Once upon a time…in Bavaria

Hello everyone!!

As we are winding down towards the end of our school year here in Spain we were able to take one more trip before heading home. We decided to go back to Germany, but this time we visited the city of Munich.

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Dreaming we were at Oktoberfest!

Even though we spent three nights here in an Airbnb, our time was mostly spent on day trips so we were only left with less than a day in the actual city. However, we did enjoy our time and saw a few of the sights it has to offer. Since we were in Germany we thought it was mandatory that we find beer and bratwurst. Even on a Sunday (the only day for us to explore Munich) you can find the necessities! We suggest heading to Viktualienmarkt to find food and drinks for a good price and even a place to sit outside on a beautiful day at the beer garden. The actual market part of the square was closed but I can imagine that it has a lot offer outside of Sunday.

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Great food and beers as big as your head at the beer garden in Viktualienmarkt

Even though I would have rather stayed in the beer garden all day, we also checked out the English Garden. This is a very big public park that stretches from near the center of Munich to its outskirts. We walked a bit and took some pictures with the scenery and it was nice to get some peace and quiet. If we had more time it would have been nice to lay out in the sun for a little bit. However, other than dodging the bikers, this garden is not super exciting, but worth a visit.

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Fountain at the beginning of the English Gardens

Since it was Sunday, no stores were open. Even the little tourist souvenir shops were closed. This left us to explore what we else could of the city. We saw an awesome view of the city from the top of Saint Peter’s Church which is right next Marienplatz (Munich’s main square in the old town.)  It’s only 1 euro for students and 2 euros for regular admission and after a few hundred steps you are treated to a great view of Munich.

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View of Marienplatz and New City Hall from St. Peter’s Church

One of the best parts of this view is looking down on Marienplatz and the New City Hall. The day we went it was filled with Bayern Munich fans after they won the German Cup the night before. Walking through the square we could hear many german soccer chants. Luckily we were there at the early stages of the rally and escaped before it actually started. Originally we were very confused because as we approached the square there was more and more security checking bags at every corner. Finally we put two and two together and realized it was because of the rally. Even with all the stores closed, tight security and chanting fans we enjoyed our time in Munich and plan to return someday.

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New City hall from Marienplatz

As I said before, we took a couple day trips from Munich and arguably our favorite part was going to see Neuschwanstein Castle, which is nestled on the outskirts of the German Alps. It is only a 2 and a half hour train ride from Munich to Füssen and then a short bus ride from Füssen to the small village of Hohenschwangau. If you buy a Bayern ticket in the morning all this travel costs 27 euros for two people. A one way ticket from Munich to Füssen itself is 26 euros so we advise purchasing the Bayern ticket.

We also suggest that if you are planning to take a tour of the castle, reserve your tickets online. It saves you from waiting in a long line. We tried to reserve online but we were too late and all the reservations were sold out. Some people online were saying they waited hours in line! Luckily when we arrived the line was not horrible and spent 45 minutes in line. (Adults 12 euros/ Students 11 euros…For more ticket information click here).

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Neuschwanstein Castle looks tiny from the bottom of the village

After getting our tickets, we were free to explore the village and the trails surrounding the castle until our tour time. Of course we were still in Germany and had to get bratwurst, currywurst and beer for our brunch. We browsed a couple shops and then it was up the hill to the castle. You can take a horse drawn carriage, a bus or walk up to the top. We made the trek by foot and it was not bad, especially since it turned out to be a beautiful day.

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Once you make it to the top there are many places to snap photos of the castle and the surrounding landscapes which are beautiful. Part of the trail is supposed to lead you to a bridge that provides a place to take the best picture of the castle. Sadly, this bridge was closed for construction. However, after reading a tip online I knew there was a ‘secret’ spot that made for an even better picture than from the bridge. After some exploring off the beaten path, behind some fences, I found this amazing view of the castle. If you ever find yourself at this spot please be careful, it’s near to the edge of a cliff that is a long way to the bottom.

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Taking in this view we almost missed our tour inside the castle. Some people were saying that this tour wasn’t worth it but we thought it was pretty interesting. If we were going to walk all the way up there, we thought we might as well go inside. A lot of the castle is unfinished but the finished parts are beautiful. We ended up learning a lot on the tour and you are treated to a nice balcony view at the end of it.

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View of the village and Lake Alpsee from the Castle Balcony at the end of the tour

Although Ludwig II, the mad king, was responsible for this magnificent castle, his final legacy is not so glamorous. After funding this unnecessary project by borrowing money from the banks, the mad king started to lose popularity.  Eventually this forced his ministers to have him declared insane, and he was taken into custody. The next day his body was found in Lake Starnberg and it is still up for debate as to what actually caused his death. Poor Ludwig!

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Ludwig II’s Concert Hall (Photo illegally taken by Amanda)

After trekking back down the mountain and eating lunch at the restaurant right by the castle, we continued to explore the village. From the castle balcony you can see a great view of the mountains and a lake near the village. We decided to check it out and this lead to 30 minutes of paddle boating on the lake. For only 5 euros we were able to see some great views of both castles (yes, there is another less extravagant castle in the village), the mountains and get a workout all at the same time.

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Here you can see Hohenschwangau Castle to the left (yellow) and Neuschwanstein Castle to the right in the mountains (white)
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Beautiful mountain view from Lake Alpsee

After a full day exploring this amazing village and all it has to offer, it was time to catch the train back to Munich. We had a great time in Bavaria and recommend it to anyone traveling to Germany.

Stay tuned for more adventures from our day trip to Salzburg, Austria to relive the Sound of Music!

Auf Wiedersehen,

Mark


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