We arrived at Munich via the City Night Line at around 730am in the morning. “This place is huge!” commented the wife. It was indeed. München Hauptbahnhof has about 30-plus platforms, but there is one drawback, toilets cost €0.80 per entry!
We were a bit early, so we loitered around the train station and started our people watching. It was a working day hence the train station was busy with passengers. Caught one of the ICE trains in the platform. I think this would be a good place for rail-fanning.
We made our way to Hotel Condor which is one of a couple of budget hotels located around the Hauptbahnhof. The hotel was probably less than 400m away from the train station.
Toilets at München Hauptbahnhof costs €0.80 per entry
“There are plenty of casinos around this area,” noted the wife.
“Yeah. That is what the guidebooks say too.”
The hotel staff was quite friendly and efficient. We were early but they managed to get our rooms ready within half an hour of waiting. I think this is a family-run business, hence the quick check-in without the usual ‘follow-the-rules’ (check in after 2pm) type of hotels.
By 9 o’clock, we were up and about, walking towards Karlsplatz.
Tip: Use the underground station to bypass the busy interchange above.
“Finally we have some sun,” said the wife as she took off her jacket. It is true. The sun is coming out and we are beginning to feel the heat. This would be a first for us, if the weather stays this way.
Walking along the Neuhauser Straße, we came across the Richard Strauss Fountain, do take note of the column, there are scenes from Strauss’s Salome. Right next to the fountain is the famous Michaelskirche, unfortunately for us, it was closed at this time of the day. This church is the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps. Not only was the church closed, it was also covered up, seems like the city is doing some restoration work.
“Let’s go this way!” I said, as we made a turn into Eisenmann Straße. On our right we came across St-Anna-Damenstift. This used to be a church but nowadays it is a secondary school for girls. Surprisingly, Munich is also famous for cyclists but as compared to Amsterdam, the wider roads and bigger city area makes it hard to actually spot them.
This is the perfect place for sightseeing
Walking further along the road, we came across another church which is also closed — Allerheiligenkirche am Kreuz.
“We are actually sightseeing today,” exclaimed the wife, happily snapping away with her camera.
“Yes we are,” I replied, while I went along with my camera in video mode. This would make a strange scene for anyone who is interested in street photography.
It wasn’t long till we made our way to Sendlinger Tor Platz. What is left of the medieval fortification that used to be here are the two side towers. We are making good progress on our itinerary for the day.
Maybe we chose the wrong day to have a walk in Munich as we met our 3rd close-door church in a row, this time it is the Asamkirche. Actually, we were within their opening hours but due to them having some sort of function, the opening hours was delayed till 1pm. It was only 10am when we walked past.
We were basically walking along the streets of Munich towards St Jakobs Platz. Both the Jewish Museum and the Münchner Stadtmuseum lies here. For once, there were no queues but after the overdose of museums in Amsterdam, we felt that we should give both a skip.
The what? The Viktualienmarkt
“I’m hungry,” said the wife. I guess all the walking does seem to take its toll.
“No worries. We are almost there.”
The Viktualienmarkt is an open air market nestled under a few trees. The shops are all arranged surrounding a center filled with tables and benches. We made our way towards one of the benches occupied by an old German gentleman. A few bits of German mixed with English and we found ourselves a place to sit. He was alone, enjoying his morning beer and newspaper.
We are here for the Leberkäse — it is a mixture of pork, beef and bread. I think. There were a couple of different choices on show, I just pointed to one of them and soon found myself holding it, €3 was given to the cashier in exchange.
Maybe I chose the wrong type or was probably fooled by the menu, but basically what I got was a chunk of meat in between two pieces of bread. Add some sauce, which was provided by the old German gentleman, and the wife was soon enjoying her meal.
We tried to strike a conversation with the old German gentleman, but unfortunately he only knew German and we, obviously only knew English. But there was one thing I had in common with him and that was soccer. Bayern Munich qualified for the European Champions League, so I mentioned a few names and he opened up, albeit in German. There was plenty of nodding, uuums and aaahs as we tried to put our points across.
I tried to toast him with my water bottle but all I got was a huge amount of head shaking from him
After settling our opinion on football, we went towards his preferred brew of the day. He was pointing at his mug of beer and we were there with our water bottles. He was shaking his head at our choice of drinks. I told him we don’t drink beer in the mornings. He tried to get support from another equally old German gentleman from the next table who was also ‘armed’ with a beer. I tried to toast with my water bottle and managed to coax him into a bout of head shaking.
A couple of laughs later, we bade him farewell and walked towards Peterskirche. If there was really a god of all churches, I think he was not around when we were there in Munich. Peterskirche was opened but the tower, which we came to climb was not. It was closed for renovations or restorations. Another setback.
“Try to walk a bit faster, we have a clock to catch,” I told the wife.
“You will see why in a few minutes time.”
The clock I meant was the Glockenspiel, located at Marienplatz. We were right on time as the clock started to chime for 11am. Yes. We did all the above in only 2 hours. The Glockenspiel performs on the dot at 11am (12pm and 5pm in the summer) for about 10 minutes. The knights will joust and the Bavarian side will always win.
If you are wondering why there is no frontal photo of the Marienplatz with the Neues Rathaus, it is because one-third of the building is covered in scaffolding for restoration.
Tip: To ensure a pocket or wallet full of cash, find the Fish Fountain located at the far right corner when facing the Glockenspiel. Dip your wallets/purses/handbags into the water for wealth.
(to be continued)