Last month, we made our first trip to Germany and had a great time. We spent the majority of the trip in Munich with a couple of days in Frankfurt before jetting back home again.
new town hall in city center
Obviously this trip was a lot different than any of our prior adventures. No leisurely thumbing through magazines on the flight over, no late night dining at a recommended hole in the wall, no sleeping in. We knew all that going in but it definitely gave me pause as to whether traveling with a baby would be worth the hassle.
So what did I think? Well, Munich is a perfect city for visiting with a baby. Its easily walkable so we spent almost all our time strolling all over the city. With the exception of one walking tour to orient ourselves, we made no plans. (For those of you without babies, I think Munich would also be a great place to visit with friends/couples since its such a social place with lots of sitting around drinking and eating.)
asam kirche / apricots
Unlike some of the other major European cities like Paris or Rome, there aren't a lot of absolute must do tourist activities so we didn't feel like we missing a thing despite having a little one with us. So what did we do? Lots and lots of walking! We enjoyed the park, the beer gardens, the food markets, the shops, the glockenspiel and generally soaked in the vibe of the city.
While a European trip is never relaxing like sitting on a beach or napping on my couch, there is something incredibly relaxing about not having a punch list and just letting the day take us where it will. So it really is a totally different way to travel that I think I'm going to enjoy.
u-bahn: munich's subway / schweinshaxe: pork knuckle
Munich has a very good subway system (U Bahn) although we didn't have to use it often because virtually everything can be reached via a long walk. It costs about 10 euros for a day pass so its a good value if you are going to use a lot but not so economical if you are just using it for a short ride.
We ate at random places that seemed child friendly and mostly had great meals. I should have probably done a little more research here beforehand but lucky for us, my lack of planning didn't hurt us much. It is true that most of the menus are very meat and potato heavy but there were plenty of food markets that had great fruit and veggies to balance it out.
glockenspiel / goldene bar
The glockenspiel in the middle of town is beautiful to look at even we did miss the show most of the time. It's not rated the second most disappointing tourist attraction in Europe for nothing!
One of the best parts about roaming the city is how you stumble upon the most amazing things in the most surprising places. Like the Goldene Bar tucked away behind the Haus Der Kunst. We went in the unassuming looking museum purely to see if they had a changing table in their bathroom (they did!) and found this gorgeous dining room / bar tucked away in the back. I wish I could take it home with me.
enjoying a break in the englischer garten
Munich also has a large beautiful park known as the Englischer Garten that operates as most city parks do with one exception: there is a large beer garden within that was a great stop for a tasty lunch for us and a stroller nap for baby.
The one thing I was a little disappointed to learn was that Munich doesn't really do flea markets (which just happen to be my most favorite stop in pretty much every European city I visit). I'm told used items don't have the same cache there as they do elsewhere. Oh well, can't have everything.
After our time in Munich, we made our way to the central train station and took a 3 hour ride to Frankfurt. We would have preferred to visit Berlin but the cheapest flights worked out to fly out from Frankfurt so thats where we went. As expected, there was less to do and see in Frankfurt but it seemed like a perfectly lovely place to live. Once again, we did a lot of walking and stumbled into some fun by complete accident including a applewein festival.
Frankfurt Central Station
classic sausage sandwich / screiber in kleinmarkthalle
For those curious about the details relevant to staying with a baby: we used apartment hotels in both cities (Hotel Maximillan in Munich, Adina Hotel in Frankfurt) which made our trip much easier because of the extra room and access to a washer/dryer. Both cities had very easy access to supermarkets and convienence shops so we were easily able to buy baby food, diapers, wipes and anything else we needed (except on Sunday where EVERYTHING is closed). All of that helped us keep our luggage down to a minimum - we brought one suitcase for all three of us. Between the suitcase, the stroller, the diaper bag and the baby, that was more than enough stuff to carry so I would definitely repeat that strategy for future trips. Thanks to a wonderful commenter on an earlier thread, I was tipped off to the fact that most department stores have changing tables so we tucked into lots of department stores on our trip. If anything, there were more nicely appointed and more plentiful in Germany than they are here so that part was a breeze. I was very concerned with how baby would do on the plane and how her sleeping schedule would adjust but with very few hiccups, it all went smoothly. She charmed everyone on the plane with her smile (the no crying helped a lot too) and adjusted to the time difference almost immediately. Once we returned, it took her a few days to get back on schedule but nothing too difficult.
So there you have it. A great first trip for us as a threesome. Can't wait to explore more of the world with our little jet setter. To read more about where we have been, check out my travel page.