Now that I’m on an official travel hold, I can’t help but reminisce about past trips and think about where I want to go next. There is one trip I took between our Machu Picchu trip and our Hong Kong move that is still fairly fresh in my mind – a quick weekend trip in August, 2017 to visit close friends in Munich, Germany with a quick day trip to Salzburg, Austria.
Until that point all of my travel was for events – work, weddings, bachelorette parties, big birthdays, etc. So when my good friend from Munich came to New York earlier in the year, I immediately decided that I was going to make a trip to visit her and her husband in Munich and actually enjoy the city without having to be there for any specific reason.
I flew out on a Tuesday evening from JFK and made it to my friend’s place near the corner of Barer Str. and Schellingstraße close by noon. I was to be in London the following week for work so figured I’d work for the rest of the day (my friends were at work as well) just to prepare for the week ahead, and begin my holiday later that evening.
For a break and wandered up and down their street (Barer Str.) for coffee. The area in which my friends lived was very cute and filled with bakeries, various eateries and shops, but I quickly found that I needed cash to buy anything at majority of those places.
Lesson 1 – Not every city has ATMs that are easily identifiable (e.g. on the street, in a deli, etc.), so it’s best to find a bank branch as most have ATMs inside.
It must have taken me a good hour to realize this (I blame it on my travel weariness), but as soon as I got cash, I grabbed some baked goods at Bakery Zieglerei (I can’t find a link for the location unfortunately) and a coffee and acai bowl at Daddy Long Legs – if McDonald’s can be different in every city, why can’t acai bowls?
I finally finished work at 6pm and had a nice home cooked meal with my friends on their balcony. Then, with their help, I planned the rest of my stay:
- Thursday: Take the train to see Neuschwanstein Castle, then meet my friends for dinner and drinks
- Friday: Roam around Munich and meet my friends in the early afternoon to continue my wanderings
- Saturday: Day trip to Salzburg, Austria
- Sunday: Bike around Munich (weather pending) and check out the rest of the city
I was finally relaxed and ready to take in as much of Munich as I possibly could.
I try to never regret anything, but the one part of this trip that I wished I had planned better was my trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle (click to read more). Regardless, I was still glad that I went but I was so tired that I crashed on the train back to Munich. Rainy weather greeted me again in Munich (it had been raining in the mountains), but it felt nice to end the day with my friend in a cozy restaurant called Atzinger.
I woke up with no plans until lunch, so I started my day with one of the things I enjoy doing while traveling – going for a quick run.
On trips where I don’t have a vigorous activity planned, a run around the area where I’m staying allows me to get in a quick workout while checking out parts of the city/town that I might not have had time to walk through.
My morning run took me down a lot of the cute side streets around my friend’s place, through Leopoldpark and eventually back to Daddy Long Legs where I enjoyed another acai bowl with coffee.
After a quick shower, I perused the shops down Schellingstraße and found a clothing store that I loved called Kauf Dich Glücklich. They had a great mix of women’s and men’s apparel, as well as a fun random mix of house decor that was affordable and trendy without going overboard. Definitely check it out if you’re in Munich!
For lunch, I met up with my friend at a cute little Vietnamese spot called Bami House, grabbed some coffee from Lost Weekend where we met my friend’s husband, and then headed out to begin my initial tour of Munich.
We walked from Marienplatz, to St. Peter’s Church, through the Viktualienmarkt, in and around the Hofbräuhaus, met some of their friends for drinks at the Couch Club, and ended the evening at Süßmund.
It was lot to see in one afternoon and evening, but it was so easy to walk from one place to the next that I didn’t realize how much area we had covered. The markets we passed through were all buzzing with people shopping or just enjoying the day and/or beers in the little beer gardens. And the Bavarian architecture [insert heart eyes emoji] and buildings that looked like mini-castles were beautiful. It might get old when you live there, but I loved it all.
We started the day with some tasty homemade pancakes thanks to my lovely friends and then got ready to spend the day in Salzburg, Austria.
We took a train from Munich Hbf to Salzburg Hbf which lasted ~2 hrs and then walked 20 minutes into the Salzburg city center.
The weather was cloudy and rainy but I loved every minute of it. The buildings, the tree filled hills, and the little streets were all so pretty. We stopped for lunch at Sternbräu, walked past where Mozart was born, and grabbed a coffee at Cafe Bazar. The city squares were extremely touristy, but everything around it, including the river was so picturesque. Even with the weather being a bit off, the hills still seemed alive (I had to say it). I wish we could have stayed at least another day to wander around more, but I was so happy that I at least got a chance to go during such a short trip.
Lesson 2 – If you happen to do day trips like this that take you outside of the country that you’re visiting, don’t forget to take your passport with you!
It’s apparently not common for them to check our passports en route from Munich to Salzburg (they definitely didn’t on our way there), but for some reason, the police decided to do spot checks on our train ride back to Munich from Salzburg, and we totally forgot out passports. We were so lucky that they skipped our train car otherwise I have no clue what would have happened!
Lesson 3 – Plan to do at least one bike tour around Munich if you have the opportunity to do so.
The clouds FINALLY lifted and let the sun out to play with us. It was a perfect day for part 2 of my Munich tour, and this time, on bikes!
I’m not a city biker at all. Mainly because the frames of public city bikes are too bulky for me (I can’t control a Citi Bike at all), and because I think I’ll get hit by some sort of vehicle. But my friends were planning to get a rental bike for me that fits my size so I thought I’d give it a go.
We picked up my bike at Munich Hbf which was well sized for me and had a basket in the front for my bag, so I was happy about that, but I was terrified of riding on the street. I was so wobbly at first, especially when turning, that my friends were forced to ride slowly next to me. Each vehicle that passed freaked me out, but once I got the hang of it, it was great!
I felt secure biking in Munich because the bike lanes are huge and the traffic didn’t seem to be as horrendous as New York. We biked from Munich Hbf to Odeonsplatz, Munich Residenz, then around to Hofgarten, and eventually to the Englischer Garten. Stopping along the way to sit, enjoy the warmer weather, have a pretzel and some drinks, and to try some Tuerkisches Fladenbrot (Turkish flatbread) which was so good. It was such a lovely day that it made me so hesitant to leave.
But just like that, my Munich trip came to an end. It was an extremely short trip, but I was so happy that I went when I did. Not only would it have been tough for me to do a quick weekend after our move to Hong Kong and while pregnant, but my friends are also now moving to Chicago for at least 1-2 years.
I had an amazing time and am so thankful for my friends who hosted me and made sure that I enjoyed myself. I will see you again at some point, Germany. Hopefully in Berlin!
Blog edited by: Betty Ho