Walking around and sightseeing in München (Munich) Altstadt (old city).
Thursday 04 August – Munich
Marienplatz is the central square in the city center, and has been the city’s main square for over 800 years. The Neues Rathaus (new city hall) appears to be a gothic relic from before the Renaissance, but is actually less than 150 years old and was only minimally damaged by Allied bombing in WWII.
Next stop was Peterskirche (St. Peters church), which I visited on the first day before we went down to Austria to hike. We continued on through the Viktualienmarkt (daily food market and square) past the main landmark, the blue-and-white striped maypole. We walked a couple blocks over to the Jewish quarter and past the modern, cube-shaped Synagogue. We stopped at the Asam church, which Rick Steves describes as “a slice of heaven on earth.” Built by the Asam brothers, this was a promotional display where they showed off their church-building work to potential customers.
We made our way up the Sendlinger Strasse to the Frauenkirche, which I also visited on the first day. Nearby was a makeshift shrine for Michael Jackson on the Promenadeplatz near the Bayerischer Hof (Bavarian Court) hotel – MJ’s favorite hotel in Munich, where fans begin began placing memorabilia on the statue of an unrelated musician, Orlando di Lasso, a 16th-century composer.
Our next stop was Michaelskirche, St. Michael’s Jesuit church, which is the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps.
Michaelskirche was the Jesuits’ northern headquarters, from which they waged their idealogical war against the protestants. The church suffered severe damage during WWII but was restored shortly after the war.
We continued on to the Dallmayr Delicatessen, which is said to be the most aristocratic grocery store in Germany as it catered to the König von Bayern (King of Bavaria). An amazing selection of top-quality foods produced mainly in Bayern. We returned later in the day to purchase gifts for family (chocolates).
Nearby was the world’s most famous beerhall, the Hofbräuhaus. Built in the 1500s to make the “royal beer”, or “hof brau”. It was bombed in WWII and was one of the first places to be rebuilt – German priorities.
Across the Platzl (square) from the Hofbräuhaus is the Orlando Haus, named after the composer Orlando di Lasso (mentioned earlier) who lived in a building on this site in the 1600s. The current building was constructed in 1900 in the German Renaissance style. This area was devastated by Allied bombing in WWII and has been restored over the decades since.
We strolled along Maximilianstraße through a busy shopping area popular with international tourists where Munich expanded outward during the 1800s, passing the National Theatre on Max Joseph Platz. This square is named after Bavarian King Maximilian Joseph and is the western terminus of Maximilianstraße.
As we walked along the Residenz, palace of the Wittelsbachs, I noticed the Theatinerkirche – The Theatine Church. Built in the 1600s in Italian high-Baroque style, this was Bavaria’s first baroque church.
Rick Steves’ tour ended at the Hofgarten – garden of the court, just in time for lunch. We found an outdoor restaurant with seating in the shade. I was a little disappointed that the cuisine was Italian with no German dishes on the menu, and ended up with a weird pizza that had lawn clippings for topping.
After lunch we returned to our hotel room, where Allan hung out while I went out in search of a cardbox box I could cut down to make a container for my hiking poles and knife to check as luggage on tomorrow’s flight home. I walked over to a Deutsche Post that was supposed to be on Sonnenstraße, but I couldn’t find it and kept returning back to the same spot. I finally recalled that sometimes there are shops/stores in the underground subway stations and I was directly above the Karlsplatz station. Sure enough there was a LARGE shopping mall down there – it took a couple laps around it before eventually locating the Deutsche Post store where they gave me a used cardboard box for free. I returned to the room, carved up the box into smaller container for poles and knife, and cleaned up for dinner.
We decided to return to the Hofbräuhaus for dinner. It was incredibly crowded with not a single seat to be found anywhere inside, but we found space at a table outside. Unfortunately the locals at the table were smoking foul-smelling cigarettes and/or cigars, and it started making me nauseous. We circled around some more and eventually found two open seats at another table where thankfully no one was smoking. The smallest beer you can order here is 1 liter (more than 32 ounces)! You can get a workout doing curls with that pitcher-sized glass. Had a delicious bratwurst, sauerkraut, and a pretzel. Doesn’t get much better than that for a German dinner!
After dinner we strolled back to the hotel in the warm summer night.
The next morning we had one more Groundhog Day breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and set off for the airport. Once again we both struggled to figure out which train on the S-Bahn would take us to the Flughafen München (Munich airport), and hopped off twice when we believed we were on the wrong train. Eventually we convinced ourselves which train we needed, and rode across the countryside to the flughafen ✈.
We parted ways in the terminal as our flights were in separate concourses, and I had an uneventful flight back to London Heathrow where I changed planes to New Orleans.
Overall I really enjoyed the trip – it was just fantastic to be back in Europe and the alps for the first time since the year before the pandemic. I am disappointed that we did not hike at least one more hut further on the Stubai Höhenweg to see the bigger peaks and glaciers, but I just couldn’t go on with that cold/flu/virus. I did recover enough in Innsbruck to enjoy the second route across the Sellrain alps. And we got to spend unplanned time in Innsbruck, which we passed through on our last trip but didn’t stop. Tirol is one of the most beautiful mountain areas in the world, and much less expensive than Switzerland. Can’t wait to return again!