Following our trip to Spain, we spent some time at home before hitting the road again to capitalize on another work trip to Munich!
It was only my second visit to Germany, and we only briefly flew into Munich last year when we drove the Romantic Road to see the Neuschwanstein Castle and the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. While we are really trying to be “cool parents” we decided Oktoberfest would be a bit too aggressive to tackle this year, so it was great to explore the city (moderately) sober.
We stayed at the Le Meridien (a really wonderful hotel with a very impressive breakfast spread) right next to the main train station so we used our proximity to visit nearby Salzburg, Austria. I had been so eager to visit the home of one of our family’s all-time favorite movies, the Sound of Music and it was just a two hour train ride away.
When we first arrived in Munich after a sixty minute flight from Geneva we headed immediately to German beer mecca, the famed Hofbraushaus. It was delightfully boisterous but never outrageous and a perfect evening to sit in the biergarten with our little guy. We of course had brats and potato salad and enjoyed all the people watching – the tourists marveling at the spectacle sipping happily alongside the older locals, proudly dressed in their leiderhosen clutching their members-only mugs.
The next morning we trained to Salzburg and it was packed – the secret is out that this little city is adorable! We lunched on schnitzel outside Mozart’s birthplace (the yellow building behind our little guy)…
strolled the main shopping street, the Getreidegasse …
and as always shopped for Christmas ornaments – this time at “Christmas in Salzburg” – a famed shop where they hand paint eggs for ornaments. We picked up a “Silent Night” one, as the song was written in Salzburg! Bobby has very low hopes it will survive the eventual move back to the US, but they were too beautiful, albeit delicate, to pass up.
We visited the Residence Fountain in Residenzplaz where Maria sang “I Have Confidence” (2:00 minute mark) before her first visit to the Von Trapps …
and Mirabell Gardens where the whole crew sang “Do Re Mi” (1:00 minute mark) …
Unfortunately many of the other scenes like the Von Trapp estate with the iconic gazebo, the “alive” hills, and the abbey are outside the city. You can take a million Sound of Music tours, but we unfortunately had very limited time and a bus ride with screaming off-key tourists (no one more than me) didn’t sound like a perfect baby friendly activity. I’d love to come back again with our extended family to do it properly!
Upon our return to Munich, we hung in the main square, the Marienplatz and enjoyed the “New” Town Hall and the mini “show” at the clock, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. It has 43 bells and 32 life size figures which “perform” for 15 minutes with scenes from Munich’s history at 11am and 12pm everyday. We also visited the Church of St. Peter and the Church of Our Lady, the main church of the Bavarian region which dates back to 1488. The signature feature is a rogue footprint near the door which is said to be from the devil himself. I’ll be transparent – I was waiting in line to take a photo and James really got wound up, so I gave up. After surviving the mini-meltdown, as recovery we pub crawled to Augustiner-Keller (another big beer hall in Munich!)
Don’t worry- wasn’t anything a quick trip to the bar couldn’t fix! I can’t believe how big he is now compared to this trip! 😭
On our final day with dad went to work, James and I walked to the English Gardens, a beautiful park even larger than New York City’s Central Park. Unfortunately it was a very drizzly day that kept us from picnicking and grassy tummy time but we still went out of our way to see the surfers at the Eisbach river – there is a wave there all year long and apparently surfers no matter the season or weather!
Afterwards, we walked to the Asam Church, built in the 1700s and known for its really elaborate Baroque style interior with gold everywhere you look. It’s location is shocking – wedged into the big box retail shopping street and across from a Starbucks. I was certain my GPS had led me wrong! It’s free to enter and difficult to see too much, but a worthwhile stop nonetheless.
It was another great visit to Germany and a lovely first to Austria but I think I’d like them even better during the fall or Christmas season – basically my favorite time of year in any city. 😉 After flying back to Geneva, we just had four days before our trip back to the USA – James’ first time but officially his 7th country, first passport stamp, and most magical yet!
As soon as we get a good string of naps together I’ll share my first flight alone with little James to Yorkshire in the UK to visit our dear friends.