A walk into the past

A walk into the past

Travel tales

A walk into the past

Though its history is attached to the unfortunate bygone days, the beautiful city of Munich has a sense of awe and individuality. It has let go of its past and shows off its wealth in all its glory. There are beautiful parks, gardens and outdoor shops selling Bavarian trinkets and of course, anything that’s got to do with beer.

After much rain, somehow my arrival brought in the sun. Gone were the warm clothes and out came the summer shorts and flip flops. The walks through the gardens are calming and the beer gardens are refreshing. Not to mention going for a picnic at the edge of the river Isar. Catching a pint of the best Bavarian brews with a pretzel in hand in a beer garden is simply charming and peaceful.

Soon it was ‘Christopher Street Day’, the day of the gay pride parade. The city centre sees a day-long parade with caravans and buses celebrating and once again, as the Germans do it, it’s time for more beer, food and partying there. Germany, unlike many countries, has few laws against drinking in public spaces.

Not far into the Alps lies the picturesque Königssee lake. This lake, surrounded by towering mountains, has the most beautiful waters that I have ever seen. The water is crystal clear and blue while the surrounding forests are lush green. The contrast makes it look like a painting or a scene straight from a postcard. This is mostly untouched land with no speed boats or heavily commercialised spaces — just a few shops, hunting cabins spread afar and hiking lodges. A small electric boat ride shows all of these sights with a bit of humour, thanks to a tour guide. 

Not far from here is the art and cultural hotspot called Vienna or Wien. This city has much history. The walking tour helps to give one an in depth knowledge of the great minds that once lived here. Surprisingly, Sigmund Freud, Stalin and Hitler have had coffees in the same coffee shops at the same time before hell broke loose in Europe.

Within the city centre lies the Stephansplatz church. This church has been around for ages and has become an iconic symbol of the city. With its beautiful mosaic rooftops and towering steeples, it stands as a mark of human craftsmanship.  Coffee drinking and brewing is an art here and the city is dotted with coffee shops that have been around for a long time. Finding the decorated Wiener Schnitzel was easy. Authentic to Vienna, it tastes best when had with potato salad and a pint of beer. The city has plenty of small restaurants hidden in pockets and streets. They are classy and pricey but worth every bite.

Once upon a time, a river named Wien ran through the city. That’s how the city got its name. Today, it is an underground river and atop it lies the Naschmarkt. ‘Nasch’ means eat and munch and that’s exactly what you do in this mile-long market. Food of all kinds can be found and a lot of free tastings also happen that are enough to fill you up by the end of the walk. Though the city is on the expensive side, it has a culture that one cannot miss. From the beautiful architecture of its opera houses and its galleries to the vast sizes of the city streets and historical coffee shops, it has much to boast of and is worth a visit.

The trip opened my eyes to the history and beauty hidden behind the modern facade of these cities. The places and people will always be an experience worth reciting.

How to get there

I took an Oman Air flight from Bengaluru to Frankfurt. The round trip for one cost Rs 42,000. Then I took a train from Frankfurt to Munich which cost Rs 2,000 and a Flixbus budget bus from Munich to Vienna costing Rs 1,500.

Where to stay

 In Munich, I stayed at The Tent Munich (hostel) which cost Rs 1,000 per night. In Vienna, it was Wombat’s Hostel, which cost Rs 1,500 per night.

Vineet Prasad
(The author can be contacted on osiris.vnt@gmail.com)