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The first stop on my swing through Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein was Munich. This was my first time in Munich, first time in Germany, and I had only one full day, so I knew I had to make it worth it.
And I also wanted to keep it cheap. I knew that my upcoming TBU adventure would involve spending some cash, so I wanted to keep expenses low while I could.
I was staying in the Euro Youth Hotel (which I recommend), with a very reasonable nightly rate of €15.50 for a 12-bed dorm, which made it a great budget option.
But what for the entertainment?
When my sister traveled through Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam this summer, she recommended New Europe Tours — free tours of different European cities given by guides who work only for tips. Sarah told me the guides were hilarious and very well-informed about their city.
She was right! The Munich tour was great and informative as well as offbeat. Three hours is a LONG tour, and because of that, you can make it the main activity of your day.
Some main landmarks of Munich were visited, starting with Marienplatz, one of Munich’s most famous squares.
Then things got more freaky. We visited a church built BY THE DEVIL HIMSELF, so the legend says:
We saw Hitler’s favorite place to give speeches. It was definitely creepy hearing that while we were sitting in that same exact place.
And finally, my favorite part: the MICHAEL JACKSON MEMORIAL!
Really, the memorial is remarkable. They built the memorial around a statue of a composer that happened to be around the corner from the hotel where Michael stayed in Munich. People are always coming to the memorial and tending it each day, our guide told us.
At the end of the tour, our leader collected tips. Some people gave €5, some gave €10, and most shamefully slinked away without donating anything. Really, after such a great tour, you’d just try to pretend you were never there? I can’t stand when people do that.
As I’ve said before, one way to make friends while traveling solo is to do day tours like these. I made a friend on the tour (during our tour’s stop for Augustiners!) and we ended up checking out Viktualienmarkt, one of the city’s bigger food markets and home to a biergarten popular with locals.
And I had to take the stereotypical Germany shot with a liter beer and a bratwurst:
After a morning and afternoon exploring Munich, I headed back to the hotel, met up with my friend Dylan the Travelling Editor, we put together a ragtag group of travelers from the hostel, and went back out to the biergartens.
Munich’s biergartens are definitely worth visiting, and so easy — you just grab a table, head up to one of the stalls, grab a plate of food and a beer, and pay. No waitress service and it’s lightning fast — the beers are poured just before you pick them up.
Now, why would I include drinking liter beers as a cheap activity?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when you’re a solo female traveler, you get more free drinks than you can shake a giant mug at.
Just a fact. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I enjoyed my brief time in Munich and wish I had been able to see more of the city. As it’s such a big transport hub in Europe, I’m sure I will!