Munich GermanyMunich is the capital of Bavaria, a state in southern Germany. Originally a Benedictine monk settlement as far back as the 8th century, the city was first mentioned in documents in 1158. At that time, the local Duke had a toll bridge built over the Isar River despite the existence of a nearby bridge which was free to use. Not to worry, he simply had the other bridge burned down to force traffic to his. After a long court battle in which bribery and threats may have been an influence, he was exonerated of all wrongdoing and a fortress was built at the site, as it had become a major transit and strategic point in Bavaria.
For the next 400 years, politics and salt mines made it a very wealthy and important city. It became the capital of the state in 1508, and more of a regional powerhouse. Occupied by the Swedes in 1632 during the 30 year war, Munich suffered through a major plague in 1634-35 which killed tens of thousands, then it was occupied by the Austrian Hapsburgs on and off in the 1700's. The area became fiercely loyal to Bavaria and was the home base for a series of kings leading up to the German nation in 1871.
Committed to Germany while maintaining its own distinct heritage, it suffered from a lot of upheaval during and after World War One. Various political factions including revolutionaries, communists, federalists and national socialists (Nazis) gained control or fought for control for 5 years. This political upheaval included a failed attempt to overthrow the government by Adolf Hitler in 1923. In 1933 when the Nazis took power, they used Munich as their stronghold. Their headquarters were there and in '33 they quickly built the first concentration camp for political enemies of the party 10 miles away in Dachau.
Munich was bombed heavily during the war, but was rebuilt in its original baroque style with great care to maintain historical accuracy.
The ArrivalAfter driving at the vehicle's maximum speed of 130mph on the Autobahn from Luxembourg for 8 hours, then wearing out the brakes getting back down to 50mph for construction zones that seemed to be every 5 miles, we arrived at the Munich Marriott on Mittelrung (Middle ring road) as night fell. We unloaded the 9 bags, checked into the rooms, then hit the temporary executive lounge for food, then everyone was ready for bed. The stay was a full 7 days, allowing us to use Munich as a base of operations to see nearby areas without having to pack-up and relocate every other day.
The First MorningWe all walked from the hotel to BMW World. I was a huge fan of BMWs, I still kinda like them, but after owning many, my affection has lessened due to the real pains of ownership.
Next DayWe drove downtown and parked to explore and experience the area. (If only I knew there was an UBahn - subway station - just a block away from the hotel!) Little did I know, but it was Munich Founding Day. Sometimes I feel life is like a James Bond movie and I just always happen to be in a city during a major event. Ever notice that is always what happens when Mr. Bond is in a city? Uncanny.
Another DayThe stress of go-go-go was getting to the kids, and the drives out and about to other places from Munich was draining, so one day, we decided to just do nothing. When in Germany and mit Kindern, doing nothing means PARK TIME!
Off to the Hirschgarten we go.
SummaryMunich is about as German as you can get. It is the heart of Bavaria and therefore considers itself the heart of German culture. Home of BMW, they even test new car designs on the roads around there, so sometimes you catch a glimpse of something truly unique. It's full of history, charm, endless walking, the Deutsches Museum (the world's largest museum of science & technology), beer, beer, and more beer (did I mention the Hofbrau?), and of course, fattening but gratuitously rich German food. A wonderful city that I love to visit with great transportation both locally and connecting to the rest of the world via roads, rail, and air.
If you are only going to visit one city in Germany, this is the one.