After spending our first night in Munich at the Hampton Inn on the outskirts of the city, we ventured into the city to drop off our luggage and try to check in to the hotel we would be staying at for the rest of our time in Munich. We arrived at Hotel Bayers.
When we initially booked our trip, we were excited to have scored cheap flights to Munich during Oktoberfest (thanks to Scott's Cheap Flights). What we didn't realize until after booking was that hotels were incredible expensive during this time. We knew we wanted a hotel and not an AirBnB because you know more of what you are getting. While we didn't have a horrible AirBnB experience in Rome, it wasn't what we were anticipating. Hotels in Munich cost upward to $400 per night for a basic hotel near the festival. I was able to score a good deal on Hotel Bayers by pre-paying.
Hotel Bayers was right in the central part of Munich. It was right across the street from the Marienplatz (or city center). We arrived at Hotel Bayers and chuckled because it was sandwiched (no pun intended) between a Pizza Hut and a KFC. Were we really in Munich or just back in America?
We dropped off our luggage and they unfortunately (or maybe it was a fortunately) didn't have a room available. We had about four hours to kill and were both well-rested so we decided to walk over to Oktoberfest. Our hotel was about a 10 minute walk to the fairgrounds. It was a chilly and rainy Monday.
We arrived at the festival and took it all in. Since it was cold out (and we knew if we wanted to get into the beer tents, it was better to go earlier), we ventured into the Haufbrau tent. I had done some research ahead of time and knew the Haufbrau tent was pretty American-friendly and would probably be a good start. We ventured in. Took in the scenes, sites, and smells. It's a little deceiving when you walk in to figure out what tables are reserved and not. We found our way to the center of the tent where there were standing tables (like bar tops) and parked there. We ordered our first (of many) beers.
I was amazed at how lively the crowd was for it only being 11 am on a Monday. The band was playing, people were singing, and some were already pretty hammered. We heard English coming from the table behind us and decided to see if we couldn't make friends, knowing that perhaps taking in Oktoberfest may be better with more people. We met an awesome couple from Minnesota, Becky and Paul. (We liked to call them Marshall and Lily because Paul definitely reminded us of Marshall from How I Met Your Mother).
After having a few beers and pretzels at Haufbrau, we decided to venture out with our new friends. (By the way, two beers and I was pretty buzzed). The tents are massive and deciding which one to go to next was like deciding which present to open first on Christmas. We ventured into the "cloud" tent. It called the "Hacker" something or the other (that I can't remember). This tent was super cool inside. We downed a few more steins of beer and by this point the day was getting fuzzy. We laughed because we said we were only going to stop into Oktoberfest and by this point we had been there for well over four hours.
We stopped into one other tent were the four of us shared a table with a family (a Dad, Mom, and their two daughters who just graduate college). They offered us their "chicken" coupons. When you reserve tables at Oktoberfest you have to guarantee a certain amount of food and drinks per table. Obviously the family didn't want their chicken, so we took them up on the offer. The chicken was AMAZING. I was well passed done for the day too, so it tasted even better. By this point it was time to venture home as the tents were trying to usher people out to get ready for those who had nighttime reservations.
We Ubered back to the hotel (and I left my phone in the Uber). My husband retrieved the phone (after a big to do and tipping the driver 50 euros) and brought back Pizza Hut for me. I crashed. Needless to say, it was an interesting first day in Munich.
Our second day we decided to skip Oktoberfest (at least during the day) and venture to the BMW Museum, which we heard was a must do. The Museum was intriguing, very clean, and very modern. I'm not a huge car person, but even I enjoyed learning about the history of BMW's and the future for automobiles. I tried to get my husband to buy me a Beemer at the showroom next door, but he politely declined. After the museum, we headed back to the hotel to relax for a while. We decided that we hadn't had our Oktoberfest fix yet and wanted to explore it at night (and with a clear head), so we ventured back to the festival.
We actually checked out the fair part of this time. We grabbed a Moscow Mule at one of the cocktail stands and enjoyed the lights and sounds. It was super cold that night, but luckily, I had dressed as warm as I could. We opted to not ride any rides (while it looked fun, after a drink or two it could be a little too much). We ventured off to find some "fair food" and to explore the tents at night. We walked into one tent and it was completely packed. We found a seat at a beer garden right outside one of the tents. Luckily, it was heated! We, again in search of friends, started chatting with a Scottish Dad and his daughter. We had a few beers at the beer garden (and a 40 minute wait in line to use the restroom) and decided to explore again.
After drinking all the beer the day before, I desperately wanted a glass of red wine. We found a wine bar in the fairgrounds. We both ordered a glass of red wine, but it was atrocious. I guess that's what you get for ordering wine at a beer festival! I had heard about the famous Statue of Bavaria, and was eager to see it, so we headed that way, before calling it a night. We grabbed some "street meat" at the Mr. Schwarma outside of our hotel and packed it in for the night.
Wednesday was our last full day in Munich. We ventured out of the hotel and across the street to check out the Marienplatz. Unfortunately, Wednesday was a holiday for Munich so not much was open. The Marienplatz was surprisingly open and clean compared to other parts of Munich. After walking around and checking it out, we decided to grab an Uber to Dachau Concentration Camp.
Dachau is about a 20 minute drive from Munich. We heard that it was something you had to see and I'm glad we did. We arrived at Dachau (amazed at how normal everything around it was. There was a Home Depot and a Burger King less than a mile away). We stopped into the visitors center then went about exploring the grounds. The first part we explored were some of the cells. I believe it was considered the "medical cell" area. It is truly a haunting experience to say the least. What really shook me was how there were three very small cells that were considered "standing" cells. They were so small that prisoners were unable to sit at any point. I read that prisoners were kept in these cells for upwards of 72 hours.
Dachau is huge. Admittedly, the Holocaust is not as talked about in my generation, so I didn't know or understand a lot of the conditions that victims had to endure. It was truly eye-opening. We strolled the grounds and ended up at the crematorium and the grounds where victims were executed. This was extremely haunting to say the least. My stomach churned and it was a hard site to see. I'm glad we did because I feel like I know understand more of what victims went through and why it's important to see this and learn about it, so history does not repeat itself.
After strolling through the grounds and taking it all in, we headed back into the city. We grabbed a bite and beer at a beer hall in the Marienplatz. The beer halls are pretty identical to the tents (albeit a bit calmer, and a permanent fixture that are open year round). We ended up at the Hacker something beer hall. Again, our search for friends yielded us a fun group of guys (and one gal) from Sacramento. I ate some truly authentic (and carb heavy) German food at the beer hall and we decided to venture out with our friends from Sacramento. We ended up in a beer garden near the Marienplatz. This was the beer garden I had seen on many documentaries about Munich. I decided to give a Radler a shot (half beer, half sprite). I sadly, wasn't a huge fan, since it was way too sweet. We hung with our Sacramento friends a while longer, before calling it a night, knowing we had to pack up tomorrow and head to London.
,So if I am going to be dealing with hellacious jet lag, I might as well blog...right? Anyways, I'm 48 hours (as I'm writing this...who knows how long it takes me to post it) back from my 12 day trip to Europe, and boy was it an adventure! It was by FAR the best vacation I've ever taken! I learned a lot about myself and how to be genuinely happy again. I found myself smiling, laughing, and enjoying the moment more than I ever have before.
Our trip started Saturday 9/29. We drove up to Charlotte for our flight with a pit stop in Blythewood to grab lunch with my dad. We had an overnight flight from Charlotte to Madrid. We grabbed a few drinks at the bar in Charlotte. Soaked in our last few quarters of American football for a few weeks (more on this adventure later...). Met some fun people at the bar...then boarded up. When we flew to Rome last year, I was super nervous and had a ton of anxiety. I was happy to not have a repeat of this.
I slept off and on during the flight. Got a few hours sleep so I was able to function somewhat. We landed in Madrid about 8 am Madrid time (which was about 2 am back home). We played it by ear as to if we were going to leave the airport. We had an eight hour layover. We decided that we were surprisingly energetic so we decided to venture out. (Pro tip: see if there is a luggage storage facility at the airport, so you can drop your bags, we did and it was helpful (although a bit pricey)). We grabbed an Uber and headed into the Plaza Mayor.
I've previously flown into Madrid (when I was 19 doing a May-mester study abroad), but spent no real time there. I knew from my previous experience in Spain, that the Plaza Mayor was typically city center so just go there. We reached the Plaza Mayor, and stopped into Starbucks to grab some much needed coffee. The weather was GORGEOUS. Sunny and around 70 degrees (a huge relief from the 90 degree Charleston weather). We explored the streets for a little bit, just soaking in some sunlight. We made it back to the Plaza Mayor and grabbed some breakfast at one of the restaurants.
I ended up having a jamon and tomato on toast with coffee and OJ. It was good. It definitely brought back memories (that I thought I had forgotten) about my past experience in Spain. After eating, we decided to walk and explore some more.
We didn't do anything significant in Madrid. It was nice to see Spain again, since the last time I went I wasn't fully prepared for the trip, to say the least and didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. One of my favorite memories was passing a "Ale Hop" store. When I previously was in Spain (I spent two weeks in the Salamanca area) there was an Ale Hop. The Ale Hop had a HUGE cow in the window and served as the meeting spot for our group. It was cool to see this Ale Hop and the cow again.
After a few hours, the lack of sleep was starting to catch up to us. We headed back to the airport, to make it back in time for our flight. Once we got back to the airport, we had more time to kill. The Madrid airport is a lot nicer from the last time I was there. It is HUGE. We grabbed another drink at a very busy bar. Another pro tip for traveling in Europe that I learned: European airports don't assign gates until like 30 minutes before you board. I guess this is to encourage you to eat and shop more in the restaurant and to prevent people from just gathering and camping out in front of the gate. It's kind of annoying especially when you are exhausted because you just want to relax, but can't in fear that you might have to high-tail it across the airport to reach your gate.
The sleep deprivation hit super hard by the time we boarded our flight to Munich. The flight was one of the most miserable we have had, just because we were tired and had been traveling for now almost 24 hours. I was swollen from head to toe. We finally arrived to our hotel in Munich at about 7pm Munich time. We were a bit frustrated because they gave us a dirty room, so we just begged for the room next door. We showered and decided to venture out in Munich and see if we couldn't find a bite to eat.
We didn't realize our hotel was on the outskirts of the city. Luckily we only booked a one-night stay at the hotel because we had pre-booked another hotel closer to the city for the rest of our stay. We ended up reaching the Oktoberfest grounds as it was shutting down for the night. We got a good laugh watching the drunks stumble out. We grabbed a bite an Italian joint (I know first night in Germany and we eat Italian) right outside the grounds. We then headed back and called it a night (thankfully!) and I slept for nearly 12 hours, which ended up being a good thing!
Here are a couple pics from Spain.
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.