Alex beat feet around Munich to find cheap hotels for you. What was that experience like? Find out here as he talks schnitzel, hotel bathrooms, and beer.
1. Favorite hotels.
I found the Hotel Blauer Bock to be utterly fantastic. The rooms are very basic and the staff is friendly. Just walking into the reception area you immediately have the sense that you're in a caring, gemütlich environment. The location is perfect, off the Viktualienmarkt in the center of Munich's Stadtmitte. It's right in the heart of Munich's most distinctive, appealing tourist area.
Creatif Hotel Elephant, in addition to having probably the most fanciful name of a hotel I've ever encountered, is a complete gem. The rooms are simple and light, with white walls and little bursts of color. And the bathrooms are some of the best I've seen in a midrange hotel, with swanky rectangular sinks and spunky tiling.
2. Favorite thing about working in Munich.
I enjoyed exploring some of the areas just beyond the hotel zones around the train station. Munich is full of these little pockets of public parks that are incredibly leafy and inviting.
My least favorite thing about Munich, incidentally, was how little time I had there to explore. I was on a rushed schedule and had to cover a lot of ground quite quickly.
3. What surprised you about Munich?
Very little. I have distant relatives in Munich, and the city was very much as I remembered it from adolescent visits. I suppose I was surprised to see how diverse parts of Munich feel these days.
4. Funny story.
When I visited Hotel Blauer Bock (see above) I was really impressed by how friendly and outgoing the staff is. One guest purchased a beer to take up to her room, and the concierge gave her a bottle-opener to take upstairs with her. So much for supposed Germanic rigidity!
5. City secret.
It's not a secret, but the area around Sendlinger Tor is idyllic, with nice little cafés and restaurants and, of course, the Tor itself. The combination of commercial districts, pedestrian areas, and greenery is really fantastic, and not all that many tourists venture that way.
Favorite local food.
I love to tuck into a schnitzel with a potato or cucumber salad on the side, preferably while drinking a beer. How perfect is a meal like that? Somehow, that sort of meal tastes best in Bavaria. Also wonderful, of course, is the döner kebab, that perfect Turkish-German hybrid fast food. Just €2 and you're full and happy.
6. Highlight of your visit.
I have to say that I really enjoyed having a sustained opportunity to practice my German. Prior to my trip, it had been a while since I'd spoken more than a few words of German in conversation. To speak German nonstop for several work days is a great way to shock the system.