I had fallen in love with the idea of travelling after my spontaneous, first solo trip to Prague. The study semester had begun by the start of October and I was up to my elbows in architecture projects, assignments and tests at the Fachhochschule Mainz (Technical College) in Germany. I knew that in order to get the most out of my study abroad program I would have to find a balance between study commitments and travel, something that I found hard to do given the “Joey Potter” style of dedication I took to my education! I found out that one of my favourite singer-songwriters was performing in Munich in November and began looking at accommodation options and tickets to his show.
My family always jokes about me being the ambitious go-getter, the sort of person that cannot get rid of an idea once it’s planted firmly in her head and someone who follows through with anything she sets her mind to. I look at it as one of my biggest strengths. Without ambition I wouldn’t have become an international exchange student in the first place, nor would I have lived in London for 2 years or even started my own stationery label. Long story short, I found cheap hostel accommodation in the heart of Munich for two nights, bought one ticket for the concert and since I was going all the way to southern Germany, I even booked a trip to the beautiful, neighbouring city of Salzburg, Austria for a day trip!
My story continues in the Bavarian capital. I caught a morning train from Mainz to Frankfurt and from there took another high-speed train to Munich, whizzing past idyllic German villages and picture-perfect sceneries. It was a dull and rainy day unfortunately and it was quite cold in mid-November. I checked-in to my hostel and began exploring the city immediately. Munich was such a comfortable city to explore on foot, but the rain however was making it extremely difficult to enjoy what I was seeing. So at every opportunity I went inside shops, cafes and churches to stay warm and dry. The churches in Munich were incredible. From the Late Baroque style of the Asamkirche to the Italian Baroque style of the Theatinerkircher and the iconic Frauenkirche with its late Gothic interior style, Munich’s churches left me speechless. I spent the rest of the day wandering through their main square Marienplatz, home to the New City Hall, Fish Fountain, column of St. Mary and the Old Town Hall. My favourite part was how everyone’s mood instantly became uplifted upon the theatrical Glockenspiel striking midday, with music and small dancing figurines taking us back to our childhoods if only for a moment.
I stopped by a small cafe to grab a bite before returning to my hostel room and getting ready for my night out. I caught the tram to my destination and stood in the crowd waiting for the show to start. The support act was Jack Savoretti, a person whom I’d never heard of before that night and someone whom I began to admire from that night forward. He captivated me and the entire audience with his soulful innocence and charm, with melodies that took us to another universe. Readers of my blog would know that Jack and I have gone on quite a journey since that cold night in Munich, as I made sure that during my time in London I would go and see more of his shows whenever I could.
Then Gavin DeGraw took to the stage and astounded his fans by how down-to-earth he was and the incredible range of his vocals. Of course being a major One Tree Hill fan I was pleased when he performed the show’s theme song “I don’t want to be” and the majority of songs from his album Chariot. It was a brilliant gig and I’m so delighted that I attended it despite being slightly petrified that I was in a cold, wet and dark city all by myself.
The next day I visited Salzburg but we’ll leave that for the next blog post. On my third day, the weather had improved and there were blue skies all day long. I decided to enter the world-famous Hofbräuhaus, one of Munich’s oldest beer halls. Their clientèle included the likes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John F. Kennedy and George H. W. Bush to name a few. I tried their famous white sausage with pretzel and drunk about 1/5th of my glass of beer. Feeling adventurous, I decided to climb a narrow, dark tower of St. Peter’s Church to the viewing platform on the top floor. From there I could see the entire city clear as crystal but unfortunately the Alps were not to be seen that day. The next morning I set of for Salzburg but we’ll leave that for another blog post.
Visitors to Southern Germany should definitely try to visit Munich if at least for one day, as it’s full of hidden churches, history, Bavarian culture, beautiful architecture and interesting people with stories to tell.