Traveling isn't always sunshine and sparkles and rainbows. Sometimes you're sick. Sometimes you're tired. Sometimes the weather sucks. And sometimes those three things combined make you just want to spend all day lying in bed at home.
For me, Munich is one of those places that needs a second chance. While I had been looking forward to my trip to Bavaria all year long, unfortunately I picked the worst possible time to go. I was just getting over mono, I had just gotten home from a whirlwind trip to Prague and Vienna, and the weather was making Seattle look like paradise. On top of that, I unknowingly booked my tickets during Frühlingsfest, Munich's mini Oktoberfest held in the spring. Sounds fun, right? Sadly, not only was I thoroughly exhausted and running on empty, but I also have Celiac disease. (In other words, no Frühlingsfest beer for Courtney.) I felt like the definition of lame.
A maypole in Viktualienmarkt
The silver lining? Munich was absolutely stunning. It was the perfect town to leisurely stroll through without an agenda. The architecture was delightfully picturesque, sprawling green parks were scattered throughout the city, and the (impeccably clean) streets were filled with colorful flowers and smiling locals. Cozy beer gardens abounded while lederhosen-clad festival goers traipsed through town, pretzels and umbrellas in tow.
The Frühlingsfest carnival
It's not München unless there's beer, lederhosen and dancing on tables
We spent our day admiring the buildings of Marienplatz, wandering through the Viktualienmarkt farmer's market, observing the chaos of Frühlingsfest, exploring the lush parks and getting lost in the maze of rainy streets. We stopped by Hofbräuhaus for dinner, where we indulged on savory German treats while listening to a traditional Bavarian band. Now one of Munich's oldest and most famous breweries, Hofbräuhaus used to be where the Nazi party held many meetings and functions. It's also said that Mozart used to frequent this famed beer hall, and even wrote one of his operas fueled by its tasty libations.
Fresh blooms at Viktualienmarkt
Needless to say, I'd love to experience Munich again under different circumstances. I fell in love with the beautiful buildings and friendly Bavarian culture, but I wish I'd had more energy to fully enjoy it all. Not to mention, day-tripping to Füssen to see Neuschwanstein Castle had me dying to explore more quaint Bavarian villages. And who knows? Maybe in 10 years they'll be serving gluten free beer at Oktoberfest. (A girl can dream.)
I'll be back for you again someday, my lovely Munich.
My Munich Picks:
Best Views: New City Hall
Best People-Watching: Viktualienmarkt
Must-Try Dishes: Weisswurst, pretzels and spätzle (and beer, obviously.)
Favorite Day Trip: Neuschwanstein Castle
Best Place to Relax: Englischer Garten