The Final Destination: Munich

My train was leaving at 10.14 the next day, the RJ60 and I managed to get a tram to the station. Before I had left, I had updated my Facebook status to say that I was looking forward to going home. Interrailling had been exciting, incredible and amazing but I was ready to spend some time on the sofa with the cat and not plan where I had to go the next day. I got an excellent seat in a quiet carriage so I could continue reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ but ended up talking to an American chap and his wife. He was from Tennessee but lived in Hong Kong; they had both travelled a lot. They were heading up to Amsterdam after Munich then to London, back down to Bulgaria to fly back to Hong Kong – good grief! The train was heading through Salzburg and I put my book/kindle down. I had considered stopping in Salzburg to do a ‘Von Trapp family tour’ of the city but had ruled it out in favour of staying in Munich for two nights rather than travelling overnight to get a veeeeeery early plane home. I loved ‘The Sound of Music’ as a child and was in awe at the scenery that was passing me:


I could not get ‘Climb Every Mountain’ out of my head  when I saw this


Ford every stream…


Erm follow every highwaaaaay…


You get the idea…!


I don’t have a photo of it but I SWEAR I saw seven children on bikes cycling past the train.

When I got to Munich station, I suddenly realised that I had done my last long train ride. I had been in contact with my hotel and found out that I needed to get a train to Heimstetten. I found two men that showed me where I needed to go and I was off. The train station was not that long a walk from my hotel but my bag was getting increasingly difficult to pull along and my short walk was getting slower and slower. I realised that one of the wheels on my case was actually coming undone and it wasn’t me being incredibly weak:


I was going to meet up with a friend I used to work with who now lived in Munich as a Personal Fitness Trainer.  I phoned her that evening and we arranged to meet the following morning at 10.00 at Munich Station.  I explained that I was spent and may not be great company.  By the end of the conversation I was sounding ridiculously pathetic and I hung up.  We were going to meet for breakfast, she was going to show me some of Munich then we could relax at her flat/studio and she could give me a replacement suitcase – brill.


My friend met me at Munich station with her dog despite my choosing the wrong escalator several times. As Munich was part of the Bavarian state, we went for a typical Bavarian breakfast: 


Fortunately Kim spoke German and I wrote down what we ate; weiβwurst, brez’n und sϋβer serif mit rhuerei, speck und bread which is white sausage, pretzel, sweet mustard, scrambled egg and bacon.  It tasted much better than it looked!  The weiβwurst came in a pan of hot water and did not look appealing at all; it was very fatty and more herby than it looks.  The scrambled eggs with bacon was called ‘Sex and the City’ but we could not work out why. 

We walked to her flat/studio then on a short tour/amble around Munich. She took me into the most decorated church I had ever seen:


I don’t think there was a square inch that hadn’t been adorned with some form of moulding or gilt.




St Johann Nepomuk Kirche-Asamkirche-Erbaut 1733 – 1746Von Egid Quirin und Cosmos Damian Asam

It was as if a theme couldn’t be decided upon so every theme was used yet had a beauty to it.  It was too much but enough at the same time.  Despite its adornments the church itself is quite small;

My friend said I was not allowed to leave Munich until I had seen a dirndl; in fact she was going to get a photo of me in a dirndl then we could continue with our tour. A dirndlis is a type of traditional dress worn in Germany – especially Bavaria and consists of a bodice, blouse, full skirt and apron. Before I had a chance to ask what she was talking about I was in a dirndl shop and Kim was explaining that I needed an outfit for Oktoberfest. The array of outfits was quite overwhelming and they were laid out in sizes. The scene was set and I got into a nice emerald green Bavarian dress. I stepped out and Kim (in German) explained to the assistant that she needed to take a photo of me as we were going to have to remember where to come back to purchase it as we had several shops to visit. Suddenly the assistant became very animated and shook her finger at us both. There was a long conversation in German and suddenly Kim said ‘Nein!’ and looked shocked. I raised my eyebrows at her and she explained to me that we were not allowed to take a photo as people came into the shop to dress in a dirndl, take a photo and then not return…. I joined in the shocked ‘No, really?!’ We were busted; however I did have my phone with me in a bag in the dressing room: 


I apologise for how tired I look and my odd expression but this was a covert photo…

‘Often, women would chain silver or gold coins into their dirndls to show off their wealth – good for letting any unmarried men know the value of your dowry… Even more interestingly, the way you tie your apron allegedly shows whether you are married or not: tied in the back signifies you are a widow, tied with a knot on the left means you are single and tied on the right shows you’re married.’

This was the same information I was told in the shop

After leaving the shop still using our ruse of shopping around I was delighted to see a mannequin dressed in Lederhosen:


More Oktoberfest outfits 



But then I saw this man. His friend wasn’t dressed up. I don’t think it was a costume!



I had a really nice afternoon walking around Munich seeing the sights and men in lederhosen for no apparent reason. Kim showed me Marienplatz and then we walked around the back and saw this:     




The lion of fertility


An excellent pub I saw

We then went to the Hofbrӓuhaus to see, and I use my friend’s words, busty wenches wearing dirndls and holding beer.


Mine was the one on the left, when in Rome…


‘Oompah band’ was on lunch break

We went back to her flat/studio and had a cup of tea, Apfel Strudel and homemade custard, chilled and caught up.  A couple of hours later I was taken to Munich station with a new working suitcase. I got back to my hotel, transferred my belongings from one case to another, organised an alarm call from Reception for 5.00AM(!) and went to bed. It was so lovely to spend time with my friend and laugh a lot. As I said, I was spent and looking forward to getting back home but Munich was a beautiful place to visit and it would have been nice to spend more time there – but I’ll return. 

I had had an amazing time in my nineteen days of travelling and now, a month later the blanket of tiredness has left me and I am left with incredible memories of fantastic experiences. I would do the whole thing again but would amend the following:

1.     Spend more time in each place rather than trying to cover so many countries.

2.     Read up more on the destination rather than letting ‘discovery happen naturally’.

3.     Relax more and soak up the local atmosphere by just ‘being’ in a place.

4.     Days off are a must and, unlike my friends who had inspired me to Interrail, I am not in my twenties anymore or filled with boundless energy.

I’m not going to get all ‘Dorothy’ on you but I was very pleased to get back home to my own bed, my cat and food I could cook myself – I had really missed Marmite on toast! I have also really enjoyed living my experiences. I hope it has been an interesting read!


Sarah Downes