On my third day in Munich, sadly I spent half the day waiting at the apartment for my lost luggage to arrive; however, once it had arrived, I was able to squeeze in a free walking tour of the city. 🙂
This 3-hour tour, run by Sandemans, is offered three times daily, in both English and Spanish, and takes you to the major attractions in Munich’s city center.
We began by meeting at the Marienplatz, which surrounded by the New Town Hall, housing the famous Glockenspiel, is undoubtedly one of the city’s most iconic spots.Fun fact: The New Town Hall surprisingly looks older than the Old Town Hall. That’s because most of Munich was destroyed during WWII. Luckily, due to its high towers, helpful for navigation, the New Town Hall was not bombed. That meant that the majority of Munich, including the Old Town Hall, had to be rebuilt afterwards.Another fun fact: While the upper dancers inside the Glockenspiel were inspired by the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V(founder of The famous German beer house- Hofbräuhaus), the lower dancers were inspired by the cooper’s dance. During the years when Black Death, a.k.a. the bubonic plague, had been sweeping through much of Europe in the 16th century, many people feared the outside world, and they stopped leaving their houses, and therefore stopped consuming beer. Well, the coopers in town that sold the beer got the idea to do a funny dance in the town square to attract villagers to come out of their homes, dance with them, and drink beer, as a way to earn some income. Luckily, this tactic worked, and now, every seven years, the cooper’s dance is reenacted in Munich. The next will be in 2019. 🙂
Here’s a short clip of the copper’s dance, in the lower level of the Glockenspiel, which is performed at noon and 5p.m. each day.
Our tour guide for the day was Kilian, a Munich native, who had enjoyed many free city tours while traveling across South America, and upon returning home, had gotten the idea to be a guide himself, and show pride in his own city.He started the tour by teaching us the Bavarian hello, Grüß Gott, or God’s greetings. Although halo is the most common greeting throughout Germany, Grüß Gott is unique to Bavaria, due to the Catholic influence in this region.
From Marienplatz we headed past the local marketplace to Munich Residenz, to learn about the foundation of Munich. I really enjoyed viewing the architecture of the city, including these onion-shaped church domes, iconic to this region, as well as, the 3D wall paintings that coated many of the buildings.
This is the Munich Residenz, which was the former royal palace and seat of government in Bavaria. It now serves as a museum, showcasing the opulence of Bavarian royalty. ❤
Now since this tour was so incredibly packed with historical information, I’ll try to pick out the most interesting parts.
Essentially the name Munich comes from the monks that lived there, since Bavaria is a very Catholic region. Its origin began in the 12th century, when a Duke placed a toll bridge along a major salt trading route in Germany. A Catholic bishop, disgusted by this robbery of the trader’s money to cross this bridge, began to quarrel with the Duke, which eventually led to the first trading and currency rights in the region.During the tour, we also spoke of the many rulers of Germany, including the fairy tale king, Ludwig II, who built Neuschwanstein, and of Ludwig I, who really revolutionized the art scene in Munich, building many museums and art galleries. Munich continues to be a mecca for the cultural arts, with stunning theaters, like the National Theatre Munich, the second largest in Europe.As we walked through the town, we also past a few lucky statues, including this fair lady. Supposedly, you will receive luck in love by placing flowers in the niche of her left arm. Sadly, many people cannot afford flowers, so they opted to rub the statue for luck, in a certain place, which is pretty evident from the heavy discoloration. Hah! 😛They also have four lion statues, the national animal of Bavaria, and supposedly it’s good luck to rub up to 3 of the 4 lions. Don’t rub all four, because then you appear too greedy. 😛We also discussed regional specialties, and the most famous dish, the Bavarian breakfast. It consists of white sausages, a sweet mustard, a Bavarian pretzel, and an herb cream cheese, all washed down with a beer. Historically, the sausages had to be consumed prior to 11 a.m. due to spoilage, and although today we have refrigeration methods, the Germans continue the tradition by enjoying the meal before mid-day.
Apparently, the best place to enjoy this meal is at the famous Hofbräuhaus, a three-story beer hall dating back to the 16th century.
Now, our tour followed a chronological order, and by the end of it, we had come to discuss more recent events, including the rise of Nazi Germany, and the decline of Adolf Hitler at the end of WWII. We didn’t discuss too much in detail, but they do offer a Third Reich Tour, which goes more in-depth on this history, as well as, a day trip to Dachau, the first established concentration camp in Germany, and one of the last to be destroyed.
What was exciting to me, was how much Bavarians love Americans *pats self on back* due to our unparalleled financial support post-WWII. 😀
For this reason, Bavaria has remained one of the most wealthy regions in Germany, and a fantastic place to both work and live. ❤After the tour, I headed back to the apartment, where Teresa and I prepared a delicious pumpkin soup, served with red wine- the perfect pairing on this cold and rainy autumn evening.
Although it wasn’t traditional German fare, it was nice dining with a local resident. The two of us had met each other in Valladolid, Mexico, and we were lucky to reunite one year later. 🙂We spent our final evening together, listening to the rain drops, and watching her adorable turtle, Suzy, saunter around her flat. ❤
I was so grateful to have someone put me up in their cozy home, making this a more memorable experience in Munich. 🙂Well, now I must keep moving on. A short 5-hour bus ride, and I’ll arrive in Prague, Czech Republic. Can’t wait to tell you all about it. Until then. 🙂