August 2, 2017

Two Ways to Spend a Layover in Munich

When The Pilot and I planned our trip to Croatia, we did so with a Layover in Munich. We couldn't fly direct to Croatia from the states and, from Munich, the flights to Dubrovnik looked good for pass travel (how we refer to our flight benefits, also called non-revving).

When we checked into our Lufthansa flight 24 hours prior to departure, before we had even left the states, we had already been given seat assignments, something that doesn't usually happen until 10 minutes prior to departure.

With only one flight per day from Munich to Dubrovnik, we were going to have exactly 6 hours from the time we landed to the time we took off again, which is a long time to spend in an airport. It's a manageable layover but why sit in an airport when you can go out and explore!

I started looking at what are options to get to Munich would be and learned that Munich is about a 45 minute train ride from the airport, not nearly enough time to get into Munich with enough time to actually see anything but when I learned that the small university town of Freising was only 10km from the airport, we decided to spend our layover exploring a bit of Germany.

Our flight landed at 8:30 am and we immediately saw signs for the 635 bus to Freising upon clearing Immigration.

If you're flying from the US, you will likely have bags too big to carry on to your final destination. European baggage rules are different but with most airlines that codeshare with the major American legacy carriers, they know this and don't charge for baggage. We didn't want to carry our luggage so we headed to the other terminal to check out bags and then made our way to the bus stop.

The bus to Freising departs from both terminals every 20 minutes and takes about 15 minutes. We had just missed one when we got to the stop so we had a bit of a wait but the trip took no time and we were dropped off in Freising with abo it 2 1/2 hours to kill, less time than we wanted but we definitely took our time getting through the airport. 

First, we wandered through Freising to the Marienplatz, the central square in the town. Freising is so quaint and I loved that there were more bikes than people! In true German fashion, the Marienplatz has a large church and the street continues in either direction with shops, bakeries, and restaurants. We walked down the street, passing in and out of little shops and eyeing the German pastries from afar. 

After going back and forth on the idea for a bit, we decided to visit Freising's main tourist attraction, the Weihenstephaner Brewery, which has been in existence since the year 1040. 

I had known from my research that Weihenstephaner only does tours three days per week (Monday through Wednesday) but we decided to go anyway and have some drinks at the Braustuberl. We took a bus from Freising up the hill toward the university and then walked up to Weisenstephan. That hill is no joke and, by the time we got there, we were ready for some cold beer! 

We each ordered drinks and an appetizer of Oberlatz, a Bavarian camembert, to share. We were pleasantly surprised to see a basket of giant pretzels put on our table and equally disappointed to learn that free bread baskets aren't a thing in Germany, or at least at Weihenstephaner when we got our bill and were charged 4 euro for eating the pretzels! 

We left Weihenstephaner, trekked back down the hill, and hopped on the bus back to the bus station. We made it to the airport only to find that our flight had been delayed and we could have had more time in Freising but it was a great little side trip and a much better option than spending six hours in Munich's expensive airport!

Unfortunately, shortly after getting back to the airport, we learned that we hadn't been given seats on the flight. We always know that there's a risk with this since we fly standby but in this case, there actually had been seats but a broken crew seat derailed that for us. With only one flight per day to Dubrovnik, we were stuck in Munich for the night.

This time, we took the train into central Munich where we booked a hotel near the train station. By the time we checked in and freshened up (we had been traveling for 24 hours at this point and neither of us had slept on the transatlantic flight!), it was close to 7. Luckily, it stays dark in Munich pretty late so we headed out toward the Marienplatz to wander around.

I had been in Germany twice before - to Berlin and to Darmstadt, a small town outside Frankfurt, but this was my first time in Bavaria and between Freising and, now Munich, I fell in love with the German state. We walked through all of the streets in the Marienplatz and then made our way to the Hauptbanhaus for drinks. 

This place is insane. It is wildly overwhelming. Don't even think twice to stop and take in your surroundings lest you block the way of a server carrying no less than 2 dozen1-liter beers on a single tray.

The next morning, we headed back to the Marienplatz in search of a book store to add to our Harry Potter collection. After an unsuccessful attempt in Freising (they only had The Cursed Child, and Quidditch through the Ages...seriously?) we found a German copy at Hugendubel

Next, we headed up to the top of the New Town Hall to scope out the amazing views over Munich. We opted for this view since there's an elevator as opposed to climbing the tower at St. Peter's Church because we only had about two hours. 

We did duck into St. Peter's for a peek though we missed the bejeweled skeleton of St. Munditia (which I don't think I'm too bummed about!)

Just like that, it was 10:30 and time to head back to our hotel to check out and catch the train.

I loved both Freising and Munich! After a short time in both, I can say that Freising feels like a much smaller version of Munich and is the perfect stop in Germany for anyone with a short layover! As for Munich, we barely scratched the surface but with only about five waking hours in the city, and a desperate need to eat on arriving, I think we managed to see a good bit! We're already thinking about when we can go back and really see Munich! I'd love to visit the Residenz Palace and see the English Garden!

Have you ever been to Munich? 
Do you try to venture out during your layovers or do you prefer to stay at the airport?

July 31, 2017

July Recap

This July has felt like a blur. While it was great to get away to Croatia with The Pilot for awhile, this was the first vacation in awhile where I really felt like I needed a vacation from our vacation. I'll be sharing all of the details of our trip this week and while I loved it, this trip wasn't actually the vacation I think I needed this summer. I wouldn't have traded our trip for anything but there are a few things that I would have done differently to have it serve the purpose I needed it to serve.

When I came back, I a bad summer cold that really threw me out of commission. I didn't get off my couch last weekend except to walk Peyton. This past week at work has been unusually busy for the summer and I can't say that I really feel like I'm back into a routine since coming back. I haven't run or worked out since stepping foot off the plane and I think that's contributing to why I feel so off right now.

Here's a look at how this month went, with a heavy emphasis on some goals for August. I'm hoping you'll all help me stay accountable with those goals!

Miles Run: 11

  • Earlier this year, something happened and running just wasn't a priority for me anymore. I think that, after being injured for so long, I was so desperate to just be able to race again that I lost sight of what I loved about running. Before vacation, I was starting to get into a running groove again but then I didn't run while we were in Croatia and I haven't run since. For the next month, I want to get back to what I love about running, just being out there, putting one foot in front of the other. I definitely want to run a fall half but I'm not thinking about a full marathon right now and I don't need to start training for anything until early September so this is perfect timing to just reconnect with running.
Minutes of Yoga: 22
  • If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm a little bit obsessed with Yoga with Adriene. For the last three years, I've started every January with one of her 30-Day Yoga Challenges. Every month, she comes out with a calendar that links to a video a day. For August, I want to try to reconnect with yoga and practice every day. I might not strictly follow her calendar because I'd like to get some studio time as well, but I do like the flexibility of being able to practice at home because it helps me stick with something like a 30-day challenge. 
Books Read: 3 (Check out yesterday's recap here!)

Trips Taken: 1 fabulous trip to Croatia that accidentally landed us in Munich for a night! 

New Recipes Made: I didn't actually keep track but I've definitely started cooking again, which is great. 

Blog Posts Written: 6

The Month Ahead:
To try to get out of this little funk I've been in that really started in May and is now mixed with post-vacation blues, here are some things I'm committing to for the month of August:
  • Running 3-4 days/week
  • Yoga #everydamnday
  • Actually do all of those PT exercises I'm supposed to do to keep me from getting injured
  • Attempting homemade pasta with the pasta maker attachment I got for Christmas and still haven't used (sorry, Mom!)
  • Cross something off my 30 Before 30 list
We just got back from Croatia so I don't think we'll be traveling in August but then again, it's us and we never shy away from a spontaenous trip away! We'll see!
What are your plans for the month of August?

July 30, 2017

What I Read in July

This was another light reading month for me though it has been better than others. I'm still in a reading rut this year. I haven't read a single book this year that I loved. I'm hoping our pick for the August book club changes that. We're reading "Beartown" by Fredrik Backman, who has never steered me wrong either with "A Man Called Ove" or, "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry."

Here's a look at everything I read this month: 

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - This book came out some years ago but I finally got around to reading it after a friend lent it to me. According to the back cover of this book, it's about how the lives of the two main characters intertwine. The biggest problem I had is that these two men's lives didn't actually intertwine. The book was about two men living in the same city at the same time whose lives at that time revolved around the World's Fair. While I found both stories to be fascinating, I felt that each could have been their own book and it was often confusing to go back and forth. I'm glad I read this because I found the lead up to the World's Fair fascinating but aside from that, I didn't really enjoy this book. I found out that Martin Scorsese is working on a film adaptation starring Leonardo Dicaprio so I would hold out for the film version of this one!

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht- I've had this book on my shelf for awhile but I decided to start reading it right before we left for Croatia because it takes place in the former Yugoslavia during the war. I was really disappointed to see that this book got pretty terrible reviews but I really enjoyed it. It brings together all of the elements of old story telling that was so prominent in society until mainstream media came into play, with a healthy dose of magical realism. The book follows a young doctor on a journey to learn more about her grandfather. It's a little bit of a slow read but it reads like folk lore. It doesn't necessarily come to an end, something a lot of the negative reviews focused on, but it ends the way folk tales goes on. I would definitely recommend it.

The Circle by Dave Eggers - I should start by saying that I did not want to read this book. I had no interest in the book or the movie but when we selected it for book club, I read it. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I couldn't put it down. I was fascinated by it. It definitely had me rethinking the time we spend on social media and what the Silicon Valley world is doing in our society. I highly recommend this book, but without giving any spoilers away, I wish it had ended differently. I was disappointed that things didn't come to light in a different way.

Right now, I'm reading "Songs of Willow Frost" by Jamie Ford, which is moving a lot slower than I would have hoped. 

What have you been reading? 
Did you read "The Circle" with Carolann and Me?

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