Guest Post by Our Family Passport: The Best Things to do in Munich in 5 Days

I have loved connecting with other traveling families via blogging and Instagram. One of the most inspirational families I’ve come across is the Smith Family from Our Family Passport. They are a multi-generational family that travels together all over the world. I just love how they make it a priority to travel together. They know a lot about keeping many different personalities and ages happy and fulfilled through their adventures. Enjoy reading below about their favorite things to do in Munich!

After first arriving in Munich or München as the Germans say (Beckham loved to try and say “München”) we immediately knew we were going to love it! It quickly turned into a favorite family European destination, and we know we will have to get back to Bavaria soon! While most people think of Munich and “Oktoberfest” as synonymous, we found it to be extremely family-friendly and we had a wonderful time participating in all of the family-oriented activities  Munich has to offer. To help with your Munich vacation planning, we put together our family-friendly itinerary for our favorite things to do in Munich in 5 days!

The Best Things to do in Munich in 5 Days

DAY 1 – ALSTADT, VIKTUALIENMARKET, MARIENPLATZ, AND THE BEST GERMAN PRETZELS 

We had a wonderful private tour by Big Hat Tours of the Altstadt (Old Town). This is a great way to get a layout and overview of the city. The starting point should be the top of the Oberammergau street and end at the super adorable and picturesque Viktualienmarkt for some Bavarian treats. On the first day of your trip, we suggest taking your time and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the old town. To us, it is a fairytale and there is something adorable and charming on every corner.

Our Old Town Munich Walking Tour Recommendations:

Marienplatz

Munich’s Neo-Gothic Square is home to the famous Glockenspiel. This square is DARLING! It was partially rebuilt and reconstructed after the bombing in WWII which explains the new architecture adjacent to the old. However, today this visual history adds to the charm and allure of this square. There are often street musicians and a crowd of people eager to see the clock built in 1908 chime and retell a Bavarian story at 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM every day. Honestly, the only person who was impressed by the chiming of the Glockenspiel was the 4-year-old (he thought it was the coolest haha). It may be overrated, but we think it is worth doing one time.

Frauenkirche

This cathedral is impressive in scale and the little onion-shaped domes can be seen from various points in the city. It isn’t our most favorite interior. However, the panorama from the top of the towers is fabulous! On a clear day, there is a beautiful view of the Bavarian Alps.

Hofbrauhaus

This is the beer house of all beer houses-and this is coming from people who don’t drink beer! HAHA. Historically it is steeped in importance and infamy. Vladimir Lenin was once a regular and this is where some of the first National German Workers Party (Nazi) meetings were held. Today it teems with tourists and locals alike. When you go, don’t forget to sneak back to see the lockers where the locals can clean, and lock up their own unique beer mugs. It is a classic!

Viktualienmarkt

Okay, CUTEST STREET MARKET EVER! Like, ever! And guys, the food here. Think fresh pesto, divine cheeses, and soft pretzels the size of your face. We could have wandered this market endlessly. Make sure to try the Baerlauch Pesto and don’t forget to stop at Karnoll’s Back Und Kaffeestandl and have one of their pretzels. We were told by several people that these were the best pretzels in Munich and we were not disappointed! Go early, they often sell out later in the day.

 

best pretzel in Munich

Other fantastic places to see in the Altstadt

  • Asam Church
  • Saint Peters
  • Ohel Jakob Synagogue

DAY 2 – NEUE PINAKOTHEK AND DACHAU 

This is a mood swing of a day here, but no matter what you do, Dachau is going to be heavy. So we suggest pairing the horrific remnants of the Nazi’s first concentration camp with a morning of pleasant easy going viewing of world-class 19th-century art.

Neue Pinakothek (New Picture Gallery)

Out of all of the museums in Munich, this was our favorite! If you are going to go to any museum in Munich, in our opinion, this is the best. While we enjoyed the Alte Pinakothek (Old Picture Gallery) I thought the overall works in Neue were superior. However, the Dürers in the Alte are out of this world! But, if you only have time for one museum, we would suggest the Neue.

In the Neue, there are some fantastic works by van Gogh, Degas, Turner, and a lovely gallery upstairs that was empty. We took our time and went through the whole museum.  It is definitely worth a visit!

*Note that the layout of the museum is a little confusing. It is almost organized by rectangles within rectangles. If you are not sure where you are going, ask a docent or a museum employee. In our experience, they were all very helpful and accommodating.

* Also, in almost all of the museums in Munich you have to check your bags and some of the bag checks require several euros in coins.

Dachau

There is so much information about visiting Dachau that we decided to write about it in a separate post. We cover the best way to see it, our reactions, and answer the question if you should/could take young children to Dachau. See our Parents Guide to Dachau here

DAY 3 – DAY TRIP TO THE ROMANTIC ROAD

Rothenburg de Tauber and Dinkelsbuhl

Day trip to the Romantic Road with stops at Rothenburg de Tauber and Dinkelsbuhl. You could go to the Harburg Castle as it is an easy stop combined with the two, but we would suggest skipping Harburg Castle altogether and spending more time in Rothenburg and Dinkelsbuhl.  These are two of the cutest, fairytale German towns! While both are touristy, if you get off into the back roads there are some amazing shops and sights.  I don’t think two villages could be any more picturesque. Allow time to stroll, get a snack, and enjoy the charms.

DAY 4 – NYMPHENBURG PALACE, MUNICH RESIDENZ, AND THE ODEONSPLATZ

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace is a really quick taxi ride out of the main city center of Munich and it is splendid and grand. It is a great place to be able to get some background on the Bavarian kings and the history of Munich. We had read that spending a whole day there was a must and while we thought it was super cool, we were ready to leave before lunch.

Our favorite things about the palace were exploring the riding stables (this requires an additional ticket – and it is SO worth the couple extra euros), the palace grounds and gardens, the main ballroom, and the delivery room of the “mad” King Ludwig II.  You can also pay extra to visit the Porcelain Museum, but in our opinion, it was a snoozer. If we could do it again we would bypass it.

Interior of Nymphenburg Palace, one of the many things to see in Munich

Munich Residenz

Okay, so the Munich Residenz is SERIOUSLY cool but be prepared for opulent overload. Like almost on the level of Versailles, overload. We honestly didn’t have many expectations for this (I am not sure why) but totally ended up thinking it was so awesome.

This palace is the largest palace in Germany and it makes the interior of Nymphenburg Palace look … eh. Expect some crowds but once you get through the coat check and ticket area the crowds seem to thin a little. About halfway through the palace, you will have an option to take the long way through the palace or the short way. We chose the short way and still spent over 2 hours visiting the complex. So, if you have a little one with you when visiting the Residenz bring plenty of snacks and point out all of the cool details. There is a whole room made out of seashells, unexpected hidden pathways and tunnels, and some cool swords.

Munich Residenz Extras

Like Nymphenburg, you can pay extra to see additional things at the Residenz. In our opinion the additions of the Opera House and Wittelsbach Crown Jewels should not to be missed. The crown jewels are housed right in the palace and you can walk two seconds from the crown jewels to the beginning of the palace tour. To visit the Opera House you must walk about 5 minutes to it’s location in the palace complex. When we visited, there was NOBODY there!  We had the whole theater to ourselves and it was exceptionally lovely.

interior shot of the Munich Opera House

THE WITTELSBACH CROWN JEWELS

We thought the crown jewels here were more impressive than … are you ready for this… the British Crown Jewels. The diamonds weren’t actually bigger but the collection on display was really impressive and some of the pieces dated back nearly a thousand years. I usually hate audio guides but the audio guide for the crown jewels was wonderful and even Beckham loved it.

Odeonsplatz and Surrounding Area

Just a couple of steps away from the entrance to the palace is the gorgeous and picturesque Odeonsplatz square which houses the exceptional Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshall’s Hall) and the famous lions of Munich.  What was so gripping about this square was that while we were in Berlin we visited the Topography of Terror Museum and they had a huge image of a massive Nazi rally right on the Feldherrnhalle and today it is a peaceful and charming area where children and other tourists rub the feet of the lions and snap selfies.

For me, it was a strange dichotomy to see what a span of 70 years can do. This is so cheesy, but I found myself wishing that I could listen to the stories that those lions have to tell.

This area was one of my favorites in Munich. I could have wandered the streets for hours and thought the pastel facades of the buildings and the view of the onion domes of the Frauenkirche in the background made for a perfect evening.

Image of a mom and child in odeonsplatz to show best things to do in Munich

DAY 5 – NEUSCHWANSTEIN AND THE BAVARIAN ALPS

The Bavarian Alps and Neuschwanstein

By far, and I mean BY FAR, our favorite thing was visiting the Bavarian Alps! I don’t think it gets more stunning than the exterior of Neuschwanstein juxtaposed with the background of the alps, tall pines, alpine lakes and foggy clouds. This was a place that we had been dreaming about for a decade, and it totally measured up to our expectations. Even the drive there was so beautiful!  Be ready for the crowds and be prepared to fight your way onto the bridge to snap some good photos. Trust us, it’s worth it.

neuschwanstein castle in the fall foliage to show best things to do in Munich

Neuschwanstein Interior

However, that being said don’t expect too much from the interior. It is largely unfinished and the areas that are finished are strange and feel inauthentic. We anticipated it being totally over the top and kitschy, and that was exactly what it was. But, it gives a fantastic glimpse into poor Ludwig II’s life and some of the best views are from the inside of the actual castle.

TIPS FOR VISITING NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE
  • Expect crowds, just do.
  • There is a driver that comes to the base of the hill and will take you to the top for 2 euros p/person. Do it.
  • Have a ticket beforehand. If you miss your ticket time, you are out of luck.
  • Allow at least an hour before and after the tour of the castle to wander around and view the castle from different vantage points.
  • Go to the bridge adjacent from the castle – OUT OF THIS WORLD beautiful!
  • Following the conclusion of the tour, walk down to the cafeteria and go out to the balcony and you will get a stunning view of Hohenschwangau castle and the Alpsee and Swansea lakes. Most people don’t even know you can go out on the balcony and get pictures.

Other things near Neuschwanstein that should not be missed

  • Linderhof Palace (absolutely beautiful) and the grounds are SO much fun! Beckham could have played here for ages.
  • Oberammergau village
  • Hohenschwangau Castle
  • If warm weather permits visit either the Alpsee or Swansea lake

MUNICH FOR KIDS-BECKHAM’S FAVORITE EXPERIENCES 

Our little man LOVED Germany! We found it to be so kid friendly and there were so many things that captured his imagination and attention.

  • Visiting the toy shops in Rottenburg de Tauber
  • Feeding the ducks and swans at Nymphenburg Palace
  • Running and playing on the grounds of Linderhof Palace
  • Throwing sticks off the bridge at Neuschwanstein (Dude was obsessed!)
  • Rubbing the feet of the huge lions at Odeonsplatz square
  • Eating pretzels and feeding the birds at Viktualienmarkt
  • Listening to the performers at Hofbrauhaus
  • Waiting for and watching the Glockenspiel

Back shot of Nymphenburg Palace and Gardens to show a place for little kids to play

OUR MUNICH RECOMMENDATIONS

Where to Stay In Munich

We stayed at the Charles Hotel and it was family friendly, ideally located, and had wonderful amenities. It was perfect for us and our little horde. The restaurant there is also fabulous as is the indoor swimming pool and spa area.

Our Favorite Schnitzel in Munich (as recommended by Big Hat Tours)

Schnitzel, oh how I need you in my life!! The turkey schnitzel salad at Opatija is what dreams are made of. This place deserves a visit .. or two .. or three haha.

Where We Ate the Most While in Munich

Aside from the yummy restaurant at the Charles Hotel, we ate several times at L’Osteria near Karls Gate and Karlsplatz. It was Italian and I know eating Italian food in Germany seems pretty stupid, and maybe it was, but we had a little man who was dying for pizza and the food was delicious. It is also really well priced. My recommendation would be the carbonara pasta and the turkey caesar salad.

How to Get Around

We used public transportation with one of our guides and it was clean and efficient. Our German is less than stellar however and the instructions in English are almost nonexistent, so we also used taxis and found them to be reasonably priced and super easy to use. We downloaded the MyTaxi app on our phones and scheduled taxis from our phones. So easy and user-friendly!

OVERALL

Needless to say, we LOVE München and can’t wait to get back!

Don’t forget to pin this and visit Our Family Passport for the full post and more destinations!

 

Guest Post by Our Family Passport-2

 

A Little About Our Family Passport:
“We are an average family living in a crazy busy world, trying to juggle work, school, and family responsibilities. As a multi-generational family, we are always growing and changing. We have found that traveling all together with our family of 10 from the Grandparents on down to the little Grandbaby, provides a “time-out” where we can reconnect with the ones we love the most without daily interruptions or distractions. We have been to 6 continents and over 45 countries together! Our family adventures are tremendously educational and most of all, fun! It is our goal to encourage other families to take a “time out” together and go explore our amazing world!!!”
You can find them and their travel itineraries, tips, and hacks on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and of course their blog www.ourfamilypassport.com!

our-family-passport

 

Last Day in Berlin

Our time in Berlin was coming to a close, and this is how we spent our final day.  We walked over to the “Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe”  the site dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.  The art installation that sits on this city block is made up of concrete blocks, each one slightly different from all the other ones.  We passed by it on our tour the day before but weren’t able to really explore it because we used the break to take care of some baby stuff.  Looking at it from the edge you don’t realize the size of some of the blocks. As you walk into it you begin to almost disappear.

Right next to this happens to be the United States Embassy, and what do you know know they had a special bear too, dressed like Lady Liberty!

It was our favorite bear in Berlin.

 Right down the street from the embassy is the Brandenburg Gate.  We didn’t get a chance for the family photo on the tour so we had to snap one before we left!  After that we found our way to the nearby Starbucks and sipped on coffee while people watching on the platz.

The famous ampelmann crossing symbol.

All that was left was to grab a few souvenirs and head back to the train station.  We ended up in another sticky train situation that made our departure a little stressful but in the end it turned out OK. Overall I found Berlin to be a very clean, walkable, and enjoyable city.  Berlin is very modern, but has such a deep history.  The city is still rebuilding after its tumultuous past.  The Berlin Wall came down in our lifetime and it’s rare-especially in Europe-to see the effects of historic events like that happening in front of your eyes.  Most people who’ve been to Berlin have plenty of good things to say about it and I can definitely see why!

Berlin Walking Tour

On our second day in Berlin, the six of us set out on a walking tour of the city.  We started out near Museum Island, which my husband and I were quite familiar with from the day before.  Our guide Darren was an Irish post-grad student studying German history here in Berlin.  He was a great guide, he had so much knowledge and was able to really put things into a context where they were easy to understand.  Tours are all about the guide, and we lucked out with this one!

We started out in the same Museum Island area that we had been the day prior.  Our guide wound us through Berlin’s big sites and historic tales.  We learned so much from him and were able to really get an understanding of the city’s history.

Trying to keep up with the group walking through the Brandenburg Gate.
The ending point of the tour in a beautiful platz.
Baby Girl had to put on her bear suit to keep warm!

After the tour we made a detour into a chocolate shop to look around.

Giant chocolate Titanic.
Chocolate Brandenburg Gate.
Browsing…

After looking at all that chocolate we needed to sit down for some kaffee & kuchen (coffee & cake).  K and I ended up trading the coffee for prosecco, I mean we were on vacation!

Daddies and their girls.

Later that evening we set out to find a rarity in Germany…good Mexican food.  I had seen several people recommend this restaurant on some local Facebook groups so we decided to give it a go.  And we were not disappointed!  This place was delicious and probably tasted even more delicious after not eating Mexican food for almost two years.

Margaritas & Coronas, yum!

On the way back home we stopped to try to get a photo with some of the light displays that were up through the city for the Festival of Lights.  There were many different lighting displays on various buildings and landmarks.  The city was crawling with photographers, amateurs and professionals alike.  It took us a few tries but we were finally able to snap a decent shot, we’re still working on our night photography :).

Sights of Berlin

Our first full day in Berlin began without a particular plan.  My husband & I decided to head over toward Museum Island to check it out.  The Berlin Cathedral or Berliner Dom is also over in that area.  As you can see it was a very overcast and misty day, but still pleasant enough to walk around.  Museum Island sits in the middle of the river that runs through Berlin.

We found our first Berlin Bear (they are scattered over the city, all painted differently).
I’ve never seen a brat stand quite like this, the guy is wearing the grill and the umbrella!

We decided to pop into the cathedral to take a peak.  It is quite “cozy” on the inside.  It’s not as massive as some of the other churches we have visited but I thought it was nice.  You get a more intimate feeling inside.

Music was playing while we were inside, so we stopped to sit and listen for a bit.

Statue at the tomb of one of the King’s wives, death is writing her name down…creepy!

From there we headed over to the Neues Museum.  Most famously it houses the Egyptian bust of Nefertiti.  It also houses many different artifacts from ancient civilizations.  It was really well presented and laid out.  The building itself still shows signs of damage from World War II.  It was left that way intentionally as a reminder.

Source-The bust of Nefertiti
The inside and outside architecture is littered with pock marks from the bombing of the city.

From there we ran back onto the “mainland” for lunch because the museum cafe was just too crowded for us and our stroller (but the food looked delicious).  We settled for an outdoor lunch of club sandwiches instead :).  Then we popped into the Pergamon Museum.  This museum is impressive because it has taken actual pieces of buildings and gates from ancient civilizations and rebuilt them inside the museum.  The Pergamon Altar was taken from the Greek city of Pergamon, there are models to show how it would’ve appeared in whole in the city.  The Ishtar Gate was the inner gate to the city of Babylon.  Both of the pictures below cannot do them justice, they are truly massive in scale and very impressive to see.

The Pergamon Altar-Source
Ishtar Gate-Source

From there we went back to the area of our hotel to meet with R, K, and E at the Topography of Terror exhibit.  It sits on the former headquarters of the S.S. and Gestapo.  It is a free exhibit outlining Nazi history, rise to power, and fall after the war.  It was a very detailed and though we’ve seen many of these sites before, we find ourselves learning new things each time.  It is hard to imagine, and never loses it’s astonishing horror. It’s a heavy topic but an unavoidable part of European, and world history.  Just outside it sits the only remaining connected section of the Berlin Wall, another dark part of the city’s history.  Honestly I didn’t know much about the wall until getting ready for this trip.  I knew that it existed and that it came down in my lifetime, but I never understood the purpose.  One of the things I’m the most grateful for about being in Europe is how it has allowed me to learn and deepen my understanding of history.

After World War II, Berlin was split in half by the Soviet Union on the east and the Americans, British, and French on the west. The wall was built in the 1960’s by the Soviet controlled East Berlin authorities. The east side was communist, and there were rising tensions between them and their capitalist neighbors. The Soviet authorities constructed the wall to keep their own people from escaping and leaving to the  west side. Families were separated by the wall, and people died trying to escape beyond it. The history behind it is fascinating and is another very hard to imagine scenario.

After all that, it was time for a pick me up and dinner!  We headed out to find a Cuban restaurant recommended by our favorite travel guide.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us in with our strollers-boo!  So we had to go elsewhere.  Luckily we found a delicious Indian restaurant down the street that was happy to accommodate us!  One more full day was left in the city.  Here’s a happy picture of Baby Girl and me enjoying our time in Berlin!

 

Crazy Train to Berlin

It was time for another four day getaway, this time with our good friends R, K, and Baby E.  This was our first trip together since Morocco and our first one all together with the babies!  We bought our train tickets 90 days in advance, getting us a great deal on prices.  We thought the train would be a much more relaxing way to travel vs. driving two cars.  For the most part it was, but we ran into some hiccups along the way.

We had taken a regional train to Mannheim where we switched to an ICE train (fast train) to Berlin.  We had reserved a cabin so that we could all sit together and have our own little contained space.  It was a circus getting on and seated because we were four adults, two babies, two big strollers, lots of suitcases, bags of food, diaper bags…you get the idea.  Traveling light is much more difficult now.  So once we finally got the bags stored, the strollers broken down, babies situated, it was time for mimosas!

R popping the champagne in the hallway.
Hubby mixing the celebratory mimosas.

We had just toasted to our trip and taken our first sips when over the intercom we noticed an announcement in German talking about Berlin and the next station.  Not getting a good feeling, we also notice that the hallway has filled with people in line to get off the train.  Since we weren’t supposed to stop until Berlin, this was a little odd.  Next thing we know they repeat the announcement in English telling all passengers for Berlin to get off the train at the next station-the train was terminating.  Great.  So we start rushing around to gather bags, put strollers back together, put coats on, and juggle red cups of mimosas.  We hurriedly made our way off the train onto the platform asking a Deutsche Bahn employee what we were supposed to do.  They told us to go a couple tracks over and get on that train to Berlin.  So we rush over there, and make it on the train with only a few minutes to spare.  The only problem was, now there were people in our “reserved” cabin who were insisting it was their reserved cabin.  Meanwhile, the train is moving, K and I are stuck in the hallway with our strollers blocking anyone from passing through. The guys are separated from us trying to ask another employee what’s going on.  We didn’t realize we had been told to get on another train for Berlin that was already full.  So everyone from our train has now double packed this already full train.  Great.  So now people are not only staring at us for blocking the aisle (from which we didn’t have room to move forward or backward), they have decided to try and push past us to get to the restroom.  One lady even had the nerve to tell us we shouldn’t be standing there when clearly there was no way to go anywhere else…geez!  Hubby had found another conductor who said we could take our chances looking for an empty cabin in another car, or get off at the next station and get on the next train which was our original train resuming it’s course.  We opted to get off and wait for the sure thing where our seats were guaranteed.  After this whole ordeal we got settled again and enjoyed the rest of the ride, but it got off to a crazy start.

Looking a little worn after finally getting settled…for the 2nd time.

We got into Berlin later than expected and basically only had time to check into our hotels and freshen up before meeting up again for our visit to the Reichstag building, home of the German Bundestag (Parliament).  This requires a reservation, so make sure you schedule it in advance!

We didn’t tour the whole building but just went up into the glass dome.

Starting up the spiral walkway.

We got audio-guides that would have you stop and look out over the city, explaining different landmarks and history of the city.  All the while you walk up you can see the giant mirror covered cone in the center of the dome.  At the bottom you can see down into the room where the government officials sit and do business.

The dome was really an interesting way to start the trip.  We got to see the whole city all lit up and got a brief overview of some history.  Not bad for a free entry!  After this tour we were ready to eat!  The Reichstag building is very close to the Brandenburg Gate, so we walked that direction to see it all lit up and then found a restaurant nearby.  Berlin is known for adding flavored syrups to their weissbier, so when we saw it on the menu, we had to try it.  I tried grapefruit, and Hubby tried white peach.

Yum, fruity beer!

Hubby decided one fruity beer was enough and then opted for the much more manly “meter of beer.”

A good start to our weekend in Berlin!

After our biers we were ready for some rest. It was a quick U-bahn ride back to our hotel where we turned in for the night to get ready for our next big day in Berlin!

Seehasenfest

This post was written in 2013 about the beginning of our trip to Switzerland.

A few weeks ago we set out on a 10 day trip down to Switzerland.  On our way we stopped to see a friend of mine from college.  Yes, I know…small world!  A friend who I lived in the dorms with is now living a few hours away from us in Germany!  What are the odds?  She along with her husband and sweet little boy hosted us in their home near the Bodensee or Lake Constance, which borders Switzerland, for two nights.

While we were there Friedrichshafen was having their annual Seehasenfest.  Apparently the”seehasen” is black and white bunny that comes from the lake?  Don’t ask, I don’t know.  The celebration was started after WWII to bring some joy and fun to the children of the area.  Friedrichshafen had been largely bombed and destroyed.  So for all these years there has been a parade in which all the school children from 1st grade up through high school participate in.

1st graders from one of the schools.  See the seehasen in the middle of the hula hoops?

All the 1st graders wear these bunny ears, but each school has them wear different outfits.  Apparently the city keeps all these costumes and hands them out to the schools each year.  The older grades all dress thematically in different costumes as well.

The king of the festival on his tractor-pulled float.
Little blue flowers.
Little bees.

There were also several bands marching in the parade.  This parade was very long and the amount of participation was really surprising.  It seems like people are really invested in the parade.  We thought it was surprising because we don’t normally see the same level of participation in parades back in the states.  I don’t know, maybe we just haven’t gone to enough parades.

All the bands were dressed up too, many of them in “musketeer-esque” outfits.
Reunited after years!
Our families by the lake.
View of Friedrichshafen.

We had so much fun seeing the parade and walking around the festival.  Our night finished off with a delicious dinner overlooking the area.  This area was gorgeous, and it was lovely being by the lake.  We would love to go back again, or to have our friends come up and stay with us!

Nuremburg-First Trip with a Baby

When our baby girl turned one month old, we ventured out on our first overnight trip to Nuremberg.  Truth be told, I was pretty nervous about it.  I wasn’t sure how it would go, if she would cooperate at restaurants, if we would be able to fit the stroller next to our table, if she would cry at night and wake the other guests up, if I would be able to find good places to feed and change her etc.  But, it all went very well!  We were able to go out to eat without any problems, she slept fairly well in the hotel, and overall made it pretty easy for us!  Maybe that’s to be expected out of a little baby who mostly sleeps and eats but as a first-timer, I didn’t know what to expect.  Plus, our baby is extra sweet so we are spoiled :).

It’s about a three hour drive from where we are to Nuremberg.  After arriving there in the evening and getting checked in, we threw baby girl in the stroller and started exploring.  Nuremberg is a medieval walled city, similar to Rothenburg.  Nuremberg wasn’t quite as charming and medieval, but was a happy medium between medieval Rothenburg and more modern and big-city Munich.  We stopped for dinner at a local restaurant and Laron had to try the famed Nuremburger wurst  (little sausages which Laron described as “just like Jimmy Dean”).  It came with spargel (the white asparagus)  which is a hot commodity around here in the spring.  You can always find some very delicious spargel dishes on the menu this time of year.

Most of the time it’s served in brotchen AKA a roll, and you can get it from many different street-side stands.

After dinner we did more exploring of the aldtstadt (old town).  This was an old hospital that sits over the water, which you can’t tell because we are blocking the shot…rookie mistake.

We even found my favorite big city coffee shop, Starbucks!  I had to go in to get a little taste of home.  Here’s Daddy and baby girl hanging out while I sipped my coffee.

A travelin’ girl, happy in her stroller!

The next day we decided to visit the Nuremberg zoo.  Even though our little one isn’t quite old enough to appreciate the animals, Hubby and I had fun seeing them!  It was a great zoo with a lot to see, I don’t think we made it to everything and we were there all day long.

They even had a dolphin show!  Can’t compare to SeaWorld, but it was fun!

 When we got back into the main city for dinner, we strolled through the handwerkerhof, which is a small area of quaint shops that sell more handicraft type stuff.  Basically just cute little shops.

The next morning before we headed off to the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and museum, we had a little fun taking pictures of our sweetie.  There are many more, but I’ll just give you one for now.

So the rest of the day we spent at the museum that documents the rise of Nazi power in the years leading up to and through World War II.  It’s on the site where Hitler had a huge grounds where Nazi party rallies were held each year.  He had intended to build much more there but it was never fully completed.  There are some eerie shots of the grounds in use.

Both pictures are from wikipedia, and here’s the link if you’re curious about the grounds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_party_rally_grounds

The museum was a great rainy day activity.  Although these sites can sometimes be very somber, it’s so educational and visiting places like here, Dachau, and now Normandy (more on that later) has really broadened our understanding of the time and how and why things happened.  Nuremberg was also the site of the war trials.  We had hoped to visit the courtroom where they were held, but ran out of time.  Things move a bit slower with a baby in tow 🙂

The final morning before we left, I had one mission.  To get some lebkuchen or gingerbread.  Nuremberg is famous for it’s lebkuchen so I had to try some, whether it was Christmas season or not.  I’m so glad we did try some because it was delicious!  I don’t even have any pictures of it because it didn’t last very long.  I am seriously contemplating another trip out there in December for more!

This looks just like what we bought, yum!-picture link

Here’s my advice for your first trip with a baby:

*Pick a destination within driving distance. This will allow you to pack pretty much any baby gadget you want without worrying about room in a suitcase or a weight limit. Driving also allows your schedule to be more flexible. If you are running a little late because the baby spits up, no big deal. If you need to pull over to feed the baby, no big deal. You also have the privacy of your car for nursing, diaper changes, etc. if you’re a little nervous about doing these things under the watchful eye of strangers.

*Make flexible hotel accommodations. Chose a reservation that can be cancelled up until a day before your trip. That way if you’re not feeling ready, you just aren’t getting enough sleep, you can cancel the trip without losing your money.

*Do not over schedule yourself. Leave your itinerary open. Have an idea of a few big things you want to do, and just go with the flow. Don’t add to your stress level by booking a bunch of tours, reservations, etc. Allow yourself to take your time and explore at a leisurely pace while you get used to what it’s like to travel with a tiny human who needs frequent stops.

*When in doubt, Starbucks is an excellent place for a nursing session. I went in there more than once to nurse. It’s warm, there is a bathroom that likely has a changing table (something that can be hard to find), your husband can sip a drink while you nurse ,and you can reward yourself when you’re done!

*Take pictures. Babies grow fast and you’ll want to remember just how precious and tiny they were!