“Friends made on the road are friends for life.”
Last weekend I spontaneously met up with a friend in Munich, the biggest city in the south of Germany. We had met in Sydney over a year ago; since then he’d been travelling his way around the other side of the world and finally made it to Germany.
At first I wasn’t sure if I could afford to go to Munich at all, since it was (actually still is) exam time at university and I was busy at work, too. After thinking about it for a while, the reasons why I could NOT go turned into reasons why I SHOULD get away from everything, even for as little as 2 days. Decision made – ticket booked.
I was surprised that there is a bus that directly connects my city to Munich. I was even more surprised about the spacious seats (even I was able to get my legs into a comfortable position!), power sockets under each seat and free Wi-Fi. If you’re in the south of Germany and want to go to Munich, check out www.muenchenlinie.de.
I arrived in Munich in the early afternoon. I thought I was just going to walk to the hostel and text my friend when I was at the reception, but I ran into him halfway since he’d been planning to pick me up 🙂
We were staying at Wombats City Hostel, 5 minutes from the main train station, the Hauptbahnhof. The hostel was extraordinarily clean and spacious: I slept in an 8 bed dorm with ensuite bathroom, huge lockers, reading lamps and power sockets for every bed, a big mirror and a massive table in the middle!
That was pretty much the polar opposite of most of the hostels I know from Australia or the US. The common area, a light-flooded conservatory with trees, oversized beanbags and hammocks, completely blew my mind.
Apparently there’s a law in Germany that makes it extremely difficult for hostels to have kitchens (what a surprise), however the breakfast buffet and the bar made up for it.
Not having a plan is the best plan you can have
After more than a year we obviously had a lot to catch up on, so we walked around the main shopping street in search of a quiet place. We ended up in a really cosy little café just off the touristy area where I got one of my much beloved cinnamon chai lattes. Time went by extremely fast; we talked until it was dark outside. It was a Saturday in Munich, so going home was not an option. I say you can’t leave the city without having been to the Hofbräuhaus, the most famous brewery/restaurant in Germany. I had been there a few times before; however I had never been able to get a table because it is so incredibly busy with all the tourists wandering around. Long story short, we managed to seat ourselves on a big table with cool people from all over the world. Canada, Honduras, Brazil, Japan, Russia, and of course France and Germany, which allowed me to speak not only English, but also refresh my Spanish a bit. We ordered two of the 1-liter beers my country is famous for… and then another 2. It’s needless to say that we stayed much longer than intended, again.We spent 3 hours in there! At 9 (yes, we started early) we had gotten various invitations for parties that night. We promised to get in touch with our new friends as soon as we knew where we wanted to go and then left to get some food. After 2 liters of beer each this was necessary to survive the rest of the night.
We took the metro to Schwabing, a lively suburb, had a (not intended) candlelight-like dinner in a cute restaurant, and went to see my friend’s friend at a bar where a birthday party was going on. From the moment we entered the bar, I think I didn’t spend any money on drinks anymore. That’s a very pleasant thing when you’re out with people who have travelled: even though you’ve never met them before, they consider you a friend and pay a beer or two for you. The bar was… very German. They played many German party songs and even the anthem of my soccer club! 😀 I have no idea at what time we had arrived there, but at 2am our group took a taxi to another club (I think it was called “gecko” and was opened just recently) in some other suburb, where we literally danced the night away.
On Sunday morning I was woken up by a guy from the reception who told me I was an hour late for check out. After only 4 hours of sleep it took me a while to figure out what was going on. Turned out check out time was 10 am. Guess I should have read the information sheet which would have told me about breakfast and check out times. Stupid me. After setting new records for fastest showering and stripping the bed, I made it to the reception half an hour later. Luckily the guys were cool about it; that probably happens a lot in a city like Munich.
So we still had half a day together and needed something to do. The weather was bad. It was cold, windy and rainy, so we wanted to go to the cinema. Even my small city shows the original versions of some movies from time to time, which was the reason why I was convinced we’d also find one in a city with more than 1 million inhabitants. Well, no. The programme of the only cinema that showed movies in foreign languages started at 3pm and my bus left at 5.30, so not a chance.
We ended up following the receptionist’s advice and visited the BMW World, an exhibition hall with expensive BMW cars and motorbikes. And the best thing? You are allowed to sit in/on them and try everything out! This might sound more like a guys’ thing to you, but I’m crazy about cars… so I loved it 😀
There’s one important thing I learned that morning: The perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday when you’re still exhausted from the night before is to make yourself comfortable in a brand new ridiculously expensive BMW pushing the sound system to its limits.
Have you ever been to Munich? How did you like your stay there and what did you visit?