Carving out time to do something fun on a business trip is one of my all time favorite travel pastimes. I'll wake up early and take a walk before work or make time for an after work stroll or dinner. Why bother going on a trip if all you do is see the inside of the office and your hotel room? In March, I had a two day Munich business trip planned. In this post, I'll prove that you can carve our time for fun even if you have as little as one day in Munich while still getting your work done.
Marienplatz Walk in Munich
I was staying near my office just outside of the Munich city center. Quickly consulting Google Maps, I realized that I was about a 30 minute walk from Munich's iconic Marienplatz. I knew that I needed to be at the office by 9:30 am. Doing the math, I set my alarm an hour earlier than I strictly needed to; getting up at 7 am. I was out the door by 7:30 am (I'm pretty fast at getting ready in the morning!) budgeting 90 minutes to explore Munich and a 30 minute buffer. I walked briskly past the Hauptbahnhof and soon arrived in Munich's Old Town.
I spent some time steeping in the atmosphere and taking a close look at all of Munich's exquisite architecture.
Once again, with the help of Google Maps, I spotted a coffee shop/bar in the vicinity of Marienplatz and made my way there. With a caffeine fix in hand, I strolled at a leisurely pace through Munich back to the office arriving in plenty of time to start my work day. What a fun way to spend a morning in Munich!
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other short city break destinations to visit in Germany? Have you considered:
Munich's Augustiner Keller
After work is another ideal time to squeeze in a bit of fun and exploration into a business trip. I was tempted to skip dinner and just go back to the hotel after a long and tiring day of work. Then I reminded myself: you only live once and who knows when I'll be back in Munich again! I knew I'd better make the most of my short time in Munich. In this instance, rather than eating alone, I pinged a colleague who I knew was also visiting Munich at the same time. He was up for dinner so we met at Augustiner Keller about a ten minute walk from our Munich office. Not only did we enjoy a huge stein of beer and traditional German comfort food, it was also great to catch up with a colleague while doing so.
While at Augustiner Keller, we also ran into another few colleagues who were visiting Munich at the same time. They had tucked themselves away at a table inside a giant barrel. We joined them after dinner to continue the conversation. By fighting through the fatique and inertia, I ensured that I had a memorable experience in Munich that I won't soon forget and built even better relationships with my colleagues in the process. Taking time for fun on a business trip to Munich turned out to be a win win.
A Morning Walk at Munich's Schloss Nymphenburg
On the second morning of my business trip to Munich, I arose early once again. I had more flexibility that day since most of my meetings were scheduled for the afternoon. Even though rain was threatening, I didn't let the weather stop me and set off for Schloss Nymphenburg. That's the other great thing about business trips... you will typically have access to locals who can give you the honest scoop about what to see and what to skip. They will often point you to their favorite places which can be off of the tourist track. In fact, that's how I decided to visit Munich's Schloss Nymphenburg; a colleague recommended it as a can't miss sight in Munich.
I got up earlier than I needed to again (around 7 am). As an aside, this is not even really that early. On normal days in Dublin, I'm up at 6:15, I work on my blog for an hour and then get ready for work. I simply adjust my routine when I travel to focus on seeing things rather than writing about things :-) With a little help from the reception desk at the hotel, I figured out how to buy a ticket on the trams in Munich (you buy tickets on the train but the interface is entirely in German). I purchased a return ticket and hopped on the tram headed in the direction of the Schloss. About 20 minutes later, I arrived. I knew I'd be heading into the office a bit later than the previous day so I opted to stop at a German bakery for a coffee and pastry. Fuel in hand, I walked the final distance to Munich's Schloss Nymphenburg.
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: If you have time for a day trip while in Munich, may I recommend taking the train from Munich to Augsburg. Check out the golden town hall and see a Medieval social housing project. Alternatively, take a longer 2 hour train ride from Munich to Salzburg Austria for a day to experience the land of Mozart and the Sound of Music.
Getting up early has its benefits. I had Schloss Nymphenburg almost entirely to myself at first (aside from a few joggers). It seemed like everywhere I turned, there was a new trail heading off in an interesting direction. I initially stayed on the manicured path near the palace but then heard sounds of a waterfall and couldn't resist following the sound. I wound my way through a pristine forested path, birds flitting too and fro in the trees. Schloss Nymphenburg was so peaceful that it was hard to believe that I was not that far from the center of Munich.
The walk around the grounds of Schloss Nymphenburg was so peaceful and full of undiscovered nooks and crannies. This fun excursion in Munich was also a welcome contrast to the previous day's walk to the Munich city center. I got to the office at around 10:30 that day which was fine because of how I planned my meeting schedule. I simply worked a bit later to make up for the extra time I spent exploring the grounds of Schloss Nymphenburg.