Browsing Tag

Other European Travel

Germany MY STORY

A Weekend In Munich

September 25, 2016

Oktoberfest is in full swing in Munich right now, but there’s plenty to do in the city anytime, especially on a warm day. We’ve placed Munich on the short “I could live here” list due to its beautiful architecture, green spaces, cleanliness, and convenient transportation.

 

München Bavaria Germany Deutschland

 

Flower markets, fruit stands, and perfect weather contributed to our adoration for this Bavarian capital. We were struck by the hip vibe of the city and its health-conscious outdoorsiness…

Surfing :: Although situated in the heart of Europe, it turns out you don’t need an ocean to surf in Munich. Eisbach (“ice stream”) is a surfing siren for experienced waveriders. A constant strong wave on the Isar River is the success story of years of experimentation by the local river surfing community.

 

Einbach Isar River Germany

 

Green Spaces :: The English Garden (Englische Garten) is one of the largest urban parks in the world. With 78 kilometers of winding paths, we lackadaisically cycled for hours past ping-pong tables, playgrounds, soccer games, ice cream shacks, and a pond with paddle boat rentals. This lovely city also embraces countless pocket parks and plazas.

 

The Englische Garten München Bavaria

 

Foodies: The award for the most amazing grocery store on the planet goes to Käfer. This multi-story market is basically a delightful labyrinth filled at every turn with unique products from around the globe. A must-see for any human who buys or eats food.

 

Käfer Munich German

 

Biergarten :: A trip to Munich would not be complete without a visit to a local biergarten. Like an English pub, a beer garden is family friendly and serves food. It’s simply a nice place to hang out outside. Giant pretzels and brats tend to be menu staples.

In the heart of the city lies the 19th-century Augustiner-Keller biergarten nestled among 100 chestnut trees.  Their seating area and steins (beer mugs) are remarkably large. If you want some pub grub, the menu offers a broader variety than the self-serve option.

 

Augustiner-Keller Biergarten Munich

 

Alternatively, Osterwaldgarten is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood just outside the English Garden and is very accessible by bike. We loved its cozy location.

 

Osterwaldgarten Munich

 

My first visit to Germany was as an exchange student in high school. Bravely, my mom waved goodbye to me at the airport (back when anyone could go to the gate), and she had to trust I’d be in good hands in the middle of West Germany with a family of strangers.

Actually, we only found the name of my village on a map of East Germany – so really, we weren’t really sure where I was going. And I didn’t speak German.

The exchange student organization collected me at the Hamburg airport and explained that under no circumstance was I to fall asleep on the train as many students woke up lost at the Swiss border. And of course, sleep was the only thing on my mind.

Fortunately, a remarkably warm family met me at the village station (I stayed awake!) who was as excited to teach me about their country as I was to learn about theirs.

But on that first day, I slept for 24 hours due to a mixture of jet lag and a complete blackout shade. My host family thought perhaps I had died and couldn’t decide if they should check on me. What a beginning!

Over the summer, they taught me how to hitchhike (with one of my host brothers) to neighboring villages, to play canasta, to count in Italian, and to order food in German. I was legally going to dance clubs, which was about the coolest thing ever. I exposed them to the band ‘Boston’; they introduced me to way cooler music by ‘The Cure’.

It took hours to complete the daily shopping with my host mother at the individual stores:  the bakery, the butcher, the greengrocer. But I didn’t mind because everyone was so friendly (despite not understanding a word they were saying). I thought it most curious that shops closed midday, enabling my host father to eat lunch with the rest of us.

And wow, how that summer showed me a bigger world and planted the desire to see more of it.

Although I lost touch with my host family once I attended college, I reconnected with my host brother through Facebook. Love that!

 

Cycling in Munich

 

Returning to Germany brought back so many fond memories. Decades later, my family and I bonded over giggles, frustrations, and new discoveries with the aid of our hotel’s suggestions, TripAdvisor and Google Translate. Oh, how travel is so good for the soul.

Have you been an exchange student? Anything to add to the must-see Munich list? Where would you go for a weekend vacation?

Related: Tips for Planning A European Vacation

LET’S CONNECT!

Instagram * Facebook * Twitter

Travel To Slovenia
NATURE + GARDENS Slovenia TRAVEL EUROPE

Travel :: Slovenia

How was your summer? – Ours was fantastic partly due to this completely (what seemed to me) random trip – – Slovenia – – I find some of the best experiences come in obscure packaging – And I also find that as we travel…

September 14, 2013
Skiing In Europe
FAMILY ACTIVITIES Switzerland

Skiing In Europe

We found a good deal for a weekend in Switzerland, so we hopped at the chance to go One reason we went was to feel some sunshine at last! – – Still new to the whole ‘skiing in Europe’ thang, here’s a few observations:…

February 26, 2013
DSC03044-0024
France HISTORY TRAVEL EUROPE

Road Trip: Normandy

Much anticipated, we spent a long weekend in Normandy, France – Bonjour, Miss Dreamy – We took the Eurostar train to Calais and drove south to Normandy  – Honfleur – France and England have a long history in this region All English schoolchildren know that…

October 20, 2012
41tn7XXCs1L._SS500_
France

Driving In France

Imagine my surprise when I learned we needed a driving kit to legally drive in France – Europeans know, but American readers may be asking themselves What is a ‘driving kit’ exactly? – Sold by Amazon – Safety vest (inside car, not in trunk)…

October 18, 2012
IMG_1521-1
Norway

Stairway To Norway

With a few weeks before school started I decided to take the kids somewhere while my husband stayed behind to work Where could I travel safely and easily with two kids in tow? – Norway – * * We started our trip in Bergen,…

August 22, 2012
IMG_3185-1
Italy

Trip To Amalfi Coast, Italy

Positano * I don’t know why, but the Amalfi Coast has been on my bucket list for the last few years We visited last month, and my family had to drag me back onto the plane * Positano * And the water was warm…

July 14, 2012
DSC_0155-5
TRAVEL TIPS

Tips: Planning A European Vacation

Putting together a European vacation can be really overwhelming There are so many choices here I admit to finding myself frozen in indecision * * Thanks to the internet, we can save money (but not time) by becoming our own travel agents * Here…

July 11, 2012
Images from a day in Provence, France
France

Trip To France: Provence

So it was a bit of a stretch to drive from the Cote d’Azur to rural Provence for a day trip But my husband being the superstar he is drove 3½ hours to get me there (we got a little lost, so it took…

July 9, 2011
Beach on Cote d'Azur, France
France

Trip To France: Cote d’Azur

 And so our adventure in France continues… The French Riviera had an elegant retro feel to it With pebble beaches Jute mats comfort bare feet There were cyclists everywhere A reminder of the upcoming Tour De France (not in this area this year) Motorcycles too Love…

July 6, 2011