Ahhhh Munich, you're such a beauty!! If you read last week's post, you know that the boyfriend and I spent one and a half days in Munich recently and it was such a nice trip! Munich might be the third biggest city of Germany but it's still manageable to see the city in 36 hours - 24 hours if you swap the stadium of this week's post with the Olympic Park I presented last week.
But I'm already giving away way too much. For our second day in Munich we had planned to visit the FC Bayern stadium first before heading back to the city centre and immerse ourselves in Bavarian culture by eating meat and drinking beer - typical right?
FC Bayern Stadium (Allianz Arena)
Don't get me wrong - I'm not a football fan at all and neither is the boyfriend but if I had to choose a German football team, it would definitely be the FC Bayern - yes, because they win all the time, I'm that kind of girl... Anyway, we first planned to visit the Olympic Stadium but they were closing pretty early on our arrival day so that we decided to visit the Bayern Stadium, or Allianz Arena as it's actually called, instead.
It's about 15 kilometres away from downtown Munich but it's definitely worth the trip! For about 20 Euros, you can get a combination ticket that gives you access to the museum and includes a backstage tour through the stadium. The museum tells the history of the club and shows the highlights and bad times that it underwent. There's for example information about how WWII influenced the club and there's also some on the building process of the stadium.
I don't know what it is with football but everytime I look at winning scenes, I can get quite emotional. Must be the sight of thousands of people being happy for the same reason. It's weird but anyway, the museum also had a cinema showing a 15 minute movie about the club's highlights which was the perfect start to the stadium tour.
The stadium itself already looked really impressive when it was empty but seeing the movie and imagining the noise and feeling of being there on a match day - wow! It's not the biggest stadium in Germany but nonetheless, there's space for some 80000 people. It doesn't seem to get chaotic on match days though. Every entrance has bathroom and kiosk facilities and all the seats, blocks and entrances are clearly marked. I have to admit, we did feel pretty small in front of the stadium nonetheless.
Anyhow, the stadium tour is available in German and English (lucky boyfriend) and they tell you everything you always wanted to know about the club and stadium - from which kind of grass they use to which player owns which locker and which car. A tour to the locker and press rooms is included and I have to say, it's a pretty nice feeling watching TV and recognizing these places.
Our trip to the stadium however didn't solely focus on football. We arrived half an hour before the stadium opened and decided to go on a walk to stay warm. We could see something that resembled a church from afar and headed there. Turns out, it wasn't a church. We stumbled upon the remains of a little Bavarian village that was relocated sometime in the 1970s if I remember correctly. A local artist then constructed a building looking like a church that gave the impression as if it was sinking into the ground to keep the village's history alive. Pretty impressive, isn't it?
A couple hundred metres further was the actual church of the old village that is the only building that remained. There still is a graveyard and people have been buried there quite recently - I guess, those who have grown up in the relocated village? It all looked pretty typically Bavarian and not like we were right next to a stadium (and Autobahn) at all!
I love to stumble upon hidden gems like that, don't you?
Munich from above // Part 2
After spending the morning exploring the stadium, we headed back to city centre again to explore more of what Bavarian culture has to offer. We had already visited the Town Hall the evening prior but it was already closed. The Town Hall has a tower you can visit for just 1 or 2 Euros and it offers you an amazing view over the Old Town Munich's and the famous Frauenkirche. We even had a fabulous view on the Christmas Market at Marienplatz from above and oh boy, these people looked so tiny!
Beer and Oktoberfestmuseum
Afterwards we went to the Beer and Oktoberfestmuseum. Now you need to know, as a German who has never been South of Frankfurt before, I was never really interested in Bavaria or the Oktoberfest. Plus, I absolutely hate when people abroad think that the Oktoberfest and Lederhosen are typically German. I always tell them that this might be typically Bavarian or maybe even Southern German but definitely not German per se. There's so much more to the country than Bavaria....
Anyway, people always think that I hate Bavaria after giving that speech. Might be because of my temper but I definitely don't hate Bavaria. In fact, on this trip I wanted to explore as much of the Bavarian culture as possible - also because the boyfriend had only ever seen Hamburg before so I thought, Munich would be quite a nice contrast! So we decided to head to the Beer and Oktoberfestmuseum which is situated in Munich's oldest town house, which today is under monumental protection.
This means that the house is pretty contorted - you have to watch your head and open every door you see to get from one exhibition room to the other. And yes, we totally stumbled into the kitchen on our way out.... Anyway, there was a movie explaining the production of beer and a fake Oktoberfest room for taking selfies. It was a mixture of being informative and cheesy so I'm not sure I'd put the museum on your must-see list for Munich.
In the basement however, there is a really cosy pub which I can absolutely recommend - whether you want to visit the museum too or not. We decided to drink our first Bavarian beers there and would have loved to eat dinner there too but the kitchen didn't open for another two hours so we had to go with beer only. By the way, sorry for the dark pictures - my camera's flash stopped working at some point during our stadium tour and it hasn't recovered since. Time to buy a new one I guess.
A Stroll at the River Isar
After enjoying our beers, we decided to take a walk along the river Isar - after all, you haven't been to Munich if you haven't seen the Isar, right? It was definitely a nice place to see the sunset!
All this walking around made us really hungry so we decided to head to Hofbräuhaus. After all, it's the oldest and most famous brewery of Munich or something... I had read that it fits 1300 people but honestly, I didn't expect 1300 people to actually be there on a Friday evening in November.
Well, I was wrong! The place was packed and there was no way we could have eaten dinner there, even if they had free spots. Neither the boyfriend nor I are a fan of crowds so after having a quick peek into Hofbräuhaus, we went to search another restaurant.
Allane from Packing My Suitcase had recommend us the Augustiner brewery who has several restaurants throughout the city. We went to Augustiner am Platz which is situated right opposite of the Hofbräuhaus and even though it's thereby situated in the main tourist street and was quite crowded too, it was much more pleasant there. The service was incredibly friendly, helpful and quick and the food was good too.
The boyfriend went for typically Bavarian Schweinehaxe (pig knuckle) with red cabbage and dumplings, while I went for an equally traditional but less ewww, potato salad with sausages and pretzels. I'm not a fan of traditional German food - no Sauerkraut for me - but wanted to eat Bavarian nonetheless and was really happy with my meal.
Christmas Market at Englischer Garten
In the evening, we met Allane and her dog at the Christmas market at the English Garden which was surprisingly empty. It was the first day of the market being open but there was almost nobody there. I'm not going to complain though - after the crowds in the city center, it was a nice change.
If you're planning on visiting Munich during Christmas time though, definitely visit the Christmas market at the English Garden. It is right in the middle of the park and they even had a fake ice ring to play curling.
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So all in all, Munich is absolutely doable in two, or even only one day and it's so gorgeous during Christmas time!
Have you been there? What are your favourite places? Any insider recommendations?
I'll be back with the best of 2015 and my plans for 2016 next Tuesday. Until then, have a merry Christmas you all!!