After plans to drive halfway to Munich on Saturday evening fell through, we woke up at 4:30 Sunday morning so that we could make it to return the car by 10 am.
We arrived in Munich a little sleepy, and then spent way too much time trying to figure out which transit tickets to buy. I split up with the guys to head to the Dachau concentration camp memorial outside the city, while they explored the old town since they only had a few hours before their train.
I didn’t take too many pictures at Dachau out of respect, but it was very powerful and well-presented. The bunkers were destroyed when American soldiers liberated the camp, but the other buildings (including the crematorium and the gas chambers) are still intact, and have been made into a museum.
It’s difficult to say that seeing something like Dachau is a nice experience, but I’m really glad I went.
I grabbed some lunch at the train station (my first falafel im brot in over a week!) and headed back into town.
When I got out of the train station, there was some sort of concert/demonstration going on in the main square in the old town (Marienplatz) – I saw everything from pride flags to T-shirts promoting veganism, but I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying so I still don’t really know what exactly it was…
The old city hall in the square is really beautiful!
From there, I wandered around, following the church steeples. All of the old town in a pedestrian area, so it’s really easy to wander (especially on a Sunday when the stores are all closed so it’s less busy).
This is where my photos fail me a little… I was trying to save my phone batter and just wandering around, so I don’t know exactly what churches I actually went to. I’m trying to remember the route I took with Google maps so here goes…
I think the first church I went to was St. Peter’s Church, near Marienplatz. The outside was under construction but you could still go inside. It’s a Catholic church and apparently Munich’s oldest! It’s beautiful and bright inside, even if it wasn’t much to see from the outside because of the construction.
I wandered back to Marienplatz and went inside the courtyard of the old city hall, where there’s now a restaurant.
I wandered down the old streets, enjoying the (relative) lack of crowds since most stores are closed on Sundays here.
I ended up at the Theatine Church, another Catholic church that was under construction. Again, the inside was amazing, though!
In the same square, there’s the Felderrnhalle, an army memorial built in 1841 (that was converted to a Nazi memorial after the Nazi party took power, then converted back after WWII).
I kept wandering and found a little park with a bunch of statues. One had been made into a Micheal Jackson memorial… not sure what the story behind that is but there has to be one.
I kept going and found a botanical garden, but I figured out pretty quickly that it maybe wasn’t the best place to be as a girl traveling solo… too bad, because it was a nice park!
I made my way back into the old town and found a couple more churches. I found Burgersaalkirche, a church that wasn’t under construction but still didn’t look like much from the outside. It has two stories, and there are only graves on the first floor so I didn’t think it was much – then I went upstairs and it was gorgeous!
Further down the road there was St. Micheal’s Church, a massive Renaissance-style church that’s one of the more famous ones in Munich.
The last church I visited was the Frauenkirche cathedral, another one of the more famous ones. You couldn’t take photos inside, and it was too tall to get any decent photos from the ground, but if you look up some photos taken from the air it’s pretty amazing from the outside!
I ended up near Marienplatz again, and this time I found a little art gallery that was free to enter and almost deserted. It was a nice break from looking at nothing but churches!
After that, I sat to rest my (super swollen) feet for a while and listened to the music at Marienplatz. I chatted to some random German guy for a while and then headed off for the English Gardens. I was still trying to save my phone’s battery so I wasn’t using my map and got a little lost, but conveniently ended up at Hofbrauhaus, a famous brewery and beer garden.
Inside there was a German band playing, and I found a seat outside with some girls I heard speaking English. They were both from the States (Florida, I think), and one had finished an exchange semester in Greece. They were both studying biochemistry and were planning on visiting Berlin and Prague so we chatted for a while about school, lab life and traveling. I ordered a litre of beer because that’s the only size you can get there, and a vegetable pie because I was really craving some food that wasn’t a grocery store sandwich.
The girls left and I was joined not long after by a guy that was sitting alone and moved to make space for another group. He was from Beijing and there on a business trip – a bit of a change from the people I was used to meeting traveling! He clearly had no idea how to see a city in a day, because he was amazing at how much I had done that day. He said he couldn’t find anything to do in town because everything was closed!
I mentioned that I was still going to try to make it to the English gardens, and he’d never even heard of them! After I bought myself a giant pretzel and finished my litre of beer, he tagged along with me to see them.
We walked by Bayerische Staatskanzlei, the government building, and wandered a little through the park in front of it.
We found a swing dance group dancing in a gazebo and watched for a little while!
We headed off to the English gardens because I didn’t have much time left before I needed to catch my bus back to Heidelberg. The edges of the gardens looked really nice so I kind of wish I’d had more time to explore!
Also, turns out people surf in the park! Definitely not what I was expecting to see in Munich.
I watched for a while and then realized that I had about 2 minutes to catch the tram to the bus station and made a run for it. I said a quick goodbye to the guy I met at the beer garden, and then sprinted to the tram stop and made it juuuust in time!
My last view of Munich was the sunset over the train tracks. Not a bad end to the day!
I made it on time for my bus, fell asleep pretty much right away, and arrived in Heidelberg at about 1:30 in the morning, just in time to officially start work at 9 am.