Marienplatz is a gorgeous neo-gothic square in Central Munich and very worthy of at least a couple hours of meandering (Except on Sundays. Everything will be closed.)
Stand in the middle of the square and stare at the copper-oxidized center of the Rathaus. That’s the giant building with dragons on the side. There will already be a crowd with cameras and recorders. Soon, you will begin to hear a slightly out-of-tune melody coming from the massive cuckoo clock in front of you. Watch as the figurine knights joust and the barrel men laugh. After a few minutes, this will cease, and your ears may be a little relieved. The city did try to tune them, but it could’t, sorry.
Go to the center of the Rathaus, or better yet, circle the building. Watch how the Draconian plague is wiped out across the facade in stone detail. Go inside the interior courtyard and hum Hedwig’s Theme (from Harry Potter) quietly to yourself. This place, especially in the wintertime, is magical. Take note of the gargoyles with humanoid heads spouting out of the sides and their concerned expressions.
Go to the Church of St. Peter. Walk around quietly inside and gaze at the ceilings and gold and general splendor. (Taking pictures is okay unless a service is in session. Flash is always a no.) Traverse outside again and go around the back to a little stall that sells postcards. For 1 euro you can climb the bell tower. Good luck. You may feel a little bit like Quasimodo and a bit like “OMG I’m not in shape.at.allllll,” But trust me… it’s worth the view. At the top of the bell tower is an observation deck that lets you see all of Munich sprawled out before you. When I went, a small band was playing in the square and you could hear the music as you gazed upon the town. It’s okay to cry.
Walk back down.
You are probably very hungry at this point. No worries. Keep walking around the back of the church to find…Aha! An open air market! The Viktualienmarkt offers delicious foods from nearby sources. Pick up some fresh bread, a little roll of cheese and some fruit, maybe some honey too, and nibble while you walk around looking at the rest of the food. Or sit at one of the benches and people watch. Most of these people have dogs.
Now is about the time to find something sweet. Directly across from the market is a little chocolate shop, hidden in a tiny alley between the other vendors. Chocolaterie Beluga is a tiny, kind of hipstery hot-chocolate shop and one of the greatest ideas ever. This place has shelves full of individually-wrapped blocks of chocolate in various flavor combinations. White chocolate, dark, super dark, caramel, Baileys (Yes, and rum too) all can be yours. You bring your selection up to the counter and pay. A cup of steamed milk and your selected chunk of heaven will be presented to you. Stir the chocolate into the milk. Be delighted. Try six more flavors, or bring them home to friends.
And there is your afternoon. Perhaps wander around the cobblestone streets a little more and pause to listen to an accordion player, maybe go find one of the ever-present H&M’s to pick up some fluffy socks. Inspect the corners, like the one containing the Statue of Juliet. Admire modern buildings next to painted facades. Look for things you might otherwise miss.
Marienplatz offers a full afternoon that your Fitbit, tastebuds, and wanderlust can be proud of.
Article by Morgan Holcomb
IG: @culture.connoisseurs ; @mhoneycomb
Website: Awe in All – Just here to Wonder and Wander
Edited by Holly Glasser