Back in my most beloved city, München (Munich), the first thing I wanted was to visit the Viktualienmarkt. It is my tradition to buy strawberries here, as just a simple and sweet thing I look forward to.
Viktualienmarkt is an open air market spanning several city blocks. Most cities have a farmers market but this tops anything I have ever seen. Here you can find rows of butcheries, bakeries, homemade soap and body products, fresh produce and flowers, dairy and gourmet oils, spices, desserts, coffee shops, sushi and restaurants for any cuisine imaginable, Turkish candies, chocolates, honey, and more.
In the center and all throughout, there are Biergartens where you can sit and eat the things you have purchased.
My friend D and I went to München’s city center and I showed him some of my favourite places. I reveled in those pedestrian blocks between Karlsplatz-Stachus with the water fountain park, and the medieval and gothic structures in Marienplatz.
We entered Marienplatz from Isartor, a first for me. On previous visits, I have taken the Bahn to Karlsplatz-Stachus or Odeonsplatz and walked in from the other side. I made it a point in the following days to take a cab to various locations surrounding the area to gain more perspective.
Medieval Munich was originally controlled by four connecting city gates- Isartor, Sendlingertor, Karlstor, and Schwabingertor.
Walls surrounding the town were constructed in the 1200s and lasted until the late 1700s when the population become too large to be contained or to allow for any further development.
Sections of the walls still stand and the gates remain in place as just another part of the juxtoposition of architecture that fills Munich.
Last year, I made a post about München with additional photos of Viktualienmarkt, Marienplatz, various churches, and other tourist hotspots, so instead of duplicating that info I will direct you here.
*** I was just notified this is called the Münchner Kindl
Inside the Alter Peter (Peterskirche), I paid respects once again to the Matron Saint of Single Ladies, Saint Munditia. Here she is lounging like a boss inside her glass tomb, completely bedazzled in gems.
After pummeling up nearly 300 stairs, you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of München, bordered by the distant Alps. Beware if you have Vertigo and/or Claustrophobia like me! These stairs are tiny and uneven, the passage is narrow, and your whole body could easily fall through the steps and crash to the ground below with one false move.
Keep this in mind as strangers are squeezing past you, back to back, and you are holding on for dear life. Or maybe go really early in the morning during off season instead of lunchtime on a weekend. I learned this for myself the hard way.
The chubby Russian kid yelling hysterically with his fists in the air the whole time had me laughing so hard I was shaking while trying to record a video.
The Hofbräuhaus is a kitschy tourist trap, but you must visit at least once in your life.
Right along the Feldernhalle and Odeonsplatz is a short alleyway where Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch took place in 1923. Though the putsch was a disaster, vengeful Hitler declared the site as a national landmark after the Nazi party took over. Here, guards stood in place to ensure that anyone who passed through saluted him and the memory of sixteen Nazis who were killed by police during the failed riot.
Those who rebelled passed through this alley, known by locals as Drueckebergergasse (deserter’s alley), and today it is bronzed to commemorate their brave acts of defiance.
We went to a friends’ apartment for a suprise birthday party. Platters and towers of gourmet food filled the room and I found so many new cakes and local biers to try. Something I have noticed is that in Germany, when you enter a party or club where the regulars do not know you, they will call you over, make room for you in their circle, and expect your opinion on the topic at hand. I also noticed that while socializing, people rarely have their cell phones out.
This is a major contrast to the avoidant behaviour or rude stares new people get when attempting to mingle with strangers in the States. I really enjoyed the wonderful new people I met and the mindful, welcoming environment I was invited into.
One guest brought her pup Wasti who is trained (in German) to “spit on the Nazis” on command. He scrunches up his face, bares his teeth, and then pretends to spit in pure disgust. Bravo, Wasti, Bravo!
A few nights later, my dear friend Rike took me to a divine restaurant called restaurant called Makassar. Her kind and witty friend Roland, the owner, greeted us with hugs and kisses.
The two of us went on a mini tour of whiskey bars in the neighbourhood; a true boatzn, the cool dive Loretta Bar with a special drink “Smokey Whiskey” that they actually set on fire when serving, and the one I like best called Zum Wolf.. We laughed until our faces hurt about fake German words and tongue twisters, and talked about human “lone wolves” we have known.
After a few Dark & Stormies and Corpse Revivers, we parted ways for the night. As it happens each time I am in Munich, I had an overwhelming feeling that I was right where I belong.
I spent the rest of my stay in München visiting new places, taking everything in, and sometimes running into someone I had met before. Rike took me to meet the amazing Sandy Beach, head mistress of the Isar Rats in Munich and the Teaserettes of Berlin.
We were joined by the stunning performer Melody D’Amour and swapped stories about our burlesque and cabaret troupes/bands. They invited me to perform with them when I return, which would be a dream.
Here’s a video of some of these ladies and gents doing their thing. Video is not my property!
On my last night in Munich, we picked up some items at the local market and cooked/shared dinner with other friends. It was a sweet farewell, because I will always return any chance I get. Please do check out my original Munich blog for more to do and see, Der Münchner Geist
Next morning, on the train to Heidelberg.