20 hours in Munich

M has had some fantastic work news involving the major car company located in Munich which will mean more frequent trips for him to Munich and happily, I will continue to occasionally join him. Don’t think I’ve said it enough how much I enjoy traveling…

If you time it right and get lucky with the Deutsche Bahn (DB), which is notoriously late and recently entangled in union battles resulting in frequent strikes, you can grab a steal on an Intercity Express (ICE) train ticket between Frankfurt and Munich. And the trip takes a bit over 3 hours – ultimately the same amount of time as getting to the airport, getting through security, boarding, taxiing, flying, taxiing, etc. L’tur is a great place to get better deals than the DB website. For example, one leg of my journey was only 27€ whereas on DB.com, it was 59€.

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ICE fast train in Frankfurt HBF
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Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

I recently learned that reliability is dependent on your destination and, more importantly, the route between the starting point and the destination. For example, the trip beween Munich and Berlin is well over 6 hours because DB uses rails in what was previously East Germany. These rails are older and much more rundown meaning much of the time, the train will only travel 60-80 km per hour. A solid ICE route is Munich – Cologne where the ICE travels regularly up to 300 km per hour. So when considering travel around Germany, consider all options as train travel may not always be the most efficient or cost-effective.

But I digress. I had visited Munich several times prior to meeting M, who having lived there and nearby in Ingolstadt for over 10 years, sang its praises. But after I met him, I was reintroduced to the city from a resident’s perspective.

Munich is big and endlessly green. Munich is special. And Munich is rich. Munich is in the German state of Bavaria (Bayern), and these guys notoriously think of themselves as so special that they ought not to even be tied to Germany any longer! The word is that if you ask a Bayern guy, he would prefer to secede from Germany in order to not be involved in the rest of the turmoil engulfing Germany, and live their lives in their happy Bayern bubble.

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But again, I digress. Munich has the highest prices of real estate in the country (with Frankfurt following behind as 2nd), and along with this, it generally caters to people with a different mentality as can be found in other parts of the country.

Munich has excellent shopping. If you get off the main pedestrian zone of Kaufinger Straße you can find wonderful options on Sendlinger Straße. Otherwise when luxury shopping is your goal, Maximilanstraße would be your destination. Viktualien Markt is a sight to see with every imaginable market delicacy available. Fresh fish, meat, cheeses, vegetables and fruits, spices, chocolate, and the list goes on. Wandering through Viktualien Markt is best with an open mind and a hungry stomach.

We arrived around 1pm yesterday, 2.5 hours later than expected. See above about trouble with DB. While M had a few meetings, I met with a good friend for lunch then strolled a bit in order to pick up some last minute items before our trip tomorrow!

Our first long distance train ride together. It seemed to require a selfie.
Our first long distance train ride together. It seemed to require a selfie.

In the evening, M introduced me to the exclusive H’ugo’s Lounge. This is apparently the place to see and be seen in Munich. The chef, Hugo, opened the restaurant after the massive popularity with his pizza booth at the club P1. I didn’t try the pizza so it may have been spectacular, but I was not particularly impressed with my choice: pasta with pesto sauce and smoked salmon topping the pasta. Nonetheless, H’ugos is a nice place to grab a drink and watch the action. It clearly is a congregation of the influencers in Munich.

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A Hugo drink at H’ugos. Hugos are made with elderflower syrup, white wine or prosecco.

One of the best parts of Munich is the ability to find solace in one of the many green places even in the heart of the city. The massive English Garden will make you believe you’ve been transferred to the countryside. The riverside is as calm as a country stream, and if you can score a great piece of real estate riverside, you can expect amazing views.

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Seasonally, there’s tons of fun options in Munich. Get immersed in the Oktoberfest spirit during the last two weeks of September. Contrary to two particularly popular beliefs, Munich is actually the true home of Oktoberfest and it occurs mostly in September! Many believe (previously, including myself!) that you can actually celebrate Oktoberfest anywhere in Germany, which is true, many cities have come up with their own versions, but the REAL Oktoberfest is in Munich. Also, Oktoberfest is always the last two weeks in September, with the concluding weekend being the first weekend in October. So heading to Munich in the middle of the month could lead to some major disappointment.

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Munich also has fabulous Christmas markets. They are segregated and you can find them all over the city. I enjoyed the distinctiveness of each one, whereas in Frankfurt, it was basically all one big Christmas market, which was also very nice.

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With fabulous cafes, restaurants, bars and lounges all over the city, you can also guarantee gluttony, if so desired.

Indeed, Munich is a special city, and one that should be considered a destination to add to the list.

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