Munich is the perfect little German town. Equal parts modernity and tradition. Cutting-edge developments and the old Rathaus-Glockenspiel at Marienplatz.
I snacked on deep-fried pork skins and freshly squeezed juice at the little market near the Glockenspiel. The locals have little patience for badly pronounced German, but most spoke English, fortunately. You buy the pork skins by signing an approximate size of the piece of you want, and the seller will weight it and charge you a price. I stayed in my little hiding place for the entirety of the five o’clock performance, which I’d describe as bizarre because I’m terrified of that style of figurine.
On the way back to the Airbnb one evening, I bought €1 beers. Most suited my taste perfectly: light and refreshing, not too citrusy, slightly amber-y.
Between museums (I preferred Alte Pinakothek over Neue Pinakothek, but I always prefer classical over modern art) I had lunch of authentic Schweinshaxe and more Bavarian beer. I sat alone at a tall table by a window, Googling authentic Bavarian things to see and do. At two o’clock, I had the restaurant to myself and one other table.
I sat among strangers at Hofbrauhaus on a Sunday night. The middle-aged man sitting across from me seemed hopeful to share the check. Gigantic pretzels larger than my head were chewy, flavorful and €4 each. I ate half and finished the rest for breakfast the next day.
I ordered the dark Hofbrau and it was alright, though the brand was rated the worst of Munich-brewed beers by my Airbnb hosts.
One must be assertive at Hofbrauhaus. If you don’t claim a seat or wave a server over, you’ll never get served. And when I travel alone, I become a different person: more confident, more observant, more adventurous. I nabbed a seat 10 feet from the live band, and at the end of a long table so I had a clear view.
(The server thought I was dopey for wanting to take my leftovers home, but what can I say? I’m cheap and not one to waste food.)
I should note here that every Airbnb host I stayed with were wonderfully hospitable and delightfully curious. They were smart and generous. As for my Munich hosts, I chit-chatted with them for hours—well past midnight—about their travels, their experience during the fall of the Berlin Wall, their children.
I waited 10 minutes for warm Schmalznudel and ate at a nearby fountain. There really is no better way to take a little break in the day.
I spent a little bit of each night in my hosts’ rooftop garden, enjoying a beer. One evening, I even went for a run.
I watched daredevils surf at the bridge in the park, who leaped from the rocks into the churn-y part six or seven feet below the bridge. I ran through the largest gaggle of geese I’d ever seen, waddling from the lake to the middle of a nearby field for the night. I passed horses, crossed stone bridges, maneuvered muddy paths, lighting the iffiest areas with my smartphone flashlight. All the while, I felt safe. I’ve never felt that safe in any American city.
Of the four German cities I visited on this trip, Munich is my favorite. I wished I’d cut short my Berlin stay a day to spend one more in Munich, but no regrets. I’ll come back to visit the storybook castle!