Trip report: Nine days in Bavaria

Here's a report on my nine days in Bavaria in August 2014. It was a solo trip for me, as my wife and her sister were on a Rick Steves tour of England at the time.  I wanted to spend some quality time in and around Munich and hit some of the "guy stuff" my wife wouldn't be as interested in; but mostly to get out among the folks and practice some of my "lower-intermediate-level" German skills.  That last part was really the most fun, as Bavarians tend to be warm, friendly and hospitable.

I stayed in the RS-recommended Pension Lindner in the old city of Munich, steps from the newly-pedestrianized Sendlingerstraße.  At 45€/night for a clean single room with bath a few steps down the hall, hearty breakfast buffet included, and great location, it was an excellent value.  There is a major construction project next door, but the noise only happens during the day when a tourist is likely out and about anyway.  At night it was forest-like quiet -- no city noise at all.

I visited a lot of spots discussed in the Munich section of Rick's Germany book, but skipped a few of the more heavily-touristed sites, such as the Residenz tour, Dachau, the Hofbräuhaus, and the Füssen-area castles.  Rick's walking tour of central Munich provided an excellent framework for getting acquainted with the city.

Here are a few highlights not mentioned in the book:

--  Dießen am Ammersee, my favorite Bavarian village ever since a student tour took me there in 1968.  It's about 25 miles southwest of Munich, on the southwest shore of the Ammersee.  It's scenic, historic, authentic, and very friendly.  Take the S-8 all the way to the end of the line at Herrsching, on the east shore of the lake, walk a couple hundred meters to the pier on the lakefront, and take one of the beautiful sidewheel steamships across the lake to Dießen.  

--  Herrsching itself is nice, too.  It's a short bus ride (or 3-mile hike into the forested hills) from Herrsching to Kloster Andechs.  During my visit Herrsching had a "Nachtmarkt" on the lakeshore, with live music, food, and booths featuring wares from local artists and merchants.

--  Ingolstadt is the home of the Audi factory.  The historic center is appealingly colorful and quiet.  Visit the German Museum of Medical History, in an 18th-Century building that once was the Anatomy Building of the University of Ingolstadt.  That building is more famous in fiction than in real life, as it was the setting for the original Mary Shelley novel, Frankenstein.

--  Bad Wörishofen is a bright, squeaky-clean town an hour's train ride west of Munich.  It's a spa town, with a large hot spring/sauna/pool/waterpark complex (overshadowed only by a similar but even larger facility in Erding, northeast of Munich).  Go to the outdoor cafe at the small grass-runway airfield in town and watch skydivers do their thing.  Buy a ride in a 1958 Russian-built, 11-seat Antonov An-2 biplane, and see Neuschwanstein or the Fünfseenland from the air, in style (advance reservation necessary, Google "Classic Wings Bavaria").  

--  Schleißheim Palaces, summer home of the Wittelsbachs, an easy ride on the S-1 from downtown Munich. The palace buildings and grounds are colorful and relatively devoid of tourists. On the grounds are touching memorials to locals lost in 20th-Century wars.  In addition to hometown military personnel, the community lost many civilians to the Allied bombing raids in 1943-45. Adjacent to the palaces is Flugwerft Schleißheim, the air museum branch of Deutsches Museum, a must-see for aviation history buffs. The museum is located on Germany's oldest operating airfield.

(continued)

Posted by Jeff
Vancouver, WA, USA
279 posts

(Part Two)

Probably the biggest disappointment of my trip was Nuremburg. To be fair, the heavy rain that day had something to do with it, and the Doku-Zentrum was indeed excellent, but the historic center seemed overall contrived and commercialized. Even Hauptmarkt, which I had been looking forward to seeing, had been taken over that day by a tacky, carnival-like promotional event for, of all things, Smart Car. The Frauenkirche was not even visible from the Schöner Brunnen for all of the advertising banners and inflatable structures.

Locals apologized for the cool, rainy weather this summer. Fortunately, the day scheduled for my flight in the An-2 turned out to be the only completely clear, warm day of the trip.

The public transit system in and around Munich is a gem. A seven-day Isar Card turns the entire system (S-Bahn, U-Bahn, trams, busses) into a convenient hop-on-hop-off network. For trips outside the MVV service area, a day-long Bayern-Ticket opens up all of Bavaria.

Munich is great. Nine days gave me the opportunity to really get acquainted with the city and environs. I can't wait to go back.

Posted by Kim
Franklin, NC, USA
28 posts

Thanks for sharing, Jeff. After several trips travelling through the country, we now like to "homestead" in one place for at least a week at a time also. Bavaria is on our list & as we've already done the Castle tours & G-P, I really appreciate the info about other things to do.

Posted by Jeff
Vancouver, WA, USA
279 posts

I did some online digging to find out what was the big event that filled Nuremburg's Hauptmarkt on 15 August when I was there. It was a beach volleyball tournament, sponsored by Smart Car. Well, of course -- what else could it be? [roll eyes]

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

Sorry you didn't like Nurnberg - I actually prefer it to Munich as a tourist city, anyway, but maybe it's because the Deutschesmuseum just gets the best of the nerd in me. Munich's historic center does nothing for me, but the neighborhoods outside it do become more interesting. I also liked Ingolstadt, which apparently tourists don't visit, ever.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3848 posts

@ Jeff...In connection with the Schleißheim Palaces and the visit to Ingolstadt, did you make it to the Neues Schloß in Ingolstadt, where the big history of the war exhibit is featured?

Posted by Jeff
Vancouver, WA, USA
279 posts

Unfortunately, no. Inspired by your posts, I've since done some research on it, and it's definitely on the list for the next trip.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3994 posts

I had no intention of watching someone else's 25-minute-long travel video. And then I did just that.

What a neat way to preserve your memories! I especially liked the emphasis on trains and church bells - two of my most favorite things about traveling in Europe. And I immediately like anyone that makes the effort to get to Andechs ;-)

Great written report, too! And bonus points for posting your trip report under......'Trip Reports' ;-)

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3848 posts

@ Jeff...that makes two of us. I tried going to Ingolstadt from Munich as a day trip a few years ago, got side tracked seeing the town, and ended up not having any time for Neues Schloß. So, I skipped it and its big military museum for next time. It deserves an unhurried, justifiably whole day since it's indeed the largest in Germany, in light of its new expansion, on the topic.

Posted by Hille
Midwest
226 posts

Thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed your video and the still photos!
If you like aviation and all sorts of airplanes, the annual weeklong EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin each July is a great vacation destination. There's a museum, too. Seeing the planes in the video reminded me. :)
Again, thanks for sharing your trip report!