Fresh from a frustrating Irish Christmas, Bridget Fitzsimons discovers the joys of German efficiency in Munich
I am not characteristically Irish. I believe that 1pm is 1pm, not half past, not “oneish”. Lateness and inefficiency infuriate me, so I was suitably excited about a sojourn in Munich. I was dreaming of buses arriving perfectly on time and the general population being completely unaware of lateness.
Fortunately, my punctual fantasies were satisfied, but there is far more to Munich than wonderful timekeeping. The city is the capital of the Bavarian (Bayern) region of Germany and boasts legendary Christmas markets as well as a history built on beer. The city’s German name München comes from the German for monk and its beginnings come from when these monks brewed beer in the region. Alcoholic monks: making Munich fun from the start.
While I spent four days in Munich, it didn’t seem like nearly enough time. There is so much to do in the city, but if you plan carefully, you can pack in as much as possible. As previously mentioned, Munich, like much of Germany, has a love of beer. There are countless beerhouses in Munich, the most famous of which is the Hofbrauhaus, which has existed in the city centre since the 17th century. As well as beer, the food in Munich is incredible. I ate my weight in bretzel, schnitzels and sausages. There isn’t much point visiting Munich if you’re on a crash diet. If you’re not into beer, which I’m not, fear not. There is plenty of delicious wine and gluwein, or mulled wine, to enjoy.
Free walking tours operate around the city that can give you a good understanding of Munich’s history. Munich has a rich and varied past, much of which is centred on World War II. Dachau concentration camp is situated outside of the city and can be easily accessed with public transport. It’s also very easy to get to other attractions from the city centre. Munich’s public transport system is perfectly timed and very easy to use. Dublin, take note.
Located outside the city centre is the BMW Museum, which is essential, even if you’re not a petrolhead. I know less than nothing about cars, but had so much fun there. Looking at vintage cars, old Dakar rally bikes and cars turned into works of art by the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Liechtenstein is pretty unforgettable and you can also see how badass you would look astride a BMW motorbike.
It’s also worth taking a day to go on a tour visiting the castles built by Ludwig II of Bavaria including the beautiful Versailles-inspired Schloss Linderhof and the impressive Schloss Neuchswanstein, which remains unfinished.
Munich is a city that has something for everyone. From shopping to historical landmarks to delicious food, it is the perfect place for a few days away. Plus, they dealt with the snow much better than Ireland did. All the pathways were gritted and no pipes were frozen. Screw gross inefficiency, I’m moving to Germany.