Czechmates For Life: Prague

Czechmates For Life: Prague

 

The last time I was in Prague 19 years ago, I was 11 years old. 

 

 

And I haven’t been back since. So does it count if I really don’t remember anything but this photo? NO IT DOESN’T.

 

 

Last month, when 7-time monsooner (Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait!) Ann Wen found out she had more days off than expected and asked me to extend my travels, the convenient thing was to ask her to join me in Fiji since I was already in the area. Of course, being based in NYC she balked so we had to find a compromise…where could we meet in the middle? And if she’s never let me down on past trips, how could I?

After finding ridiculously cheap flights from Fiji to Prague via layovers in Auckland, Shanghai, and Xi’an, it was meant to be. Prague was happening. 

15 more people signed up within 2 weeks, and then Ann recruited a random stranger she met at the airport on the way to Prague: a medical student from Kazakhstan studying in Prague named Aia. Another monsoon was forming.

For “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

 

 

And nearly 2 decades later, I was back in one of my first European cities: Prague.

 

 

After 3 weeks island hopping in the Pacific and the least visited countries in the world, I took off from Suva for a 3 hour flight to Auckland (on almost the one year anniversary I was last there!) where I had a few hours to transit to a 17 hour Emirates flight to Dubai, and then a few more hours there before finally getting on a 7 hour Emirates flight to Prague. And right after disembarking and stamping into the EU, I hailed an Uber for a 25 minute ride into the city to meet up with the rest of the monsooners at a pre-reserved lunch at Terasa U Prince.

 

 

It’s known for having one of the best rooftop views in the world for lunch, although I don’t know which governing body would determine that.

 

 

After lunch and introductions, we returned back to our hostel and immediately hit the ground running in monsooning Prague.

There are sights everywhere; right outside our hostel grows a little statue called Embryo. Designed by Czech sculptor David Černý, it was created as his statement about the difficulty of creating art in an unimaginative world

 

 

A few paces east we found Man Hanging Out, aka “Zavěšený muž”: Černý’s statue of a dangling Sigmud Freud as a critical statement about intellectualism in the 20th century.

 

 

About 5 minutes away south we walked by the Velvet Revolution Memorial, which commemorates November 17, 1989, the date that changed the Czech Republic forever.

 

 

It was that date when a crowd of students marched towards Wenceslas Square from Vyšehrad to demonstrate against the one-party rule of Communism, as well as to celebrate the anniversary of a similar student demonstration against Nazi occupation 50 years ago. After being met with fierce resistance by riot police, the students’ numbers swelled from 50,000 to 200,000 within days, leading to the eventual fall of Communist Czechoslovakia.

Across the street is popular Café Louvre, where we grabbed breakfast on our 2nd day.

 

 

And if we hadn’t had enough memorials and monuments, A few paces more east is the fittingly enigmatic and constantly shifting Head of Franz Kafka:

 

 

We then walked 10 minutes more south, passing by the birthplace of Kafka (thanks Jommel for pointing it out!)

 

 

. . . to the National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror.

 

 

After assassinating SS-Obergrupenführer Reinhard Heydrich in the Operation Anthropoid, 7 brave Czech paratroopers escaped to this basement crypt and over the course of 20 days killed 700 Nazis before they ran out of ammunition and killed themselves.

 

 

And next door to the memorial we had to take obligatory photos with Dancing House, the famously curvy office building designed by architect Frank Gehry.

 

 

Get creative here!

 

 

We then headed back north, passing by the Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc memorial, which marks the site where Jan Palach immolated himself in 1969, followed a week later by his friend Jan Zajíc, in protest of the Soviet invasion of Prague.

 

 

10 minutes more north you’ll reach hit the eastern edge of Old Town at the Basilica of St. James, which is known for its art-filled baroque interior, as well as a 400-year old shriveled mummified hand of a thief dangling from a chain (having served as a warning to other kleptomaniacs).

 

spot the hand?

 

And from there we entered the gorgeous Old Town Main Square.

 

 

We made sure not to miss the Prague Meridian, which was used like a sundial to tell time back in the day.

 

 

And in the spirit of telling time, the creme de la creme would be the Prague Astronomical Clock. Installed in 1410, this gem exists as the 3rd oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still in operation.

 

 

Legend has it that its creator was forcibly blinded by the Prague Council in order to prevent him from making similar clocks for other nations. In response, he committed suicide by throwing himself into the clocks’ gears, hence placing a curse on anyone who attempted to repair the clock in the future.

Then we walked north to Josefov, the former Jewish ghetto. Once you pass by another odd Memorial sculpture to Kafka, you’re at the eastern edge of the former ghetto.

 

 

We first visited The Old-New Synagogue, Europe’s oldest synagogue and Prague’s first building of Gothic design when it was completed in 1270. More famously, however, it is the reported legendary home of the Golem of Prague (that’s who that ladder on the outside is for!)

 

 

Next door we looked for the photogenic Old Jewish Cemetery, which houses over 12,000 tombstones of bodies up to 6 layers deep!

 

 

Leaving Josev to the south, we stopped in the Municipal Library of Prague, which features the “Idiom” installation: A literally literary (get it? hah!) tower that appears to stretch into infinity.

 

 

We then crossed the street to sneak into Prague City Hall, which is home to one of the world’s only Paternoster elevator, aka the elevator that never stops! Accessible after 10:00 Monday to Friday, we went through the huge doors on the front of the building, and then headed to either left or right to get around to the other end of the building where the lift is.

 

 

From the ground floor it goes up 4 floors but then it keeps going…I mean  you can stay on the lift after it passes the last stop but only If you dare…

 

 

… you really can’t say you’ve ridden a Paternoster unless you’ve gone over the top and around the bottom!

 

Then the sight that all tourists who come to Prague for: We finally crossed The Charles Bridge, Prague’s landmark stone bridge that links Old & New Towns.

 

 

Be careful of your stuff here! This is where Joanne got pickpocketed, losing both her wallet and green card! However, luckily she was able to get an emergency re-entry permit from the U.S. consulate within 24 hours despite the current shutdown.

 

 

When we approached New Town, we made a quick left for the John Lennon Wall.

 

 

We then made an about-face north and passed the narrowest street of Prague to our right, built originally as an emergency fire exit.

 

 

Steps away we had a laugh at Piss Sculpture, also designed by aforementioned David Černý, which features 2 statues that will piss out actual messages that you can text to +420 724 370 770

 

 

Then we walked over to St. Nicholas Church, a structure that took over a century & 3 generations of architects to complete when it was finished in the 1850s.

 

 

We then walked 5 minutes south to the Church of Our Lady Victorious and The Infant Jesus of Prague, open late and famous for its statue of infant Jesus and its constantly rotating wardrobe throughout the year. According to Jommel, this was the statue that inspired the spread of Christianity through The Philippines.

 

 

Finally we walked uphill to Prague Castle, the symbol of the city and the holder of The Guinness Book Of World Records title for being the largest ancient castle complex in the world at 70,000 sq. meters (750,000 sq. feet) and the official office of the President.

 

 

The group then split, with a third staying at the Prague Castle for the numerous art galleries and other exhibits, while the rest headed west to Loreto Prague just to take a gander at the peculiar Statue of St. Wilgefortis, a bearded female saint. We sang our heart out karaoke style to “I Want It That Way” here.

 

 

They also have a treasury on the 2nd floor, of which in their collection the most famous being the 6222-diamond encrusted monstrance, the Prague Sun:

 

 

Then we walked up to Petrin Tower, a 378m cast-iron tower that was built to be taller than the Eiffel Tower in 1892, featuring a deck for city views.

 

 

We paid for the elevator up just in time for sunset.

 

 

Then as we headed out of the park back towards the direction of old town, we sauntered past an equally sauntering Monument of Karel Hynek Mácha.

 

 

As we exited, we took pause at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, which commemorates all the political prisoners jailed during Communist rule.

 

 

That’s pretty much most of central Prague, all of which can be done in 10-12 hours over the course of 2 days!

 

 

For our third and free day, some of us caught on the latest trip gossip over a lazy brunch at Café Savoy,

 

 

. . . with others checking out the weirdness of the Kafka Museum:

 

 

Later in the afternoon, some chilled out at one of the handful of beer spas in the city.

 

 

…and there was a lot of socializing at our gorgeous rooftop maisonettes at Old Prague House:

 

 

And what would a monsoon be without group dinners and drinks at some fine establishments? On our first night we pregamed at Hookah Place next to our hostel.

 

 

And then across the street at 5-story Karozy Lane — aka the largest nightclub in Central Europe — we were able to turn this:

 

 

. . . into this:

 

 

And finally we celebrated Katy’s birthday at Mlynec!

 

 

What To Eat In Prague

 

Open faced sandwiches at The Sisters Bistro:

 

 

Next door is Lukásskálacukrár for sumptuous Czech pastries:

 

 

They can be generous with free samples!

 

 

And don’t leave without trying the Pork Knuckle

 

 

 

- At time of posting in Prague, Czechia, it was n/a - Humidity: 86% | Wind Speed: 6km/hr | Cloud Cover: snowy

 

Happy Thans-Kiev-ing!

Happy Thans-Kiev-ing!

 

Thanks Fanny for the pun of a title!

I realized that whenever people ask for advice for what to see in Kiev and I look through my blog to rev up my memory again, all I have on Kiev is a crazy night out that began at the infamous Palata no. 6 (aka Hospital Bar), and nothing on what to actually see.

 

6 years ago in Kiev:

 

And we returned to Kiev today after a week in Armenia for an extended layover, I understood nostalgia and traditions are hard to quit.

Today in Kiev:

There’s been a few more tricks up their sleeves since then:

And yes, we even returned to Sorry, Babushka! afterwards.

 

 

But we also saw things this time! And when Ukraine International Airlines e-mailed me to say that our final flight home from Kiev to NYC would be delayed a whopping 8 hours, that left us with plenty of time to explore Kiev the next morning sober. 

Let’s begin — (Some of these photos are credited to Mihaela, who arrived in Kiev on an earlier flight than the rest of us)

 

 

From our hostel, we started at Andriyivsky Uzviz (Андріївський узвіз) or Andrew’s Descent, a steep but charming cobblestone path lined with souvenir sellers, art galleries, coffee shops, restaurants and museums.

 

 

The descent’s official start is at Saint Andrew’s Church, and it ends at Kontraktova Ploshcha in Podil.

 

 

From Saint Andrew’s we walked 10 minutes over to St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Kiev’s oldest church dating back to the 11th century and now a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts the world’s largest ensemble of frescoes and mosaics. 

Admission fee is 60 UAH.

 

 

For an extra fee you can climb up the bell tower for these views:

 

 

We then walked 5 minutes over to Golden Gate, which is a 1982 reconstruction of the Golden Gate of Kyiv, which was immortalized in Mussorgski’s “Pictures of an Exhibition.”

 

 

Afterwards we turned onto Kreschatyk Street, the main path of Kiev’s center, where we took advantage of it being closed on weekends for pedestrians.

 

 

This street would then lead us to Independence Square or Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності), which as I recall was also where we scrambled around for an hour thinking that we missed our bus to Chernobyl 6 years ago. 

More importantly though, it is Kiev’s central meeting place as well as the site where people camped for weeks on end during the Orange Revolution in 2004 that led to the election of Yushchenko and the violet crackdowns of the 2014 Ukranian revolution that led to the ousting of President Yanukovych.

 

 

You can take a small set of stairs above the mall for elevated views:

 

 

Nearby is a tribute composed of scattered bricks to the 113 of those who died during the 2014 Revolution.

 

 

We then walked to Globus Mall for dinner at Ostannya Barykada, a famous speakeasy restaurant devoted to purely Ukrainian cuisine.

 

 

You have to find the dedicated entrance first:

 

 

Then take an elevator to a hidden floor:

 

 

Grab a few drinks at the simple bar and give this password in Ukrainian: Boritesya i poborete! (Fight and you will win!)

 

 

Once your table is ready, head through a hidden entrance inside the walls:

 

 

And eat, eat, eat away. Our recommended dishes were the goat, steaks (big cuts for $10 USD!), catfish, black pudding (pork blood), and borscht.

 

 

After a filling dinner we walked about 8 minutes to St. Michael’s Monastery, which is an active monastery that dates back to the 12th century.

 

 

If you’re still up for a longer walk, head 20 minutes south to Friendship of Nations Arch where you can get great views of northern Kiev.

 

 

From there you can walk into a pleasant park beginning with Park Bridge:

 

 

Right at the end of the park is 140 year old Mariyinsky Palace, which was designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who is also famous for designing the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg.

 

 

Walk another 25 minutes south to reach the Holodomor Holocaust Memorial and its underground exhibit in the park.

 

 

A few more paces south from the memorial will be the entrance to Kiev Pechersk Lavra, one of Ukraine’s oldest monasteries. Dug out by hermit priests, these cave monasteries are still intact today for visiting, where pilgrims and tourists alike can venture to see their mummified remains.

 

 

Finally, at the southern end of your walk will be The Motherland Monument, adorned by scores of military vehicles and classic Soviet-era memorial statuary dedicated to the sacrifices Kiev made during World War II.

 

 

And the motherland statue itself looks much larger in real life. Of note, the design on her shield is the only example of a Soviet hammer & sickle insignia allowed in Ukraine.

 

 

This whole walking tour took about 4-5 hours, after which we returned back to our hostel to pick up our bags and headed to the airport for our return flight home.

 

 

Perhaps because it’s my birthday tomorrow or Thanksgiving Day is in 2 days, I gotta say when this group first spontaneously formed a few weeks ago I remember not being able to help myself but have this gut feeling I would be traveling with and getting to know a solid bunch of special, amazing, funny, mature, and down-to-earth people. I didn’t know why; except for Mihaela, I never traveled with any of them before. While I tried hard not to overhype expectations, my expectations instead would be exceeded. By being themselves and coming on this trip with me, they gave me one of the best birthday presents I could ask for.

I’m already finding myself missing everyone before the trip even has ended, and I’m beginning to feel this sense of bittersweetness that because there are so many moving parts in this thing called life, these 4 people may never travel together with me all at once like this again.

I hope the universe may one day prove me wrong. Thank you for an amazing 9 days. Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

- At time of posting in Kiev, Ukraine, it was 5 °C - Humidity: 72% | Wind Speed: 6km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear

 

I Ain’t Nara Scurred!

I Ain’t Nara Scurred!

 

Although Nara was not part of our original itinerary, I decided to add this beautiful little city at the last minute after seeing a possible route through there from Osaka to Kyoto. 

Nara has the largest number of buildings designated National Treasures in Japan as well as being famous for its mercenary deer who wander the streets with abandon in and around Nara Park.

 

 

Beginning with an early morning, we headed out from our hostel in Osaka and took the Hanshin-Namba Line from Sakuragawa Station on Hanshin-Namba Line to Kintetsu-Nara Station. It’s been raining heavily throughout from Osaka to Nara so we’ve been donning our umbrellas and braving the elements the entire day.

We arrived in Nara at around 8:30am where we stored our larger backpacks at the station coin lockers. From there, we walked over to Kofukuji, a temple complex that used to compete for world’s tallest pagoda.

 

 

If it’s worth it to you, for 700¥ you can enter the small National Treasure Museum here to get a glimpse of the legendary 3-faced statue of Ashura:

 

 

We then walked about 15 minutes over to the entrances to both Isuien Garden and Yoshiki-en Garden, which are right next to each other.

 

 

Isuien costs about 900¥ to enter whereas Yoshiki-en is free. Do both or just one; it depends on your love for well manicured Japanese gardens.

 

 

After about 20 minutes exploring, we sauntered over to Todaiji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss its immense front gate, Nandai-mon, that’s guarded by an army of hungry deer.

 

 

Todaji is home to Daibutsu-den, the world’s largest wooden building.

 

 

And inside Daibutsu-den is Daibutsu itself, Japan’s second largest Buddha statue (and one of the largest in the world) at 15m tall. It costs 600¥ to enter.

 

 

Find a particular column to the back of Daibutsu-den before you reach the gift stalls: there’s a hole at the bottom of this column where they say enlightenment is promised to you if you can crawl through it completely.

 

 

 

To the right of the entrance to Daibutsu-den is a statue of the Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine and healing. They say touching a part of this Buddha and then a part of your body should heal any ailment in that area.

 

 

After about 4 hours walking around Nara, we were having enough of getting soaked by the rain so we returned to Kintetsu-Nara Station and took the Kyoto-bound train 3 stops (about 41 minutes) to Takeda Station. We then transferred to a Kyoto subway train that was waiting across the platform where we rode for 6 stops (about 10 minutes) before reaching Shinjo Station.

Our accommodations at GRIDS Hotel & Hostel was about an 8 minute walk away where we were able to score an early check-in at 2pm.

Time to enjoy the next 3 days in Kyoto!

 

 

- At time of posting in Nara, Japan, it was 30 °C - Humidity: 76% | Wind Speed: 6km/hr | Cloud Cover: heavy rain

 

Turks & Paridisos

Turks & Paridisos

 

 

I’m a simple man: I see 3 days off, I find cheap flights, I go. And this weekend, I go to Turks & Caicos.

A British Overseas territory in the Caribbean that ironically uses the American Dollar, Turks & Caicos oversees a distribution of 40 islands and cays — 12 of which are inhabited — spanning 37 miles long and is a hotspot for weekend getaways and honeymooners from mostly the USA East Coast (I swear everyone I met here is from New York).

After my overnight 10pm-8am shift in the Jacobi Pediatrics ED, I headed to JFK with my bags and caught a 10:33am JetBlue direct flight to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos’ most populated island.

 

 

I landed at 2:30pm where my AirBnB hostess, Morgan, sent over a $25 cab to pick me up.

 

 

I then settled into my digs by Turtle Cove

 

 

…and spent the next 2 days doing literally whatever, for which this place is perfect.

This included an obligatory stroll along the main tourist hub of Grace Bay Road

 

 

Doing some work at the most charming café at LMN 2 Go:

 

 

Morning yoga at Beach Enclave with Retreat Yoga & Wellness Studio for $25 a class:

 

 

Snorkeling at Smith’s and Bight Reefs, which is located by Turtle Bay Marina:

 

PC: Trover

 

Paying resort security $20 USD to rent out a cabana for an entire day on the world famous Grace Bay Beach:

 

 

Shameless Baywatch-esque photo shoots while getting your tan on:

 

 

Catching those sunsets:

 

 

And conch:

 

 

Lots of conch:

 

 

Get conch at Da Conch Shack:

 

 

or The Infiniti Bar:

 

 

or Hemingway at The Sands:

 

 

And finish up your last night with an all-you-can-eat dinner BBQ and buffet on the beach — by a bonfire nt less — for $60 at Seven Stars Resort & Spa:

 

 

Side note: Just bumped into my fellow Emergency Medicine colleague/doc Eddie Irizarry and a PA whom I used to work with at Weiler Hospital, George Sendhom, while waiting for my Uber at Arrivals!!!

Can’t go on a single trip without running into someone anymore!

 

- At time of posting in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, it was 21 °C - Humidity: 71% | Wind Speed: 18km/hr | Cloud Cover: sunny

 

A Montreal Monsoon

A Montreal Monsoon

 

With 5 days off for Presidents’ Day Weekend and my upcoming in-service exam next week, I decided to take a quick getaway weekend to study in Montreal. 

So after my overnight Thursday 7p-7am shift in the ER, I tried to catch a 9:40am Delta flight leaving from JFK to Montreal, but it ended up leaving nearly 4 hours later at 1:30pm due to its right engine not working. Yikes! Our pilot eventually turned the plane around on the tarmac and we switched to another plane coming in from Baltimore.

I managed to get 2-3 hours of naps in the interim, but boy did this start off my trip in a lousy way.

After arriving, I took an Uber to to Old Montreal where I found a great place to stay on Booking.com:

 

 

Nearby is the Notre Dame Basilica, where for $6 CAD per person you can go inside as many times as you want all day with a free 20 minute tour at 1pm.

 

 

There’s a private chapel for prayer in the back:

 

 

Place Jacques Cartier claims the center of Old Montreal, the highlight of which is a Cabana De Sucre (‘Sugar Shack’) stand that pours Canadian maple syrup on snow so you can turn it into a delicious maple taffy for $3 CAD.

 

 

Old Montreal then gets really pretty (although deserted) at night:

 

 

Everything in Old Montreal closes at night so if there’s anything that you may want (aka restaurants, food, shopping, nightlife), head to Gay Village to the north.

 

 

If you want something closer, Chinatown lies right next to Old Montreal, complete with a hokey arch:

 

 

The next day we headed back to the airport to rent a car (everything else in the city was sold out!) and headed north of Montreal to the Olympic Complex, the site of the 1976 Summer Olympics:

 

 

Then we walked along the neighborhoods of Plateau de Mont Royal, famous for its street art and laidback vibe reminiscent of NYC’s East and West Village. We started along Rue St Denis:

 

 

Then we did a loop around along Rue St Laurent to grab a bite at Schwartz’s, Montreal’s iconic Jewish smoked meat deli and answer to NYC’s Kat’z Delicatessen.

Don’t bother waiting in line; you can skip it by ordering immediately to the left at their take-out spot!

 

 

We also found more street art along Rue St Laurent:

 

 

If you need that poutine fix that Montreal is famous for, try La Banquise. Like Schwartz’s, you can skip the line and order take-out instead for their famous cheese fries with gravy.

 

 

Finally we drove up Mont Royal for dusk views over Montreal:

 

 

Then we went after-hours to check out the eerie Biosphere at night:

 

 

Finally, since this was a Saturday, we drove about 50 minutes away to Mount Bromont for some surreal night skiing. We found to our surprise that they host a weekly Nuit Blanche, where its ski slopes are open for twilight skiing until 2am every Saturday in the winter for a reduced cost:

 

 

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday in Montreal!

Munich By Night

Munich By Night

 

One year ago at a Thanksgiving Dinner I was hosting at my place, one of my monsooners from my 2016 Southern Africa trip and the 2017 Trans-Mongolian + Tibet trip, JC, brought over his new roommate Stephanie. She had just moved into NYC from her hometown of Munich and within a few months we would find out we’d share a scary number of unrelated, unconnected mutual friends from all over the world.

When I saw that I had a 22 hour layover in Munich on my way back home from Chisinau, Stephanie came to my rescue. This wouldn’t have been possible without her guidance.

But before I even start something crazy happened the moment I landed in Munich Airport. 3 months ago while hiking up Kotor Fortress I had made a friend named Terri from Australia, who since our chance meeting has been trying to come travel with us on our weekend trips to Slovenia and this very one to Moldova and Transnistria. However, neither came to fruition given her previously scheduled plans.

And alas, guess who I would run into the moment I landed in Munich Airport, on her one hour layover here?

 

 

Can’t make this up. It was meant to be, Terri!

After this chance meeting, Nick and I spent about a tortuous hour trying to locate our Uber before we were able to get into the city center at 4:30pm. We then checked into our accommodations at Gspusi Hostel before heading out into the cold, nasty rain. And to make things worse, we came in on a Sunday, which meant most places at this time would be closed.

Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to see in Munich so here’s the list of what we saw in order, making it all in 2 hours:

We started at Sendlinger Tor, an arched 14th century brick gate flanked by two towers that was part of the original city wall.

 

 

Asam’s Church, built in the 1700s and known for its baroque interior swathed in gold leaf.

 

 

200 year old Victuals Market boasting over 100 stalls.

 

 

Heiliggeistkirche, a 14th century Gothic church:

 

 

St. Peter’s Church, known for its tower overseeing the city:

 

 

The official city-center Square: Marienplatz and the neo-Gothic New Town Hall:

 

 

To the west is Frauenkirche, known for housing the Devil’s Footprint inside.

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.16.42 AM

 

According to legend this was where the devil stood when he pondered and then ridiculed a windowless church. And in another treatment of the legend, the devil made a deal with the builder to build a church as long as it contained no windows. When the builder tricked the devil by placing columns to obstruct th e windows — which prevented the devil from entering the church — the devil stomped furiously at the foyer to which he could proceed no further.

A little more west of Frauenkirche is St. Michael’s Church, built during the Renaissance:

 

 

Turn back around so you don’t miss legendary beerhall dating back since the 16th century: Hofbräuhaus München.

 

 

Then head to Max-Joseph-Platz

 

 

…where to its north is 19th century Odeonsplatz, which is home to Feldherrnhalle, the 19th-century Italianate monument to the Bavarian army & the site of Hitler’s 1923 Beer Hall Putsch:

 

.

 

…as well as Theatine Church

 

 

A few blocks over and you can enjoy a calm respite within Munich Residenz

 

 

…and with another 5 minute walk, Prinz-Carl-Palais

 

 

From Prinz-Carl-Palais you can enter the English Gardens (Englischer Garten’s) to catch a sight of Eisbachwelle, a hotspot featuring year-round surfing on a continuous wave on the Englischer Garten’s Eisbach River. Even more north in the park is the Chinese Tower (Chinesischer Turm), where there’s a beer garden here. Unfortunately, the heavy rain and early sunset deterred us from seeing anything interesting.

If you’re in the English Gardens, exit from its west side to reach the Ludwig-Maximilian University Campus where in front is the poignant Weiße Rose pavement memorial in front of the main entrance (address: Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1)

 

 

Here members of the White Rose — including the Scholl siblings — who had distributed anti-Nazi leaflets in the university’s main atrium — were arrested by the Gestapo on February 18, 1943. They were subsequently interrogated and executed by beheading 4 days later. However, their efforts did not go down in vain as their final leaflet was smuggled to Allied troops and later dropped out of planes across Germany, leading to posthumous recognition of the group’s activities in the postwar era.

Inside is a church-like interior in Germany’s 6th oldest and highest-ranking universities.

 

 

Right behind the main building of the university is Verrückter Eismacher – an ice cream place featuring flavors such as sauerkraut, sausage, and beer:

 

 

Look left to see Siegestor, a famous 19th-century triumphal arch featuring a bronze sculpture of Bavaria with 4 lions.

 

 

Begin heading south and recharge at Pommes Boutique, arguably the best Belgian fries in Munich featuring 15 different sauces (and you can try as many as you want for as little as half a euro for each sauce!)

 

 

Then head further south to reach Karolinenplatz and walk back east to reach Wittelsbacherplatz to return to the city center.

 

 

And if you have any more time, check out Maximilianeu —  home of the Bavarian State, and to your south south the majestic and towering Bavaria Statue. Too bad it was pouring rain throughout…so after a round of shisha at Babylon to celebrate a weekend well spent, we turned in back at our hostel.

Thanks for the tips Stephanie. Not bad for a few hours here during a cold, rainy Sunday in Munich!

And you too Terri. Munich how holds a special significance for me after what just happened with us at the airport.

 

 

- At time of posting in Munich, Germany, it was 8 °C - Humidity: 85% | Wind Speed: 19km/hr | Cloud Cover: rain