Munich, in a Day

Munich, in a Day

Is early October too soon for ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’? I love to spend time thinking about the nuances of culture and nothing quite defines a place more than its appetite for Christmas sparkle. Given my homegrown American background, with lots of major holidays clumped together clumsily at the end of the year, I’m never surprised by the errant Christmas tree display next to the pumpkins or turkeys. In September.In other places, where CHRISTMAS IS KING, the holiday markets appear fast and furious and high street twinkle lights glow. Germany, an ‘enthusiastic embracer’ of holiday cheer, and home to many of Europe’s best holiday markets, seems to get started in October.

The autumn air was biting, the leaves crunched underfoot and that lingering smell of pop-up chestnut stands followed me around as I explored Munich. The tourist crowds didn’t seem to get the memo that October is too late for summer holidays, too early for winter breaks, and the wrong weekend for Oktoberfest, but the streets hummed along with tour groups and shoppers regardless.

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Munich is a massive city, certainly to big to explore fully in one day, but a day was all I had this time around.

I actually began my Munich day in Heidelberg, jumping on a morning train heading east. The train overflowed with young people dressed in kitschy German lederhosen and sexy milkmaid dresses. A quick Google search brought up the fact that some German cities have their version of Oktoberfest over staggered weekends, and the masses on my train were heading for the celebrations in Stuttgart. The fact that most people have one of these traditional outfits stuffed in the back of their closet to wear just for the annual beer festivals makes me chuckle.

Munich finally came into view after a few hours of lovely and relaxing train travel. I ducked outside into the chilly late morning air, and walked to my nearby hotel to drop my stuff. With only eighteen hours in the city, I decided to keep my expectations reasonable, choosing a single massive tourist attraction rather than attempting to see them all. That, paired with my normal hours of wandering and photo-taking would prove to occupy me just fine.

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The old town of Munich is a compact area, the perfect size for zigzagging over a couple hours. Zig this way and out of nowhere appears a church that looks old and famous. Zag that way and boom, a lovely outdoor market. Note that I did no actual research on Munich until the night before I arrived, so anonymous churches are par for the course.

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The big attraction I visited is one of Munich’s best known, the Munich Residenz, which housed the government and was home to kings and elected officials for about 400 years. It’s literally the biggest residence I’ve ever seen. According to its website, the complex is the biggest museum in Bavaria, but it feels bigger than that to me. Maybe it’s the number of rooms that are open to the public – around 70 or so. Compared to some palaces and royal residences, this is a huge number.

Anyway, no cameras were allowed, but after wandering through 70 rooms of gilded furniture, and two (yes two!) indoor churches/chapels my feet were burning and I was in desperate need of a nap.

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I love the buzz of Munich’s center, the massive pedestrian street, the way that life lingers outside even when it’s threatening rain and the wind is whipping. Those Germans are a hearty bunch.In Munich, I was also drawn to the darkness, the stained stone, the carvings, the columns. It has a melancholy vibe that I found delightful and I was drawn to the dark details.

I don’t think I will be picking up my Oktoberfest outfit quite yet though.

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Have you been to Munich? Explored its Christmas market? Tell me all about it below!

One Day in Munich

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  • October 19, 2015

    I’ve never been to Munich, but people keep telling me I have to go haha! I love the German Christmas markets. And the fact that literally every city and village has one, no matter the size of town.
    Maaike – Travellous World recently posted…Do New York as the Locals DoMy Profile

    • October 21, 2015

      Gotta love the Christmas Markets. A great excuse to walk around in the cold and buy random Christmas decorations, while drinking jugs of spiced wine. Thank you Germany!

  • October 20, 2015

    I’ve been to Munich once before, and honestly, I found it to be a bit underwhelming. I plan on going back soon and giving it another try, though.
    But if there’s one thing I love about Germany in general, it’s the Christmas markets. I was in Berlin and Munich last year for Christmastime and New Years Eve, and I had such an amazing time in Berlin that I’m returning for New Years Eve again this year. The Christmas markets will still be in full swing when we arrive, so I’m pretty excited.
    Your photos are beautiful! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Maddy recently posted…The Best Coffee Shops in Lower ManhattanMy Profile

    • October 21, 2015

      Christmas Markets = drinking warm wine or cider outside. We have been to quite a few, mostly outside Germany, but they are still a load of fun. We will be around UK/Ireland mostly for the holiday season, so we will miss out on our usual market treks this year 🙁

  • October 23, 2015

    Looks like you got the most out of 1 day – Munich seems like a great city to visit, and one of these years, I’ll make a trip to see the Christmas markets. For now, Chicago’s Christkindl Market will have to do 🙂
    Leigh recently posted…Chicago’s Historic Pullman NeighborhoodMy Profile

    • October 24, 2015

      The Christmas Markets are a must. So amazing to walk around with warm mulled wine, gaze at the decorations and eat way too much

  • October 31, 2015

    Back in 2003, I studied abroad for five months and Munich was one of the first stops I made on my five-week train trip prior to the semester, so it will forever be one of my favorite cities. I went back in 2007 for Oktoberfest, and that just cemented it. But dang, that’s been eight years—where has the time gone??—and I think it’s about time for a return =)
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted…My Reading List: Part XIIIMy Profile

    • October 31, 2015

      sounds like a return trip is in the cards.

  • May 14, 2016

    Don’t you just love that dirndls and lederhosen are still commonly worn without feeling self-conscious about it? I spent a good portion of my growing up years in Munich as that is where my mother is from, and can remember the markets from my childhood. Been a long time though.
    Arnie recently posted…Chic Cotton Sail Hotel ReviewMy Profile

    • May 16, 2016
      Julie

      How interesting! I loved exploring Munich (albeit for a short time) and would love to explore the city more!

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