15-18 November, 2014
15 November, Saturday. Early morning start to get to our 0710 flight from Stansted to Munich. I was already exhausted and we just got to the airport. Anyway, it was less than 2 hours flight and an empty seat next to us meant we managed to get a quick nap.
Flughafen München (Munich airport) is about 45 mins train ride to the city centre. We took the line S8, S-Bahn from the airport to München Hauptbahnhof (central station). Partner all day ticket was E21.30 (allows 2 of us to travel on same ticket) and can easily be purchased from the ticket machines (which have english translations). We walked 20mins to Eurostars Hotel from hauptbahnhof (only to find out later that the next stop, Hackerbrücke, is a much shorter 5 mins walk away).
Reached hotel by 12. Found a bavarian restaurant in nearby street Nymphenburger Strausse. Food was good – a patty made from sausage meat with a side of cold creamy veggie salad. Beer was good too. Towards the end of our meal, though, an old, grumpy customer came in and stared rudely at us, his younger companion just looked at us and smiled warily, but offered no apology. Waitress gave us a grin like they know he was a weird customer. I took no offense, some old people are just too set on their bigoted ways that it is almost laughable.
Walked back to the hotel to get some sleep.
Dinner was at the famous Ratskeller in Marienplatz, a huge(1500 capacity restaurant), but still cosy (with a warren of panelled rooms) subterranean restaurant under Neus Rathaus. Amazing that they can serve good quality food to that many customers every single day. Note that upon entering, head straight in and find the signs to the reservation line – queue there to get a seat. If you stand around by the door, the staff just ignores you.
16 November, Sunday. Late breakfast at the hotel. Enjoyed the music from the string duo playing over breakfast.
Took the train to Marienplatz and roamed the streets in daylight. At 11am, the glockenspiel starts chiming it’s tunes and the puppets starts moving. The show was preceded by loud bell ringing from the other churches.
All shops, including the markets at Viktualienmarkt are closed on Sundays. So we window shopped. Comfortable looking shoes, beautiful Christmas ornaments, a few designer shops, and music shops lined the old city.
Lunch was at another Bavarian restaurant, Spatenhaus an der Oper. Good food again but wasn’t hungry enough to finish all the dumplings and sauerkraut.
S bahn back to the hotel for a toilet and wifi break and then took the tram 17 to Schloss Nymphenburg. We spent the afternoon, walking the grounds of the palace and ended with a coffee stop at the cafe near the tram stop.
17 November, Monday. Early breakfast at the hotel. I have bought return train tickets to Garmisch-Partenkirchen via the DB Navigator phone app. Tickets are stored offline in your phone. 1.5 hour train journey.
We initially planned to see the AlpspiX viewing platform. I had assumed the train we need to take next will be clearly signposted at the Garmisch train station. It wasn’t, so we headed off to the tourist information at the town centre. Turns out November is a dead month and the viewing platform is closed. If we want to go up the mountains, only Zugspitze is open. So that was the only option for the day. Another alternative would have been the Partnach Gorge, but we were not prepared to get soaking wet.
The Zugspitze bahn is just across the Garmisch train station, through the underpass. We boarded the cog railway to go up the mountains. We got off at the Zugspitze glacier to take the cable cars up to the summit. This is the highest mountain in Germany at some 2,000+m, and I was getting breathless by just walking. There were sleds available free at this stop. And we had fun sledding down the snow for a few minutes before catching the next cable car.
It’s all about the view at the summit. Find the camera and button to take a selfie, and have it printed at the summit shop. We had a quick lunch at the restaurant and we caught the next cable car down to Eibsee this time.
Walked from the Eibsee train station to look at the Eibsee lake (restaurants and shops are closed this time of the year, not sure about the Eibsee hotel). Walked back to the train station to get the cogwheel train back to Garmisch.
A very quick stroll around Garmisch and Partenkirchen, just looking at the architecture and the houses. And time for the train back to Munich.
18 November, Tuesday. I had stretched our weekend, so at least I’ll be out of the country on my birthday. But it’s still a pretty sad day when you have to pack and had nothing more to look forward to but work the next day. After traveling to some 25 countries, I think it’s only now that I’m getting the hang of packing light.