Swiss schools have a three week Fall break that started last weekend. Not only do the kids have off of school, all adult groups also take three weeks off, and even some family run shops are closed while the whole country goes on vacation. So, like all the other Swiss families, we took off for a trip in southern Bavaria. First stop: Munich, Germany.
It is Oktoberfest season in Munich, and we were told it would be crowded and touristy. But, as we have thrown a home-town Oktoberfest party for the past several years, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to the real thing! Amazingly, we found a cute, affordable apartment in the city for the family. We packed up our liederhosen and dirndls and we were ready.
Our apartment was right by a bus stop, so once we were settled in, we hopped on a bus to explore the city. We all got pretty good at navigating the Munich public transportation system, to the point that the kids knew which U-Bahn (subway) stops we got off at to make our transfers and when to push the button on the bus to let the driver know we wanted to get off. The first night we went to the Odeonsplatz, a pretty and posh area of the old city. We ate dinner in an outdoor café and reacquainted ourselves with wonderful German food. Then we walked down Theatinerstrasse to the Marienplatz, Munich’s famous central square, to show the kids the major landmarks of the city.
In the mornings, we took the kids to some less crowded, more peaceful areas of Munich. We walked through a small part of the huge Englischer Garten where we watched surfers on the Eisbach river, talked to the ducks by the Japanese Tea House, and ate lunch at the beer garden by the Chinese Tower. The next morning, we went to Max Weber Platz, which is another nice park by the Isar river, where we found a spielplatz and just played with other local families. After working up an appetite, we went to the Augustiner Keller for lunch. It is Joe’s favorite place on the planet. This was his third visit, but his first time eating outside in the beer garden, and he said being there “made his soul feel good.”
Tuesday afternoon we took the family to Oktoberfest. We got all dressed up and headed over to the festival grounds on a very crowded train full of people wearing trachten. In fact, this is probably the one place you actually look out of place if you aren’t wearing liederhosen or a dirndl. At the festival, we bought the kids the traditional heart-shaped gingerbread cookie necklaces to wear, which they promptly ate. We rode on many rides,including the large ferris wheel, the haunted roller coaster, the little train (for Henry), and the grand finale –
– the swings that spun and rose up several stories in the air. Everyone had a good time, though for being a beer festival, we didn’t have a single beer. But not to worry, we fixed that later.
We got a lot of great pictures in Munich. Check out the gallery here.