June 25 – 27
Given that our train trip to Munich this day would take less than two hours, we opted for a late morning departure that would get us into town around 2:30, just before check-in at Premier Inn Munich City Zentrum Hotel, our hotel for the duration. We left the Pensione with an hour or more to spare before our scheduled departure time and stopped in at the Thai2Go for some fuel for the trip.
We picked a couple of sandwiches from the selection and had a coffee apiece, enjoying them but knowing that we’d soon hopefully be hitting a wurst stand upon arrival for our first sampling of that hearty fare Germans are known for. That was not to be the case, as that wurst wouldn’t come for a couple of days, but the wait would be worth it.
Imagine our surprise when we boarded our train to find it completely full, standing room only except for one lonely seat. It turns out Innsbruck was one of the last stops for a train that had started its journey much farther south and we were stuck. Joanna took the seat next to a young woman and I found a perch sitting on top of a pile of large rolling suitcases. Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but manageable.
About 45 minutes outside of Munich the woman next to Joanna left the train and Joanna and I sat next to her, which would have been ideal except she then graciously gave up her seat to a young father who held an infant that through no fault of its own, cried all the way to the final stop. We thankfully arrived in Munich at the central station and set out for the hotel, an easy walk of less than a kilometer away.
The Premier would be a very good choice at 100-Euro’s a night, with its nicely appointed room, modern bathroom, and cool bar downstairs, where we got a credit for two free drinks our first two nights as we opted not to have daily room service. And we would take them up on that offer that first night, enjoying a beer for me and an Aperol Spritz for Joanna (for a slight additional charge).
Before we set out for the evening, I’d like to bring us back to the start of this journey in early June when we described its theme, that is to celebrate our forty years together by hitting some of our favorite cities in Europe. And Munich is right up there at seven visits, second only to Paris with nine. The list below will make it sound like we only come here for Oktoberfest, which would be misleading as it is a great city to spend time in, with a host of attractions, clean and efficient transportation options, and some of the best beer in the world.
Let’s take a look at our visits here over the years:
1977 – Rendy and I arrive in the VW van we picked up in Amsterdam with Evan (he left for home from Paris) on a Thursday and stay through Sunday, hitting Oktoberfest every night of our stay. In an it’s a small world moment, we run into Air Force members we met at Spangdahlem Air Base near Bitburg earlier in the trip. Given our relatively young ages at the time and propensity for the over consumption of intoxicating substances, much frivolity and madness ensue.
1982 – Joanna and I attempt to get married in Europe and failing instead celebrate our honeymoon in advance while staying with Agnes an acquaintance of Francois’. We spend a night or two at Oktoberfest and return to Paris before flying home from Amsterdam.
1984 – Back in Europe for three months having picked up a VW Rabbit convertible through the Europe Delivery program (no longer available) to ship home, after two months we drop the car off for shipment and travel to Munich to stay with Agnes again before hiking the Koning Ludwig’s Weg (King Ludwig’s way) down to Fussen. We return by train to Munich and camp at Thalkirchen with hundreds of others and you guessed it, hit Oktoberfest a couple of times while enduring drunken madness at the campground.
1992 – We hit Europe for a month with four-year-old Jessica, renting a car in Frankfurt. Our second stop is in Munich, camping at a much quieter Thalkirchen. We then head on to Austria, Hungary, what was then Czechoslovakia, and Paris before returning home.
1999 – I visit Munich with friends Hap and Alex during early spring for the Starkbier Fest, which highlights the city’s stronger beers. We rent a car in Frankfurt, head to Wurzburg for two nights before driving south to Munich, and the fest, which takes place at the Paulaner Brewery in their 130 plus year old Salvator-Keller which was destroyed in an arson fire later that year. It has since been rebuilt and each year Paulaner’s Starkbier fest is held there. The other major Munich breweries also brew their own strong beer and hold fest activities as well.
2002 – Munich is ground zero for a week with Irene and Ric; we visit her relatives in Nuremburg for the day, take hike for three days on the Ludwig’s Way down to Fussen, where we spend two nights and tour Neuschwanstein. We then return by train to Munich for, you guessed it, Oktoberfest.
2014 – Five months into our six months stay in Europe, we land in Munich to camp at Thalkirchen before meeting up with Kim and Marty to enjoy a great bike ride and then Jessica, Kris, and John for a walking tour of historic Munich before enjoying an epic night at Oktoberfest, centered on the Marstall Tent where we are hosted by one of Marty’s distributors. A slightly hungover group hits some tourist sites the next day and revives themselves at the Augustiner Keller near the old city hall as well as the Hofbrau House, where a group of tourists decided to see how many times they could sing the ‘ein prosit’ song.
And so, Munich was our last stop of the trip, a city like Amsterdam or Paris that has become comfortable to us, the streets familiar, some of our favorite haunts still in business, and new ones waiting for us to discover them. This blog is a testament to our love of travel and as much as we desire new experiences, there is a joy in returning to those places that we hold dear in our memories. And Munich is right up there at the top.
Premier Inn Munich City Zentrum Hotel: https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/germany/bavaria/munich/munich-city-centre.html
King Ludwig’s Way: https://thetravelhackinglife.com/king-ludwigs-way/
Starkbier Fest: https://www.reverberations.net/starkbierfest-paulaner-nockherberg-munich/
Ein Prosit: https://oktoberfest-guide.com/magazine/ein-prosit-der-gemuetlichkeit/