Just back from a wonderful week in Germany and Austria with our friends from Ireland. We enjoyed a city break in Munich before heading off to Pertisau in Austria to relax and unwind. It was a great trip and I think I might have a new favourite city in Munich.
I’ve never been to Germany or Austria before so it was exciting to visit new countries. We travelled to Munich by coach from Prague which took around five hours and was pretty pleasant. Arriving into the city I ooohed and aaahed at the sight of the Olympic stadium which was on my To See list.
I usually research a bit for new places but this time decided to go into it blind and get the lay of the land when we got there. We met up with our friends who had flown in from Ireland and headed straight for the Hofbräuhaus, one of the largest beer halls in the city and a must for anyone with an appreciation for beer. The atmosphere inside was great and of course we had to order a Maß of beer and some hearty German cuisine. The house band played those typical Bavarian tunes that make you sway back and forth and sing along once you’d figured out the words.
Afterwards we wandered around the streets until we came across a lovely outdoor market where we drank even more beer….of course. Somehow we ended up sitting at a Stammtisch, which are usually reserved for the locals but the one chap sitting there seemed happy to have some company.
The following day we foolishly did that most touristy of things…..we got on the…..*sighs*…….tour bus. I know I know, for shame. We took the bus up to the English garden after seeing some of the various sites around the northern end of the inner city including some lovely classical buildings. Inside the English garden we ventured towards the Chinese Tower where a large beer garden serves literally hundreds of people all day long. It was a lovely atmosphere with a traditional band playing within the tower and tables full of locals and tourists alike enjoying the sunshine and some delicious beer and food. The rest of the park is very nice too with a quaint lake complete with rowboats and ducks and numerous tree lined pathways snaking their way to all corners.
After enjoying a pleasant afternoon in the park we made our way to visit Sinead’s cousin and his wife nearby and he took us out to Theresienwiese, the site of the famous Oktoberfest. Currently under construction for the upcoming beer festival, the scale of the place is something else. Huge, what can only be described as hangars constructed of wood are built by each of the major Munich based breweries and each of them house hundreds if not thousands of people. Looking over the site is a huge statue of Bavaria, and I mean huge! I’ve yet to see the Statue of Liberty but the sheer size of the Bavaria statue is most impressive indeed. I think we’ll have to come back and experience Oktoberfest ourselves in the future as it looks like it would be pretty mental indeed.
For our last full day in Munich I decided to take a trip out to the Olympic park in order to get a few photos of the stadium as I’ve always wanted to see it and knew my brother wouldn’t be impressed if I didn’t take any photos as he loves stadia and the Olympic stadium in Munich, although small is a unique structure and design. One of the advantages of not research a place beforehand is that you can find some great surprises while out exploring. So imagine my surprise when I came up out of the U-Bahn station to find a beautiful lakeside theme park in full swing! It was a lot to take in and I remember thinking Sinead would absolutely love it, she had decided to visit the Deutsches Museum herself for the day, which I believe is a fascinating place to visit.
After getting a quick beer and a bratwurst for lunch I eventually found my way into the Olympic stadium and wandered up around the back of the arena and down through the seats towards the pitch which is currently concreted over. While taking some photos I heard a scream above me and looked up to see someone flying across the top of the arena on a zipline and thankfully not plunging to their death….phew.
It’s a small little stadium compared with say, the Santiago Bernabéu but it has a really cool design and the park surrounding is really beautiful. After leaving the stadium I made for the Ferris wheel to get a better view of the site and of course to indulge my inner tourist. For a site that was developed for the 1972 Olympics it certainly doesn’t look 40 years old and it’s fantastic to see a former Olympic site still being used and not left to fall into disrepair like so many before it.
I left the Olympic site and made my way back to the Chinese Tower to meet my friends for….yes another beer. When in Munich eh? It was a great few days we spent in Munich and it’s a fantastic city with plenty to see and do and just a really good vibe in general. I’d definitely come back as there’s still lots of sights we didn’t get around to visit….and….well…..any excuse for a beer really.