InterRail #13: An Afternoon in Augsburg
„Hätt’ ich Venedigs Macht und Augsburger Pracht, Nürnberger Witz und Straßburger G’schütz und Ulmer Geld, so wär’ ich der Reichste in der Welt.“
If I had the power of Venice and Augsburg’s splendour, Nuremberg’s wit and Strasbourg’s cannon and Ulmer money, I would be the richest in the world
After a large and satisfying breakfast,we set off for the station, ready to wave Verona (InterRail #12: A Day in Verona) goodbye. As always, we arrived at the station some time before the train was due to depart, but were pleased when we saw it pull into the station early, thinking we could board and settle down into our seats. However, frustratingly, the doors remained closed right up to departure time, which caused quite some annoyance on the platform and a bit of pushing and shoving, as everyone battled to be first in the queue to board the train. At last, we were let on and only a few minutes later we were pulling out of the station and chugging towards the mountains where the Brenner Pass would be our gateway into Austria. The train slowly climbed up into the hills above Verona before winding its way through the mountains, where there was still evidence of snow on the ground. There were a few spells of sunshine, but in general the clouds were gathering and the cloud base lowering – a change in the weather was imminent! Our journey took us through the Austrian countryside via Innsbruck and then into Germany and on to Munich, arriving at about half past two in the afternoon.
After our arrival in Munich and dropping our things off at the hotel, we decided to hop back on the train (because seven hours on the train is just not enough!) and take the opportunity to visit the city of Augsburg, just forty minutes by ICE train from Munich. After spending quite some time stood on the platform at Munich Hbf due to delays, we jumped aboard the train and began the journey up the track. Forty minutes later, we arrived at our destination and exited the train into the cold, damp air. Greeted by temperatures of 4 degrees plus the threat of snow showers, was indeed a shock to the system after the pleasant climes of Italy, but we wrapped up as best as we could and were determined not to allow the weather to ruin our trip.
Being Easter Friday and with such poor weather, the city was relatively ‘abandoned’ with few people on the streets and the shops all shut up. Nevertheless we headed for the centre of town, stopping two jolly looking locals to ask for a recommendation, as to where we might be able to find some tasty food. They pointed us further in the direction of the Altstadt, to the Ratskeller (cellar of the Townhall) where we were promised to find some filling Germanic food. After a bit of searching, we eventually found the restaurant tucked away down some steps off the Rathausplatz. The restaurant was housed in a high-ceilinged cellar and looked like it would be a perfect venue for all sorts of parties and celebrations. Faced with a menu containing such dishes as Schnitzel, Schweine Haxe and other meat-based dishes we all relished getting back to a more northern European diet, after more than ten days of almost meat-free pasta dishes, pizzas and salads. When the food arrived it was devoured in no time at all and was washed down with the local beer. Everyone was satisfied and we were once again ready to face the chill outside.
Once our stomachs were feeling contented, we left the Keller and climbed up the steps into the grand Rathausplatz. We briefly stopped to admire the giant Renaissance building at the one end of the square and the Perlachturm (a bell tower) nearby.
Leaving the square behind us, we walked along Maximilianstrasse, which is the beginning of the old Roman road between Germany and Italy, passing Moritzplatz on the way until we reached Herkulesbrunnen (Hercules Fountain). From this point we were able to see the churches of Sankt Ulrich and Sankt Afra.
The weather wasn’t getting any better and the cold was slowly getting to us, so we decided to turn around and slowly make our way back to the station. We passed the Fugger Haus, the old town house of Princes Fugger von Babenhausen who rose from apprentice weavers to the world’s wealthiest merchants in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the old Weberhaus (Weaver’s House) on the way, stopping to take in their charm.
It was not long before we were back at the Hbf, with an ICE train due and within the hour we were back in our hotel room preparing ourselves for another day of exploring.. Munich was on the menu!