This morning we said bye to Egg and headed back into the city to explore until our train left at one to Munich. Since we had ended up wandering around most of the new part of the city yesterday we went to the Old Town. Judging from my experience yesterday, I felt like Zürich was just another big city but Old Town proved me wrong.
All of the architecture was stunning and things I adore. Cobblestone streets, flower boxes, colorful shutters and gold plated doors and roofs. There were three cathedrals within a half mile radius so when the bells struck the streets echoed the beautiful sounds. Since it’s Sunday we couldn’t go inside any of them, but we walked around GrossMünster and the Münsterhof, both of which were beautiful. I had no idea that water ran through the city, so the canals were a surprise to me. They made the Old Town that much more charming, with beautiful bridges connecting the streets.
Another cool thing about the city are the fountains scattered about. There are a little over a thousand, all unique and all with clean water you can drink.
After exploring the churches and side streets we climbed up to the Lindenhof, a park that provides the best view of the canal, cathedrals and water. It used to be a small castle but it was torn down and declared the “people place” so nothing can be built on it. We got our photo ops sitting on the wall and then crashed a couple tour groups, learning more about the history of the city.
We were determined to drink Swiss hot chocolate before we left, so we asked the sweetest old lady where to go and she pointed us in the direction of a coffee shop. I think the woman who helped us is a version of me in 60 years, because the coffee shop was perfect. It was filled with flowers, a grand staircase and more importantly beautiful chocolates, pastries and cakes. Grace could of left me in there all day and I would of been thrilled. Since we had less than an hour until our train, we each got a huge mug of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream (Dad you would of loved the cream!) Hands down the best cup of hot chocolate I have ever had, promise I’m not just saying that because it was ridiculously expensive and I was in Switzerland. The longer I drank it, the darker and richer it became. My guess is they actually put a block of chocolate in the bottom of the cup and it melts as you drink it. Felix coffee shop and Switzerland, you will be greatly missed.
On our 4.5 hour train ride to Munich we passed through Switzerland, Austria and obviously Germany. It’s so interesting to observe the changes that signify when you are in the different counties. Even though the landscape doesn’t dramatically change, the style of buildings typically does. Switzerland’s cities are made up of more plain, modern buildings, lots of grays and whites with glass balconies and stainless steel accents. In the countryside and mountains the homes are exactly what you would picture, chalets with elaborate wood work and tons of greenery. The homes I saw in the German countryside were all very similar, shades of yellow or whites with red tiled roofs and neat yards.
The ride to Munich went by quick since I was busy writing and reading the whole time. I also couldn’t stop staring out the window at the vast fields of wildflowers. I know I keep saying it, but the country side is amazing!
Anyways we easily found our hostel (for once!) and asked the girl working the front desk for highlights of the city since we have less than 24 hours. She pointed us in the direction of the main square and wrote down her favorite food to get at AugustStiner (the classic Germany brewery in Munich).
We walked to the main square of Munich, which is surrounded by a mix of exquisite, old buildings combined with sleek, modern ones. It is quite strange to see these hundreds of years old building with an H&M or a Burberry store in the bottom of it. We stumbled upon the Sankt Michael Cathedral in the main square. Despite its plain outward appearance, it was stunning inside. The chorus was singing in the upper levels and it was absolutely beautiful. Grace and I sat for a while in the pews, praying and mesmerized by the music.
After wandering around a majority of the square past tons of shopping (good thing all the stores were closed) and through a street festival that was winding down, we headed back to the other side of the city for dinner.
August Steiner is the classic place you go to eat a traditional German meal, liter sized beer included. Inside you sit at picnic like tables and there are kegs and sunflowers everywhere. Also a majority of people eating there were German, so it was pretty neat to be the minority, and we knew it would be good if the locals ate there. The girl at our hostel told us to order Schweinebraten which is exactly what we did. We also opted to split the huge beer as Grace and I aren’t really beer drinkers, or consumers of really any alcohol for that matter. But when in Munich, right?! So the beer the size of our heads came along with our dinners. It was a tender piece of pork drowning in a pool of gravy. Along side was this interesting sticky potato ball and a plate of what I’m going to call German coleslaw. The meat was delicious and the potatoes were good, although every time I took a bite I was expecting buttery mashed potatoes so that kept throwing me for a loop. And the beer actually wasn’t that bad! We looked like total noobs splitting this giant beer, but who cares! I’m happy I got to try a typical German meal in a really cool restaurant.
I’m looking forward to exploring more of the city tomorrow and then we are off to Austria in the afternoon. Also, our hostel has a washing machine and a dryer (Major score for Europe) so that explains why Grace and I are still awake at one in the morning here. Definitely worth the clean clothes!