Our destination of Munich was a much-anticipated one by Lucas. Only one thought was on his mind – food. Lucas is a lover of food but more so a lover of a good sausage. We all know the Germans are great at making sausage, so on the agenda for the next three days was a search for the best sausage in Munich – Weisswurst. This traditional white sausage of Bavaria is normally eaten for breakfast so we had to forfeit day one as we were already too late for a sample of this delicacy as we pulled up to our hotel just after midday.
Checking-in to our hotel was no easy feat . The large Westin Grand Hotel Munich seemed to have a very large amount of business conference delegates arriving the same time as us. German precision was definitely not evident here, it took us a good hour to receive our room key and head up to our room. After a quick refresh we pulled out our winter woolies (the warm weather had finally left us for good) and headed into the rain. This pestering weather has followed us all the way from Slovenia.
The hotel is located in the district of Bogenhausen, just a short walk to the Old town and the central square Marienplatz. Lucas was the first to eye out a large Bavarian restaurant the “Rathskeller” famous for its sausage. And so it was, we experienced our first Bavarian meal (there were many more), too late for Weisswurst Lucas settled on a local favourite, schnitzel. The atmosphere was spot on, surrounded by gothic architecture, the vaulted ceilings resonated the sounds of the fellow tourists and locals and tourist alike were enjoying pints of beer and copious amounts of sausage, schnitzel and baked potatoes. We happily tucked into our meals as the rain continued to drizzle outside. With our top jean buttons undone we planned our next few days in Munich. Allanah voted for the Glockenspiel, the famous clock that chimes a few times a day (easy just a hop, skip and a jump from where we were right now). Lucas had his sights on the foodie tour, John voted for the BMW museum and Thomas our resident history buff wanted to know more about the crazy King Ludwig.
After a good night’s sleep,(the beds are really comfy at the Wesitn), we woke to more rain and miserable weather. This was to persist throughout our whole stay. Umbrellas in hand we set off to Marienplatz to watch the Glockenspiel play its tune. We stood with hundreds of others and watched this old cuckoo clock which portrays the city’s history play its tune for 15 minutes. Allanah did tire of it after five minutes and was ready to go!
Close by is the famous Munich Farmers Market Viktualienmarkt in Peterplatz. We spent hours strolling through tasting many Bavarian specialties. An array of exotic fruits, spices, cheese, game, meats and of course German sausages are on display. The market has been in the same place since the 1800’s and is full of locals and tourists enjoying all the delicacies on offer in the various Biergarten’s throughout the market. There is a beautiful Maypole in the centre which carries figurines displaying the different trades and crafts in Munich. Maypoles date from the middle ages when most people were illiterate. The maypole represented the capabilities and trades of the village to travelling salesmen and craftsmen looking for a new master to learn from.
On the foodie trail we couldn’t leave Munich without visiting the famous and luxurious surroundings of the famous store “Dallmayr”. This amazing food store has been around just as long as the market. We couldn’t resist and were foolish enough to buy some delicatessen goodies and cheese at inflated prices to enjoy back at the hotel. We weren’t disappointed! Yum…
On a more serious and sombre note we had to touch on the subject of WWII and the atrocities that occurred during that time as Munich had an important part to play in this history. The Bavarian capital was the birth place of the Nazi party. Adolf Hitler started the Nazi movement after WWI and set up headquarters at a famous Beer Hall, the Hofbrauhaus. The boys were very keen to do a tour about the Third Reich but Allanah just couldn’t cope with the discussions we were having about WWII and we decided it was not quite time to expose her to the horrors that occurred during that time. The closest we were able to touch on the subject in her presence was to visit Hofbrauhaus and sit in the spot Hitler would stand to hold National Socialist meetings at the Beer Hall. Lucas was finally able to sample the famous Weisswurst and get his first swig of beer.
Our next adventure took us further afield to the Olympiapark area and the BMW Museum. I personally have no interest in said automobile but begrudgingly admit that it was a worthwhile excursion. Here the German trait of perfect execution and precision is fully exhibited in this amazing museum transporting you through the history of BMW and its technical development. We were all pleasantly surprised as John was the only one who was keen, all of us enjoyed the experience. It’s interactive, visual and the architecture of the building is amazing.
On our last day in Munich we had to touch on the history of the Bavarian royals. The kids had been discussing King Ludwig (the mad King) or as he may be better known the king of the fairy tale castle “Schloss Neuschwanstein”. As we were heading to this famous castle the following day we decided to visit King Ludwig’s birthplace, the Nymphenburg Palace. The palace was the summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs. Baroque architecture reigns supreme, one of the largest royal residences of Europe we spent many hours exploring the palace and its enormous grounds.
One of the highlights of the palace tour was Ludwig I’s Gallery of Beauties, a collection of 36 portraits of the most beautiful women from the nobility and middle classes of Munich in the 1800’s. Did he have a thing for the ladies mmmm….
We were all lucky enough to find this Palace fascinating, the kids had a tactile history lesson on Bavarian history. Whether this will be beneficial in years to come who knows, but the wealth of knowledge we have all accumulated on topics we never would have discussed sitting at home are astronomical. The boredom for the Allanah or Lucas does set in every now and again but a run in the park or a promise of a visit to what’s on top of their list tends to curb any tantrums lurking.
After a walk through the elaborate Coach house and a stroll through the grounds we once again pleased Lucas’ appetite when we stumbled upon a little gem of a Bavarian restaurant called Schlosswirtschaft Schwaige. What a pleasant surprise, the food was delicious, nothing out of the ordinary, the basics of a good schnitzel and potatoes, but when close to tourist attractions food expectations are set very low. We fed the brood and headed back to the hotel for a promised swim in the pool before bed time. Tomorrow is a travelling day. Off to King Ludwig’s Castle “Schloss Neuschwanstein” in the village of Hohenschwangau.