First let me say that our flight to Munich was hands down the worst flight ever! I’m convinced that Airberlin was trying to kill us with their 100 degree flight atmosphere and two inches worth of leg room. I was so happy to reach Munich soil after our red-eye I could’ve kissed the filthy airport ground as soon as we arrived.
Luckily for us, we are two for two with picking great accommodations, so our day immediately improved when we checked in at the Hi-Munich Park Hostel. We booked a private room for the four of us. We had two bunk beds, our own bathroom, security lockers and the biggest necessity for international travel on a budget — free breakfast! The hostel was a little far out of the city center but the “U” metro line connects about three minutes down the road, making our trips into the hot spots very simple.
Our first day in Munich we went to Marienplatz where you can see the Column of St. Mary, the New Town Hall, the Old Town Hall and St. Peter’s Church. Marienplatz reminded me a lot of Prague in that it has a very gothic feel to their architecture, which I love. The New Town Hall was very dark and gloomy with hints of teal splattered about. Everyday at 11 a.m. there is a glockenspiel show that tourists LOVE. When the clock strikes 11 the little figurines re-enact two stories from the 16th century. The show is definitely a hit or miss with the young crowd, for us it was a miss solely because we have seen similar shows from different countries and to us when you see one figurine dancing around a clock, you’ve seen it all.
Just around the corner from St. Peter’s there is an outdoor market where you can buy all kinds of brats, fruit, cheese, beer, flowers and candy. Obviously this was a must see for us because let me tell you, us girls like to EAT. For our first time in Germany, it was only natural that we get all the currywursts and brats smothered in sauerkraut our little stomachs could handle.
After eating myself into a coma, it was time to rest up for the main event. DRUM ROLL please………….OKTOBERFEST! We woke up around 7 am in order to snag some of that free breakfast and get to the festival gates by 8 am. Something came over me when we got outside of the Hofbräu Festzelt tent and I saw how crazy long the line was to enter. My impatient attitude wasn’t going to allow standing behind a mass of humanity, so I bulldozed my way through the crowd all the way to the front row of Hofbräu. Maggie and I were among the first people to get inside the tent when the doors opened at 9 am and we made the executive decision to sit in the middle of all the action.
Oktoberfest was CRAZY!!! We sat with four Germans from Frankfurt who taught us the proper way to hold our beer so we didn’t look like the ultimate tourists we truly are. We cheered our fellow oktoberfesters on as they stood on tables and chugged full steins of beer. Truth be known – it’s an art that really needs to be recognized.. After drinking an amount of beer I’m unwilling to admit on a blog my mother reads, we headed outside to get more currywursts before riding some carnival rides. The view from Oktoberfest as the sun was setting was an indescribable memory I will always have in my mind. It was a beautiful day, one that brings so many together to celebrate a German tradition regardless of their background.
The aftermath of Oktoberfest caused me to get in a fight with the pizza vending machine at our hostel and many random friend requests on social media from people I “supposedly” meant. Will I be coming back next year? Hell yeah! I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
Our last day in Munich we decided to travel two hours outside of the city center to Fussen. Fussen is the home of King Ludwig’s Castle, Neuschwanstein, which was the inspiration for the movie, Sleeping Beauty. The train ride there and back cost us around $12. When we arrived in Fussen, we were able to get a bus all the way to the top of the castle grounds where you can see the castle up close and personal. We opted out of getting tickets to go inside the castle because the line was outrageously long and we heard it really wasn’t worth the wait.
When we were all castled out we got some food and explored the lake that surrounded the small town. We had a genius idea to get a paddleboat and sail around for 30 minutes. This was probably not the best idea as we are arguably the weakest females I know. Getting from the dock to the middle of the lake took about 15 minutes so by the time we got there it was time to head back. It was a hilarious experience to watch. I’m sure with our constant squealing and rowing struggles, we provided non stop entertainment for anyone watching.
Heading to Fussen on our last day in Munich was a great little escape from city living. For me, it’s always necessary to get out of the city center every once in a while to mix things up a bit. Anyone who knows me, knows I get bored very easily and need a change of scenery often, hence the only spending 2-3 days in each country thing, so Fussen was perfect.
As a group, we hit a little bump in the road prior to coming to Europe when our train tickets didn’t arrive in time. Our first train ride was supposed to be Munich to Berlin, but without our ticket it would have been another $150 fee to buy a new one, which we weren’t willing to do. We found an inexpensive tour bus called FlixBus that goes the same route for $30 a person. I was incredibly impressed with the FlixBus service and the overall quality of the bus. As a 5’11” female where 80% of those measurements are legs, comfortably sitting on buses has never been a thing for me.The FlixBus seats were comfortable and roomy and I actually was able to sleep on this form of public transportation which is typically not the case.
We took the 7 am FlixBus from Munich Central Station and arrived in Berlin around 2 pm. Our hostel was located about 30 minutes from station via metro which was extremely convenient for us.
We stayed at the Grand Hostel Berlin which welcomed us with free beer when we arrived, I mean what more could you ask for? The receptionists were very welcoming and helpful, and they immediately whipped out a map and showed us all the “must see” spots in Berlin. We chose an 8 bed dormitory that had security lockers, a private bathroom and a comfier bed than I own at home.
Our first day in Berlin was pretty chill. We went to the Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery and admired the art work as we enjoyed the freedom of being able to publicly drink beers alongside the Oberbaum bridge. Once the beer hunger kicked in we headed to a well-known kabob place Gemüse Kebap and did what we do best — chowed down. I tried falafel for the first time and fell in love. Never will I order any other kind of kabob again. After the glorious falafel we went back to the hostel and called it a night.
Day two in Berlin was filled with sightseeing. We started out at Alexanderplatz where we discovered that a fish eye lens is the only way to capture the whole needle. Then we went to the cathedral and walked throughout museum island. We admired the universities and tried to think of ways we could somehow come back to Germany for grad school even if they didn’t have our major. We brushed up on history at the Holocaust Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie. We ended the day with the ever so famous, Burgermeister and another walk along our favorite Berlin Wall East Side Gallery.
Berlin is a very hipster, alternative town which is an atomsphere I thoroughly enjoy. They have a different way of doing things and a unique artistic style about them. I learned so much from the one and half days we spent there. The most important lesson being to always validate your train ticket unless you want a 60€ fine or a possible locked up abroad situation. All jokes aside, Berlin is a gem with a deep historical background and a punky art scene that can’t be missed.
Germany was one for the books, but now it’s time to head to the most anticipated Greek Isles.
See you next time and hopefully with a tan.