Munich, the King Ludwigs city

October 28th, 2011

Nymphenburger CastleMunich is one of those rare cities that seem to come gift-wrapped: there is so much rebuilding and upgrading of the old buildings going on at the moment that many of them are hidden behind scrims and scaffolding.

Once you get behind these  flat temporary facades, the charms of the city quickly become apparent. St Michael’s Church, for example, is hidden away behind a giant life-sized drawing of itself, but its grandeur remains intact – we walked into the middle of organ practice, which revealed the powerful acoustic depth of this ancient place.

Mý wife Rachel and I chose to come to Munich in October to celebrate our tenth wedding  anniversary because 2011 also marked the 125th anniversary of the death of Ludwig II., the king of Bavaria. This was the reason why we found ourselves in St. Michael’s Church, in search of the Wittelsbach family crypt. Badenburg

In a small but solemn room we found the ornate sarcophagous which remains Ludwig’s last resting place – almost as baroque as some of his famous castles, it showed signs of the affection people still feel for this troubled but brilliant monarch, whom the French poet Paul Verlaine called ‘the last true king of the 19th century’ – or indeed any century, you may think when you consider some of the amazing details of his life: his championing of Richard Wagner, his fascination for the Bourbon line of French kings and his self-professed desire to remain ‘an eternal engima both to myself and others.

The next – and equally important – place to visit after this was Schloss Nymphenburg, where Ludwig II. was born in the queen’s bedchamber on August 25, 1845 : he was named after his grandfather, Ludwig I, whose ‘gallery of beauties’, showing some of the most notable females of the age, occupies another room. The grandson later  created his own ‘gallery of beauties’ – however, this collection was confined only to  portraits of his favourite horses. All of these remarkable exhibits can be foud in the magnificent palace, a gravity-defying mixture of Baroque and Rococo styles, where once again the construction workers are still hard at work.

Looking at yet another fine Munich exterior peeping out from behind a framework of canvas and scrim, it is hard not to wonder at what Ludwig II, famous for dedicating his life to the building of such ambitious castles, would make of all this activity?

Ken and Rachel, London, UK

Crazy surfers in Munich

July 25th, 2011

The Monopterus in the English Garden

Munich Blog from Cat and Danny from Manchester.

We had a brilliant time watching the surfers of Munich by the southern tip of the park up in the English Garden just south of the ‘Monopteros‘.
We got there on our bikes that we hired from ‘Mikes Bike tours’ for a competitive price of 15 euros each for the day. They gave us a free large map and some bike routes. From the bike shop we took a right, then a left and rode down the ‘Tal’ road, over ‘Ludwigs Bridge’ took a left through the park and crossed back over the river a couple of bridges later at ‘Luitpold Bridge’. We then followed the river all the way up to the ‘Hirshau Beer Garden’ and made our way along bike path via the ‘Munich Hilton’ to the ‘Chinesischer Turm‘  – The Chinese Gardens.

The Chinese Tower with the nice beergarden.

We choose to picnic shortly after this by a bridge in the park where three river ways met, it was a very pretty spot. We then set out to find the surfing area. When we found it down by the ‘Prinzregentenstrasse‘ and we were absolutely fascinated!  We sat for a good 40 minutes with a beer amazed by the powerful current of the river and the bravery of the crazy surfers that kept on going back for more and more surf!  Incredible to watch!  And apparently whether its rain or shine these guys and girls are on it having a great time on the Isar Wave !!!!

Thanks Christine,  keep in touch.   xxx

Catherine Taylor Dawson

Trip to Munich with a student group

July 11th, 2011
Schloß Neuschwanstein

Schloß Neuschwanstein

I have taken student groups to Germany for many years now, and I always look forward to showing my students Munich. Due to its thoughtfully designed public transportation system, getting to Munichs many terrific attractions is wonderfully easy and convenient. Always included in the itinerary are the Pinakothek der Moderne, Dachau, and Neuschwanstein, all with guided tours.  We also see the city first hand with a Mikes Bikes tour, which is much better for getting a feel for the city than a bus tour.

We enjoy a dinner at the historic Donisl and also eat in the Augustiner Keller in the Biergarten. With regards to accomodation, there are many hotels to choose from, but I have been in particular very pleased with Hotel Monaco, due to its location near the Hauptbahnhof, kind service, reasonable pricing, cheery rooms and excellent beds.

Hotel Monaco, cosy double room

Hotel Monaco, cosy double room

The breakfast buffet offers a fine variety of fresh meats, cheeses, breads and juices, and quite importantly, the coffee is good, too.  Overall a really good value with a staff that pays attention to your experience.

Jamin L.

A garden in Munich of 78 kilometers!

June 24th, 2011

Not only we residents of Munich desire once in a while a really relaxing day – I´m sure, even you tourists, often travelling through all Europe sometimes just want to relax and enjoy yourself.

As nice as it is to visit churches and museums and so much more, on some sunny days there is nothing better to do than just hanging around.

In summertime there´s no better place to do so than going to our beautiful English Garden.

The Monopterus in the English Garden

The Monopterus in the English Garden

„Garden“ actually is a very confusing name. We are talking of one of the world largest parks! 78 km of trails are expecting you here, much more as you could explore in one day.

It´s beautifully arranged and perfectly located, just in the city center.

The easiest way to get there is by subway number 5, starting from the main station. Get off at the 2nd stop which is „Odeonsplatz

Otherwise you can even rent a bike for your „garden day“, there are several bike rental places next to our hotel.

Starting from the impressive Odeonsplatz you should walk through the Hofgarten. Signs will lead you into the English Garden. No chance to get lost here :-)

If you really want to realx properly why not renting a horse drawn carriage and feel like a princess some hundred years ago?
Being now in the southern part of the park you´ll find a lot of impromptu entertainment.

Bands singing their latest songs, drummers giving of their best, cricket players playing off.

What else do you need on a sunny day?

What else do you need on a sunny day?

Fresh icecream is sold everywhere, families settle down for a picknick, couples enjoy themselves, Lots of beergardens invite you for a snack and drink.

The most famous one is certainly the one at the Chinese Tower. Here hundreds of tourists listen to traditional bavarian music.

The Chinese Tower with the nice beergarden.

The Chinese Tower with the nice beergarden.

All those we only have thanks to Mr Rumford, the primarly minister of war, more than 200 years ago.

He constructed that park for his soldiers in order to instruct them on agricultural knowledge.
But those times luckily are over since a long time.

So we continue our walk to the little lake, where you can rent boats or feed the ducks.

Behind that lake, in the northern part of the park you will meet much less people. Here you can really lay down and relax.

Little kiosks sell drinks and snacks and you will meet a lot of funny Munich

Little kiosks in the Garden for a short break.

Little kiosks in the Garden for a short break.

people here – there´s more variety than you might expect.
On your way back you should definitely stop at the japanes teahouse. This japanese garden has been built by occasion of the olympic games in 1972.

Once in a while traditional japanese teaceremonies are celebrated here.

Our friendly staff will be happy to tell you when exactly!

So enjoy your day. Yours Sandra

Hotel Monaco.

Biketour from Munich to freising

May 27th, 2011

IMG_0006What to do on a sunny day in Munich – Riding by bike to Freising
finally the bicycle season has started again.
We people from Munich are anyway quite spoiled on this topic, as our city offers so many beautiful and safe streets for bicycles. That way most of us do not use any car or subway a lot during the summer time- we just go by bike wherever we need to go.

But not only the inner city offers a lot of nice ways for bikers, there are even quite many trails within Munich´s surroundings which can be explored in very nice daytrips.
Today I want to introduce you in one of our favourite biketours: Riding along the Isar river to Freising – an easy managable as a very flat trail of around 34 km one way.
There´s the option to return by train to Munich.
On sunny weekends you will meet a lot of people on bikes, on foot and on everything on the first 5 – 10 km, after that you will not be bothered by a lot of people. IMG_0007

And here are the routing details:
From Hotel Monaco we go via Stachus and Odeonsplatz through Hofgarten into the English Garden.
Follow the direction „Freimann“ and „Allianz Arena“ or „Aumeister“ until you arrive at the huge „Aumeister beergarden“ starting from here you just follow the signs „Freising“.
Large areas you can ride on both sides of the river.
We recommend the left hand side.
Mostly the trail is nicely inbedded in a shaddy forest and lots of little beaches invite you for a short break.
Once you have reached Freising follow the signs to the station (Bahnhof), there make a left into „Bahnhofstrasse“ and after 500 meters you have arrived in the nice inner city of Freising.
We highly recommend you to spend almost a couple of hours in this cute little town to visit the dome, the Marienplatz and to have some coffee or beer in one of the beautiful cafes. (e.g. Parkcafe in the alley „Am Wörth“)
If you are too tired to return all the way by bike again you can take the train back to Munich. There are trains leaving almost every 20 minutes and they offer space for your bike as well.

Our reception staff will be happy to give you more detailed informations about schedules and prices.
And we will even be happy to tell you where you can rent a bike if you didn´t bring your own with you.

We wish you a wonderful daytrip

Hotel Monaco

The munich Viktualienmarket during the spring time

May 25th, 2011
The Munich Victualienmarket during the spring time.

The Munich Victualienmarket during the spring time.

A spring walk through the “Viktualienmarkt” in Munich

Do you know the “Viktualienmarket“? It´s a gorgeous, very traditional grocery market, selling since hundres of years the most beautiful fancy foods.

I really fancy that place a lot, especially in spring time.

At any time of the year 150 farmers or traders are selling here the most exotic fruits as well as very old traditional vegetables, which elsewhere can hardly be found any more, honey, fresh meat or chesse, bread and so much more. The grocereies are so niceley arranged that you almost don´twant to buy anything, just in order not to destroy the wonderful arrangements.

Walking through the market is an incredible mixture of smells, colours and tastes.

And where does the name come from? “Viktualie” is an original latin word which has been used in Germany in ancient times and means nothing else than simply “groceries”.

But you cannot only buy food and spices for your kitchen, if you are getting hungry right now, there´s a wide range of little eateries where you can try the most traditional german sausages e.g., as fresh as they can hardly be found anywhere else. Viktualienmarkt-Muenchen-Fruehling 019

A vey charming place is the little beergarden in the middle of the plaza. Each month one of the 4 biggest breweries serves here their beer, so one more reason to come more recently here.

In this beergarden you will certainly find a lot of tourists coming from all over the world, but you will find a lot of bavrians and people Munich as well – a nice little globalised world. And after some beers  language problems will be easliy overcome.

You will find even some beautiful fountains here which are dedicated to important actors of Munich, like Liesl Karlstadt or Karl Valentin.

Each day they are lovely decorated with fresh flowers.

Certainly a lot of people would love to rent or buy a stall at this market, but this is unfortunately impossible. The owners will pass theis shops on only to their families.

The market is even a stage for events on several occasions. The most interesting event here is probaly the traditional dance of the femal marketsellers during carneval.

After all those impressions a quiet finish of this spring walk is highly required. There´s two very important churches just around the corner, there´s the “Alte Peter” and the “HeiligGeist” church.

If you should decide to climb up the 306 steps to the top of St Peters tower you will be delighted by an incredible view over Munich. On some days view is possible even till to the Alps.

And that´s by far not everything you can find on the Viktualienmarket. Explore it yourself! All you need to do is to follow the beautiful smells and you will be surprised by a variety of great spring offers.

By the way: Even our hotel has some great spring offers!

And our already cosy hotel has been all renovated and new furnished rooms are awaiting you :-)

Your Hotel Monco


Munich, our first time

January 6th, 2011
Engel Rezeption vom Hotel Monaco in Munich

Engel Rezeption vom Hotel Monaco in Munich

We’ve never been to Munich before.

We stayed here at the Hotel Monaco for five nights in December before traveling to Berlin for Christmas with family.

We were impressed at how the people in Munich get out even in cold weather to eat heartily and drink hot wine at the numerous Christmas festivals nearby.

Ice scating close to the Munich Hotel Monaco

Ice scating close to the Munich Hotel Monaco

When we visited the Nymphenburg Palace we enjoyed seeing the families out iceskating in the frozen canals and playing a game similar to ice bocci ball!

We resolved to put on our long underwear and not hide in our houses and cars all winter when we get back to the Chicago area.

The best part of our stay was the friendliness of the staff at the Hotel Monaco, which was ideally located for us near the train station and outdoor festivals.

Christimas market in Munich

Christimas market in Munich

Video Tipp from the Hotel Monaco in Munich. Visit the Christmas Market at the Marienplatz!

Munich is an amazing city

January 6th, 2011

It was such an amazing city in such short amount of time. The two days I spent in Munich were perhaps my favourite in my ten day whirlwind european tour.

The evening train from Stuttgart to Munich was a short two hour trip that took me from a quaint sleepy to town to a bustling city. I stayed at the Hotel Monaco near the Munich Hbpf, which was perfect because of its central location, friendly staff, amazing breakfast and clean rooms.

As an architectural junkie I savored over the museums from the historical Alta Pinakothek to the contemporary Brandhorst Museum since they are all about a block from each other. You can take the train to the museums but its such a short walk from the central station, that its worthwhile to brave the weather and soak up as much of the city as possible. From the museums, I took the train to the Allianz Arena and caught a local soccer match. For a few euros you can experience the crazy energy from the soccer fans, drink good beer and watch the game in an amazing stadium. During larger matches, the Arena’s exterior glows blue or red, which is a great sight to see at night. A few trains stops away is the BMW Welt (BMW showroom) which is connected to the museum by the skybridge. The Welt is free and for two euros, the museum which showcases the BMW artists series is a pretty good deal as well. What is great about the BMW is that its also connected to Frei Otto’s Olympic Park from the 70s. The amazing tensile structure is in great shape and such a wonder to see. If you climb to the top of the ridge you can watch the sunset and scan the entire park, don’t forget to check out the mini cooper that is floating in the middle of the lake too. Locals are really nice, so when I asked a couple where I could taste authentic Bavarian food, they mentioned Donsil’s in Karlsplatz. It was amazing food that I washed down with a few liters of cold dark beer. The vibe was great and I even got free entertainment since I sat next to a table that started singing in German every time someone left the room. After that I met up with some friends and meandered to a local bar and found ourselves enjoying another round of beer at a local beer house. Even though it was an action packed trip, it still felt really calm and mellow. I’ll definitely visit Munich again!

-Francis I.

My time during the Munich Oktoberfest

October 11th, 2010
Great Munich Octoberfest

Great Munich Octoberfest

This is my first time in Germany, never mind Munich, and my experience here has been nothing less than wonderful.

While I may speak very little German, the people here have been kind and welcoming.

My friends and I head to Munich just for a short while to spend a birthday in Munich during Oktoberfest.

Where I am from in Canada, we have the second largest Oktoberfest in the world. I can confidently say now that in comparison, well, you cant really compare the two at all.

While most people at Oktoberfest are all dressed up in their typical Bavarian gear, and every dress is more beautiful than the next, my friends and I dont have a dirdl or any sort of German outfit to wear to the Oktoberfest, so we went in my jeans and a nice top, like we would wear out at home. We never felt out of place though.

The hardest part about Oktoberfest is finding a table. Many tables are reserved and the barmaids will only serve you if youre sitting at (or standing on) a table. It may take a bit of searching and going to different tents depending on how late you go, but eventually youll find a table and will be able to join in the celebrations.

My Munich Hotel Monaco was not far from the Octoberfestival

My Munich Hotel Monaco was not far from the Octoberfestival

Most people will try to shove over and let you join them if they can.
The beers are a bit expensive at 8 euros, but once you see how big they are they dont seem all that much.

With everyone cheering and singing and having an all around good time, you cant help but have a ton of fun. Its a great chance to make friends from all around the world, and make memories with your friends.
At one point, some German friends we met managed to get us on the grandstand where the band is playing.

It was so exciting to be up there with the musicians and see all the people dancing on tables and cheering. Everyone is there to have fun.


Munich by car

August 18th, 2010

Munich is a wonderful cityI’ve read that it is not advisable to drive in Munich but we arrived by car from Salzburg and drove past the train station on our way to Nymphenburg Palace with absolutely no problems at all thanks to our trusty GPS.   The traffic wasn’t that bad – just like any other big city really.  We pulled up outside the palace and were blown away by the sheer size of it.

After leaving the palace, we dropped off our car at the train station and only had a short walk to the Hotel Monaco.  We were warmly greeted by Rita and were promptly settled in our room, with a map of the city and some general directions.  I must say what comfy beds we had and plenty of space in our room.

We set off and  walked through the old town, enjoying the throngs of people, street entertainers and a very happy atmosphere.  Spent an hour or so sipping on a wine, drinking a beer and watching the world go by.

The next day was spent sightseeing in the old town, going up for a view of the city, touring the Residenze and generally enjoying ourselves.  Munich has a wonderful festive atmosphere and is a nice place to be.

Thanks to Hotel Monaco for helping to make our stay so pleasant.

Here is our addition for you blog.  Thanks again for all your assistance.

Sue Gowlett