December 5, 2014

Travel Diary - Munich


Where are you off to this holiday season? With Christmas around the corner, I wanted to share with you one my most cherished travels. The list of priority places I wanted and still want to discover across the world is endless. Despite the diversity of my existing list, Munich had just not made the cut. Yet somehow, a couple of years ago I ended up spending my Christmas holidays there. Lesson learnt; you simply cannot put a list together, because each place is a hidden treasure waiting to be explored. You simply do not know what you are missing until you've experience it. Maybe I had a few too many Gluhwein, maybe it was the friendly atmosphere in the Christmas markets, or perhaps it was my love for Baroque architecture that got the best of me. All I know is that you must visit Munich during the Christmas season. Here's a little snippet of my travel below.

Marienplatz 
The heart of the city. The large square is found in the centre of the old part Munich and is surrounded by beautiful buildings worth exploring. The Christmas Market is definitely busy and crowded, a popular destination for all tourists and locals that want to enjoy the Christmas spirit. The square has many surrounding attractions so give yourself ample of time to explore. Here are some of the places to visit:
Neues Rathaus 
I would say  this is the main focus of Marienplatz. Highlight of the New Town Hall building which is worth seeing is the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. The glockenspiel plays at 11am, 12pm and 5pm. I thought it would have been more spectacular, so don't have high expectations, but the clock is nice and at least you can say you have seen the performance. 


St Peterskirche 
If you love churches, this is worth the visit. The church has been destroyed from fire several times, so you will notice that the church does not have a distinct architectural style.

Frauenkirche
Odeonsplatz












Munich's Magnificent Residenz

Another palace, that really left me perplexed. How many doors can a palace have? Not only that, like any other palace I always wonder how many secret passages are there that I do not even see? As soon as you walk into the palace you find yourself in room that has walls that are made out of seashells. Here you have a Royal Family that clearly collected too many seashells on their travels that they finally decided to make a room out of them. Just kidding. The Shell Grotto room was completely destroyed during World War II, so since the Germans were left with no money to reconstruct the room they gathered shells instead. So the story goes. The palace itself is very impressive, but my favourite room was the  Antiquarium, The Hall of Antiquities. The room stretches 220 feet end to end and was used as a festival banquet hall. For obvious reasons. The hall is filled with Roman emperors's busts that are displayed across the hall. This room is actually very serene. So I definitely recommend to sit on one of the ledges and just take it all in.






Cuvilliés Theater

The Cuvilliés Theater is located on the east side of the Residenz and it is the perfect example of a Rococo theater. The carved woodwork of the auditorium is stunning. I wish I could go even closer to see the details. I am not a big Opera fan myself but I would love to be a part of the audience in this theater during a performance. The whole ambiance of the theater takes you back to another era.

  
Schloss Nymphenburg 

No matter how many palaces I have been to in Europe, I can never get enough.Schloss Nymphenburg is perfection. From the dreamy blue pastels of the grand room to the lavish gardens which unfortunately were covered in snow but can only imagine how grand they look in the spring, this is quite the summer residence. Apart from the palace you will also be able to walk through the Marstallmuseum which displays royal coaches and riding gear. All very extravagant and over the top, with details that will leave you speechless. Ont he second floor, you will find the world's largest collection of porcelain, which personally was my fave. Honestly, the beautiful handcrafted porcelains will make you want to have high tea by the end of your tour. Forget about Jonathan Adler and his creations. This is the real deal. Another favourite spot of the palace was the front garden where all the swans were. The scenery was so surreal. With the water illuminating the sun's rays and the cold, crisp air, I felt like I was placed in a scene straight out of a Disney movie. 














Englischer Garten

One of my fave spots in Munich, especially during Christmas. Had lots of great foods here and Gluhwein that definitely warmed me up during the cold December night. Here are some foods that I highly recommend to try while in Munich, some can easily be found in the food booths set up around the Englischer Garten:

Pretzel
Schweinshaxe (Roasted Pig Knuckle) 
Weisswurst (If you love eating sausage especially for breakfast these are a must try)
Schnitzel (possibly the best I ever had) 
Baked Potato (Your ordinary all dressed baked potato but tastes soooo good)
Apfelstrudel 






Neuschwanstein Castle 
Over the top, fairy tale castle, Neuschwanstein Castle is a nineteenth century Romanesque revival masterpiece. Located almost a 2 hour train ride from Munich, the palace is placed above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The location is a masterpiece on its own. Overlooking the beautiful waters of the Alpsee Lake, with tall pine trees gazing down on you, this is a day trip worth your while.

Having not previously read about the castle, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour around the castle and learning all about its bizarre history which literally left me speechless. A quick history: Bavaria's King Ludwig II, commissioned a stage designer in 1868 to create hi fairy tale castle. Essentially your typical fairy-tale castle of your dreams,Neuschwanstein is one of the most photographed castles in Europe. Through the tour I learned that Ludwig was defined as "a mad prince" and from what I gathered he had quite an  obsession with Wagner opera and needless to say this castle was a 17 year long process. Sadly the castle wasn't even finished when King Ludwig died. I would recommend leaving early in the morning to avoid long lines as it does get pretty packed as the day progresses and you want to have some time left to explore around the village. *Photos are not allowed inside the castle. Definitely a bummer, if you want to show picture to your friends. 




Exploring the village





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3 comments

  1. Loved Munich! Looks like I need to go back during the holidays one year.

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  2. Gorgeous pictures Eleni! Thank you for sharing!!!
    XO
    Jeanne
    http://fashionmusingsdiary.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. oh Eleni! such pretty pictures! It looks like it came out of a fairy tale.....

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