We spent three weeks in Germany, and during that time, we visited Berlin, Hannover, and Munich, along with a day trip from Munich to the Bavarian Alps.
Berlin was a gritty, grimy city whose architecture made me feel as if I was in Eastern Germany. It was also a sprawling city that is trying to understand its WWII and Cold War history. We also learned after we had left Berlin that despite its status at the capital of Germany, it is actually one of the poorest cities in Germany, while Munich is the richest.
Hannover was similiar to Berlin, with its industrial feel. It looked a bit nicer with some of the wooden fairy tale houses, but we saw all the sights in one day, so for the rest of the time we were there, we were kind of bored. The dark, cloudy weather mixed with our experience with the recent bomb threats made us glad to leave it after our 6-day stay.
Then we got to Munich and finally got the chance to experience the richness that is Bavarian culture. Biergartens, wooden sculptures, cuckoo clocks, painted facades on houses, steins, pretzels, bratwurst, blue-and-white checkered flags, lederhosen, dirdl, Bavarian music, the list goes on. I felt much more close to the Germany I wanted to experience than I did in Berlin and Hannover.
We visited a biergarten and had the best beer I have ever had in my life and Geoff was so happy to be surrounded by wheat beer. We saw the Alps on a beautiful clear day after a light dusting of snow covered the trees – it was so magical. We visited three different palaces, including Neuschwanstein Castle which is basically the Disney Castle.
Geoff also had the chance to inject a ton of sports into our Munich days. We went to the Olympic Stadium that was one of the sites of the 1972 Games. On the Sunday we were there, we spent two hours in line to meet Mario Gotze who scored the winning goal in the recent World Cup Final. Afterwards, we spent most of the day in the Bayern Munich Museum, which houses all their trophies to show off how awesome they are. Geoff also got to go to not one, but two Bayern Munich games. He took me to one of those games, where I discovered his new theme song. All the football!
It was super easy to get around Munich, either by walking or by the U-Bahn. I became a bit more comfortable in my very rudimentary understanding of the German language. I felt very safe in the city and it was nice to finally put my guard down a bit. When we ate out, the food was excellent and the beer was out of this world. All the wiener schnitzel!
We also experienced amazing weather in Munich. I never thought that weather would affect my experience of a place so much as it did. In Berlin and Hannover, it was always so gray and blah. As you can see from these photos, Munich and Bavaria was a lovely blue (though a bit on the cold side).
I’ve already said that Amsterdam was one of my favourite cities, and now I’m adding Munich to my list of the top three cities on this trip!