Photography by Emma Krasov There are vacation travelers who think that long international flights are only justified by prolonged stays at their travel destinations. They even came up with a formula, “for every hour in the air a day on the ground.” Say, you fly to Munich for 12 hours, so you plan a 12-day leisurely vacation in the city for walking around and exploring. I love leisurely vacations as much as the next girl, but by the nature of my job I have no such luxuries. My travel formula is a crude one, “for every hour in the air two hours on the ground.” Three, if I’m lucky. That’s why I’m a big fan of Hop-on Hop-off buses available in all the big cities. The large comfortable double-deckers take visitors through the city streets to all the major attractions and stop right by the doors of palaces and museums. Staying in Munich for only one full day I knew exactly what to do to make my short visit memorable. Neat and clean, and equipped with a substantial breakfast, TRYP München City Center hotel provided exactly that – proximity to the city center as well as to the main train station Hauptbahnhof from where my Gray Line Sightseeing bus took me on a Grand Circle Tour of the city. Just riding through the streets of the Bavarian capital is a great excursion on its own. Munich’s architecture is a mosaic of styles and time periods, with Gothic and Baroque buildings framed by the glass-and-cement cubes of contemporary design. An imposing Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) with a famous animated clock and 43 chiming bells on the central square Marienplatz is only steps away from the double-domed Frauenkirche which became the symbol of the city. In front of the town hall there’s Mariensäule – a 1638 column commemorating the end of the Thirty Years’ War and Swedish occupation. A cluster of sights is conveniently located in and around the city center – the 15th century Old Town Hall, several historic theaters and art museums, an awe-inspiring 1746 Asamkirche – a genius creation of two brothers – an architect and a sculptor – and of course, a number of Bavarian-cuisine restaurants, like Cafe am Marienplatz, serving local brews and white veal sausages invented here in 1857. My stop of choice in a sight-saturated city was Residenz Palace – the largest city palace in Germany and a former winter residence of the rulers of Bavaria in the course of 400 years. The House of Wittelsbach started its rule back in 1180, and continued until 1918. The enormous architectural complex called Residenz has 130 rooms and 10 courtyards, and combines Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neo-Classic styles in its lavishly decorated and well-preserved facilities. Tall wooden double doors, guarded by the two bronze lions lead into the unimaginably rich collection of historical artifacts gathered inside the whimsically appointed ballrooms and bedrooms. The very first 1586 Grotto room with a multi-figured fountain in the middle is made entirely of sea shells and crystals with a gilded statue of Perseus at the top – its elaborate design inspired by the Italian Renaissance gardens. The opulent 1571 Antiquarium (The Hall of Antiquities) contains an array of antique statues positioned under the densely frescoed arched ceiling. The 1616 Imperial Hall with exquisite pink marble floors, tapestries and crystal chandeliers is followed by the endless rows of rooms encased in silk wall panels and adorned with gilded pilasters and countless paintings and statuettes. Hours later, upon reaching the end of the display I could hardly walk, and my camera was shaking in my unsteady hands. Primarily, I had an ambitious plan to use a few Hop-on Hop-off stops to visit several sights, but by the time the Residenz palace was closing I barely managed to hop on the last scheduled bus. I was hungry, thirsty, and tired, but oh so happy to accomplish quite a feat in sightseeing in one full day in Munich! I got a fast relief from thirst and hunger at the oldest city restaurant/brewery Augustiner Großgaststätten. This historic eatery still serves beer invented in 1294 by the local monks, which pairs splendidly with the many traditional dishes on the menu, like beer-marinated pork with crackling skin. I knew that my body will soon forget its tiredness, but my eyes will always remember the amazing and inspiring sights (also stored in photographs I took on this trip). Additional information at: www.muenchen.de.