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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Berlin, Prague, Munich by cameragrrrl on 16 December 2006 7:05pm
I am traveling with a friend to Berlin, Prague, and Munich -- first time to all three places, for both of us.

We will be there from Christmas through early January, spending a few days in each city.

Any suggested itineraries? Best-of sites? Off-the-beaten-path nooks and crannies? Good, cheap places to eat?

Appreciate it! :)
Re: Berlin, Prague, Munich by tucsonmike on 17 December 2006 6:40am
My friend just went to Berlin, which they loved and found very cosmopolitan.

I can speak for Prague. My favorite places are the famous clock and Wenseclas Square. The best restaurants were the pizza places I found. There are places where Kafka Mozart and Einstein lived. Kafkas was a bookstore.

Do you know where you are staying? It will be cold though. I don't venture out of my desert at this time of year.
Re: Berlin, Prague, Munich by cameragrrrl on 19 December 2006 12:25am
We are staying at hostels in all three cities (The CityStay in Berlin, the Apple in Prague, and the Euro Youth Hotel in Munich)...nothing special, but we couldn't afford anything fancier and they are all well located.

Luckily, we are meeting a friend, a sort of ex-pat American who has lived in Prague for 7 years so he can show us around. I hope we can find something better than pizza -- we got plenty of that here in Brooklyn! :)

I want to eat something hearty, covered in a thick and mysterious sauce, and of course totally unpronouncable, lol.
Re: Berlin, Prague, Munich by tucsonmike on 19 December 2006 6:31am
Thats right, I forgot, you are from my home neighborhood. New York has the best pizza in the world. Czech food is heavy. You can't go swimming for a while after it. At least you have someone taking you around. We did as well. A friend of my fathers. Prof. Otto Exner. He was a great tourguide to his beloved city. In 1999, he was 74 years old, we were told when we stayed with my Dads other friends, he was going blind, hated the sights etc. No way, he was in better shape than I was! Me, the former jock. It was embarrasing!
Re: Berlin, Prague, Munich by MarcoP on 19 December 2006 11:02am
I've been only to Munich, and honestly I didn't enjoy it much. I found the city centre nice-ish, but that's it.
I ate beautiful sausages in a restaurant in the central square, though, and it was pretty cheap, but that was 10 years ago. I've been there again in 2001, and had pretty much the same impression: am enjoyable city, but not many sights and things.
The only remarkable thing I can recall is the huge clock in the central square (I think it is on the cathedral), with plenty of moving figures and stuff.
Then, I may have just had a bad guide...
Re: Berlin, Prague, Munich by peripatetically on 19 December 2006 2:29pm
Marco, how can you not enjoy Munchen? OMG!!!! It's a wonderful town. And no, the Glockenspiel is not on a church--- it is the town hall (rathaus).

I don't know your age, cameragrrrl, but I was there in my mid 20's and many times after that. I found Munchen delightful in every way. Of course, it has been about 10 yrs. since my most recent visit. Wintertime might not be the best time to go. The flower boxes aren't in bloom and that creates so much charm that you won't find during the winter. But still, if you know your history (brush up on the 1800's and back and WWII) you should find it a fabulous treasure.

Also, the Alte Pinokotek Museum is a jewel for art. It's small and covers all eras of art through the ages. Sort of a little chronological history of some fantastic works. The Ruebens fascinated me for hours as I sat and stared at the cherubs and grape garlands. I think that's an amazing time in Ruebens' career.

The Asamkirche is a great , off the beaten track, roccoco church, just south off the Marienplatz, the main pedestrian square. It's a bit of a walk, but doable and I think anyone could direct you. I forgeot the street, but it eventually becomes narrow. It's connected to the adjacent bldgs., so you could easily miss finding it if you aren't careful. It's interior is all the things you normaly find in roccoco architecture, but the marble is black, not white. And it's a very small church. I found the walk there to be quite worth the extra time.

Visit the Vitkualsmarkt near St. Peter's church, just east of the main part of town. it's very very close. There's a maypole depicting all the trades of the people who live in Munchen and also some other statuary with folkloric history (Washerwoman)

Also close, is the fabulous delicatessen called Dallmayer's. It's gorgeous and has most unusual interor and merchanidise. It's worth a stroll through. Pick up some luscious chocolates to eat along the way. It's a few short blocks off the square too, with a little park across the street. (Very little park)

In the basement of Michaelskirche is the tomb of King Ludwig II, the crazy king of Bavaria. He's the one who built all the castles and spent the country's fortune while the people starved and suffered....This is not the usual fancy tomb you might find, but a dark dingy place with other royal tombs and a few other things you will find interesting. It's not well-known and the entrance is a small staircase inside the church that many might not see. It's off to the side of the church,inside. It's like a dark basesment, very gloomy and has much flavor.

If you want some good food and lots of atmosphere, try any beer stube. They are everywhere on the Marienplatz and along the side streets of the pedestrain area. The Augustinerkeller is a lot of fun, large. On warm days the back courtyward is open with umbrella tables and mosaics and fresco paintings, a fountain, which you might wish to see even if you aren't allowed there to eat in winter. Many places allow you to buy their beer glassware for souvenirs too. Ask your waiter!

In the building next to , and across the walkway , from the Glockenspiel (to the left as you face it) is a nice restaurant upstairs!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, get a window and watch the people and hear the glockenspiel play at 11a.m. daily. Be sure to get there on time!!!!!!!!!!!! Or if you aren't hungry yet, just be there to see and hear it. It also plays in the afternoon, maybe at 5. Not sure.

If you enjoy nature and walking, go to the English Gardens. There are long paths that meander through beautiful silvan scenery and over creeks for a long distance through the city. There is a carousel, a chinese turm(tower) and biergartens and restaurants, a lake and boat house. Again, summer is the best time, but it's still lovely anytime and you can ride bicycles there too. You might need to rent them elsewhere though. I'm not sure they have rentals within the park.

One of the most prominent churches in the skyline is not the most beautiful inside. But it's still worth a look. You'll know it when you see it.

Also, in one of the churches, there is a coffin with the relics of a saint or cardinal of the church (never got the story straight). A skeleton is bejeweled all along it's bones with precious stones and even in the eye sockets. It's a startling image at first. Enter the church, and see the fantastic stained glass windows and on each side are smaller altars surrounded by wrought iron work. Within these works is the relic. I'm not sure which church it is anymore. There was a day I could recall all the details, but it's been so long since I have even looked at those pictures. I used to do that a millon times a year, but now I have many more travel pics and don't get to the older ones as often. hahahaha. Anyway, the church is in the main part of the town and all I've mentioned is within walking distance.

If I have a chance during this busy season and can find the information, I'll post more stuff. But you are only there a couple days, so maybe that's enough!!!

OH!!!! The oldest bierkeller in Munich (or Germany, I can't remember now) is located on a street south of the pedestrian area A block or two over). It's a fun place to see and has good food, not expensive. Not well known, believe it or not. Darn, wish I could remember it's name. At least you could say you were in the oldest !!!!!

And if you are a sports fan of any kind, the '72 Olympic grounds are on the outskirts. The pool where USA's Mark Spitz won a record 7 gold medals is there with plaques denoting that. The Olympic Tower can give you a good view of the city too. Of course, the event was marred by the tragedy of terrorists when the Israeli team was slaughtered. The apt. building where they stayed stood for many years but nobody wanted to rent or live there, so I beleive it was eventually demolished, which is probably a good thing.

There is a grassy hill which is filled with rubble from the town during WW II. What you might want to do is take a day tour, or at least a half day tour. It's well worth getting your bearings that way.

Have fun. Hope you have time to do some of my suggestions. Let me know how it was when you return. Wish I was more help though.


Re: Berlin, Prague, Munich by MarcoP on 20 December 2006 9:51am
'ere you go. Thanks Patty! I just had a VERY bad guide.
And I was actually debated whether the Glockenspiel was on a cathedral or on the Rathaus, then I went for the wrong one :P
Re: Berlin, Prague, Munich by julwis on 21 December 2006 4:00pm
If its any use, I have a site about a trip to Berlin at http://uk.geocities.com/julwis_uk/Berlin/Berlin.htm

I was only there for a day so cant recommend any hotels. Havent been to Munich or Prague yet so cant offer any suggestions. Have fun!
Re: Berlin, Prague, Munich by cameragrrrl on 6 February 2007 10:37pm
Thanks for all the insight. I had a great time. Berlin was amazing. I found Prague to be a bit too...well, touristy (but picturesque, nonetheless).

Munich was weird -- it seems like all people do there is SHOP all the time (and I thought NY was bad, lol)! The city center is beautiful, but I couldn't help noticing 2 or more H&Ms, Marks and Spencers, Fover 18s, etc within a 5 block stretch...it just didn't seem to mesh well with the old buildings. And not a single street level cafe for people watching right near the Rathaus/Glockenspiel, seemed like the city planners could have gotten rid of one of the H&Ms, at least :)

I also went to Dachau....very haunting...

Anyway, take a look at some pics on my site (there are not all from Germany or Czech Republic), let me know what you think:

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