Last Saturday we decided to catch a train to Munich for the day. In our typical, organized fashion, we left the house a few minutes later than planned and had to scurry over to the Neu Ulm station, find the ticket kiosk and grab breakfast with maybe two minutes to spare. We’re actually just highly efficient engineers and hate to waste time. Nevertheless, we made the train and settled in for the two hour ride. Deutsch Bahn has a pretty sweet deal where up to five people can ride unlimited for one day within either Bavaria or Baden-Württemberg for between 28 and 37 Euro, total. Seeing as we live on the border between the two states, we can either go east to Bavaria with the ticket or west to BW. Definitely a great deal for exploring.
The ride was quite smooth and quiet, albeit kind of long as we stopped at every small town along the way. With the expanse of green and the numerous corn and wheat fields, it was almost possible to believe I was back home! All that greenery comes at a price though, and when we arrived in Munich, it was pouring. (I still can’t believe we left Seattle for a nearly rainier version of Seattle. Sigh.)
We quickly changed plans from walking into the city to catching the underground, and after a fight with the ticket machine (the bill and card collector were broken, but there was no way to easily sort that out), we hopped on the train and rode to the Odeonsplatz station, right outside the Residenz Complex in the center (major set of museums. More on that in a later post).
The rain had cleared most of the tourists away (temporarily) so we wandered around the complex a bit and got our bearings. Between the (fabulous) accordion player and the long, curving streets, I kept having to remind myself I wasn’t back in Rome after a rain storm. It certainly felt familiar though.
As the rain had ceased for a bit, we decided to hold off on the museum for a while and wander instead. We made it to the Rathaus (city hall) and the outdoor market, and realized that despite the rain, this is where all the tourists had been hiding. Oktoberfest hasn’t started and it was damp and cold out, but it was still elbow to elbow with people taking pictures and shopping and wandering about. It certainly made me miss the open spaces and peacefulness of Ulm. Plus, I think our market is better.
So after a whole thirty minutes of wandering, we decided some refreshment was in order. (Yes, we’re weak. But it was lunchtime anyway.) Chad had been swayed by the Lonely Planet’s opinion that, “No visit to Munich would be complete without a stop at the Hofbrauhaus.” and so despite my opposition to major tourist meccas, away we went. And it was insane. Trays of food flying over the heads of oblivious tourists that just had to get that photo in the aisle. Table after table after table of people and food and beer, topped off with an Oompah band in the middle. Certainly overwhelming and definitely tricky to get a seat, but once you finally flag down the server to get a beer, actually kind of fun. The food was typical German, the beer was pretty standard, but the show was definitely worth it. Watching the large groups of fellow tourists (most with children) try and find a table, flag down a server, keep the kids entertained, purchase a couple giant pretzels, eat, drink and leave made for some great entertainment. It is really and truly a zoo and those servers must be exhausted by end of shift.
After lunch, we decided to wander upstairs to their supposed museum and realized immediately that this was where we should have eaten. As far as I can tell, it’s open to anyone and serves the same food and drink, just with more space and less stimulation. Plus, what a gorgeous room! Overall, a pretty impressive establishment and a pretty fun stop.
*Am going to try embedding links to sites we found useful. But if it becomes super irritating, just let me know.