Henry Poon's Blog

Munich: Rediscovering old sights and unveiling new adventures

The following blog post was written with the assistance of ChatGPT

There’s a bit of nostalgia in returning to Munich, a place that I’d visited a few times before a long time ago when I did my internship in Germany. I eagerly anticipated revisiting some of my favourite spots while venturing into new experiences.

Seeing the Neues Rathaus on Marienplatz reminded me of my previous visits, from a time where I had visited few foreign countries, seeing the world with young, fresh eyes.

I got to experience again the outdoor beer gardens – a fundamental part of beer culture. I eagerly sought out the ambiance of these social hubs, rediscovering the familiar taste of German sausages and beer. Unfortunately, since it was winter, most of the beer garden was closed.

Nearby the beer garden was the Eisbach, Munich’s famous river wave in the English Garden. Standing on the riverbank, I marveled at the skill and courage of the surfers who rode the powerful current with grace and determination. They made it look easy.

I stumbled upon a Ukraine War protest during my visit, and it reminded me that the war is a lot closer to Germany than it is for us living in North America. This unexpected encounter allowed me to witness firsthand the power of peaceful activism and the unity of Munich’s community. It happened to occur on the same day as the Munich Security Conference, where world leaders met to continue discussions regarding the Ukraine War.

Walking through the opulent halls of the Munich Residenz was like revisiting a bygone era, and it was a place I’d never been before. The grandeur of its rooms, adorned with ornate decorations and priceless artwork, transported me to a time of royalty and elegance.

The Munich Residenz is the former royal palace of the Wittelsbach family that once ruled Bavaria. The Wittelsbach dynasty originated in the 11th century and ruled Bavaria for nearly 750 years until the end of the monarchy in 1918 after Germany’s defeat in World War I.

As usual, I had to eat a pork knuckle, and I think I’ve now found the best pork knuckle in town at the Augustiner brewery. I saw that they had many locations, but the one I went to is the one right outside the Frauenkirche. They had perfected the crispy crackling skin with tender meat underneath. I still think about this meal. I used to go to the Hofbräuhaus, but I couldn’t help but notice how it had degraded over time. While it still retained its lively atmosphere and historical significance, it had become somewhat commercialized, geared more towards tourists, and most importantly, the food was worse (or maybe my taste buds back then were less sophisticated). Nevertheless, I found solace in knowing that Munich’s culinary experiences could still be found in other traditional establishments.

Another highlight is that I finally was able to book a spot on the BMW factory tour. I had tried in the past, but never early enough to secure a spot. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures. The tour goes through different parts of the car manufacturing process, e.g., the metal stamping, painting, and assembly. The process also shows how seamlessly robots and humans work together. It’s really cool to see robot arms putting a car together.

A friend of mine introduced to me the Schalznudeln, a pastry I’d never tried before. It’s essentially airy like a donut, and almost tastes like a beaver tail.

We just so happen to arrive on the last day of the Karneval. People were in the street drinking and dancing, local breweries set up shop in the main shopping street to sell beer, and people performed on stage. I’d always though the Karneval was a Cologne thing but clearly they celebrate it here too. It reminded me of the time I’d gone in 2011. It’s related to the Brazilian carnival and the American Mardi Gras – they’re all celebrating the same thing, just in their own way. The spectacle is cool, but the dark side of it is that people end up leaving lots of trash in the street. Luckily, by morning, the mess is cleaned up.

Returning to Munich was a bittersweet experience, as I rediscovered old favourites and uncovered new adventures. More photos of Munich here.

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