Venice and Munich: A Tale of Two Cities

8:22 AM Manda Manning 0 Comments

It has been particularly difficult to find time to sit down and write. Leah and I have been going nonstop to the point that we're just now sitting down to write about Venice and Munich while in a cafe in Amsterdam, several trips and countries later... Speaking of, it's been pretty difficult to keep track of what country we're in. Multiple times in the past week and a half we've looked at each other and asked, "Where are we again?" I wish I could tell you about Amsterdam right now because I've been so enchanted by this city, but that will have to wait. Now: Venice and Munich.


Our experience in Venice was far from what I was expecting our visit to be like. 
We arrived at the hostel around 4pm. We were pleasantly surprised by how easy the hostel was to find and how nice the common areas were. The main common area was on the ground floor and included a bar/restaurant and plenty of space to sit and relax. Our first mission was to get a load of laundry done - the first and only laundry we have done over the last 3 weeks. I never knew a load of laundry could be so difficult and time consuming. Our first issue was trying to understand the Italian directions on the washer, which soon led to having our money taken by the machine and no progress on getting the clothes washed. Eventually we managed to get the washer to start, so we obviously went down to the the bar in the hostel to celebrate and waste time while waiting on the clothes. We made plans to get dinner nearby the hostel that evening after the clothes were done. Little did we know, European washers take 2+ hours, as well as the dryers. One thing lead to another and one bottle of wine lead to the next. We made some friends with others staying in the hostel - an Irish, a few Argentinians, and an American. To say the least, we had a fun and eventful first night in Venice and never even left the hostel. 

Our second day in Venice, we set out to see the sights and explore the city. We made it to San Marco Square to find it flooded. When it rains in Venice, the water from the canal comes up over the concrete sidewalks and begins to flood some of the lower places in the city. We quickly rerouted to a canal side table with a bottle of wine. We explored Venice that day by walking around aimlessly through the city and enjoying a bottle of wine on the hour. We stumbled around in the puddles, giggling as we poked each other with our umbrella that was unusually difficult to operate. The great thing about Venice is that it is easy to get around on the island because its so small and there are only walkways - no streets or cars. There are signs on most street corners directing you to either Rialto or San Marco, so as long as you know which direction you want to head you can't really get lost. 

After almost a week in Italy, we are in wine overload and excited about moving along to Munich for the next adventure. We have enjoyed Italy so much that we are already planning a trip to see more of the country. A summer in Italy doesn't sound so bad.


Our time in Venice was met with rainy, gloomy weather, but was equally matched with much laughter, drinking, and new friends. We stayed at the Generator Venice hostel in a sixteen bed dorm, which was not very glamorous to say the least. However, the lobby and bar was quite the opposite - elegant, gothic, low lit, and lively. First thing was first - laundry and a bottle of wine at the bar. While waiting on our clothes to dry, we were planning on where to go for dinner when a young Irishman with a wide, contagious smile started up a conversation with us. He was with an American girl our age who was moving back home after teaching English in Spain for two years. They had only met that morning, but it was easy to see how they became fast friends, which was why we four also became fast friends. We ditched our dinner plans and never regretted it once because we ended up making one of the best memories of the trip. We also met two handsome Argentinian men at the bar, one of whom I hit it off with although we could only converse through his friend who was translating. After his friend went up to bed, I had the chance to practice my very weak Spanish (Thanks, Mom, for teaching us!) but we also used Google Translate to fill in the gaps. 

It was definitely one of my favorite nights yet. Being able to meet and make genuine connections with people from all over the world - regardless of culture, language, etc. - is truly a remarkable experience, no matter how cliche it sounds.  It's possible to share memorable experiences with the people you meet on the road. Each one has their own story and background, which is intriguing to me to hear about. Anyways, that was our first night and we didn't even leave the hostel...

The next day we ventured into the city which was almost flooded from all the rain. We wandered past San Marco Square and found a place to relax, and that basically sums up the rest of our day. There was not much else to do besides eat and drink, and we did plenty of both. Somehow we ended up in the winding streets and alleyways of a more residential Venice where the locals spend their evenings. It was great to escape the tourists for a minute. We partook in a local past time which is to share cichetti - hanging out in crowded bars and eatting cichetti standing up at the bar where the cichetti is spread out to choose from. We share a litre of wine at dinner and as we search for the right water bus to take us back, we stumble upon a place selling Venetian liquor. We had been given a free shot at a cafe earlier that day, so we each grabbed a small bottle and shot them down while we laughed and swayed down the street until Leah found our boat... An hour long boat ride through the canals of Venice later, we make it back to the hostel.


*Keep scrolling after the pictures for the section on Munich!


Germany is blooming with fascinating sights and people. I have visited Munich twice before, but this was by far the most fun I have had in this city and the closest to the real German experience. 

We started our first day in Munich with seeing the main sights such as Marienplatz, the city centre, and Hofbrauhaus. We entered an actual museum for the first time since arriving in Europe. We haven't been able to convince ourselves to actually go to any museums because there is always so much to be seen and done outside of the walls of a museum. But we heard great things about the Residenz Munchen Museum so we made an appearance. We ended up choosing the "short tour" option and taking a mirror selfie in every mirror we found, then raced to the Hofbrauhaus when we reached the exit. We spent the rest of the day drinking bier and exploring other parts of the city such as the Schwabing neighborhood and the Augustiner Braustuben beer hall. We met and drank with some Munich locals

On a side note, I feel like Manda deserves a shoutout for being full time tour guide during our travels in Europe. My phone is pretty much useless except without access to wifi, but Manda's is fully functional which has appointed her as my personal tour guide. And the fact that she is a control freak and insists on always being in charge - that has something to do with it too. (Sorry, I had to throw that one in there). Nonetheless, she has done a brilliant job of keeping us on track, getting us from point A to point B, and always finding the right bus or tram. She constantly has her phone GPS in hand trying to keep us on the dotted path, while I get to follow her around and bug her with "how many more minutes do we have to walk" or "are you sure this is the right way" questions. There's been a few "Do you want to be tour guide!?" moments, where I quickly assure her that she is doing a great job and I don't want the tour guide responsibility. 


The rain cleared enough our last day to do more sightseeing and walking and less eating and drinking. Then, we're off to Munich by train. The train ride is beautiful as we see the last of Italy and are introduced to the glory of Vienna and its magical landscape. After passing through the snowcapped mountains, we arrive in Munich by 8pm. My stupid GPS failed me and led us in the wrong direction of our Airbnb host's flat. After a couple of frustrating phone calls trying to find him, we finally met at the subway platform. That was the most frazzled I've been the whole trip, but I think that probably goes to show how otherwise smooth it's been. He warmed up to us within a few minutes of small talk and even bought us a variety of Munchen beers to drink that night.

The next day was spent wandering into Marienplatz, where we grabbed some absolutely divine flaky sweet and savory pastries in the Viktualienmarkt. Then, looking for shelter from the cold, we took a tour of the Munchen Residenz. There were dozens of ornate and extravagantly decorated rooms to wander through, and we were done within twenty minutes and found our way to Haufbrahaus for lunch. We shared a litre of bier and a traditional German meal of meat and potatoes. 

After lunch we walked around the Schwabing neighborhood - very residential and full of modern places, a popular hangout for students. We shared several more biers and then set off for Augustiner, a local bier hall recommended to us by our Airbnb host (Tobias). It was crowded and loud, and we were squeezed into a table with old German men who Leah insisted were laughing at us because we stuck out. Of course, we soon found friends with the group of more friendly German men sitting behind us. We joined their table after they offered us shots and challenged them to a drinking contest. After standing up to use the bathroom, we realized it was probably best we just assume we won. We scurried off to catch the subway before it closed at midnight (a lesson we had already learned the hard way). 

It's now 9pm and we're not ready to go back to the flat yet, so we went to another one of Tobias' recommendations, a traditional German restaurant in his neighborhood. There we met a couple of cute German boys who worked as servers at the restaurant and invited us to their house party. After drinking a bier and chatting outside while they were closing, we decided it was best to end the night there. Good idea. Neither of us were prepared for that hangover, especially Leah. When we finally dragged Leah out of bed and put a can of Sprite in her hand, we spent a couple of hours in the Viktualienmarkt again, sampling the food. I got a rostbratworst - three Thuringian sausages on a crunchy roll with spicy mustard. I'm not usually a sausage fan, but the German in me was loving it. We also had green cold pressed juice in attempt to detox our bodies from the all of the bier.

Next, we set off to explore the English Garden and have a pint at the Seehaus - another Tobias recommendation. The garden was bursting with the colors of autumn and so refreshingly serene. We were still too worn from the night before to do much else except eat dinner and go to bed. We also had to get up at 5:30am to catch a bus to Prague, which we (rightfully) expected to be very much one long party.

So, that's it for now because I can barely keep my eyes open (we're back at the Flying Pig hostel drinking a nightcap). Next up: a Prague/Amsterdam summary with an end of the trip recap and reflection. 


Marienplatz and Viktualienmarkt

Munchen Residenz and Hofbrauhaus 

English Garden and Seehaus bier garden