Munich was another one of the places I’d visited on my 1998 trip to Europe. I’d been there with my friends, Tone & Stan, and we had a memorable night at the Hofbrauhaus before boarding an overnight train to Rome. 15 years later, I was making another short stop in the Bavarian capital, before boarding another overnight train- this time to Venice.
I left Freiberg in the morning, after my friends Ali & Andy helped me mail about half of the stuff I’d (over)packed for the trip back to the USA. I was nearing the halfway point of the trip, and I’d gotten very tired of lugging around such a large backpack. A day before leaving on the trip, I’d had a much smaller bag packed, but had upgraded at the last minute. It wasn’t cheap, but after shedding over half of the pack, I could tell I was going to be much happier. With that I boarded the 4 1/2 hour train ride to Munich.
After stowing my bags in a locker, I strolled the short distance from the train station through the Karlstor, the reconstructed Gothic style gates that mark the beginning of the city’s pedestrian zone.
The pedestrian street eventually opens up at Marienplatz, the city’s main square fronted on one side by the incredibly ornate Neues Rathaus, the neo-Gothic town hall.
One of Munich’s main attractions, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, uses centuries old figurines to enact two famous Bavarian stories to the delight of locals and tourist crowds.
Since I’d arrived in the late afternoon, I had time for only one activity, so I chose to climb the tower at St. Peter’s Church. The sweeping views provided from the top included the massive Gothic Frauenkirche, Marianplatz and the sprawling suburbs of Munich.
As a reward for my tough climb up and down the belltower at St. Peter’s, I headed over for a traditional German meal of sausage, sauerkraut, and potatoes at Munich’s world-famous Hofbrauhaus. It hadn’t changed much since my 1998 visit.
Even though I’m not a huge fan of German styles of beer, I had a few for the sake of the experience. The meal was excellent and I also enjoyed the small museum in the upstairs beer hall, something I had missed on my previous visit.
I enjoyed a leisurely stroll back toward the train station on almost a perfect evening. There were street musician and performers, couple window shopping, and locals out walking their dogs. European cities are so beautifully lit in the evening.
I arrived back at the train station half an hour before my overnight train. The frenetic pace I’d found when I’d arrived in the afternoon had given way to a much calmer atmosphere. I located my sleeping car and snuggled in for the night, excited to wake up the next morning in a brand new country.