20th – 23rd July
The train from Berlin Hauptbahnhoff to Munich Hauptbahnhoff is direct and takes 6hrs 15mins.
We stayed at a Wombats Hostel, which is a chain with hostels in various European cities. We stayed at three Wombats hostels in total and were very impressed with them. It cost us £27.03 per person per night in an 6 bed mixed dorm (which we thought was all female until Emily woke up to see a naked guy standing on the other side of the room). The hostel was near to the centre, just across the road from the main station.
It was a large room with three sets of bunk beds, a bench with seats and an ensuite bathroom. There were lockers which could be locked and unlocked with your key-card. There was no air con, but there were fans in the room. The view was just down onto the street, nothing special. Downstairs there was a large lounge area, a bar which served some basic food for dinner and a cheap breakfast.
When we arrived and ate some very basic pizza at the hostel – I wouldn’t recommend it for evening eating – there are plenty of lovely places to eat in Munich centre. We then went out for a walk into the centre, which wasn’t far down the road. Munich is a very nice city, with some lovely buildings such as the Cathedral and the Town Hall.
Hayley excited to be back in Munich
Munich cathedral (Frauenkirche)
As it was Becky’s birthday we decided to head to a Biergarten and have a drink. I had a beer, Emily had a coke, Becky had shandy and Hayley had a Spezi (which is like fanta and pepsi mixed together – it’s really quite nice). The place we went to was called Augustiner Klosterwirt which served a tasty light beer. It was also right next to the cathedral and a lovely fountain – the Mushroom Fountain. We paddled in the fountain, soaking up the summer evening atmosphere and took lots of photos before heading back to the hostel to get some sleep.
The mushroom fountain
Hayley, me and Becky in the mushroom fountain
We got up suitably late after a good sleep and went down for breakfast. Hayley used to live near Munich for two years and so had planned the next couple of days for us. We caught the train out to Starnberg, where Hayley used to live, where there is a lovely big lake that you can swim in. We planned to have a lazy time swimming in the lake and lounging on the grass next to it.
Emily chilling by the lake
As this is Germany and nudity is legal, I decided I wanted to try skinny-dipping. There was no-one really about to start with, so we spent a while swimming in the shallow water at the edge of the lake. Eventually I convinced the others to join me in skinny dipping! After swimming around for a while, giggling at ourselves, we redressed and got out to have lunch and read. A lazy afternoon went by and we swam again, before walking round the lake to get tasty ice-cream at the Strandcafe
Pretty lake gazebo
Tasty ice cream sundaes
We then headed back into Munich to have a traditional German meal, and after spending a long time trying to find somewhere we liked, we went to another Augustiner Bier Garten – Zum Augustiner
. We ate the free pretzels and waited for our food. I had a half litre of beer and schnitzel, which I couldn’t finish all of so I wrapped the spare piece in a napkin and took it with me.
Hayley is full!
It comes in litres!
A lot of beer…
We then went to another Bier Garten because I was set on having a litre of beer. We went to a place called Donisl
and ordered in. Turns out, a litre is a lot of beer, especially if you’ve had a whole half already!
We went back to our room which was very hot and humid (due to the washing we were drying in there). I finished my Schnitzel and then attempted to sleep – the room was stifling! I’m glad I had my water bottle with me.
We headed out of Munich to a place called Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Garmisch is out by the alps. We walked from the station in Garmisch out to the foot of a mountain called Eckbauer. It is by the Olympic Ski Stadium which has a MASSIVE ski jump. It was lovely and sunny as we walked there, but we were glad that we didn’t have to climb the hill – there is a lovely old rickety gondola
for that! It is probably the most chilled cable car ride I have ever experienced, despite Becky and I discussing what would happen in the incredibly unlikely event that car fell down (we would die).
The rail line on the way to Eckbauer
Becky on the gondola
The view at the top
Another spectacular view
Once at the top, we had lunch and then began our decent down a lovely track back to Garmisch. If you are going to attempt this walk – wear very good shoes! My Clarks sandals are very good for walking long distances on the flat, but don’t have enough grip for steep gravelly hills. Although I was alright for most of the descent, I had a cocky moment and slipped and grazed my knee. Poor Zoe.
The beautiful trees down the trail
Hayley on Eckbauer
Emily and Becky on Eckbauer
Me on Eckbauer…
We kept walking until we reached a fork in the path. Daringly, we took the “experienced hikers only” trail, which turned out to be fine. We walked through and past a lovely gorge with a river running through it. Once we reached the bottom, I celebrated that I was still alive with a mini milk.
The experienced hikers only route
Hayley, Emily and I managing well
Me and my mini milk
We started to walk back to Garmisch but it began to rain incredibly heavily so we took the bus instead and then got on the train back into Munich. We had planned to head to the Olympic Park, which apparently has great views of the city, but what happened next was frightening and unexpected.
We were on the train back and it stopped for ages in the middle of nowhere, then started moving only very slowly forward. Hayley managed to get some data briefly and found out that there had been a suspected terror attack
in Munich. The next day, we found out that it was not related to terror, but nine people were killed and more injured by a troubled teenager with a gun.
The train eventually stopped at a station and we got onto an S-Bahn which was supposedly going into Munich, but we heard rumours of a second shooting near our hostel, so we got off at the next stop (Starnberg) and took refuge in a McDonalds for the next three hours as no transport was going into the city. We eventually paid a lot for a taxi back into Munich.
Even though we were nowhere near the shooting, it was still a scary experience as we weren’t sure what was happening or the extent of the attack. Obviously we were very glad to be far away from what happened, but we felt some of the emotions nonetheless. I will never forget the taxi ride back into Munich – the nervous driver exceeding the speed limit, the rain and Mad World playing on the radio. Once back in the hostel we shared a group hug. What a shocking end to the day.
We got up and went to the station to find that our train was cancelled due to the attack the previous night. We now knew there was no further threat, but the rail companies were playing safe. We eventually managed to get a different train out of Munich after two hours of waiting.
Tips for Munich:
– Go for at least three full days.
– Try to get out of the city – the surrounding countryside is amazing – especially Starnberg.
– Skinny dip! If you feel inclined it is one of the best places to do it, either at Starnberg or in the Englischer Garten.
– Try the beer! Even if you’re not a massive beer fan, at least have a shandy to get you in the Bavarian spirit.
– Wander round the city centre at night. It is so serene and lovely, especially by the mushroom fountain and in Marienplatz.