Two weeks ago my husband and I flew to Munich to kick off a work-ation, where I basically vacationed while he spent his days at a luxury trade show with his co-workers. I lazily had breakfast alone in our hotel, Hotel AM Markt (awesome location!), like the sad, solitary creature I am. Then I’d wander out to see the market, exploring the amazing produce, and local products while talking with myself as per usual. White asparagus seems to be all the rage in Germany these days along with wieners, sauerkraut, potato salad (made with vinegar) and giant pretzels. I have yet to eat a vegetable in many days but I think that’s only because I’m eating out constantly. I’m sure at home the locals put their fresh produce to use. But I’m definitely going to get scurvy.
After a few days our friends from Italy and Greece joined us in Munich so I hung out with them. We walked around all day, visited various sites (many that you badass readers recommended ) like the Haus Der Kunst, a modern art museum that is one of the last remaining places in Munich with swastika designs in the tiles above the entrance.
We followed the trail near the river that led into an enormous park, green grass that sprawled out for miles. It featured ponds, ducks, and middle-aged naked men. It’s legal to be nude in the park so dozens of (mostly) men take full advantage of it. I’ve never cared about nudity and I think the fear that Americans have of naked bodies is comical. But I couldn’t help but giggle at the sheer pride those men took in displaying their anteaters. Most of them layed down facing the walkway, propped on one elbow, one knee bent, their penis’, limp, and listless, against their pale thigh. A triumphant display of ego and foreskin.
Things I Saw (thank IIona and everyone who gave awesome tips):
- HB brewery: A super touristy place but also a historical one. Everyone told me to skip it and I get why, BUT Hitler delivered his 25 point plan at this brewery, and the terrifying nazi party (“workers party”) was essentially born here among the beer. I had to see it because so much had happened here. The 500 year old brewery was also a favorite place of Vladimir Lenin and Mozart.
- English Garden: Gorgeous break from the city. If weather permits have a picnic! Or, just stand on a rock near the surfers and be in nature that way.
- Vktualien Markt farmers market: Awesome place to buy fresh produce and little deli gifts for family back home (like hot dogs!).
- Ice cream at True & 12 (excellent recommendation): Fresh, delicious, and the perfect way to spike your sugar after walking the city.
- Chinesischer Beer Garden
Where we stayed: Hotel AM Markt. It was cute and a perfect location to do all of the super fun things you guys suggested. It was affordable and breakfast was cheap. Most importantly they give you boiled eggs and the little boiled egg stand so you can eat your egg with a spoon. I like to use a fake accent while doing so and bossing around my imaginary butler. “No William, I haven’t the time today. Have to get through these two boiled eggs and my morning coffee.”
Recommended Itinerary By my new friend Honourable Husband (check him out on his blog http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com). I based a lot of my trip around the advice he shared in my blog comments that I’ve shared below because it’s great stuff:
- “Spend the afternoon on Prinzregentenstrasse. Catch the number 100 bus toward the Ostbahnhof, hopping on and off.
- Start at the Odeonsplatz. Seek out the subtle but chilling memorial to Shirker’s Alley, behind the Feldernhalle—the big raised stage. (http://www.yelp.com.au/biz/shirkers-alley-m%C3%BCnchen-2) While you’re at it, rub the Lions’ noses outside the Residenz for good luck.
- Hop on the #100 toward the Ostbahnhof (careful—not toward the Hauptbahnhof) and get off at the Haus der Kunst. There, you’ll encounter the preposterous sight of the Eisbach surfers.
- Next door, the Haus der Kunst was one of the first galleries built by Hitler and cronies to house proper, conservative representational German art—the gallery now hosts travelling exhibitions which celebrate precisely the opposite. After WWII, authorities rid the city of every visible swastika; the ceiling of the portico is one of two remaining spots where they simply couldn’t easily remove them from the tiled pattern.
- Further down Prinzregentenstrasse, you’ll see an imposing structure that houses the Bavarian Ministry for Infrastructure, Technology, International Trade, Bombast, Hauteur and Self-Importance. The original HQ for the Luftwaffe, it contains the other remaining swastikas, in the iron grillework in the fence down the side street to the left.
- Hop off the bus again at the Villa Stuck. (http://www.villastuck.de/http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com/blog/2008/03/chance-encounter-with-an-old-friend.html) Franz Stuck was a professor of art in Munich in the late 1800s, who taught both Kandinsky and Klee, which earned him a knighthood (he became the freshly-minted Count von Stuck) and the hand of a rich American widow. The latter let him build the imposing villa, which is a stunning example of the Art Noveau style (“Jugendstil”) which the neighbourhood is famous for. If you don’t fancy taking in the rotating exhibitions, you can buy a cut price ticket for just the historic rooms, and it’s worth it.
- Nearby in the neighbourhood is the Friedensengel (Angel of Peace) (http://www.deutschlanduberelvis.com/blog/2013/03/the-angel-of-piste-.html ), the Russian consulate (that explains the protest display mounted by the resident of a nearby apartment building) and the Käfer food hall. The last is a must if you’re a foodie seeking a crash course in German smallgoods. Nice cafe there, too, if you’re in the mood. On the other hand, if you and your husband are jonesing for an Italian coffee, the Trogerstrasse holds a microscopic establishment called the Extrabar, run by an elderly Italian lady whose daughter and son-in-law have installed a 1950s espresso machine for her that seems to perplex her a tad. On the other side of PRstrasse, opposite the Palace hotel at Trogerstrasse 44, is a nondescript building that housed one of Munich’s few Jewish safe houses in the thirties and forties.
- Last stop is the Prinzregentenplatz. Biggest and most prominent building is the Prinzregententheater, built expressly for Wagner operas in the early 1900s. Sweet talk your way into the auditorium, conservatory and restaurant for a look. The frescoes are quite cool.
- Nearby, in the police station at number 16, is another chilling spot. On the second floor was Hitler’s private apartment from 1929 to his death in 1945. It was here that Neville Chamberlain signed the ill-fated Munich Agreement in 1938. From time to time, Hitler would use the balcony to address supporters who would gather outside.
- (It you’re interested to learn more about Munich’s sad and prominent role in the events that led up to WWII, you can drop in at the just opened NS-Dokumentationszentrum in the Königsplatz, not far from the Lenbachhaus gallery which Harvey wisely recommended. BTW, hi Harvey!)
- And on that note, it’s time to catch bus #54 toward Münchener Freiheit. It will drop you at the door of the famous Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden, where all the naked sunbathers repair after working up a thirst.”
I had a really great time in Munich. It was a fun city with a lot to do, it was so beautiful and livable. Also, the city is insanely clean (like eat off the floor clean). I used Duolingo to learn about 10 words in German and two sentences. So, that was fun but everyone speaks English (though to be polite I try to do my best when visiting another country so I don’t sound like an asshole (better to sound touched in the head than like an entitled twat, I always say).
And? Lederhosen. Awesome. But I couldn’t find any doggy-hosen for Oliver or Capybara-hosen for Dwayne and that was sad. BUT, I did find baby-hosen. I think that Francesco wanted me to buy Derndl for some German role-playing because he kept telling me I should buy it and he NEVER tells me to buy stuff. Anyway, you cannot desecrate the dirndle or the hosen! Get it together, Francesco. Overall? Loved Munich.