employees), which covers a large swath of land, all visible from the nearby bridge – with a very futuristic aspect, by the way. This part of the city if definitely one that is dedicated to state of the art architecture and technology – old and new. Crossing the street, you find a different landscape.
After a few hours spent in the museum (a continuum of wow moments), we decided to visit the Olympia Park, in which you will see a few Stadiums, an amazing Sea Life Aquarium with plenty of species from the amazing sea life and exhibitions – we saw the one with Star Wars Identities. One thing to mention about the Sea Life Aquarium is that in it I saw for the first place two baby crocodiles, a big shark and I also found out about their amazing project involving saving wounded or sick fish from the sea, keeping them under observation for a healing process and releasing them back into the wild sea life.
Something like this deserves to be promoted and an extra reason to visit the Aquarium, if you can contribute to such an amazing project. Besides, when you get out of it you will find a special show from which you can buy souvenirs and walk into an amazing lake, with pontoons that allow you to have a great view over it and a few dozen very friendly ducks and beautiful swans. If you are friendly by nature, you can get very close to them and grab a Selfie with a Bavarian swan.
What’s on the Bavarian Menu?
Enough for the first day, we decided. In the first night there, we tasted the traditional beer – you need to try many types, as they taste differently. We found a nice restaurant in Marienplatz, the central square of the city, and we tried the traditional weißwurst, schnitzel – which is different from the one you are used to and a traditional dish called kartoffelsalad, a type of salad with small potato pieces and mayonnaise, onion, oil – a secret is to use German mustard if you want it to taste “German”. Beware though, the pretzel the waiter brings is not for free, so if you eat all three or four put in front of you in a basket (which I guarantee you will), you will pay $3-$4 for each.
The food is not expensive in Munich, but if you complement it, like locals do, with more than three beers, the check value will rise. Sitting at that restaurant for dinner we noticed that many old people and many seemingly middle class people were taking dinner at restaurants. We then found out that this is a common lifestyle in Munich, as an average citizen affords to go out and drink a beer or eat almost on a daily basis.
We spent almost the entire second day – although with no regrets – in the huge and green English Garden, a very big park that literally resembles heaven, if you imagine it like a quiet, relaxing place, with tall grass, birds walking next to you and no cars noise of fumes. We could literally count the cars that passed in that part of the city, as it was weekend and almost everyone was on the bike or walking.
There is a restaurant with a terrace in the park, so you will be able to take a proper break. Be careful not to miss the Chinese Tower and the Nazi Art Deco building in the Garden – you’d better have a map with you, because you could get lost: YES, it’s that big.
The Enigma WWII machine and many more
Well, the last day was dedicated to a tour of Marienplatz, in which you will see the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), displaying a splendid 19th century architecture, but also the famous astronomical clock which is one of the largest in Europe. Afterwards we want to the Deutsches Museum, a fascinating collection of aircraft and transport displays, and where the famous Enigma machine, used by the Germans in the Second World War to encode messages and cracked by Alan Turing eventually.
Many surprises await for you there, so this museum is definitely a must-see in Munich. Of course, you should also add on the list one of the catholic churches of Munich, one of them with a spectacular interior being St. Peter’s Church.
All in all, if you decide to visit Germany, you should definitely get a taste of Bavaria and stop by to see Munich – a city with huge green areas and aiming to become one of the world leaders when it comes to renewable energy, with a target of 100% to be reached until 2025. And now, a proper goodbye: Auf Wiedersehen, dear tourists!
Munich in photos
Guest post by Oana Mihalachehttp://educatedbytravelling.com/where-to/europe/germany/munich-bavarian-tradition-meets-high-tech-development/