Arriving in Munich was weird. I’ve been having a lot of strong vibes lately, good and bad, and this was definitely a good one. Within just a few minutes in Munich, I already knew I loved it.
Background info: I’ve loved the German language and culture since I began studying it in 7th grade. I hosted two wonderful German students through my high school’s GAPP exchange program. I was supposed to travel to Germany as a part of the program in 2011, but my doctor would not allow me. Flights were canceled and my heart was broken.
Fast forward a few years: I am by no means a pro at German, since it’s been two years since studying it, but I do have a decent grasp on conversations. I desperately wanted to visit Berlin and Hannover this summer to visit my German sisters and friends, but unfortunately time will not allow for that. However, Munich offered cheap AF airfare so I was all over that like Nutella in a croissant.
So I arrive in Munich, and I am already excited to be able to read both languages of the signs – German and English! Feeling like an old pro that is pretty hungry, I order a pretzel at a cafe auf Deutsch. Sliced in half and filled with butter. If I complained about all of the carbs in Italy, I’m sorry because they’re acceptable in Germany.
My premature infatuation might be due to the lack of sleep, but I instantly fell in love. A quick train to the city followed by a quick walk and I’m checking into my hotel. NO S IN THERE! No hostels were available, and after last weekend, my parents are probably fine with me splurging on a hotel. I considered airbnb, but this location was prime. I HAVE MY OWN ROOM AND BATH! I don’t think anyone other than my classmates understands my excitement.
I then partake in a walking tour around the city. It was so much fun to be reminded of the rich history of Munich, while learning new surprise details. We began at the Marienplatz aka my place and watched the Glockenspiel.
We walked to Viktualienmarkt, an outdoor marketplace with everything imaginable. For lunch, I went to the place of my Italian dreams – a meat shop!!!!! I ate the spicy wurst sandwich.
Here is Max-Joseph’s Platz. This is where we ended the tour, and I walked around some more and took in the sights. Even though it’s hot (but not as hot as Rome), it was such a beautiful day. I did some souvenir shopping, but I had already decided I would be back ASAP, so I didn’t want to get too much when I’m only backpacking it.
After a quick nap back at my hotel, I went on a beer garden tour. I usually only drink beer when I’m really drunk already and can’t taste it, but I actually like German beer. Weißbier or wheat beer tastes so much better than any beer I’ve ever had! We traveled around different beer gardens in Munich. At Hofbräuhaus, the biggest beer garden, I got Radler, which is mixed with lemonade. I’m glad this was mixed with lemonade because the smallest size to order is a liter!
Saturday, I took a day trip to Neuschwanstein. For my senior paper in German, I researched this amazing castle. Excuse me while I fangirl and cross this off my bucket list.
A 2-hour train ride and a 10-minute bus ride later, we arrived in the small town before beginning our trek. Here is the beautiful Alpsee/Alpine Lake. Unreal.
It seems like we covered a lot of ground, but it was more elevation than mileage. According to my phone, we walked 6 miles but climbed the equivalent of 49 floors. It was quite a hike, but so worth it.
I did the interior tour of the castle, which is barely even finished because of the King’s untimely death. Even still, it is so surreal. Seriously a fairytale castle. Pictures weren’t allowed, but I managed to sneak one picture.
For those who don’t know me too well, I have always considered myself a princess… I don’t think I could even conjure up such magnificent designs in my wildest dreams. My favorite was a hallway that was all rocky and resembled the interior of a cave with stalagmites. Some of the first electricity in the world was used in this hallway to light it with pink and blue mood lighting. Like, WHAT?
From there, we trekked up even higher to a bridge (named Marienbrücke AKA Mary’s bridge FYI) to witness these gorgeous views. The bridge was built by the King’s predecessor, so it was a built old and unstable, so that was fun.
I saw a few people up on an even higher ledge, so I decided to check it out. That was the closest thing to actual rock climbing I’ve ever come to and ever will do. My shoes and outfit were not prepared for this. However, I got the most breathtaking view from the authentic Alps.
It was a special day to be at Neuschwanstein because it was the anniversary of King Ludwig II’s death, and he built the castle. It was an even more special day to be in Munich because it was the city’s 857th birthday! I returned to the city for some last minute shopping and dinner, but turned in early for my early flight the next day. Everyone was out drinking, dancing, and celebrating, and I wish I could have joined!
I finally got to try a Döner for dinner. In German class, we learned a song about Döners. Ever since then, I have craved one. Kinda like how you crave Krabby Patties or Reptar Bars even though you have no idea what it tastes like. But, Döners are even better than I expected. Or maybe I was just really hungry. Or both.
In the morning, my flight was unfortunately canceled just as I had worried. My gracious mother helped me get a flight back to Rome earlier so I wouldn’t have to wait until 7pm to leave, which is 10 hours of anxiety-ridden time. My mom is the best.
If there’s any benefit, it was having one more German meal. IM NEVER EATING PIZZA OR PASTA AGAIN! Sorry Italy. Currywurst and pretzels FTW.
I’m so glad I went to Neuschwanstein. I’m so glad I went to Germany. I know I mainly stayed in Italy during my trip, and that was on purpose. I could have gone to Venice for my last weekend, but Germany has always had my heart, and my weekend here was unforgettable. I realize now that I can speak way more German than I realized, and now I want to study and practice my German more, because I definitely intend on returning to Germany ASAP for a longer period than 48 hours.
The last few days are upon us. I’m very ready to come home – I miss the food, the people, my bed, my other clothes, AC, even paper towels – but I also never want to leave. This has been the experience of a lifetime, and I just want to keep learning and exploring for the rest of my life.