Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 - Eastern Europe Day 01 (Munich)

Today we begin our journey through eastern Europe and we will be visiting Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest and Prague from September 11 until September 30. Budapest is up in the air since we aren't sure if the migrant crisis has caused any train station closures. We will see how things are when we reach Vienna.

Our trip starts with a direct overnight plane from Toronto starting at 8:25pm and arriving at Munich at 10:05am. Upon arriving in Munich, we went to the information booth and found out that taking public transportation would take as long as taking a taxi, so we opted for that and paid for the group day ticket for the entire network (since the airport is outside the XXL/Inner Circle area). 22,30 ‎€ for unlimited travel within the entire network for all of us (up to 5 adults). Our hotel is Hotel Freisinger Hof which is just outside the city center and we got there from the airport by train and one bus. We arrived too early for check-in, so we dropped off our bags and went to see some sites.

A short 5 minute walk to the tram station and a 30 minute tram ride got us to the city center and with our time, we wander around and saw Marienplatz (central square), Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady), Viktualienmarkt (open air market), and the Deutsches Museum (German Museum).

Marienplatz is a nice place to visit and clearly a tourist spot. There is a tourist information here so you can get all the information you need while taking in the square. It has both the Old and New Town Halls and if you come 11:00am, the glockenspiel on the New Town Hall will chime and you can see a little show. We will return tomorrow for the glockenspiel since our timing did not work out. Worth a stop for sure especially since odds are, you will walk by here and it is free.

New Town Hall
Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady) is one of the big cathedral that they have in Munich. It is worth a peak inside. It isn't as ornate as some of the ones that I have seen in Italy, but stop by nonetheless since it is right by the city center anyways and it is free to visit.

Viktualienmarkt (open air market) is exactly what it sounds like, a marketplace that is all outdoors with little open huts for shops. It is neat to see, but not really worth going out of your way for this in my opinion since I didn't see any interesting stalls. Free to visit, check the hours since they aren't open all the time.

For some reason, I thought that the German Museum would be different than what it was, so this is a warning for some. For some reason, I thought it was a natural history museum or a museum dedicated to Germany, but it is actually a museum dedicated to science and technology. They have exhibits on natural sciences, communication, transportation, musical instruments and lots more. Inside, there are entire planes (and lots of them), ships, submarines, printing press history, glass, and lots more. Check out their website ahead of time to try to plan out your visit. We were probably there for roughly 2 hours, and while I was disappointed that they didn't have dinosaurs (I thought they'd have natural history items), I was amazed at how many historic items they actually have inside a building. Note that even with the 2 hours that we were there, I don't think we saw even half the museum, although by now, we were getting tired due to lack of sleep and food. Open daily from 9:00am - 5:00pm, 11 ‎‎€.

Me next to a really old underwater suit.
Plane below, space exploration above.
We didn't stop for lunch today since we were on weird hours by now (overnight plane, no one really slept much), so after the German Museum, we went to Wirtshaus in der Au for what would be our dinner, which was a short walk away from the museum. 19,80 ‎€ gets you a big platter that has a sample of most dishes that you can share, however, you do need a minimum of two portions though. The platter includes a knuckle of suckling pig, a few slices of roast pork, a portion of duck, red cabbage, spicy sausages, sauerkraut, potato dumpling and bread dumpling. Since there are three of us, we got two platter portions and I got the meatloaf. Shortly after placing the order, the waitress came back with three big steins and a silver platter. She turned the steins upside down and used them as a base to hold the platter up, it certainly seemed like quite the display for our meal. When it came out, I'm not sure if I was hungry, it looked really good, I was tired, or a combination of everything but I was wowed. The food in general was good, although my meatloaf had this hot dog texture that I didn't like. I did however like the scalloped potatoes that came with the dish. I got my first of many beers to come since beer costs as much as pop or water does.

Beer #1 (time to start counting).
Meatloaf with scalloped potatoes and a pretzel.
Platter from above (two portions).
Platter on a plate.
After our meal, we headed back to the hotel and found out where the local supermarket was, bought some water and snacks and called it a day.

Tomorrow, we visit the Munich Residenz, see what else we missed today and picking up our rental car.

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