A city which I’ve always been interested in visiting, Munich was ticked off my list during a 2 day trip just a matter of weeks before my time in Germany comes to an end.
Can you have a guess how we got to Munich? It starts with F and ends in us… no takers? Of course not, you already know. A 6 am Flixbus from Stuttgart airport had us on our way in what felt like the middle of the night, but we managed to beg the cheaper tickets (20 Euros return) thanks to the early time; this would also let us make more of our time in the city.
We stepped off the bus into a bitter cold morning; the heat of the bus soon wore off. It was planned to visit the memorial of Dachau Concentration Camp, a place I was very interested in visiting. As it turns out, we were right by an S bahn Station and for 5 Euros each we secured a group day ticket. For reference, Hackerbrucke station is directly next to the central bus station. It is one stop from the central train station and 8 stops (20 minutes) from Dachau Bahnhof on the S2 line.
The cold, icy feel of the day remained as we arrived at the memorial. This added to the sombre atmosphere within the grounds. I was cold stood in a big coat, scarf and boots; it’s horrifying to think that thousands of innocent people were made to stand in colder temperatures for hours on end in nothing more than rags. A lot of the original camp no longer remains, but those buildings which do remain leave a chilling reminder of what happened on that spot just 80 years ago. We walked through the museum section before making our way down the compound. This brought us to the most moving part of the memorial.
A long brick building in a quiet wooded area of Dachau housed the darkest parts of the camp. We were able to walk through the gas chamber and the crematorium, places where life was wiped out on an industrial scale. What I found most unbelievable was that this death camp was so close to one of Germany’s biggest cities and even the compound was part of a populated area, and yet so much suffering went on right on their doorstep.
After leaving the camp, we headed back on the S bahn towards Munich city centre and our hostel. It was quite the bargain considering how late the trip was planned and we were just a 20 minute walk from the centre of the city. Between three of us, our room came to just over 60 Euros. It came equipped with a shower and a bar on the floor down from our room which made it perfect for our one night stay.
Yet we were not settling into our flat just yet, it was after all only 4pm (it felt much later, I’d been awake for over 12 hours at this point). It was almost dark once we arrived at Marienplatz, a real hub of the city. The town hall dominates this square along with its elaborate clock; it was lit up magnificently as we entered the square from a side street. After filling up on some traditional German food, kaserspatzle was my weakness; we headed down some of the more secluded streets around the centre. Stumbling across a small and crowded bar, we enjoyed a drink in the shadow of the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Dear Lady). It was a relaxing way to end a fulfilling and incredibly educational first day in Munich.
Eager to make the most of our second and final day, we checked out of our apartment and headed out for breakfast. A bit of research took us to a cosy little place called Mr Pancake, a coffee and pancakes with various toppings cost around 10 Euros and it was just what I needed to prep for another day of exploring.
On the way to our main point of interest of the day, we came across the building of the Bavarian state agency. It is a grand structure, not too dissimilar to the Reichstag in Berlin. It’s very much out the way of anything but it’s worth finding, even if it is just for a walk around the grounds.
Just on from the state agency, we arrived at the aforementioned main interest; the English Garden. Created in 1789, this garden has been a significant part of the city ever since. There are streams which stretch as far as you can see, and the hills give great vantage points across the park and back towards the centre of Munich. It was bitterly cold up on the hills, but this view was worth it.
My last point of interest for the weekend was a spontaneous one. The Allianz arena, home of Bayern Munich FC, is just 30 minutes from Marienplatz. For reference, you can catch the U6 to Garching, Forschungszentrum and jump off at Frottmaning. You’ll have no problem finding the ground from there, I noticed before I was even off the train. It dominated the horizon, lit up like a beacon for sports fans. I’m pleased I was able to visit at night, it made for an impressive sight. The outside was magnificent, however my chance to look around the inside went up in smoke as I found out I missed the last tour of the day by 15 minutes. This was incredibly frustrating, but I was still very pleased to visit the home of one of the best football clubs in the world.
Our time in Munich was over quickly, but the places we were able to see made it an incredible weekend. I can’t recommend a trip to this city enough, and the best piece of advice I can give you if you fancy a trip to the Allianz Arena; check the times first! Learn from my error.
This looks to be my final weekend trip whilst living in Germany, Munich adds to the collection of Venice, Milan, Zurich and Strasbourg as breathtaking cities.