By the time I got to Munich I was spent.
The six days before Munich, without any time to recover from jet lag, I had been getting up at 7 and going to bed at 1 or 2am. Two days before Munich, I spoke for 4 hours at a conference. The day before, I was up at 4am to see the sunrise atop th Zugspitze and I didn't make it to my hotel that night until 10:30pm.
So when I set out to live the one and only day I would have in this city (I had not been there since 2001) I was exhausted and wondered how I could possibly do Munich justice.
A Munich Itinerary with a Difference
When I was in Munich in 2001 I had taken a bus tour of the city. What do I remember? Very little. That's the nature of bus tours. They provide a good overview and are a great introduction to a city IF you have time to go back and explore. But if all you have time for is the tour, well, it will be quickly forgotten. I now prefer to narrow my focus and start walking. At ground level a city can be lived.
East to the Marienplatz – the Central Square
I left my hotel in the center of the city and walked along Kaufingerstr to Marienplatz, the central square of Munich since the town was established. I took a moment to look at the town hall and the glockenspiel but my timing was off so I didn't see a performance. I went to the Visitor's Center to see if there was any music to be had that night but, being August, again my timing was off. So I bought a map for .40 E and planned a leisurely walk through the city.
South to Viktualienmarkt
The Viktualienmarkt is just a block south of the Marienplatz and is famous for fruits, vegetables, meat (fresh and cured), cheeses… in other words lots of great German food. There are also outdoor restaurants and stands to grab lunch. I was so tired, I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to engage with the vendors and have fun. A short tour was all I needed.
North to the Hofgarten
So I left the Viktualienmarkt and walked slowly north towards the gardens. I really wanted to find the quiet of a park but along the way I passed, no, stopped into, a Starbucks. When you're tired there is something nice about being in a familiar place and Starbucks offers that almost anywhere in the world. I sat and nursed a latte for over an hour.
Then I got myself up and walked north along Residenzstrasse to Hofgarten (Court Garden) which was built in the 1600s by Maximillian I. There I sat some more, this time enjoying a 5 piece classical ensemble.
North again to the Englischer Garten
Just north of Hofgarten is the Englischer Garten. I wandered up, saw the Japanese garden, the Chinese garden and many in between. Then I found a quiet path, sat on a bench to enjoy the beauty and eventually lay down and napped. Are you getting an idea of just how tired I was?
West to the University Area
From the park I went west to the University area where real people live and work and go to school. I walked south along Amalien and popped into the occasional shop where they expected me to speak German. It seemed that tourists don't get to that area much. It was a pleasure to walk amongst locals and watch how they lived, drank and socialized.
South to the Alter Botanischer Gartenstrong
From the university area I walked a little further west to Barer, had a bite to eat, then walked south to Alter Botanical Garten. Again, I sat. I stayed there until dusk and it was time to return to my hotel only a few blocks away.
In all, I covered a fair amount of Munich though I hit only a few of the highlights – the Marienplatz, the Viktualienmarkt and the Englischer Garten. Not much for a full day in a city. But was it an injustice? I think not. I experienced the city at a slow pace. I watched locals. I walked amongst them in a neighborhood. I enjoyed Munich, dare I say, in real time. Had I more energy to spend, I don't think I would have come up with a much better itinerary for Munich.