We hopped an overnight train and were off to Munich. There's something satisfying about waking up in a new country. Our first day there was the Traditional Costume Parade. While it was fun to watch, I didn't expect it to be 3 hours long! The parade boasts over 40 floats (I think it was closer to 55 this year) and over 9000 participants. All of the major breweries had their magnificent horses. There was even a flamenco dancing school. Broadcast on live television, it is truly a sight to see.
On Monday and again on Wednesday clothed in our Dirndl and Lederhosen we took in Oktoberfest.
I believe an apt description for American visitors is that it's like the biggest state fair times 1000. Carnival rides, scents of roast pork and candied nuts. Truly a festive atmosphere.
And ofcourse, the main draw, the beer tents. I was worried that since we didn't have a table reserved that we'd have issues getting in. That was not the case for us on either night. The larger tents are truly big enough to house a small city. And the "smaller" tents are not so small at all. There is much to see and do on the grounds of Theresienwiese. I recommend that you get your Dirndl and Lederhosen and join in the fun.
Tuesday was dedicated to a bit of sightseeing. We went to the Deutsches Museum . Reviews were not exaggerating when they suggested taking multiple days for this. The museum is massive and nearly everything is tranlated into English. So no worries if you don't speak German. It's also fairly easy to get to with public transportation.
That night, we had tickets to see FC Bayern Munich play Paderborn. Again we took the tram to the stadium. Arriving almost an hour and a half before the start of the match was not quite enough time to arrive before the crowds. Already the tram was packed with people chanting for their home team. Getting off the tram and into the stadium is about a km or so walk, fyi.
Inside the stadium there was not a seat left unfilled. (I believe that the stadium holds about 71000.) We got our card inside so that we could try some stadium food. (You can't order anything with cash, you must get a reloadable card.) I ordered nachos. Which in actuality were doritos with a side of prepackaged processed cheese. Haha. The game was easily the best that I've seen. Plus, Bayern won 4-0. I have to give mad props to their fan section. They are truly dedicated.
Thursday was our last day in town. And having our fill the night before of the festivities and refreshments of Oktoberfest, we spent it sightseeing. The most impressive place that we went was Nymphenburg Palace . Tucked away is this massive complex of palace and gardens.
My favorite room with is the South Pavilion where the "Gallery of Beauties" is housed. There are the portraits of the numerous "love interests" of Ludwig I. The most famous being of Lola Montez, whose relationship with the king led to the revolution of 1848 and to Ludwig's abdication.
And last but not least, the Micheal Jackson memorial...
Tips for Munich:
- Public transportation is very easy to navigate. If you're staying in the city, get an inner circle ticket. You can buy them daily or for 3 days at a time. Up to 4 or 5 adults can use 1 partner ticket. And they count 2 children as 1 adult. Tickets can be bought in the trams, as stations, and at the main train station.
If you're going to Oktoberfest, dress the part. Dirndls and Lederhosen are sold everywhere. So, you don't have to get the ones for sale right outside of the main tourist traps. Chances are that you might find something better down a less crowded street.
The language barrier. We had no trouble at all with our limited (read that as about 0) knowledge of German. Most places have an English version of their menu and all of the tourist places we visited had English translations as well.