A daytrip from Munich: Partnachklamm Part II

I probably say it a million times, but my favourite thing about Munich truly is the proximity to the mountains, to lakes and to beautiful nature. I don’t take trips to explore the Bavarian countryside enough, but I’ve made it out there again last weekend to a place that I’ve shared with you before – Partnachklamm. But even though you’ve seen it before on here, it’s a completely different experience in the winter.
It’s a gorge in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a place that is around 1.5 hours from Munich by car. There’s also a train connection but it obviously takes a little bit longer and you have to get from there to the Olympic Stadium, where you can park to walk up to the gorge.

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The entrance for the gorge is €5. In the summer, we were able to walk up to a restaurant on the mountain where we had a stunning view over the alps, but unfortunately (or maybe lucky, considering all the snow and slippery stones), the way up there was closed this time. But the gorge itself was impressive enough!

In most parts of Munich, it was freezing cold the last couple of weeks, and Germany was no exception. We had around -20 degrees (especially in the more rural areas, like Garmisch-Partenkirchen), so the most beautiful icicles formed. But see for yourself!

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A few things you might have to consider, when visiting the gorge.

  • Parking spots are “limited”. So it really depends on what time you get there. We arrived around 2pm on a Sunday and had to drive a bit further down to the hospital to get a parking spot. In the end it’s only 5 minutes more to walk, but you gotta know that that’s a possibility – so you’re welcome.
  • In case you were thinking about it, don’t bring your dog. There’s only one way through the gorge, which is pretty narrow and people are walking there in both directions, so it would just be annoying for dogs. And the river is pretty heavy, so it would be dangerous if they decided to jump in or anything.
  • You shouldn’t be claustrophobic. Since it’s a natural gorge, the path is sometimes built into the rocks, so at times you walk through a small, very very dark tunnel and can barely see the person in front of you. It’s not for long, but it’s good to know, just in case.

And now, just to compare: That’s what Partnachklamm looks like in the summer time.

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Partnachklamm, Summer 2016, by author

My Berlin Diary – Where to eat, drink, shop

This November I spent 8 days in Berlin for work. I don’t have a full guide for you because I clearly spent most of my time working and not exploring, but decided to still write down the Cafés, Shops and Restaurants I (re)discovered and share some of the photos I took with you in this post. Maybe it will inspire you to go (back) to Berlin!

Update: I’ve been back to Berlin again and I added a few new places to the list!

Berlin Mitte

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I was staying at Motel One between Alexanderplatz and Hacksche Markt in Berlin Mitte. Right across the street was a place called Spreegold where I enjoyed this wonderful avocado bread with a poached egg. They have lots of different breakfast options but also lunch and dinner.

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Warschauer Straße

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Markthalle Neun

This photo is from Markthalle Neun. It’s an old industry hall that’s now a food hall with stalls from all around the world: Asian, Italian, Turkish, Mexican… And they even have a vegan stall. Definitely worth a visit!
On Thursdays they have a Street Food Market and are open longer or you visit it for lunch any of the other days. On weekends you’ll have the best chance to see all the stalls being open!

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Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz

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Museumsinsel

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On the weekend I stayed at my sister’s place in Neukölln. On Sunday morning I just strolled around to find a place where I could grab some breakfast and stumbled upon the Okay Café where I got a hot chocolate and an Omelette with Avocado and was the happiest person. The staff was amazingly friendly and the menu full of pancakes, different type of eggs and cake made it hard for me to decide.

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This was at the East Side Gallery, a part of the Berlin Wall that’s been painted by artists in 1990 (and repainted in 2007). You can find a post about the Street Art I found around Berlin here.

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Thanks to my colleagues I found the Café What do you fancy love? in Berlin Mitte. They have wonderful cakes and cookies, but also savory food. And super delicious juices!

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This is the staircase at the Helmut Newton Foundation / Museum of Photography. The museum at Zoologischer Garten has changing photography exhibitions plus an ongoing exhibition about Helmut Newton showing his best pieces. Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take any photos but it is definitely worth it, if you are a fan of photography.

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Mauerpark on a sunny Sunday

For the summer, probably one of the best parts about Berlin is, that it has plenty of different parks – Görlitzer Park, Mauerpark, … the list probably never ends. It’s pretty busy there but I guess that’s just how it is in big cities when the weather’s great. So definitely get a beer at one of their Spätis and go enjoy Berlin’s parks!

What else?

  • Check out Zeit für Brot, my absolute favourite bakery for a coffee around Mitte.
  • If you are a fan of flea markets go to Mauerpark Flohmarkt. It’s happening every Sunday and you can find treasures such as furniture, clothes, jewelery and many more.
  • And if you are around, go and have coffee, a sandwich or one of their delicous looking cakes at Café Krone. Make sure to bring some time because you might have to wait a little bit for a table.
  • Mister Vuong is a Vietnamese place you should definitely try if you are into Asia food. But bring some time here as well.
  • The cool thing about Berlin is that they have so many different cultures and therefore food from all around the world. Something I’ve never tried but fell in love with: Bibimami! Apparently Bibipapi is even better, but they only serve that after 5pm. So go check out Bibimix in Berlin Mitte if you want to try this popular Korean dish!
  • Yumcha Heroes in Berlin Mitte, close to Rosenthaler Platz, had some of the best dumplings I’ve ever had – and they are not even that expensive.
  • There’s a healthy place close to Weinmeister Straße (Berlin Mitte again) that blew me away with their Sweet Potato Glass Noodle Salad – Klub Kitchen.
  • And because I’m addicted to Matcha, this Café has to be on the list: Mamecha. It’s a Café devoted to Matcha – you can get everything from sweets to plenty of different matcha drinks. Yum!
  • 1990 Vegan Living is a (surprise!) vegan place in Friedrichshain. The great thing about it is, that their dishes come in small bowls, so you can easily try 2-3 different dishes. Definitely worth it, not only as a vegan!
  • Broke+Schön is a place that stays true to its name: The clothes are affordable and still very beautiful! Definitely go check it out.
  • Berlin has lots of great shops in general. Some of my (well-known) favourites include Monki, Weekday, COS, Made in Berlin and Pick & Weigh.
  • Berlin Mitte, especially Alte Schönhauser Straße, has lots of great interior shops as well, for example Granit, one of my favourite shops from Scandinavia!

If you need a few more inspirations, here’s another guide to hidden (food and shopping) gems in Berlin.

Expectations vs Reality: Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest… Whenever I tell people I’m from Germany, people tell me two things: 1. Aw, I love Berlin! and/or 2. I’ve been to Oktoberfest and I loved it!
Well, Germany’s more than just those two destinations, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is: It’s about time for our 4th season (that’s what people from Munich call Oktoberfest, btw) and because I’m sure there are a few people out there who plan a trip, here’s a bit of a reality check for you.

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On the last night of Oktoberfest, they hand out sparkling candles and everyone lights them up during the last song.

First and probably most important: Oktoberfest is NOT in October. Well, it is for a few days, but it usually starts in the middle of September. This year, the first day is September 16th and it goes on until October 3rd. Why does it end on a Tuesday? Because that’s our national holiday (Tag der deutschen Einheit). That’s why it normally ends around October 3rd (or after that, in case it’s a Friday or Satuday).

Let’s talk about tables. No, you can’t just walk into a tent and expect to get a table unfortunately. But you also can’t reserve a table a week before either. Or a month for that matter. Normally, tables are fully booked around 10-11 months before Oktoberfest. So if you want to go to Oktoberfest 2018, be quick and reserve a table on October 4th! *
That doesn’t mean that all tables are reservered inside and you have no chance of having a good time. There’s always quite a big amount of tables that are free to grab. Obviously you have more chance during the week than on weekends, but a lot of time it’s just luck.
A tip: Go and pick a table with older or really drunk people and let one or two people of your group try to sneak in. Usually those groups leave after a while and you have the table to yourself. But just to not be rude, always ask if you can sit down to order a beer or food first (they usually don’t serve you if you don’t have a table).
If you want to have a table completely to yourself, wake up early and be there when the tents open! On the first day, this happens between 7 and 8am, depending on the door you choose,  but beer isn’t served until 12pm, when they officially called “O’Zapft is!”. On weekdays, the first beer is served at 10am, on the weekends it’s 9am.  Unfortunately I can’t tell you which door is best to use because they don’t really have a system for that.
Beer is served every day until 10pm and the tents close at 11pm. You can either decide to head out to a Munich club, since they all have After Wiesn specials or you go home, sleep and be ready to do the whole thing again the day after!

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Hacker tent

 

Oktoberfest beer is strong. And I mean that quite literally, it’s a stronger beer than people usually drink. This means that when you think you can drink around 3-4 liters, you might not be able to, even if you normally drink that much beer on a night out. It just hits you harder.

I would like to give you a tent guide but I haven’t been in a while and I actually believe that you can have fun wherever you end up going if you’re only with the right people.

But one more thing (important for girls and boys): The bow-rule. Girls/Women wear a Dirndl with an apron. This apron and especially where they tie the bow has a meaning:
Left: Single.
Right: Taken.
Middle: Virgin.
Back: Widow.
There are people out there who say that you only tie your bow on the right when you are actually married, but I think we live in a time and day where some people never get married and are still in a committed relationship, so for me right bow means taken in any way.
So boys, be careful who you hit on, there might be a big strong boyfriend or husband waiting for you on the next table!

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* planning ahead is actually really important in general. If you are coming from somewhere else, book flights / busses / trains a good while ahead. Most importantly though, book your accommodation! Every hotel gets 100%-200% more expensive around Oktoberfest time and you just won’t be able to afford it the closer it gets. So book ahead!

7 Things I still haven’t done in Munich and around

I’m a true “Münchner Kindl” as people call it. Born and raised in Munich. Okay, fair enough, I left Munich when I was 20 and only came back when I was around 26, but since my parents live here, I’ve visited quite often in those 6 years.
But I guess all of us know that you tend to not really explore the cities you live in as much as you explore cities while you are traveling.

That’s why I’ve made this list of things I haven’t done in Munich and around. To remind myself to tick them off little by little and to give you an idea what to do in Munich, if you are visiting. A win-win so to speak.

#1 Schloss Neuschwanstein

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Looking back at an awesome time at the place where fairytales are born. I'm also stoked about my next road trip through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy coming up this October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #exploreourearth #wanderout #feelthealps #stayandwander #theimaged #houseoftones #soft_vision #folkvibe #exploretocreate #presetcc #travelingourplanet #wekeepmoments #heatercentral #natureromantix #lifeofadventure #shotzdelight #folkgood #visualsoflife #globeshotz #roamourplanet #bealpine #thediscover #kellansworld #vicivisuals #modernoutdoors #awakethesoul #viewbug #theweekoninstagram @aroundtheworldpix @snapbyyou @theprotraveler @travelsearth @europeroamers @thealpinists @germanroamers @campingofficial @earthroamers @earthgrammers @createcommune @artofvisuals @moodygrams @vicivisuals @thedscvrr @viewbug

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Well, it’s not really in Munich and it’s a bit of a drive (almost 2 hours) but it’s something a lot of people do while they are in Munich. And I’ve lived here for quite a while and never have. Shame on me.

#2 Zugspitze

It’s the highest mountain in Germany (almost 3.000m) and that’s why I feel like it should be a place on everyone’s list, especially when they are from around here. It’s actually just right next to Eibsee where I spent a lot of days already but I’ve never made it up there. But I mean, I’ve still got time.

#3 Deutsches Museum

Alright, this is one point that’s not fully true. I’ve been to the museum before, it’s our science museum and actually the biggest one in the whole world but I think the last time I went was about 20 years ago and I was really bored and didn’t enjoy it. Can’t wait to bring my little nephew and be a kid again for a day!
Actually done that now in October 2017.

#4 Floßfahrt

It’s a very famous thing to do in Munich: Go on one of those wooden boats as you can see on the photo and float along the river, while drinking beer, eating and listening to bavarian music. There are different companies that offer this way of seeing a bit of nature and that way you don’t have to do any hard work yourself. Perfect, huh?
Find one of those companies here.

#5 Surf the Eisbach

Alright, you got me, I suck at surfing so I will probably NEVER fulfil this secret wish of mine but everytime I bring friends to the river, I wish I could just jump right in and do it myself. But yeah.. Probably not gonna happen.

#6 Have breakfast at Viktualienmarkt

“Frühschoppen” is what we call it here. You drink a “Weißbier” (wheat beer) and eat some “Weißwurst” (a bavarian type of sausage) and just enjoy your morning. Sounds pretty peaceful, doesn’t it?

#7 Kocherlball

The idea behind the “Kocherlball” is, that back in the day servants weren’t able to really celebrate and “party” since they were working the normal party-hours. That’s why Kocherlball formed, which happened every Sunday during summer the servants had to start working (5am-8am). Since 1989, Munich brought back Kocherlball one Sunday in July (with a different background obviously) and invited everyone who was interested in dancing classical dances, eating, drinking and having a good time.
I haven’t made it yet but I’m sure I’ll go one day. It definitely sounds (and looks!) like fun!
Here’s a link to what is planned for Kocherlball 2018.

A daytrip from Munich: Spitzingsee and Jagahüttn

Bavaria is one of the luckiest “states” in Germany, as we get the most public holidays in all of the country. One of them happened on August 14th and because it was a Tuesday, I decided to take the Monday off and make a long weekend out of it.
Because my plans to actually go away fell through, I decided to at least go on a daytrip on Monday and enjoy all Bavaria’s countryside has to offer.

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I already wrote about a daytrip I took once to Taubenstein, which is the same area as I went to this time. This time we walked around the Spitzing lake first (which already takes around 1.5 hours) and after we found out that the hut we wanted to go to was closed, we decided to take a gondola up to Jagahüttn, where we had delicious food. From there, you were either able to take little carts to the bottom of the mountain again or walk the whole way. We decided to walk (1.5 hours again) and were treated with the most beautiful views and colors on the way.

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I even collected a few wildflowers on the way down

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Beautiful flowers on the way

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There were cows without any fences around

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A little break at the lake

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Spitzing Lake

How to get here? You can take a train to Schliersee (which is the lower lake) and then a bus from there up to Spitzingsee. There are different gondolas do different mountains from there (the one to Taubenstein goes from there as well), but there’s also the possibility to walk all the way up.

Hamburg as a local tourist: A guide

For my studies and an internship afterwards, I spent 5 years in one of Germany’s harbour cities: Hamburg.
When people go to Germany, they mainly visit Berlin and Munich, because party capital/history and Oktoberfest. Not many find their way up to Hamburg, but if they do, they all fall in love. Mainly because it’s just a great mixture of Munich’s beautifulness and Berlin’s coolness.

But what should you not miss when you are there?

  • The Harbour. It’s the biggest in Germany and the third biggest in Europe and has such a special vibe to it you can’t really explain to anyone. To the left, you find the finally finished Elbphilharmonie, an opera house, that also includes a restaurant, a hotel, apartments and a car park; across the river you can find the homes of a few different musicals; and to the right, there’s the famous Fish Market, a place tourists love to visit Sunday Mornings from 4:30am on, while the youth of Hamburg goes there to enjoy the last beer or a “Fischsemmel” after a night out at Reeperbahn. So no matter where you go, there’s something going on.
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Hamburg Harbour by author

  • Reeperbahn. This is a place you definitely have to visit at night, when all the lights and all the people make it one of the busiest places in Hamburg. There’s a street called Herbertsstraße, where only men are allowed to walk through, because it is full of display windows for women. So girls, be careful, you can actually get hurt when walking through there!
    Other than that, Reeperbahn has a vibrant nightlife. Go check out Rosi’s Bar at Hamburger Berg, for example, it’s one of the oldest bars around there.
  • Sternschanze. It’s one of the “cool areas” of Hamburg and home of many bars, cafés and restaurants. And some of Hamburg’s coolest streetart can be found between here, Reeperbahn and Altona. Check out Katze, a bar where you can drink Caipirinhas for €3,50 around Happy Hour!
  • Alster and around. This is definitely the beautiful part of Hamburg. It’s the city centre, where the town hall is located on the one side and the Alster (the inner and outer part) on the other one. You can just relax and watch the water for hours, you can hire a boat and go around there and the canals or you can go shopping up Mönckebergstraße or down to the Gänsemarkt. So many things to do.

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And now on to my second favourite thing when traveling: Food. Where to eat in Hamburg?

  • Was wir wirklich lieben – they offer great, healthy options, especially for breakfast.
  • Pauline – vegan food options in Hamburg!
  • Café May – There are a few around Hamburg and they offer a breakfast buffet for around €5 while having cozy couches to lounge in.
  • Slim Jims – Pizza with toppings of your choice.
  • Hatari – A bit of southern German food up in the north.
  • Herr Max – CAKE.
  • Joe and the Juice – hot guys and healthy juices.
  • Trattoria Remo’s – a great authentic Italian in the middle of Sternschanze.

These are just a small selection of restaurants. I haven’t really been eating out there in a while, so it’s what I remember and loved, but trust me, there are new restaurants popping up every week, so you won’t have troubles finding a good one, no matter where you go!

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Hamburg’s town hall by author

What else do you need to know?

  • There’s a public transportation boat going along the Elbe all the way to Elbstrand (Hamburg’s cute little beach), so save some money on a tourist boat and take this instead: You might not hear about all the history but you definitely see the same things.
  • The U3 (subway) is a similar thing. It does go under ground a bit but most of the time you can see great things from up there.
  • Hamburg’s pretty rainy and windy. I always enjoyed it, but you have to be aware that no matter when you are going, you might be facing some rain. So pack the right clothes and you’ll be fine 🙂
  • You might find a few prostitutes around Reeperbahn. It’s legal there, so don’t be shocked.
  • If you have more time around Hamburg then just a weekend, try to stroll around Eppendorf, Eimsbüttel, Altona or Winterhude and check out those beautiful neighbourhoods with all their cafés and little boutiques. So much to see!

 

A daytrip from Munich: Eibsee

There’s a German saying, which is inspired by one of Goethe’s poems, that translates a little bit like this: “Why travel far, if beauty is so close?”

A place that for me, as a girl born and raised in Munich, is the best example to support that saying is Eibsee, a lake in the Bavarian town Garmisch-Partnekirchen, which is around an hour south of Munich. This lake is right at the bottom of Germany’s biggest mountain, Zugspitze, and is, especially because of its greenish-blue colour, one of the most beautiful Bavarian lakes I’ve been to.

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A daytrip from Munich: Taubenstein

And another daytrip, just like promised.

Last week, me and my mum couldn’t really make a decision where to go. We have about 5 books flying around our house with the best trekking tours around Bavaria and Austria and we just couldn’t decide. In the end we decided to go to Taubenstein, a mountain close to Schliersee, just about an hour drive from Munich. We took a car but if you take a train into Schliersee, you can also go from there.

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A daytrip from Munich: Partnachklamm

Like already mentioned in my blogpost about what to do in Munich during Summer, this city has one huge advantage: It’s so close to so many beautiful spots for a daytrip. This is why I decided to give you a few ideas on where to go and what to do.

The first place I can highly recommend to you is Partnachklamm, which is a gorge in Garmisch, a bit over an hour from Munich.
I’ve never been to a gorge, so I had no idea what to expect but it was gorgeous! We were really lucky because the weather was beautiful and sunny, so the rays sometimes found their way through the rocks and lit up the whole gorge in a beautiful light.

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Berlin Tipps off the beaten tracks

Since I am German and Berlin is our capital, I’ve been there a few times before. And I’ve definitely seen all the sights you have to see more than once. This doesn’t keep me away from Berlin but it definitely changes my stays there because I now try to “live” like a local and experience the real Berlin.

And because Berlin grows on me more and more the more I visit it, I decided to share a few of the places (which are mostly restaurants, I gotta admit) to maybe make you feel like a local as well the next time you are going. Or just to give you some inspiration where to eat. Either way works for me! So here it comes.

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