• Apple juice! Lakes! Bikes! And other Munich highlights

    munich marienplatz

    If there is one reason one should always wear a bra, it’s the flexibility to go for a swim at any time.

    It was a devilishly hot day in Munich as we strolled through the English garden, so I naturally cursed the fact that I couldn’t join the swarms of people jumping into the river. (We later heard that there are parts of the park where locals swim/sunbathe in the buff, but we weren’t in that area, and I’m really not down with swimming sans clothing myself.)

    But then! This happened…

    Surfing in the park

    A little further down, we spotted a few guys carrying surfboards. Eh? Curiosity piqued, we followed them and wound up at a bridge where surfers were queued up on both sides of the river, taking turns to ride the waves that surged out from under the bridge on a rolling basis. Munich may be landlocked, but the surfers have found ways to get their fix.

    Staying in a centuries-old farmhouse

    Our Hospitality Club host happened to live in Kranzberg, a small village north of Munich, in an ancient farmhouse where the bathroom floor sagged and they made their own apple juice. (It was hands down best apple juice I’ve ever tasted, and we must have guzzled close to a dozen bottles during our stay.) Not only was the surrounding interesting, he was a fascinating character himself – an accomplished scientist with a bunch of patents to his name, an artist, a musician, and an extensive traveller.

    kranzberg village architecture

    Biking through the countryside

    Despite a shaky start – I literally haven’t gotten on a bike for over a decade –he let us use his bikes for a day trip, and oh boy. We killed ourselves out there. Riding to secluded lakes for a swim, through forest trails and to nearby Freising took us the better part of a day, and we felt it all over the next day. I literally had bruises on my thighs for a week (a combination of bad technique and a too-big bike, methinks).

    Rolling around in a BMW

    There’s plenty to satisfy gearheads in Munich, not least the BMW Welt (free to visit) and the BMW Museum (not free). You can also rent a BMW, either by the hour, for a day, or overnight – they call it a test drive, but they charge you for the privilege. That said, it’s not a bad price, and if you’re under 25 you won’t be excluded – you just won’t be able to take out the higher powered models. How it works is that you pay by the hour for up to three hours, and beyond that, you won’t pay any extra for the whole day. It’s a wacky way to structure pricing, but it’s a good gimmick. More info and fees here.