How to rock a layover in Munich, with or without marital aids

On the way to Georgia this May we had a 8 hour layover in Munich.  Hot diggety dog—a layover in Munich!  A chance to see Munich seemed like a special treat, since, even though we’d transferred at Munich Airport a dozen or more times, we’d never actually visited the city itself.

In anticipation of our layover visit, we broke one of our all time sacred traveling rules: we checked our bags.  Of course it made sense not to attempt to sprint from Munich’s airport and back wearing our backpacks.  HOB, however, practically had a stroke at the check in counter, worrying that he’d never see his stuff again.

hob

This fellow, from Munich’s New Town Hall, accurately replicates HOB’s facial expression as he watched his backback slide out of site on the conveyer belt at O’Hare airport.

Our flight to Munich was delayed an hour, but fortunately I’d purchased our transit in advance, so we hit the ground running.  You can buy a day pass for the entire Munich transportation network online for 23.20, a remarkably good deal since it can be shared by a group of 5 adults and 10 children.  There are two S-Bahn (suburban trains) connecting the airport to the city center.  Every 10 minutes an “S1” or “S8” line departs from the station between terminals 1 and 2 and arrives in Marienplatz around 45 minutes later.

The first thing we did after emerging from the train was find food.

eats

A quick stop at Vinzenzmurr, a Munich chain serving prepared hot food, was just perfect.  We filled up for €3 each and then stopped in the supermarket inside the Karstadt department store for groceries to get us through the next leg of our trip.

Now, time to see Munich!  Back in Chicago, I had checked one of my favorite guide books out of the library and photocopied a walking tour of central Munich, but when I looked for it in my day pack it was missing.  (Cue sad trombone).  While I never found out what happened to that walking tour, I did have a brochure from the tourist office, so we cobbled together our own tour of nearby sites.

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Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) is tourist ground zero.

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HOB, pretending to look around but really worrying about his checked luggage.

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We stopped in the Frauenkirche, but I promise we did not violate any rules.  (By the way, congrats to Munich for having the only rules signs with an up-to-date image of a cell phone).

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Of course we did not overlook the farmer’s market, where I was delighted to see Spargelzeit (white asparagus season) was in high gear.

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Maypole at the market.

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Almost time to go back to the airport, full of questions:

  1. What do people in Munich have against fedoras?
  2. And Scotty dogs?
  3. Who eats ice cream with a knife and fork?
  4. Remember what I just said about Munich’s signs having up-to date depictions of cell phones?  I take that back.

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We followed the man with bad posture down to the S-Bahn, where we promptly caught a train….in the wrong direction.  A helpful resident saved us from missing our flight by gently suggesting we were going the wrong way.  Danke schön nameless rescuer of hapless Americans!

Are you planning a layover in Munich?  Well, you’re in luck, because Germans make everything easy for travelers.  In fact, Munich has a website just for layovers.  I also highly recommend the website Sleeping in Airports, which has loads of helpful information about getting to and from Munich airport.  It’s a great idea to photocopy a guide book walking tour, that is, if you don’t lose it.  Oh, and be conservative about your travel times, since you might just get on a train going in the wrong direction.  A layover visit on the way into the USA is dicey—there’s extra security for inbound flights and you’ll need to a lot more time to get to your gate.

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Finally, there’s plenty to do inside Munich airport, the most visitor friendly airport in existence.  In fact, if the need strikes, you can purchase these marital aids inside the men’s room.  (HOB has been telling me about these products every time we have a layover in Munich.  After vigorous protestations on his part about how sketchy it is to take a picture in a public restroom, HOB finally snapped this photo for me).  Makes you look at the shape of those white asparagus in a whole new light. ‘eh?

P.S.  On arrival in Tbilisi we were united with our backpacks just fine since we were flying Lufthansa, my favorite airline.  Germans just don’t mess this stuff up.

 

 

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13 comments

  1. Munich is a wonderful city. Easy to get around and so much to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder what it would be like to live in a place where everything just works so well?

      Like

  2. Right, for years I considered Amsterdam a mere transit point until I finally spent a week there and was hooked. Munich is worth a LONG layover. Amazingly, I recently spent a weekend in Frankfurt, previously one of my least favorite cities for a layover. All the museums are neatly lined up along the river and they are great–not huge, but they have excellent stuff in a variety of interesting buildings. And recently we have treated ourselves to checking our (small) bags for the trip home. If luggage is delayed, it won’t ruin the trip. If lost, we still had the trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Frankfurt has outstanding infrastructure—can you believe it only takes something like 11 minutes to get from the airport to the train station? I really enjoyed the museum row as well. Kudos to the city of Frankfurt for dedicating so much of it’s budget to the arts!

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  3. You wonder what it would be like to live in a place like Munich? Very expensive. I think it’s a fun city for travelling, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
    Anyway, I’m glad you had a good time in Munich and I’m very happy to hear that Lufthansa didn’t lose your luggage. Now that I think about all those times my luggage has gotten lost, it was never Lufthansa who messed it up. Though to be fair, United didn’t have a chance of transporting our luggage to the next plane when we only had 40 minutes in New York and spent 30 of those going through customs (which left ten minutes to bring the luggage from the drop off point to the point – I wasn’t surprised when we didn’t see our backpacks at our final destination).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point—having a fantasy about living somewhere must include the fantasy of having enough money to live there too. 😉

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  4. I don’t think I would be brave enough to leave the airport, I would spend the whole time worrying about missing the plane. It looks like you squeezed a lot in though, it must be satisfying to have gained a whole extra day of your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was like a “Buy one, get one free” vacation.

      Even if you don’t leave on the layover, there’s lots of stuff to do at the airport. We saw a mini museum of clocks and timekeepers and then we had fun looking at the nap cabs and pay showers. Munich airport actually has a little supermarket too—it’s the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have always wanted to eat spargel in Germany but normally don’t travel in May or June, unfortunately…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure why but I find it so hilarious how excited Germans are about the white asparagus. We had some on our last trip and it was quite tasty!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Did you? and was it? I wish I could get excited with Germans 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Having just spent a 3 hour layover in Munich airport I can certify that
    1) They have sleeping cabins available near some of the gates
    2) There is free coffee in gate H and probably also G
    3) There is good free wifi everywhere
    4) You cannot get asparagus in the airport

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t get me started on the free coffee and wifi–it’s just so classy!

      Like

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