On our way out of Ireland we met my (Jeff’s) parents at the Dublin airport as we conveniently booked our flight to match the last leg of theirs to Munich so we could arrive at the same time. We arrived in Munich and went to pick up the rental car, and they initially tried to give us a VW 15 passenger van, which we kindly declined and ended up with a Mercedes station wagon. Definitely a big upgrade from the tiny Toyota we drove in Ireland! I hopped behind the wheel as my parents had been traveling for almost 24 hours and didn’t want to drive, and Cara navigated to get us to the apartment we had rented for our stay in Munich. We had a great lunch at a little butcher/deli just up the road and picked up some groceries for the next few days.
The next day we did a Rick Steeves walking tour of Munich, which is a nice free way to learn some history and see some sites. We had lunch at the original Hofbrauhaus, which had surprisingly good food, and then walked about town some more. My parents wanted to check out the Residence, which is one of the palaces in town, and Cara and I decided to enjoy some more fresh air and just explore while they did that. We ended up seeing the somewhat famous Munich river surfers and watched them for awhile.
We spent the following day in Salzburg, which Cara has written a great post on, and that will be up soon.
After a somewhat long day in the car, we took a much shorter trip to Dachau to see the concentration camp and memorial. It was a very somber experience and a great chance to see some history from another country's point of view. The exhibits were very well put together, and it was mostly about the history of the camp and other camps in Germany/the German empire, and was slightly less focused on the human element than the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC (if you haven’t been there, you need to go). We needed a little pick me up after that and had a great lunch in the town of Dachau and spent the evening just playing cards and hanging out.
My parents wanted to go for a drive and check out some of the countryside and smaller villages, but Cara and I didn’t want to sit in the car as the next day we had a long trek to Venice, so they took off to see some other places and Cara and I spent the day in other parts of Munich. Once you get familiar with the layout, the Munich bus and train system is very convenient, runs very close to most places, and is cheap at 12.20 Euro for an unlimited day pass for up to 5 people. This day ended up being exactly what everyone wanted, as it was Heritage Day (German holiday) and my parents got to experience some fun festivals and see the locals out and celebrating. Cara and I got to stretch our legs exploring Olympic Park (from the 1972 Olympics) and then went to a true beer garden where we split a couple liters of beer and a pretzel as big as Cara’s head. It was great to sit and see how the German’s like to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon!
Munich was a great time, and Cara and I enjoyed it more than we thought we would. We really didn’t know what to expect, but the people were friendly, the food was great, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Munich was clean and very walking friendly, and the public transit system works great, not to mention the beer was delicious!
Modes of transportation used: Plane, bus, train, tour van, rental Mercedes
Total amount spent in Germany (and Austria): $580.49 USD (including flight)
Avg.: $116.10 USD per day
*We didn't pay for the lodging, but tried to buy as much of the food for my parents as they would let us*