Maybe it sounds a bit weird, but as an experience traveler I know that you every now and then need this kind of information in advance: electricity in France is 230 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to France with a device that does not accept 230 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.
There are three main types of voltage converter. Resistor-network converters will usually be advertised as supporting something like 50-1600 Watts. They are light-weight and support high-wattage electrical appliances like hair dryers and irons. However, they can only be used for short periods of time and are not ideal for digital devices. Some companies sell combination converters that include both a resistor network and a transformer in the same package. This kind of converter will usually come with a switch that switches between the two modes. If you absolutely need both types of converter, then this is the type to buy.
Outlets in France generally accept 1 type of plug: Two round pins (see the picture). If your appliances plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter. Depending on how much you plan to travel in the future, it may be worthwhile to get a combination voltage converter and plug adapter.
I guess we all agree on this on; there is nothing more exciting than going travelling - exploring another country, experiencing a different culture, travelling around in new ways, sampling the local cuisine and chatting to the local people for a different perspective on life.
However during our travels we learned that there is one certain thing that you should be aware of and prepared for to make sure that the trip is as easy and enjoyable as possible. We always try to see everything once we're there, but this is not always an act of responsible travelling. We always talk to the locals and we know that they have the information about just the right spots to visit and how to undertake them. It will not only enhance your experiences but also avoid any unnecessary hassles.
For us the travel tips we have written in this section made the most of our travel experience and we came home in the same happy, healthy state that we left.
One of Munich’s icons, apart from the famous ones like Frauenkirche and Rathaus of course, is Münchner Kindl, the one in my photo. It decorates buildings, beer coasters, beer mugs, an abundance of souvenir things, can be seen public transportation vehicles and many more. It is also part of the coat of arms of Munich however it seems that this is not widely known.
Originally the kindl is a monk, dressed in a black coat with yellow (or gold) stripes, who holds a book in one hand and the other hand raised for the oath. According to the official sources, the monk represents the monastery of Tegernsee, which is said to be the place where “original” Munich was built. And München, the town name, is said to have derived from Mönch, the German name for monk. Over the years, the monk was somehow transformed to a kid, hence the name Kindl (German for little kid). The Italian name for Munich is Monaco, Italian for monk. As far as I know it is the only language where the name still refers to Munich’s roots.
© Ingrid D., September 2010.
This is more of a fun “tip”, but fits very well into Munich’s local custom section. Munich stands for beer all over the world. Why else is there an Octoberfest existing in countless countries or cities? Oh well, yes, beer is maybe the most famous icon of this town, and more so the huge beer mugs which holds one litre: the Mass.
When we walked through Englischer Garten Saturday afternoon, I almost fell into the lake from laughing when I saw this special illumination for the beer garden in the northern part of the lake. Beer mugs, Mass, what else....
© Ingrid D., September 2010.
Well, I've seen it for myself so it's true. Surfing in downtown Munich.
I'm told someone created this artificial wave on the fast flowing river which runs into the Englischer Garten under Prinzregentenstr. So, Saturday lunchtime at Easter the surfers are out showing off their skills.
Only the Beach Boys missing...
All state owned museums in Munich can be entered free on Sunday! This includes the “alte Pinakothek” and the “neue Pinakothek”, the “Pinakothek of modern art”. You can save a lot of entrance fees. If you are an art love you might take a whole Sunday for each, if you just want to get a first impression to come back later and see certain exhibitions in details then you can scroll two (or even three) in one day. I like the “alte Pinakothek” (get the audio guide! – each painting there has its own interesting story) and also the “Pinakothek of modern art”, which has a small but great section on architecture of famous buildings and construction principles. All the “Pinakotheken” have caffees and museum stores. Further “Sunday-free” museums include the "Bavarian national Museum", the "Munich City Museum", the "Glypothek" and others. Not included in the free offer are privately owned museums like the “Lehnbachhaus” .
For the “Pinakotheken” exit the U2 or bus 53 at Königsplatz. Then follow the signs. By car you might find parking in the area around, but this might take some time. For detailed driving directions see www.stadtplan.de.
It is like the Karneval in Cologne.
Everyone dresses up in February and gets drunk, throw confetti and glitter around Marienplatz & Viktualienmarkt and sing "Alice, Alice, Who de F*ck is Alice". People go mad, basically.
Pity I do not have any photos of it, but it was fun. Pic is from www.serve.com
When you - as a tourist - go to Oktoberfest, you will certainly not need to dress formally ...
For bavarian farmers outside of Munich Oktoberfest was a long time ago the only kind of entertainment, they would go to during the year, also because of the fact, that every second year Oktoberfest is combined with a big agricultural exhibition on Theresienwiese ( would there be any better excuse to go there ??:-)
You will see plenty of bavarian people there, even whole families with several small children , all dressed in their traditional costumes...
This pic was taken inside "KÄFER-Schenke" , a place where mostly only the Jet Set of Munich will go !
Radler - a beer shandy, in North Germany, it's known as Alsterwasser.
Geh' ma - 'let's go', 'come on'
Auf Wiederschauen - like Auf Wiedersehen (see you later)
Wiesn - Another term for the Oktoberfest
Hendl Hoch! - Raise your chicken! (only used at the oktoberfest, when the bandmaster shouts Hendl hoch, you raise your chicken piece, like a toast!)
Ein Maß - 1 litre of beer.
Servus! and Gruss Gott - typical Bavarian greetings - you will NEVER hear this in North Germany, unless you're talking to a Bavarian. You'll hear it in Austria too.
Gucken, schauen - both mean 'to look'
Germans of Munich drink bier like a barrel in huge bier glasses. I am not used it. For that reason I drink only a "kleines" little. There was also brass music in the halle but it was too noisy. For that reason we find ourselves a remote place in one of the endless corridors. I think the Munchener had the idea to build a hugu bier halle after seeing our covered bazaars in Turkey. the Kapali Carcis. hi hi hi
I have been to Oktoberfest many times over the years and never with a reservation. There is no problem showing up without one but of course, don't waltz in on Friday or Saturday night at 8PM and expect to get into a tent. As many others have mentioned, being in a tent is not all there is to Oktoberfest. There are rides, food booths outside, and even games. It's really like a big fair with the added attractions of beer tents.
The tents open early and if you can drink a beer for breakfast (and believe me, this is Munich and it won't even seem like a strange thing) you can get into any tent, maybe even on a weekend. As others have said, go during the week and go during the day and you won't have any problems. Make sure you eat something before you start drinking. This is no place to go on a diet or count your carbs! The Fest beers are stronger than the regular helles beers of the city, ranging from 6-6.8% in alcohol and served only in liter mugs. Grab a couple with a pretzel and drink up. Don't let it get warm and very soon you will be in an Oktoberfest kind of mood. Make no mistake, that mood is a bit drunken so that you can stand on your seat, make toasts, and sing all the silly songs that make Oktoberfest what it is.
As far as a room is concerned, never give up but try to reserve something now. There are often cancellations and rooms do pop up. If you can't get a room, go to the tourist information center in the train station. They will find you something. It might not be in Munich but if you have a train pass, you can "commute" into the city for the Fest. That's what I did back in 1978 when I first came to Munich and its beery festival. I was over an hour away and it wasn't really a problem. If you are coming only for the Fest, you'll have plenty of time. Depending on how much beer you can drink, a visit to the Oktoberfest can be quite short!
Munich has loads of other things to see and do. One thing to try for sure is a beer garden. It's a Munich invention and like no other thing in the world. If the weather is fine, head to Augustiner Keller near the train station or Hirschgarten a bit further out. Sit at a table with no table cloth, walk up to the self service areas and grab a beer from a big wooden keg. Feel free to bring your own food as it is enshrined in Bavarian law that you are allowed to do just that. Otherwise, there is food for sale at somewhat inflated prices. Sit under a huge leafy chestnut tree and look up at the sun (hopefully) streaming down through the leaves. You'll soon understand why the world for heaven and sky are the same in German.
Enjoy the beer. Enjoy the fest. With the right attitude. It's a fun place.
When you're going to a restaurant in Germany and especially Bavaria and you sit on a table you might not sit there alone for long. It's common in Germany that two seperate groups share their table. So don't act angry or complain if somebody is seated or sits at you're table. See it as chance to meet new people. It's especially common in Beergardens, traditional Bavarian restaurants and beerhalls and at the Oktoberfest.
Weizen is the traditional Bavarian beer. You can get it anywhere, here, in Germany and in many countries in the world.
Read more about it in my Bavaria page:
Begun in the 14C, this Christmas fair begins about the start of Advent and is gone by Christmas Eve. The walking street is decked for Christmas but there are added stalls that sell Christmas wares: home-made decorations, special pastries and candies, etc. There are stalls in the Marienplatz as well. There must be a way that the sites are awarded as some of the stalls seem to be old and only usable for this event. Inside the courtyard of the Neue Rathaus was a creche and mulled wine (gluwein) was being sld from booths that were open windows of the Rathaus (See pictures on our Intro page).
Some locals laughed at us while we were eating white sausages in Viktualienmarkt without having taken their peel off. They advised and told us that you have to cut the sausage along and take the peel off before you start eating them.
They also told us that locals eat those typical sausages before 12 a.m., so that if you eat them afterwards that clearly means that you are a tourist!!