Sunday, May 12, 2013

nach Deutschland

The Best of Munich

How to get here

Die Deutsche Bahn offers a great price for first class travel from Berlin(hbf) to Munich(hbf), both these are the main train stations of the corresponding cities.  It cost me 74€ per ticket for one way ticket.  For peace of mind, and an extra 8€ per reservation, I chose seats at the time of the booking.  Booking was easy using the the DB on-line reservation system.  For added convenience the site is available in English as well.  The more advanced of the trip the tickets are purchased the greater the savings.  Also, the DB offers a special price, sparepreis, that is non-refundable and cannot be changed.  I took advantage of this offer which significantly reduced the price.

Cash or credit

Cash is the preferred means of business in Munich, and in general Europe.  Credit or debit card machines are rarely seen at the museums, cafes, mini-markets, public transit, and shops.  I always buy euro at home.  Unlucky me, this time round, I lost 200€ to a hustler in Berlin.  As a result I had to change Canadian dollar.  The der Reise Bank AG at Munichs main bahnhof, charged me a hefty 4.90€ commission on $100 Canadian and gave me a lousy rate of $1.50.  Really sucked!

Place to stay

Munich Park Hilton, Am Tucherpark 7
Rooms are spacious, furnished tastefully and include free coffee-tea service, cash mini-bar, bio toiletries, hair dryer, and a very spacious bathroom with shower massage.  The hotel offers a gym, which I have to check out before departure, a restaurant with excellent food, we had the pasta of the day, ceasar salad, and pumpkin soup all deliciously made with the finest ingredient and cooked to perfection with hand squeezed, fresh orange juice, a fully equipped business center, public computer with access to Internet, and Microsoft office in the lobby and unlimited free access to wifi in the lobby.  All this for starting price of 159 €, I was able to get a room for 2 adults for 110 € three weeks in advance of my travel dates --excellent deal!


Munich is a small city, very classy, and it provides a lot of opportunity to  enjoy beautifully restored pre-war architecture for free and by just walking the streets surrounding the city center.  Today we traveled to the city center, Marienplatz U and S, and from there walked about twenty minutes to one of the collection of museums, Alte Pinakothek.  Sundays are reduced admission fee days, 1€.  The two floors museum, is not only Munichs most important art museum but also one of the most significant collections in Europe.  Among the 900 paintings on display are historical and exquisite paintings by renowned painters of renaissance era, 1400 - 1800, from all over Europe.  Such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Sandro Boticelli, Fra Filippo Lippi, Rambrandt, Paul Rubens, Anthoins Van Dyck.  I make sure to include pictures of some of the paintings that caught my un-trained eye here when I get to download them.  The museum is one of the must-see sights of Munich.  The museum is on Barer Straße.  The 27 tram to Petuelring has a stop close to it on Barer.  Theresienstraße, U2, is a few blocks north west of the museum.

Leonardo Da Vinci - Madonna of the Carnation


Ludwigstr and Universitat
Although Marienplatz and surrounding streets have a lot to keep you busy for two days, there are some other places that worth the visit if time is not an issue.  The university neighborhood of Munich, easily accessible by the Ubahn, is one example.  Check out the small cafes on Amalientstrasse.  Enjoy delicious potato chips at Pommes Boutique.  Indulge in a creamy dessert at one of the Eiskafe-s on this street.  Or just enjoy a walk along Ludwigstrasse --but be aware of the bike lanes or you will get honked at. :)
Pommes Boutique on Amalientstr.

For fashion the Maximilianstrasse and the surrounding streets is the place to go.  The quality and design of the dresses please the eyes, but not enough to spend hundreds of euro on them.
Don't miss the Englishcher Garten.  To get there, travel on U6 to Giselastr station and catch the Bus 54.  Bus 54 travels through the garden.

Where to eat

If you are staying at Munich Park Hilton, indulge at the Tivoli restaurant for dinner.  The cafe at Marienplatz, serves a variety of breakfasts, Pariser, butter croissant, or Kleins Fruhstück, bread, butter and marmalade, average price for breakfast for two is 8€.  There are a large selection of different variety food at Munichs main Bahnhof.  All U and S trains have a stop at this station.  There is also a mini-market inside that sells fresh fruit.  REWE, city of Munichs super market is located on Bahnhofplatz 1.  Knowing a few words Duetsch definitely improves the quality of your trip. 

General Tips

When booking train tickets for travel within Europe or if you intend to use public transportation to and from the international airport, avoid the rush hour.  Traveling with suitcases during the rush hour, maneuvering the crowd who ruthlessly pass or run you over, is a rather stressful, unpleasant experience.

There are many web sites that offer travel tickets on behalf of the air-lines.  These on-line agents gather, and compare ticket prices and sort them for you.  In the event you need to change or cancel you have to
a. call these companies which is most likely a toll call
b. adjust the time difference because they are most likely in a different time zone
c. they charge you their cancellation fee in addition to the airline fee

So, it's best to buy the tickets direct from the airline as opposed to these third party companies.

More expensive non-stop tickets really add to the quality of the trip, unless you are planning an overnight stay or the length of the flight is ridiculously long.  Stop over means going through transit and this translates to standing in line for immigration and custom as well as gate security check. It also means spending valuable hours in a closed, noisy airport with little motivation to do anything other than snoozing.  Unless it is Schiphol Airport, the stop-over leaves you tired and sore.


In Marienplatz free Wifi is available for one hour interval.  During the peak hours the service is slow and spotty. 

No comments: