VOX staffer, Rebecca, has been taking us along her family summer odessey. Before landing in Munich, Germany, she wrote about a sneak-peek backstage at the Tony-winning Broadway hit “Hamilton” in New York City. Her first stop was in Washington, D.C. Now she takes us across the Atlantic Ocean.
After a long plane ride and a tiring car ride from the airport, we finally arrived in Munich, Germany. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.) Well, it is just like Dr. Suess said, “Oh the places you’ll go.” Before arriving in Munich we made a quick stop at a castle about an hour and a half away from the airport. Germany has a lot of castles, and some of them may even be familiar to you.
The first castle we stopped at was built on a lake, and it still has residents living there. Luckily, part of the castle is open as a museum, and we got a lovely tour from a lady who could not speak English, so we all had to rely on my dad’s translation abilities, which could pick up about 60 percent of what the woman was saying. My father could pick out that the tallest tower of the castle was the inspiration for the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale “Rapunzel.”
We arrived in Munich with empty stomachs and eyes ready to close for the night. The sight of the bed drew us in and soon we plopped on the fluffy pillows and fell asleep.
I woke with the sounds of the city the next morning, and to my parents freaking out that we overslept. I guess jet lag got the best of us. We spent the whole day walking around Munich. I love European cities — the sounds your shoes make as they clunk against the sidewalk, the laughter of the people walking hand in hand through the streets, and the smell of freshly baked bread. We strolled around the streets, walked into cathedrals, and peeked into bakeries where we occasionally we talked my parents into buying us a tasty treat.
The best one of these tasty treats was the pretzel — a simple baked good but extremely delicious because pretzels were actually invented in Germany. It is a paradise for pretzel lovers around the world.
For dinner, my dad was very keen on going to a true German pub. It was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had. Walking through the pub, I saw rows upon rows of tables filled with people drinking beer, clanging glasses and making loud jokes with friends. The waiter brought us to our table, which, to my surprise, was not private. Two girls were already sitting there, and the waiter told them to scoot down so we could sit next to them. There I learned a German cultural tradition: At pubs and restaurants all the tables are long (like in a school cafeteria) so you sit where there is room with people you might not know. It’s a great way for having fun with a large company and making new friends.
We left the pub satisfied because the food was good, we had many laughs, and also because our very attractive waiter, a native Bavarian who had a Russian name Nikolai spoke very good English. (The attractive adjective was how I would describe him and was not shared with my parents.)
Our evening walk was very peaceful. Cities in the evening are extremely beautiful because all the buildings are lit up, music is playing and everyone is in a cheerful mood, walking together through the streets.
A trip to Munich is incomplete without a visit to the Neuschwanstein castle. The special thing about this castle — besides the fact that both it and the neighboring Hohenschwangau castle are located in the middle of the beautiful and snow-covered alps — is that it’s the castle Disney based its theme castle on. It was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria, who lived in the castle called Hohenschwangau, two miles away in the same tourist park. He dreamed of building his own castle and succeeded in building one that would house many Disney princess stories.
After a long hike up the mountain, we were standing at the doors of the mesmerizing castle. Its tall white walls and looming towers make you feel like you are a Disney princess looking out over the alps, waiting for your prince’s carriage to arrive.
The warm and delicious pretzels, the beautiful castles and jolly residents made our stay in Munich unforgettable. I’m super thrilled for our next destination. My hint for you is that it is a city where a famous prodigy composer grew up.