Munich, Germany - May 2023
For a long time, I'd wanted to return to Munich for a few days after we spent some time there in the mid-1990s.
Not long after 9-11, we spent a long weekend there, but it was many years ago now and I wanted to go back, as I always enjoyed my time there.
My birthday is in May and I suggested to Mandy that we go to Munich for a short break around that time and she liked the idea.
I hadn't realised, but it was the weekend of the coronation of King Charles in the UK, which might explain why the flights were cheap that weekend, but not being ardent royalists, it didn't really bother us.
This is a quick review of our 4 days there.
We had to be up fairly early to fly on Easyjet to Munich from Gatwick, but that meant we'd have most of Thursday in Munich and, as that was forecast to be the day with the best weather we were glad of this.
Checkin and the flight were fine, but we were faced with a long queue at immigration (thank you Brexiteer muppets) and we made a fatal mistake of trying the automated passport readers (they don't read British passports) and ended up behind a plane load of people from Africa, so it was a slow pass through immigration!
Eventually we were through and made our way to the S-Bahn station under the airport.
In our day, there was only one way to get from the airport to the city, but now there are two and, of course, we got on the train that took the long way round!
Finally we reached Hauptbahnhof and walked the short distance to our hotel, The Ruby Rosi Hotel.
It looked great on the Expedia website, but had a very unimpressive entrance, just a small lobby tucked amongst some shops.
Luckily a lift took us to the top floor, where the impressive bar area doubled as reception for our check in.
The staff were very friendly and explained our room was on the 2nd floor.
We went down in the lift and found our room at the very end of the corridor, but it was a lovely large, airy room with a large walk-in shower. It was certainly comfortable enough for the duration of our stay (or longer).
Our room in the Ruby Hotel
We didn't linger for long, instead heading out to walk to the Englischer Garten, with the intention of getting lunch at the Chinese Tower.
Munich's Frauenkirchen and busy streets
Our walk took us past a number of the landmarks of the city and through the botanical gardens and into the bottom of the Englischer Garten.
Walking through the Botanical gardens
The Botanical gardens
The Isar in the Englischer Garten
It was a lovely, almost too warm, spring day and there were many people in the park.
Chinese Tower beer garden
We got to the Chinese Tower beer garden and found a table by the tower itself. I went off to get us some food, but we'd forgotten (or maybe it'd changed) how to order food.
Our first Mass - It wasn't to be the last!
We managed to get a litre of beer each, plus some very biergarten style food (too much really!) and enjoyed that before continuing around the park and then down through the city, taking in Marienplatz briefly, for another couple of hours before making our way back to the hotel, too full to worry about dinner!
Red squirrels are a rarity in Britain, but the norm in Bavaria
Seehaus - the other beer garden in the Englischer Garten
The Rathaus in Marienplatz
Munich's cathedral, the Frauenkirchen
We'd visted the Monastery brewery at Andechs once before, but more often we'd been to Starnberg to visit one of the local lakes.
I wanted to go to Andechs again, but Mandy hadn't been keen, but it was my birthday trip, so we boarded an early S-Bahn to Hersching on the Ammersee lake.
It was another nice morning and we spent a little while walking along the lakeside, coming across a wedding going on in a building at the lake's edge.
Lakeside at Ammersee
A wedding was happening along the lakeside
From there we started to follow signs through the town to 'Andechs Kloster', but soon we were following a rugged footpath on the quite lengthy walk up through the wooded foothills to Andechs Monastery.
We passed through steep woods and open meadows along the way, until we caught sight of the roof of the Monastery.
Statue on the lake, a girl with a large catfish!
The view onto Ammersee from the walk up to Andechs
It took another 30 minutes or so to reach it and we were ready for a beer and lunch by then.
Meadow on the way to Andechs
The monastery from the meadow
I had a huge Schweinhaxen (a pork knuckle), which would actually have been plenty for both of us and Mandy also had something pork as we ate outside in the traditional refrectory style dining of the monks. On a previous visit we'd eaten in the small stuberl and I'd had lamb in there, which was also excellent, but we didn't notice this little eatery this time, so it may have gone.
The monastery at Andechs
That evening we ate dinner in our hotel's bar and, as I recall, it was pretty good, albeit quite expensive.
On Saturday, after an excellent, but not inexpensive breakfast in our hotel, I wanted to visit the BMW Museum and Mandy said she'd look around the shops in the city centre.
I arrived at the Olympic Park U-Bahn station and walked over to the BMW Museum just as it was opening. Across the road was a sight I'd not seen before, the modern edifice of BMW-Welt.
BMW's iconic HQ and museum
Some of the racers were still on display, GT3 Z4 and group 5 320
Iconic Jaegermeister group 5 320
BMW's own supercar, the M1
CSL and M1 'homages'
BMW's small post ww2 car, the Isetta
Roy Litchenstein's Art Car 320
Elvis Presley's 507
The museum was enjoyable, but sadly some of the motorsport displays I was particularly keen to see were in storage due to a reorganisation to celebrate the centenary of BMW Motorcyles, but it was still an enjoyable hour or so, for me.
BMW-Welt and the TV tower in the Olympic park beyond.
I wandered over to the BMW Welt building, unsure of what I was going to find. It's a very impressive piece of modern architecture, but inside it just had new BMW group cars, BMWs, Rolls Royces and Minis and mostly demonstrated that new BMWs have lost the elegance they once possessed. I don't think there was one car in there that I'd want to own.
That hadn't taken me long, so I walked around the Olympic Village for a while, where I'd stayed for a while years before.
What I hadn't done then, or on subsequent visits, was to visit the memorial to the victims of the 1972 terrorist attack, so I did that this time.
The memorial to the Israeli athletes killed in 1972
The building where the athletes were first held hostage
Munich's TV tower
After that I made my way back to the hotel, where I found Mandy watching TV coverage of King Charles III's coronation!
It had been quite an overcast morning, although it remained dry, but we decided to walk around another park, Westpark, near the Theriesenwiesse and the weather started to improve as we did so.
'Bavaria' statue overlooks the Therisenwiesse
Fruhlingsfest (A spring version of Oktoberfest, but much smaller in scale) was in progress, but we didn't go, just visiting the statue of 'Bavaria' (more on that tomorrow) and then walking to and through the park, although my knee (which I broke years before on a skiing trip) was proving painful, so it restricted our pace a little.
Beer garden in the Westpark
Terrapins in Westpark
We made our way back to the train and headed to Ismaning, where we'd spent quite a lot of time.
We walked from the station to a small lake where we ice skated once and made a stop for a coffee in a cafe (where I left Mandy's camera - so we had to rush back! Luckily the staff there were very helpful people and returned the camera to us, even though the cafe had closed).
The lake at Ismaning
One of the highlights of the trip for us, and one we'd both looked forward to was dinner at the Rama, the Indian/Italian restaurant near the station in Ismaning.
It may seem an odd combination of cuisines, but the owners when we knew it (and I presume, still) were an Indian man and his Italian wife, so all the food is authentic.
We were delighted to find it hadn't changed noticeably at all.
We even recognised the owner and the food was still excellent and it made us quite happy to see the restaurant full by 8 (luckily I had had the sense to book in advance).
Obviously, the people of Ismaning still value a good curry!
After dinner, we took the S-Bahn back to Hauptbahnhof and returned to our hotel, ready for our final day.
Mandy wanted to take another look in Westpark and I went to the Deutsches Museum's transport museum (which we'd passed on the way to the park, the previous day).
Tram in the Deutsches Museum's Transport collection
As luck would have it, this Sunday was the one a month when entry to the museum was free. It was busy, but not overwhelmingly so and I spent a good couple of hours exploring the interesting mix of trains, carriages, motorcycles, cycles, some aircraft and cars.
All sorts of method of transport is in the museum!
Mercedes 300 SLR
The Deutsches Museum has a varied collection
Bicycles are not forgotten - I had a Puch bike of a similar vintage!
I was out of the museum earlier than we planned to meet up, so I walked back down to the Bavaria status and climbed the steps up to it.
Once there I found it was possible to climb stairs inside the statue and look out on Munich from the statues viewpoint.
Bavaria overlooking her city.
I met up with Mandy outside the museum at an agreed time, but it was too early for lunch, so we returned to the hotel to collect our luggage.
I wanted a Schnitzel for lunch and as we wandered through the city I spotted the in the Spaten Schnitzelhaus, the combination of Schnitzel and our favourite biers proving irresistible
Fountain on Marienplatz
After a very good Schnitzel and a couple of Fransizkaner weissbiers we then wandered around the centre of town, including Marienplatz, the Viktulenmarkt and Isartor, for a while until it was time to make our way to the airport for the trip home.
Schnitzel and Fransizkaner - What better way to end our visit?
The journey home was trouble free and we were home early evening, having really enjoyed our return to Munich.
The forecast had been for good weather on Thursday, but rain thereafter, but aside from a storm one evening after we returned to the hotel and an overcast start to Saturday, we had lovely weather the whole time we were there!
Munich is much more homogenous than we remembered, it's less Bavarian in the way people dress and the variety of shops has declined dramatically from our previous visit in the early 2000s, but it's still a lovely city and we were pleased to have made a trip back, visited some old haunts and generally enjoyed 4 days somewhere different, but familiar.