Munich

Monday morning (god I can’t believe I’ve been in 4 countries in a little over a week) we took a flight from Athens to Munich.  I will be honest and say that I hadn’t expected to like Munich, it was just the cheapest place to fly in to, but I was wrong.  The flight itself was outstanding.  We only paid $76 each and were on an incredibly comfortable plane with the friendliest staff and on top of all that they served us a meal!  And a decent one.  The flight was only two and a half hours so I was really impressed.

Once in Munich, we took a train into town and checked in to our hostel.  We stayed at Wombats in an 8 bed dorm and it turned out to be very nice.  That first day we had a sushi lunch and wandered around to try and get our bearings.  After some delicious beer over a World Cup game we called it a night.  The next morning we woke up to take a free walking tour of Munich.  It was great.  There are free tours in many cities (we just took one in Prague today) and they are led by young, intelligent guides who accept tips if you enjoy the tour.  It was a great way to get to know the history of Munich and the present customs and local spots.  Our guide was fantastic and did what I hope I can do for travelers some day, he taught us how to spot certain things in Munich and how to travel with a budget in mind rather than just say “this place is good, this place is bad”.  We went to a beer garden and I had Subway for lunch (I am not really a fan of German food…) and spent the afternoon walking around.  We took a very nice nap in the afternoon and then headed to another beer hall for dinner.  Alex tried a traditional big German meal for dinner, not good.

Wednesday we woke up early to take a train to Neuschwanstein Castle, about two hours away.  It was built in the late 1800s and the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is based on it.  It is beautiful and unfortunately unfinished due to the unexpected demise of the King in charge of it.  After the tour we took the train back to Munich and walked to the English Gardens.  It is the largest inner-city park in the world, bigger than Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London.  Within the park is a man-made wave in the stream that runs though it.  It sounds very strange but people come here to surf this wave…lots of people.  We saw about 20 surfers taking turns.  This was pretty hilarious considering how far Munich is from any ocean.  We moved on and had some terrible food but wonderful beer in a beer garden within the park.  On the long walk home we saw a hedgehog!  I have never seen one in nature.

Thursday morning we left for Vienna.

Overall, Munich was very nice and easy to get around.  Aside from the food I enjoyed it much more than I expected, especially the castle but I suppose that isn’t in Munich…