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Jul 05

May 2017: Munich Trip Report

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Day 1:

We arrived in Munich early morning on our flight from Houston. The S-Bahn station is right outside the airport served by both S1 and S8 lines. We were staying right next to the Munich Central Railway Station (Munich Hauptbahnhof) and so the S-Bahn was the best way to get to the city. A lot of European cities have group day tickets which is more economical than personal daily tickets. A ticket from Munich Airport (Flughafen Munchen) to city is under “Entire Network” option and so I bought a group day ticket (valid for up to 5 travelers) for “Entire Network” for 23.90 Euro. The day tickets are valid on S-Bahn/U-Bahn, Tram and Buses.

After reaching Munich Hauptbhanhof, we walked across the station to our hotel (Aloft Munich).

Munich – Marienplatz

After freshening up, we took an S-Bahn to Marienplatz. The main attraction in Marienplatz is the New town hall (Neues Rathaus). By the time we reached there the daily show at Glockenspiel was already over.

Munich – Rathaus, Marienplatz

Munich – Glockenspiel in Marienplatz

Next we walked over to St. Peter’s Church.

Munich – Peterkirche

Munich – Peterkirche

After spending some time inside the church we walked over to Viktualienmarkt. While walking over to the market we did a short detour to see Juliet’s statue (of Romeo and Juliet fame).

Juliet’s Statue

There are quite a few dining options in Viktualienmarkt with a few beer gardens.

Munich – Viktualienmarkt

After lunch we decided to visit English Garden. You can take the U-Bahn (U6) to either Universitat or Giselastr stop. After getting off on Universitat, it is about a 10 minutes walk before you reach English Garden.

Munich – English Garden

We saw lots of people playing by the water as well as enjoying the late afternoon sun.

Munich – English Garden

Munich – English Garden

Munich – English Garden

After walking for a while we ended up near the Chinese Tower. There is a beer Garden right next to it and it was pretty crowded.

Munich – Chinese Tower, English Garden

Munich – Chinesischer Turm Beer garden

We were not much hungry but being that we were in Munich, me and my dad decided to do the appropriate thing and order a couple of beers!!

Munich – Me and Dad enjoying some beer in Chinesischer Turm beer garden

After walking around for a while in the garden we returned back to the hotel.


Day 2:

One of Karen’s bucket list items was to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle which is located about 2 hours from Munich. We did not book any package tour and instead decided to do it ourselves. If you want to do the castle trip on your own, Bayern Ticket is the way to go. For a Second Class cabin, for 4 people a Bayern ticket for the day costs 43 Euro (25 Euro + 6 Euro x 3). The Bayern ticket covers everything except the bus ride from Hohenschwangau to the castle. Here are the steps needed for the day trip if you are doing it on your own.

  • Take train from Munich to Fussen.
  • Take bus from Fussen to town of Hohenschwangau
  • Walk from Hohenschwangau village or take a horse carriage or a bus to the Castle (Recommend taking the bus)
  • Explore castle with guided tour
  • Walk back to town or take a horse carriage or bus (Recommend just walking as its all downhill and pretty easy)
  • Take bus from town to Fussen
  • Train from Fussen to Munich

Even though the Bayern ticket is valid only from 9 AM, we took the 8:53 train. It was a risky move as we could face steep fine if a ticket checker came across us in the first 7 minutes on the train ride. To avoid the risk, buy a short ticket to cover that time. The ride to Fussen took about 2 hours with a short connection in Buchloe station.

****Very Important****
A visit to the Neuschwanstein castle can only be done through official guided tour (based on your chosen language). However, tours sizes are restricted and you could show up at the ticket center and all tours could already be sold out. You must reserve your tour at a minimum of 2 days before the visit date and credit card is required for booking. Credit card is not charged during booking but will be charged in case of no-show. On the website, you request a time and preferred tour language and you will get a confirmation back within a few days. The confirmation receipt will mention the tour time and ticket pick-up time (2 hours before tour time). You must arrive at the ticket center in Hohenschwangau before the ticket pickup deadline otherwise you will be considered a no-show and your card still charged.

Hohenschwangau Village

After getting to Fussen, we followed the crowds to the bus stop outside the train station. The bus ride is very short (10 minutes) and we were soon in Hohenschwangau . We queued up in the pre-booked ticket line and picked up our tickets after showing our receipts. Next we walked over to Lake Alpsee which is just a 5 minute walk from the ticket center.

Hohenschwangau Village – Lake Alpsee

Hohenschwangau Village – Lake Alpsee

The bus ride from the town to the castle is only like 10 minutes. Its a pretty steep climb and I was happy that we chose the bus. The bus drops off above the castle so you walk downhill to the castle (the horse carriage on the other hand drops off below the castle so you walk a little uphill). We walked from the bus drop off point to Marienbrucke which is a bridge from where you get the best pictures of the castle.

After taking some great selfies and pictures of the castle from the bridge we walked downhill for about 15 minutes to the castle. The tour started on time and went for 30 minutes. You climb stairs to the top of the castle while visiting different rooms. No picture talking is allowed inside the castle. We got to see the kitchen, bedroom of King Ludwig, the grotto (Ludwig was way ahead of his times!!).

After the tour, we walked out of the castle and walked downhill to the town.

We were pretty hungry by this time and it was very late but nothing was open at that time. We ate some currywurst at a small shop close to the bus stand. It was actually pretty good. We waited for a while for the bus to Fussen and then took a direct train from Fussen to Munich Hauptbahnhof.


Day 3:

I am very fascinated by World War 2 history and I really wanted to visit Dachau Concentration camp which is located just outside of Munich. The best way to get to Dachau is to buy a Munich XXL ticket (Group Day ticket for Munich XXL is 15.9 Euro) which covers both the train from Munich to Dachau station and Bus that stops right outside the camp. Entrance is free and by the time we got to the camp, the daily English tour at 10:00 AM was already full. I paid for an audio guide but in retrospect, there is enough signage in English all throughout the camp that you will know what you are seeing most of the time. I would still recommend getting the audio guide.

We first walked through the exhibits (explaining the rise of the Third Reich and the Holocaust with very vivid images, artifacts and clips).

Next we walked across to the barracks where the Jews were housed in the camp.

Seeing the terrible conditions of the cramped quarters, you cannot help but imagine the despair that the victims must have undergone staying at this wretched place.

Next we walked across the barrack ground to the crematorium. Dachau was more of a concentration camp than an extermination camp (like Auschwitz) but they still did a lot of executions in this place. We visted a gas chamber disguised as a shower and even though there were writings saying there were supposedly no mass executions in this gas chamber except some individual “test runs”, you cannot imagine what sort of evil dawns upon men to devise things like this.

After spending about 3 hours at the camp we took the train back to Munich. Me and Karen decided to have lunch at Viktualienmarkt while my parents decided to have lunch by the train station. We ended up having some pork schnitzel and potato salad with beer for lunch. After resting for a little bit, we walked over to Hauptbahnhof for our train ride to Vienna.

 

 

 

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