A very beautiful, very German city
02.01.2013 - 05.01.2013
View Christmas 2012 on kmclean's travel map.
Our second last stop and the last city in mainland Europe we visited this Christmas break was Munich. I’ve really been wanting to see it, being so close in Freiburg, and this was perfect chance since it’s about half way between Prague and Freiburg. It’s a great city and very, very German. I guess most of the German stereotypes come from Bavaria. It turned out to be a lot smaller than I thought it was, but that ended up being a great thing since we had no problem getting around on foot. I guess it’s also one of the first cities we’ve been to in a while that doesn’t have two sides divided by a river, which makes it a lot more accessible for pedestrians. The city was really interesting and has a fascinating history. It’s very grim in a lot of ways, but nothing a few litres of beer can’t fix.
We did a walking tour on our first day, of course, and learned a lot about the city. The history goes way back to the Bavarian kingdom, but more recently it was the centre of the Nazi movement, being called by Hitler himself “Die Hauptstadt der Bewegung” – the capital city of the movement. He gave his inaugural speech as leader of the party in a beer hall here, he carried out the “beer hall putsch”, a first attempt to overthrow the government by force, here, he gave a speech every year on its anniversary here, and he opened the first concentration camp just outside the city in Dachau. Of course because of all this by the end of the war the city had been destroyed, but they knew it was coming and made a lot of effort to preserve original city plans and building blueprints. Because of this the city still looks quite beautiful compared to some other German cities, like Berlin, which were kind of just thrown up quickly according to the design of the time. Unfortunately 60’s and 70’s architecture is nothing special.
The nightlife in Munich isn’t exactly the liveliest, but we still had a good time at a couple of beer halls, which seems to be the thing to do here. We had a hard time finding cafés as always, but the drink of choice is definitely not coffee in this city. Our first night we went to the Hofbräuhaus, the royal brewery, which is where the stage Hitler gave his inaugural speech as leader of the Nazi party on is still standing. The beer was great, but the minimum litre you can order is a little much! The second night we went to the Augustiner Bierhalle and discovered why it’s the local favourite. The beer was probably the most delicious I’ve ever had, and even the pretzels were great.
There’s not a ton of stuff to see or do in Munich, but it’s definitely worth a visit and a few days is a great amount of time to see the main sites and discover the history. I’m glad we stopped over here, it was a great place to just take it easy with a few beers, but now we’re looking forward to getting some sun!
Here a few pictures of Munich.
And a few of our tour of Dachau.