Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Weekend Wandering: An hour in Munich

Neues Rathaus aka the New Town Hall in Marienplatz, Munich
Neues Rathaus aka the New Town Hall in Marienplatz, Munich  

Is one hour enough to explore Munich? The answer is yes... and no.

Of course I would have liked more time to explore further, but an hour's certainly worth grabbing with both hands (and feet) when the opportunity arises.

View of the Bayerisches Nationaltheater on Max-Joseph-Platz
Our drop-off point, right by the huge architecture of the Bayerisches Nationaltheater on Max-Joseph-Platz  

Several factors helped make our time there worthwhile:
  • We were dropped off in the heart of the city, which is nicely compact to explore on foot
  • I was with someone who'd been there before, so no stopping to consult the map was needed
  • I had a vague idea of a couple of things I wanted to see nearby
  • I had 3 companions who were a huge help as we spotted more things of interest between us. Our conversation and delight at being there added to my experience of the city
We took a walk of around half a kilometre in a south westerly direction. Let's see what we found...

A walk around Munich city centre
A walk around the city centre

I like the feel of this city. It was bombed extensively during WWII, but unlike Birmingham where I grew up, the city's planners decided to keep to the previous layout for the rebuild. This decision also extended to the architecture of buildings like the Bayerisches Nationaltheater which was totally destroyed. Its later extension is also in keeping with the original design.

This approach gives a pleasing cohesion to the city centre. I also like the traditional style paintings and other ornamentation seen on many of the buildings, plus the plentiful bike storage areas. Like London, the centre of Munich is a low emissions zone, so the streets weren't choked with cars on the day we were there. There are underground train and tram systems to explore too.

Views of the New and Old Town Halls and the Marienplatz
Views of the New Town Hall and the Marienplatz. Top right is the Old Town Hall

The Gothic revival New Town Hall is a dramatic exception to the general architecture seen in the city, which I think still works. The main tower has a glockenspiel carillon (shown in the main picture above) which plays at 11am and 12pm (plus 5pm in summer). Luckily we arrived just in time to hear it chiming away.

In view of the cold, I was surprised to find the square's fountain was working, though there was also plenty of ice in evidence too.

Some of the goods on offer at Manufactum
Main picture: the deli section at Manufactum, which I've chosen to feature as German bread was sooooo good

There are plenty of shopping opportunities, and although I didn't plan to do that I did enjoy a brief look around Manufactum, an upmarket modern lifestyle store. I like this kind of shop as it gives a good idea of what's available and a country's general style. In the gardening section, the emphasis was on looking after our wildlife in winter, and I couldn't resist a photo of some hi-fi items for NAH.

Judging by some of my colleagues' shopping bags, Munich is good for Zara; bargain jumpers and warm winter hats; and quality kitchen knives. In contrast, I bought a kitsch magnet for my collection from a touristy stall which shows a snowy Marienplatz within a pretzel.

The Viktualienmarkt

One of my must-sees was the Viktualienmarkt. The site is a farmers market with around 100 stalls which dates back to the 1800s. They sold cheeses; fruit and vegetables; meat and game; sausages and cooked meats (including the famous Bavarian weisswurst aka white sausage); honey; plus decorative items made from dried flowers, seeds and woody materials.

Where appropriate stalls also sold wines and spirits to match their main produce. Many of them were protected by see-through plastic sheeting to protect their goods and customers/stallkeepers from the cold (around -14oC whilst we were there).  Note there's also a beer garden in the centre of the market, which sells locally brewed beer.

The indoor market

In nearby Blumenstrasse (aka Flower Street), the covered Schrannenhalle was warm and chic. This hall is a recent addition to the area, though the building was constructed from the century old materials (or more) reclaimed from the grain market that was on the site originally.

It had a marked Italian flavour and some innovative ways of displaying goods, one of which I may 'steal' for Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day. I also liked the way planters and black ironwork were used to screen the shopping area from the relaxed cafe.

Blutenrein flower shop

Imagine my delight when we chanced upon Blutenrein, an ultra-chic flower shop in the Viktualienmarkt. Both indoors and out were crammed with seasonal arrangements of flowers, plants and all kinds of gardeny trinkets, most of which I wanted to bring home with me. Having hand luggage only meant I had to restrict my choice to just one plant label (lavendel).

I particularly liked the tulip kokedama shown in the lower middle picture as I've not seen them used that way before. The shop's website is well worth a look, especially as you get to see the owner who served us, as well as all kinds of chic ideas and a better view of the shop's outside. I've since found out we were lucky to find the shop open as he'd only reopened the day before after his winter break.

View towards the Spatenhaus an der Oper restaurant
And finally back to Max-Joseph-Platz for lunch - our restaurant is the second building on the left

It's confession time - my hour in Munich didn't include the jolly meal we had at Spatenhaus an der Oper afterwards. This beautiful restaurant specialises in Bavarian dishes, which ensured we had a good taste of the region as well as its capital city.



Disclosure: Viking were my kind hosts for this trip, who not only showed their passion for the design, testing and production of their garden products, they were also keen to show off the best that Kufstein, Austria and Munich have to offer.

It was the most interesting, comfortable and enjoyable of times and I'm still pinching myself I was there. My thanks to everyone who helped organise the trip and to my delightful companions who joined me.

Getting there


Munich is just over an hour and a half away from London Heathrow by air with easy transfers available into the city by train (it takes around 45 minutes). It's perfect for another Weekend Wander - with NAH this time - methinks. I've included as many links as I can above so we can explore further and plan a visit at our leisure.

7 comments:

  1. You did see and do a lot in the short time you had!
    Have a great week!

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  2. We did indeed Lea! I need to go back and see some of the sights in more depth though. We also saw some interesting things which looked worth a visit on the way to the airport :)

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  3. I was lucky enough to get a day there last summer, came by train and left by train. I started in Amsterdam and finished in Venice, but Munich was wonderful, we walked right down to the market from the main train station and then took a local train out to the Olympic site and back. The buildings are amazing, the parks stunning and the shops just gorgeous. I will go back again :-).

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    1. Hi Ruan and welcome to Veg Plotting! Thanks for the train information, it sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I know Amsterdam well as we had our honeymoon there... and I've always wanted to go to Venice. Spookily I was looking at Interail options yesterday to see how we might revisit Munich and Kufstein by rail. I want to explore the English and Botanic gardens, and there's a major hi-fi exhibition in May that would suit NAH very well indeed. I'd like to see the Olympic Park too - we've been to the ones in Sydney and London (during the paralympics for the latter), and it would be interesting to see how anolder site is faring.

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  4. I was a munchkin in München as a back-packing student, oh, a few years ago. I still remember the glockenspiel. You must go back and see the museums sometime. Sarah and I were the only two to latch onto a volunteer tour guide through the youth hostel (I can still say, "Bitte, wo ist der Jugendherberge?"). She took us behind the scenes at the museum and had a docent open the glass cases to wind up intricate glockenspiels and play Bach on the master's own harpsichord, just for us. Unforgettable. Or should I say, Ausgezeichnet!

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    1. Oh that's marvellous Helen! I'm definitely going back - Andy's quite taken with the idea :)

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  5. Wow, just shows how much can be achieved in one hour! Looks like it was a glorious couple of days - I should have been joining you but couldn't spare the time off paid work so the trip was bad timing for me. New Year's resolution is to rebalance my work vs garden interests life! Glad you had such a lovely time! Cx

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