Mun-ick.


In my defense, I’ve now given this city two tries. I certainly don’t dislike all of Germany. I’ve been to a lot of the tiny towns in Bavaria and the Black Forest and they are lovely and fun and serene. I love the language, it’s so precise. But for some reason, Munich doesn’t do it for me. It could be because the most expensive [by significant amounts of Euros] meals of our trip were in Munich, while none of our favorites [and many of our least favorites] were there. It could be because the temperature went from 100 to 50 and rainy and I had to go buy winter clothes at an H&M in August. It could be because our train stopped at some random city in Austria and we had to run to a bus, take said bus to Innsbruck and get back on the train, only to discover an old lady in Shaun’s [paid for, reserved] seat eating the smelliest can of Campbell’s beans in the history of Campbell’s beans. She then proceeded to order everyone around. Weirdest. Train ride. Ever.*

But I really do think that it’s because Munich is just Disneyland DE. It’s a caricature of German culture catered toward tourists at the expense of locals. It’s inauthentic, and comes with a price tag so steep its almost prohibitive. Believe me, we tried. When the highlight of the city is someone else’s urine [Andy Warhol’s, not the guy’s who peed on the door to our hostel as we were walking up], you’ve got a problem.

We tried Hofbräuhaus. This involved walking in, suffocating in the crowd, being accosted by some dude in lederhosen, taking a look at the menu, discovering a beer would run us over 12 American dollars, and walking out. You can get the exact same experience at the Hofbräuhaus in Busch Gardens and Pittsburgh. Trust me, I’ve been to both. They actually might be cooler.

We tried the highly-rated vegetarian restaurant, Prinz MyshkinTwice. The food was great, albeit not the most creative – save for a “Save the Tuna” pizza that was a take on a classic neapolitan tuna pizza except with soy tuna and spelt dough [I loved it, Shaun was on the fence] – but it was hard to walk out [into the rain] feeling happy after you got the bill.

We then even trekked a bit to find a beer hall we hoped would be more authentic. This was the most expensive meal we had on the trip, and all we ate were pretzels, cheese and dumplings. I didn’t even get beer [grüner veltliner has always been on my short list of favorite whites, though] because I couldn’t hold the one-liter steins, and every beer Shaun had was cut with lemonade – a “radler” – the new beer sensation in Europe. They’re everywhere. They’re to beer countries what Aperol Spritz’s are to wine countries. It’s hard to feel good about a 12-dollar lemonade. I will admit, Bavarian pretzels and beer cheese is pretty incredible but I just can’t say it was better than its Pittsburgh equivalent. On the upside, we met someone from Transylvania. That might have been the highlight of our German beer-drinking experience.

This is the inside of a beer hall/cave.

The plus-side of Munich? MUSEUMS. We visited two: the Deutsches Museum and the Brandhorst. The Deutches Museum is the largest science and technology museum in the world. It’s filled with maritime exhibits, machinery, war paraphernalia and SPACE.


We actually visited the museum on the day of Neil Armstrong’s funeral. A fitting tribute.

The Brandhorst is Munich’s modern art museum. On Sundays they only charge one Euro, but it would have been worth any price. There was a shocking collection of Andy Warhol works, including one he made by dumping his own urine onto copper. Enough said. I stumbled upon a few artists I never knew I liked [Erik Fischl and Alex Katz], but I think the highlight of the museum was Cy Twombly’s Lepanto. It’s a 12-picture series about the naval battle of Lepanto. Twombly worked with the Brandhorst to build a room specially for the set, and when you walk in you’re surrounded by the bright, violent artwork. I LOVED this. And Shaun loved his awesome little sandwich he got next door.

Anything on a pretzel can’t be bad.

Munich also gets the prize for coolest weird thing we saw: surfing in the middle of a park. They constructed a standing wave on a river in the middle of the Englischer Garten, where pros surf rain or shine, winter or summer. It’s pretty much the coolest weird thing, ever.

These guys were GOOD.

From the bridge above.

Munich did have a moment of redemption our last day when we visited the Viktualienmarkt, an open-air farmer’s market in the center of town [remember: market love]. I got a lovely salad while Shaun sampled various meats from different stands, and we shared a pretzel baguette [obviously]. The highlight for me was stumbling upon the raw foods shop that was well-stocked with organic beers and power balls. Who knew we’d find those in Germany? I savored a power ball made from nuts and raw honey, and Shaun sampled organic beers while we sat in the market’s beer garden and killed the day. To be honest, if the market had been open on weekends, it might have changed the tone of our entire stay.

Neither of us were sad to wave goodbye to Germany as we hopped on a night train to Hungary. I wish I could say it was the last time we unexpectedly stumbled upon the radler trend, but alas, it stalked us through two more cities. Beer and juice, anyone?

* But not the worst. Prague to Amsterdam wins that trophy. Oh god. I’ll explain later.

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Categories: Travel, Wedding

Author:ryesandshine

Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/

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  1. And We’re Back. | Ryes and 'Shine - September 26, 2012

    […] we really enjoyed traveling our travels. Stay tuned for: Madrid, Barcelona, Nice, Rome, Siena, Munich, Budapest, Prague, Amsterdam, and Brussels. If the Internet Guy gets here on time tomorrow, the […]

  2. Praha, or How I Crammed A Life’s Worth of Activities into Four Days. | Ryes and 'Shine - September 27, 2012

    […] becoming more health conscious. The health food movement is actually one of the reasons the dreaded radler is becoming popular there – it’s seen as a “healthier” alternative to beer. […]

  3. Bruxelles, Rawr. | Ryes and 'Shine - October 2, 2012

    […] They are really unique. We grabbed a few bottles to bring home with us before leaving Cantillon for Delirium Village. Delirium Village is exactly what it sounds like, a huge complex of beer-themed buildings owned by Belgian beer company Delirium. You know, the little pink elephant. There’s Delirium Cafe,  Delirium Store, Delirium Taphouse, Delirium Beer Cave, Delirium Floris [the absinthe and whisky bar], Delirium Monasterium, Delirium Hoppy Loft, Delirium Garden and Delirium Tequileria, all on this tiny one-way street in the center of town. Delirious yet? It’s arguably one of the most touristy things in the city; however, it’s actually really cool. Take that, Munich. […]

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