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Published: July 12th 2008
I'm back from holidays once again and back to work also... I used my one week holidays after one more year university to travel back to see my family - destination Germany, more precisely the southern part. After three years of phone calls, I was finally back to Baden Württemberg and Bavaria - though one week is short, we found the time to see quite a lot.
Not much to say about Germany... It is not so different of France, just the beers are bigger (the people also), the trains are cleaner (but also more expensive), the roads dirtier (but you don't notice it when you drive as fast as the Germans) and nothing has changed since I was there in 2005...
It was also the first time that my man was introduced to my country, so we HAD to do some typically German stuff - like drinking beer in the beer gardens, eating brezels
or sausages with curry powder and loads of ketchup... But I enjoyed it as well!
The four first days were spent in a little town near Stuttgart, called Bad Liebenzell - for those who wonder why all these villages are called "Bad
- something", Bad
does mean "bath". This part of the country is famous for its thermal activities.
This fact also explains why a majority of the inhabitants are over 60... Although I am always surprised to see some young people living there - you wonder how they manage it! Bad Liebenzell is a typical village of the Black Forest, with its city center down the valley and the houses stretching up the hills and mountains. Not much to see there, except the medieval castle where they organize weddings and all kinds of local ceremonies - and perhaps the beautiful park in the city center.
The next four days were spent in Munich, where my motherly family is established (to be precise, the family is spread about the little villages of Bavaria, but I wanted to show my fiancé the beautiful town of Munich).
We stayed out of town and took every morning the train to Munich.
Munich is really a beautiful and rich city, with much to offer. For young people, the city center is an ideal place to go with loads of shops of all kinds. But it is also an architecturally rich place with old monuments
and many museums. What I called the city center is in reality the pedestrian part of the city , stretching from the station Karlsplatz
to the Marienplatz
, where the famous Glockenspiel rings twice a day. The Glockenspiel is an ancient clock that rings at midday and five pm, and you can observe a whole world moving up the tower, with little persons moving around and dancing. This is the first place where all the tourists stop over.
The Glockenspiel is part of the Town Hall, a huge and very romantic building (architecturally speaking), which is right next to the Frauenskirche
, litterally the "women's church". This is another "must see" of Munich, as it has the typical form of Bavarian churches: the towers are shaped in a form that is called in German: "onion form" because it is round.
When you pass by the Glockenspiel and the Museum of Games, you then arrive at the third "must see" for tourists: the Viktualienmarkt
. It is the most ancient and well known market of Munich, taking place all day long and every day. There you can find everything from vegetables to typical German products, Italian products or stuff for decoration. You can stop
over at the several Beer gardens or eat a curry wurst
. This markt is really fantastic and always offers quality products.
After having seen the city center, you can continue and visit other districts of the town: every district has some particular atmosphere and "must sees" to offer. For example, going to the north-east, you arrive at the famous English Garden of Munich: compared to the Parisian gardens, this one is HUGE and beautifully shaped. Surfers come all the way to the Isar, the river that flows through Munich and the English Garten. At the entrance is a place where the waters are wild and where you can surf like a professional on the wild river.
To the north - west, you got the district of Olympia. The 1972 Olympia games took place there, and the park is still very much looked after. I personnally did not like too much the artificial lake and hills...
To the south, you can visit for example the zoological park called Hellabrunn. I know it can sound funny to go to a zoo, because most towns have got one and it is not typical of Munich. But still it is a
good way to get out of the stress of the city center and to touch a bit of nature. All the more, the Hellabrunn park is the most fantastic zoo I've ever visited: cheap, big and well organized. We spent four relaxing hours strolling through the park, and it is REALLY a good change to the eternal visits to monuments.
For our final day, we went a bit out of town, until the station Laim
, last station before leaving Munich. Going north from the station, you reach the Nymphenburger Schloss - I would compare it to the Versailles of Munich. Beautiful and unthinkably huge place. We did not visit the palace itself but only the park. Compared to the famous jardins à la française
, that are formal and too much organized, the Nymphenburger park has kept its wilderness and natureness. Ancient fountains and houses can be found on the way, and it is again a way to relax from the strong sunshine, strolling around under the shade of the forest.
These were our days in Munich.... Four days are unfortunately not much, but here are a few more ideas of places to visit when you are in Munich:
the lake Starnberg, a huge lake that you can reach with the train. And the concentration camp Dachau, which is also on the way of the metro and can be reached quite easily.
Our next stop? Croatia in August. Until then we will dream of escaping work and our routine...
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