By Julie L.
After stepping off the ICE at Hauptbahnhof Central Station, my traveling partner and I followed the ‘Ausgang' signs, found our hostel, and settled in while watching an episode of German-dubbed Simpsons. We took out our guidebooks and planned our single day in Munich before running through the rain across the street to the nearest brauhaus. I was taken aback by the traditional Bavarian costumes worn by the wait staff and the long tables that fit multiple parties at once. We shared a table with an adorable young family eager to practice their English with us and we practiced our German with them. We enjoyed the traditional Munich specialty of “white” sausages, pretzels, and, of course, locally brewed Weißbier.
The next morning we rose at the crack of dawn and walked to the subway station, where we garnered an appreciation for the local street art: expertly cut stencils, geometry-heavy sticker patterns, and neatly scrawled messages of encouragement and a zest for life. Upon stepping off the subway at Marienplatz we immediately felt as if we had stumbled into another world altogether. Neon green and pink beehive-coifed women dressed as fairies danced with lederhosen-clad men with feathered caps to an Oompa band with an enthusiastic Accordionist. Old-style antique shop signs, large street directories pointing out all of the many, many attractions in the center of town and produce stands surrounded the cobblestone square. Outdoor seating for the infamous ‘Hofbräuhaus' lined one branch of the main intersection, and we gawked at the ‘St.Pauli Girls' serving pitchers of beer to customers. We made our way through the diverse throngs of locals and tourists to the Glockenspiel, one of the major tourist attractions, and Munich's historical museum. It was breathtaking to be face to face with remnants of Munich's dark past and incredibly intriguing to see photos of the city being reinvented numerous times throughout the 20th Century.
Next, we hopped on a bus to the Haus der Kunst, one of Munich's critically acclaimed Modern Art Museums. We made the decision to seek out modern art in Munich after weeks of seeing Classical, Neo-Classical, Baroque, Rococo and Impressionist art throughout England and France, especially since Germany is widely recognized in the art world for its modern art and the Berlin-based Bauhaus movement and schools. I went a little haywire buying art books in the gift shop, one being a small orange compilation of old German photography called ‘Voyeur,' which is now one of my most prized possessions. After our museum visit we got a cup of coffee and sat in the Englischer Garten, where we observed horseback riders, college students taking breaks, and locals swimming and running around nude.
To wrap up our day, we celebrated our affection for Munich by patronizing one of its larger discos along the main strip. We were aghast at its size and varieties of music. It was the size of a 5 large gymnasiums with a different genre of music playing in each one. I have yet to visit an arena that monstrous and exciting since going there!
All in all, it was a perfect trip, and I can't wait to go back. Munich is a huge city with so much to do, and a must-see for any European excursion.
By Julie L.