We’re back from vacation! I’ve had a standing item on my To Do list since we returned to write about our experience, and the fact that it was only on my list for a week is a feat in and of itself.
Our trip started with a quick stop in Munich, Germany. With any overseas trip, the travel day over was a long one, with a six hour layover in Newark before an eight hour stretch to Lisbon, then up to Munich. Here’s a quick list to make the long travel day a bit less miserable:
- Fully charged iPad with plenty of Netflix downloaded before you leave (Clint downloaded a lot of history shows on concentration camps and the Pyramids so he could have more context when we arrived)
- Power Bank to charge your phone/iPad in case one of the planes doesn’t have outlets
- Airline blanket (I’ve taken these from planes from time to time) or a top sheet
- SNACKS, preferably left in their original box according to Clint – yes, his Nutty Bars got smashed because I took them out of the box and he wasn’t thrilled. Also, the airline meals aren’t that appetizing so you’ll want a little something to tide you over
- Upgrade your seat to Extra Legroom or Exit Row. Clint is pretty tall and he was so much more comfortable on the flight home since he was upgraded
- One last tip that I’ve learned over time: wait to board until the very end. This will mean that most of the flight is already in their seats, and you can scope out any empty rows. On more than one occasion, we have found an empty row close to ours and just taken that instead of being three people deep with a stranger
We landed in Germany around noon, and headed straight to our hotel to shower and get ready for a real meal. I encourage anyone that is going abroad to bite the bullet and not take a nap when you arrive. Granted, you’ve been up for 30+ hours, but there’s no reason to waste part of a day in a new city. We stayed at the Hampton by Hilton Munich City West which was right next to the Donnersbergerbrucke train station on the S-Bahn. The first day we rode to the Marienplatz stop, only four stops away. There were a lot of restaurants in this area and was a place we could just roam the streets to get acquainted to the city. Our first meal at Haxnbauer and was a Munich delicacy – pork knuckle, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and beer (duh). This restaurant pegged this meal as their claim to fame, but come to find out, all the restaurants in this area carry nearly the same menu.
We spent the rest of the day roaming the streets, soaking in the architecture of the Munich Residence, and drinking beer.
We ended the day, sleep deprived, at the world famous Hofbraeuhaus and sat next to the sweetest mom/daughter duo.
Our first full day was supposed to be spent on a tour of the Neuschwanstein Castle, a divine castle nestled in the Swiss Alps, inspiration for Cinderella’s castle, and approximately two hours outside of Munich (picture below for reference and effect). However, Munich and Europe in general experienced extremely high winds and rain that day, which canceled all trains and even closed schools. *Fun Fact: we stood at our train stop for a good 20 minutes before asking someone what was going on. A sweet German told us the trains weren’t running and kindly took us on a different route to get to Central Station to discuss our options with the tour company.
With our plans canceled for the day, we spent roughly two hours getting lost as I tried to navigate the tram, and settled for a self-guided tour of the Nymphenburg Palace, a summer residence for the owner of the castle pictured above. Luckily we basically had the place to ourselves since the weather was so poor.
After the Palace, we ended back up at Marienplatz. It was a place we were comfortable with, they had lots of beer options, and Clint forced my hand at indulging in some McDonald’s before we ended our night.
Our last day was spent at Dachau, the concentration camp in Munich (if you just Google how to get to the camp, it will tell you which train station to get off on, and then which bus to take from there). It didn’t feel right to take pictures at this stop of our trip, but the memories will be engrained forever. Dachau was the first established concentration camp, and it was a bizarre realization that the camp was in a neighborhood and there was no effort to hide the camp from the German citizens. It was a sobering experience, and also unique to have a tour from the German perspective to understand how the Nazi party was able to take such a strong hold on the country.
It was a quick trip through Germany, but I’m so glad we tacked it onto the excursion. Next up: Egypt (I know, I know, that’s what you’re really want to read about)!