It was, to use the technical term, pissing it down when I arrived in Munich four hours later. It was one of those days when the cloud cover is so thick that it everything’s a bit dark and monotone. It was drizzling determinedly, so I set off in my Austria hat to find the Air Bnb. Luckily, it wasn’t far away and I found it without too much searching or wandering. Jenny (the girl we would be staying with) came to the house and dropped off the keys for me. I was tired, cold and wet, so as soon as she’d left I promptly got into bed and started catching up the lessons I had to prepare for the following week.
Having spent the evening before my 23rd birthday living up to my nickname of Oma, I continued what I’d started and had the most amazing lie-in until about 9am. Until you wake up at 6am every day, you really cannot understand the beauty of an extra 3 hours’ sleep. It was incredible! Then I opened all the cards and presents that you wonderful people had sent me from the UK or my mum had brought with her, and I had carted all the way from Rohrbach to Vienna to Prague to Munich just to have with me on my birthday – and it was so worth it. You people are all wonderful and amazing. Thank you :)
On emerging from my room in search of breakfast, I discovered that Jenny had left a birthday cake for me on the table with a ‘Happy birthday’ note. I will never fail to be absolutely blown away by the astounding kindness I have been repeatedly shown by people who are total (or very nearly) strangers.
Then, the best present of all, my sister arrived in Munich to meet me (that’s not the best present)… WITH A POSTER OF SELASI FROM BAKE OFF AKA KING OF MY HEART (that’s the best present. Sorry Maddie, it was nice to see you and everything but… Selasi though).
The rain from the day before had cleared up, so we went for a wander in the centre of Munich. We wandered around the Virtualitatmarkt, climbed the 299 steps up the viewing tower of St Peter’s Church for a view over Munich…
…and then went to see Asam’s Church which was stunningly beautiful and gave me the chance to tell my new favourite joke – What was the state of the economy in the 18th century? Everyone was baroque. (My brother insists I stole that from him which I did, but 99% of jokes are stolen and anyway, I have no shame).
Because it was my birthday and being basic is basically my religion, we also spent an hour or so sampling our first ever PSLs (that’s a Pumpkin Spice Latte for those of you who aren’t quite as basic and white as me and yes, I can confirm they live up to the hype but at 4€ a pop you must be having a laugh if you think I’ll ever be having one again) and going underwear shopping. #noregrets
In the evening, we stumbled across a bavarian restaurant called Burg Pappenheim which was gorgeous and cosy and served ridiculously large portions and was basically everything you would hope a bavarian restaurant would be. I’m going to write a whole post soon about how well Austria/Bavaria live up to their stereotypes – but let’s just say, what you imagine it to be like is pretty much spot on. If you think about it at all, that is, which I’m aware not many people do.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet but it was my birthday and so I got to choose everything we did. Gin had not yet featured in the day and this was a travesty of international proportions, so we went to a lovely little cocktail bar (with a primary focus on gin) called Couch Club for a drink. We had delicious cocktails and I fell in love with one of the men making cocktails behind the bar (can you see a pattern here?). We called him Kristoff too.
On Friday, we decided to do some serious Bucket List work and get ourselves to Neuschwanstein. We’d heard that it was the castle that the Disney castle is based on – so obviously we had to see it, and it was so worth the 2 hour train ride and bus. We opted against paying for a tour of the inside of the castle and a bus up the final part of the mountain, instead choosing to walk up the hill (with cups of Glühwein clamped tightly in our hands for moral support) and finally made it to the top, passing Hohenschwangau Castle castle on the way, which we nicknamed ‘the shit one’.
Neuschwanstein Castle was truly, truly stunning. We had an amazing view of it from Marienbrucke, a bridge stretched between two mountains, and spent most of the day singing let it gooooo, let it GOOOOOOO like the true Disney princesses we are. (I am obviously Elsa, in case you were wondering – the stroppy older one who locks herself away in an ice castle so she doesn’t have to put up with anyone’s shit, and Maddie is Anna, the lovely younger one who is sweet and friendly and has loads of friends and wants to know why her big sister won’t just build a bloody snowman with her FOR GOD’S SAKE). We also got a bit lost when we wandered off the beaten path and climbed up a treacherous part of the mountain where falling right off was a definite possibility – but we lived to tell the tale, although at some point I think Maddie was considering actually throwing herself off so that she didn’t have to listen to my puns any more. #kingdomofICEolation
Saturday began with pancakes at Baader Café (which I would highly recommend)…
…and then onto Hofbräuhaus (which I would recommend even more). We popped in ‘just for a look’, but having seen it recommended all over the internet we assumed it would be a tourist trap more than anything. In fact, it was about 60% Germans (with a certain number of tables reserved for ‘regulars’) and 40% tourists, come to admire the gorgeous painted ceilings. With a band playing traditional Bavarian music in the background, we scrambled to find a spare seat at any of the communal tables, which we found without too much searching. After a while, one of the waiters came over and we ordered a beer each (neither of us could quite handle a whole litre in a proper stein though). It’s one of my favourite places I’ve ever been, with such a jolly, communal, rowdy atmosphere, locals and tourists alike all chatting away, music booming in the background, many people merrily wearing dirndls and lederhosen without anyone batting an eyelid, waiters rushing around carrying 8 steins of beer in each hand, and girls carrying huge trays of gingerbread and pretzels, offering them to anyone who caught their eyes. Beautiful.
We left in time to catch the last of the daylight with a walk through the English Garden, ending up with Glühwein at the Chinese Tower (why do all my days end up in Glühwein nowadays?) before heading back to our Air Bnb and watching the worst/weirdest documentary we have ever seen called Addicted to Sexting. At least it gave us a good laugh.
On our last day, we headed to the Munich Residenz. We’d left three hours to see the whole thing, but maybe we just went in with the wrong mindset or maybe I’d been too spoilt by Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna, but either way we managed to get round the whole thing in about 25 minutes before we got bored and left. This isn’t to say it wasn’t beautiful – it just wasn’t exactly interesting, especially compared to all the other amazing things we’d done in Munich that weekend.
After a final coffee, it was time to go and I reluctantly hugged Maddie goodbye and began the journey back to Rohrbach. On the journey home it began to snow for the first time since I arrived! Huge thanks to Emma for coming to meet me at the station in Linz whilst I was waiting for my bus for McDonald’s and goss (the new Netflix and chill?) and to all the lovely people whose cards I arrived home to. It made getting up for school 6.15am the next day just a little bit easier.
In fact, I loved Munich so much that I went back the following weekend and did pretty much exactly the same things and it was magical.
Until next time, auf Wiederschauen!