In Reply to: Things You Wish You Knew Before Going to Munich posted by Marc on September 23, 1999 at 16:45:23:
A couple of things learned from my travels in Bavaria and Munich:
1) Exchanging cash is costly at some local banks, who charge a premium for the service. You're better off finding one good source and getting all your money converted there as opposed to exchanging it bit by bit as you travel around.
2) Munich can be a confusing city to get around in, so I would suggest getting a hold of a street map and familiarizing yourself with it before you get there. The streets are not laid out in a grid pattern, so getting around is not intuitive.
3) Fewer Germans speak good English than I thought, so familiarize yourself with basic terms (e.g. traffic terms, money, greetings, etc). This is especially true in the smaller towns.
4) You will have to pay a VAT on any purchases, but it is refunded upon leaving the country. Getting the refund involves a stop at the airport when leaving. Make sure you keep all of your receipts.
5) The Rhine region, although beautiful, is a tourist trap, IMHO. Many of the popular towns there are overly commercialized. I would recommend the Mosel valley, as it is less traveled by tourists.
6) On my last trip, I stayed in some of the smaller towns outside of Munich - this is a great way to take in some of the charm of the region.
7) Munich hotels are very expensive and the rooms tend to be smaller than what we're used to, although very nice.
8) The food is generally high-quality, although pretty heavy - alot of meats with heavy sauces. If you're health-conscious, be prepared ! Also, learn what the German words for pork, beef, chicken, etc are - it helps alot when ordering.