The final portion of my travels in Germany was visiting friends in Munich.
By pure coincidence I arrived in Munich for the start of Oktoberfest. The biggest fair in the world begins with a massive street parade where each brewery brings its beer into the city. This was a rather interesting parade to watch, where marching bands that I would normally expect to see at a Santa Parade played between each brewery’s float.
Once the parade was finished, we entered into central Munich through the Karlstor and I was shown around by my German friends. During this time we went into St Michael’s Church and the Munich Frauenkirche. We then watched the Rathaus-Glockenspiel from the Marienplatz.
After lunch we drove out to the Dachau concentration camp which had been recommended by a number of my Australian friends. Words cannot express the horror that is this place, even today, 80 years after it was first built, the place is haunting. I had originally expected only to spend an hour or so at Dachau but in total we were there for almost four hours. One of the most moving parts of the camp was the words on one of the memorials:
May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933 – 1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defence of peace and freedom and in respect for their fellow men.
After leaving the camp we had dinner in the town of Dachau and rounded the day off at an Irish pub back in Munich.
The following morning we drove out to Schloss Neuschwanstein. This turned out to be the most touristy thing I did in all my time in Germany. Upon arriving at the castle, we joined the massive queue for tickets and when we finally got tickets our tour time was 4pm. Given we had around five hours to kill we drove back along the road to the Tegelberg Luge (blobsled). This was great fun, after going down the track twice, mucking around on a small kids flying fox, and having lunch we headed back to Hohenschwangau and began walking up the hill to Schloss Neuschwanstein.
Schloss Neuschwanstein is every bit amazing in person as it is in pictures. The view into the valleys below is amazing and the interior of the castle are stunning. Inside the castle itself you realise how eccentric Ludwig II must have been. Almost every room has some connection to swans, the throne room essentially has God looking down on him, and there is a cave/grotto between his study and drawing room.
After the tour finished we walked back our car via a scenic mountain trail. Finally, we ended the day with dinner in the nearby town of Füssen.
My third day in Munich began with Weisswurst for breakfast at the Hofbräuhaus. After this we explored the areas of the city that we had skipped on the first day. I turned this into a game where we had to visit each of the city gates and we were not allowed to travel down the same road twice. During this game we visited the Viktualienmarkt markets and Asamkirche (Asam church). After a big morning, we had lunch at the Café Glockenspiel overlooking the Rathaus.
In the afternoon we continued our huge walk around Munich by heading towards the Englischer Garten. Along the way we walked along the part of the Maximilianstrasse and passed the Feldherrnhalle and Theatinerkirche. Once we arrived at the Englischer Garten we walked through to the surfers on the Eisbach river. After spending a few hours walking through the gardens we quickly walked along part of the Leopoldstraße. Finally, after such a huge day, we met up with some more German friends and spent the evening at the Oktoberfest.
My final day in Munich began by climbing the tower of St. Peter’s Church. We then caught a train out to BMW World and the Munich Olympiapark. After lunch we then caught a bus to Schloss Nymphenburg, yet another palace, but one of the most amazing that I visited. It was unfortunate that we didn’t have enough time to fully explore the palace gardens but it is somewhere that I would definitely return to. Finally, we caught a tram back into the city just in time for me to jump on a train to Frankfurt for my last night in Germany.