My first impression when I landed in Frankfurt, Germany was simultaneously how impressive the airport architecture was, as well as how disarmingly good-looking the German men were. I had to go through passport control before heading to my gate to my connecting flight and perhaps it was the Polizia uniforms, but yes. More, please. Munich men, unfortunately, not so much.
Travel tip: When leaving Franz Josef Strauss Airport in Munich, all of the terminals link to the S-Bahn. You can take either S-1 or S-8 to get to Hauptbahnhof (central station) where you can easily transfer to the U-Bahn. The S-8 is 5-6 minutes faster but get on whichever train arrives first if Hauptbahnhof is where you want to transfer.
The flight from Frankfurt to Munich was only a half hour or so but by the time I landed I was exhausted from 11 hours of traveling and it was now 1:00 am back home. After meeting my friend we decided to forego a cab to the hotel and take the S-Bahn as I wanted to get a look at the German countryside. The funny thing about Munich is that it’s almost exactly as you would imagine it to be. We passed green pastures dotted with yellow flowers, slowly pulled into and out of the quaint stations along the tracks, and rolled through sleepy towns that ended in -schleißheim. The scenery through the train car window was familiarly comforting.
We ended up hailing a taxi from Hauptbahnhof, the main central station, but could have easily taken the U-Bahn (Munich’s underground railway system) to our hotel, which was only 8 stops away. The transit system in Munich is incredibly well organized and easy to use, and the ticket machines offer multiple language options so you don’t have to deal with the anxiety of, well, not being able to read or understand German.
After dropping off our bags at our hotel we had a Bavarian breakfast of smoked salmon on greens, eggs, hash browns, and a basket of bread along with a glass of Rosé. The Rosé was a nice touch. I really should start off every breakfast with a glass.
After checking into our room and a quick nap we ventured out and started exploring the city. We had both (naturally) researched Korean restaurants before our trip so we went to the one with the best reviews. Korean restaurants in foreign countries are always interesting because they’re all different but entirely the same, down to the very Chinese-influenced decorations. The majority of my travels through the world have been with my family arranged through Korean travel agencies, which meant stopping at least once at a Korean restaurant (often the only one for miles). Old school Koreans (my father included) are notoriously picky eaters. The fare is always the same on these tours: bulgogi (grilled marinated beef), giant vats of jjigae (stew), and a variety of banchan (side dishes).
Kim’s is a small restaurant run by a small Korean woman, and while the place was virtually empty when we stepped in, by the time we left the entire place was filled with local Germans. Kim’s offers traditional Korean fare you would expect to find at a typical Korean restaurant from meat dishes to soups. We ordered a seafood pajun (pancake), my friend ordered bulgogi, and I ordered the soondubu (tofu soup), along with an ice cold glass of beer for each of us.
The seafood pajun had teeny pieces of seafood in it and it was mostly fried batter but it was crispy and delicious, and the weather was rainy when we landed so my warm stew definitely hit the spot. All in all, the food wasn't anything extraordinary but surprisingly adequate. I know that doesn’t sound particularly favorable but you can’t have high expectations for Korean food when you’re in a city or country with a very low Korean population so you learn to adjust your expectations. So 'adequate’ is actually a compliment.
After dinner we went searching for a beer garden as we are in Munich, after all. Bavaria’s beer gardens date back to over 200 years and there are more than 180 beer gardens of varying sizes in and around Munich. A great feature about Munich’s beer gardens is that you’re allowed to bring your own food as long as you purchase drinks. This dates back to 1812 when King Max Joseph I wanted to allow all citizens, even those who couldn’t afford to purchase the food, to enjoy the gardens. We decided to skip the famous Hofbräuhaus as it seemed too touristy for us and instead went to Augustiner Keller, which has been around since 1812. With about 5,000 seats it's the third largest beer garden in Munich. The service was terrible as I’ve found most German places to be but the beer was fucking delicious. I’ve never been a fan of beer but beer in Munich is liquid gold.
It was an incredibly lovely day and I'm excited to see what adventures await me. Tomorrow brings castles which I'm really looking forward to.
Gute Nacht and Auf Wiedersehen!