We arrived in München Friday afternoon and were zombie-tourists the first day. All three of us were exhausted from finals week and lack of sleep, but we somehow managed to go through the motions of visiting landmarks and taking pictures. A nice German couple, that we met on the S-Bahn from the airport into the center of Munich, gave us a list of things to see that day. Thank goodness they did, because I had done no previous planning. I know… me not planning… it was a shock to all of us.
Basically, we wandered up and down Neuhauser Strasse and Kaufingerstrasse. From the ice skating rink in Karlsplatz along the line of stores to the Christmas Market in Marienplatz with the Glockenspiel in Neues Rathaus and the Viktualienmarkt. We ate giant pretzels and browsed through all of the many Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers, and traditional smokers.
Leigh and I enjoying a large pretzel in Marienplatz
When the sun started to set, we climbed to the top of Peterskirche and looked out over the city. The sunset was absolutely amazing: a purple sky ascending on the two onions that top the towers of the Frauenkirche.
When the sun disappeared, the Christmas Market lit up like magic. From the top of the church, the Christmas Market in Marienplatz looked like the North Pole!
Marienplatz Christmas Market
We dragged our lethargic zombie-tourist selves to the notorious Haufbrauhaus for dinner. It’s a wide-open beer hall where they serve beer by the litre. In our exhaustion, we could each only handle one, and that litre had us singing Christmas carols all the way home. We were in bed by 7pm.
Three girls and their three litres
Saturday, we started early with a skate around the ice rink in Karlsplatz. We were the first ones on the ice and were able to snag ourselves a few eisbärs. (I was pretty much obsessed with the polar bears... real shocker).
Me and an eisbär
With the help of my polar bear ice-walker, I was able to show off my killer Katerina Witt moves: when in Germany… do as the German ice skaters do...
Skating like a pro - Toronto 2010, here I come!
That afternoon, we took a relaxing stroll through the Englischer Garten (English Gardens) to the Chinesischer Turn (Chinese Tower) and the Christmas Market that surrounded the Chinese Pagoda in the park.
Even though winter had taken its toll on the gardens, there were beautiful bridges over babbling brooks. At some points, I felt like I was walking through the pages of Shakespeare. It felt like A Midwinter’s Daydream – wandering past the rolling hills with streaks of sunlight peaking through pillared temples.
There was even a ski-themed café with gondolas for tables and hammocks for tired-out tourists. Then, Leigh retired back to our hostel to finish writing her paper and Emily and I played around in the Christmas Markets, drinking gluweine (mulled wine) and eating schneeballen (Snow Balls: a German dessert).
Gondola café tables
A tuckered-out tourist relaxing on the hammocks
Apart from the minor freak out I had from discovering that our train tickets from Munich to Prague were for the wrong day, we were able to remedy that situation rather easily, and Leigh finished her paper, so all stress was relieved before Leigh and I said goodbye to Emily and headed off to the Czech Republic…