Another day of a LOT of walking (over nine miles, according to my Fitbit), but it was well worth it! We saw everything we wanted to (minus Nymphenburg Palace, which proved to be far enough away from everything else we saw today that we were just too tired to visit it at the end of our day), had a delicious dinner, and got home by 9, in time for me to write this blog and still get to bed at a decent time so we can get up early for tomorrow’s day trip. Winning!
Although we had several things on our list, we were lucky in that they were all relatively close together, so once we walked the initial 1.5-2 miles from our place to central Munich, we didn’t have too far to walk between each sight. The first of two churches we visited was the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady. I always experience a bit of awe in churches like this, both because they’re usually so breathtaking in their architecture and artwork, but also because of the sheer age of them. Construction on this church began in the mid-1400s, though extensive reconstruction was done after it was heavily damaged during World War II. From the soaring ceilings to the stained glass windows to the imposing towers outside, this church is definitely worth a stop. Although you can climb the south tower to get what I’m told are some spectacular views of Munich and even the Alps, we unfortunately weren’t able to do that because that tower is currently closed for “urgent repairs” or something to that effect. Old buildings like this need constant work and preservation though, so closures like this are just part of the travel experience. I’m not sure if there’s a cost to climb the tower, but the church itself is free, so be sure to visit when you’re in Munich (and climb the tower if it’s open!).
From this church, we headed over to Marienplatz, which is just around the corner. We wanted to head back there to get a better sense of the buildings there and also to see the Glockenspiel, a clock built into the New Town Hall in 1908 that chimes at 11a every day (as well as at Noon and 5p in the summer). We were there just before noon, so we were able to stay and watch that process. Is it spectacular? Probably not. Is it full of tourists? Definitely. Is it worth seeing so you can cross it off your travel list? Absolutely! Don’t feel compelled to stay for the whole thing though – it lasts from 12-15 minutes, depending on which song it’s chiming that day. We watched 2-3 minutes, which was good enough for us! Note that the clock didn’t actually start chiming until about a minute after noon and the figures under the clock didn’t start their storytelling (that’s part of the experience – the chimes and the figures moving underneath the clock) until 30 or so seconds later. So if you’re there right at the top of one of the chiming hours and don’t see anything happening yet, just wait a minute and you will. 🙂
Our second church of the day was St. Peter’s Church, which we actually thought we were visiting yesterday when we were at the New Town Hall. Whoops! St. Peter’s isn’t particularly remarkable from the outside – it’s white and has a steeple with a clock on it, like many churches around the world. However, it has a pretty amazing altarpiece and other beauties inside, so don’t pass it over. You also don’t want to miss the bejeweled skeleton of Saint Mundita, which is on display here. Check out that link for more information on her, but since you’re unlikely to ever see a skeleton covered in jewels anywhere else, stop by to see this one. A very unique oddity! St. Peter’s also has a tower you can climb, but given the church’s location (just off Marienplatz across from New Town Hall), we assumed the views would be pretty identical, so we opted not to do it. Although there is a €2 ($2.60 USD) fee to climb the tower, the church itself is free, so add this one to your Munich to-do list as well.
After two churches and a platz, we were ready to move on, so we ambled the half-mile or so to Munich Residenz, the former seat of government and home of Bavarian royalty. Today, it’s a collection of museums and a large garden. Since we were already planning on going to a museum later in the day (more on that in a minute), we opted not to go inside this one, but the link above has all the info you’d need if you do want to visit. Walking through the Court Garden is free though, so take advantage of that as it’s a nice place to stroll and snap photos. If we had more time here or were coming back for some reason, I would probably go inside this one.
Continuing on the theme of strolling and gardens, we walked the even shorter distance (maybe a quarter-mile) to the edge of the Englischer Garten (English Garden), Munich’s huge city park (it’s bigger than Central Park!). Given its size (910 acres), there’s no way we could walk through the whole thing, but we enjoyed what we did see – ponds, running water, lots of people walking or sitting on benches, and even surfing! We definitely weren’t expecting that, but apparently people do it there all the time. The river running through this part of the English Garden is man-made and I’m not sure if this particular spot was designed for surfing or if surfing enthusiasts just claimed it. Stop and watch the for a few minutes – it’s really interesting! This park would also be a great place to have a picnic, which we probably would have done if we had the time.
Our final stop for the day was a bit of a hike (around two miles) away, but in the sunny weather, it didn’t feel that far. The Deutsches Museum is a science and technology museum, with information on everything from mining to nanotechnology. Very interesting stuff! We didn’t see everything there, but you could easily spend at least an afternoon here, especially if you’re coming with children. It’s a very kid-friendly place with lots of hands-on, interactive displays, so feel free to bring the kiddos to this one.
Hope you’re ready for pictures! If you aren’t, too bad. 🙂
Mary’s Column in Marienplatz (built in 1683)
We waffled on eating a big lunch and a small dinner or vice versa, but we were so pooped after seeing all those sights that we opted for the latter option. After relaxing at home for a couple of hours, Scott found a great Italian place for dinner. And as a bonus, it was very close to our apartment, so we had a nice and easy evening walk to and from Trattoria Bellini. Our dinner of caprese salad, spaghetti bolognese, and spicy penne was fabulous – very fresh, flavorful, and inexpensive (all that plus two soft drinks was only €25/$37 USD). A definite recommendation if you’re in the area! Here’s what our dinner looked like:
Tomorrow, it’s off to Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castles for the day! As with two of our three day trips last year (in Italy and England), the forecast is calling for rain. Boo! Keep your fingers crossed that the meteorologists are wrong!