The capital and cultural center of Bavaria, Munich (pop. 1,228,000) is a sprawling, relatively liberal metropolis in the midst of conservative southern Germany. World-class museums, handsome parks and architecture, a rambunctious arts scene, and an urbane population combine to create a city of astonishing vitality. Muncheners party zealously during Fasching, Germany’s Mardi Gras (Jan. 7-Mar. 4, 2004), shop with abandon during the Christmas Market (Nov. 28-Dec. 24, 2004), and consume unfathomable quantities of beer during the legendary Oktoberfest (Sept. 19-Oct. 4, 2004).
Flights: Flughafen Miinchen (97 52 13 13). S8 runs between the airport and the Hauptbahnhof (40min. every lOmin. 8 or 8 stripes on the Streifenkarte).
Trains: Munich’s Hauptbahnhof (22 33 12 56) is the transportation hub of southern Germany, with connections to: Amsterdam (9hr. every hr. 143); Berlin (8hr.; every hr.; 141, or 103 via Leipzig); Cologne (6hr. every hr. 101); Frankfurt (3’2hr. every hr. 76); Hamburg (6hr. every hr. 138); Paris (10hr. 3 per day, 105); Prague (7hr. 2 per day, 60); Salzburg (l%hr. every hr. 25); Vienna (5hr. every hr. 59); and Zurich (5hr. 4 per day, 61). For 24hr. schedules, fare info, and reservations (in German), call (01805) 99 66 33. EurAide, in the station, provides free train info and sells train tickets. Reisezentrum info counters open daily 6am-10:30pm.
Public Transportation: MW, Munich’s public transport system, runs Su-Th 5am-12:30am, F-Sa 5am-2am. The S-Bahn to the airport starts running at 3:30am. Eurail, InterRail, and German railpasses are valid on the S-Bahn, but not on the U-Bahn, streetcars, or buses.
Tickets: Buy tickets at the blue vending machines and validate them in the blue boxes marked with an E before entering the platform. If you jump the fare (schwarzfahren), you risk a 30 fine. Prices: Single ride tickets 2, valid for 3hr. Kurzstrecke (short trip) tickets are good for 2 stops on U orS, or 4 stops on a streetcar or bus (1). A Streifenkarte (10-strip ticket; 9) can be used by more than 1 person. Cancel 2 strips per person for a normal ride, or 1 strip per person for a Kurzstrecke; beyond the city center, cancel 2 strips per additional zone. A Single-Tageskarte (single-day ticket) is valid for 1 day of unlimited travel until 6am the next day (4.50). The 3-Day Pass (11) is also a great deal. Passes can be purchased at the MW office behind tracks 31 and 32 in the Hauptbahnhof, or at any of the Kartenautomats. Ask at tourist offices about the Munich Welcome Card (1-day 6.50, 3-day 15.50), which gives public transportation and various other discounts.
Ride-Sharing: McShare Treffpunkt Zentrale, Klenzestr. 57b or Lammerstr. 6 ( 194 40; www.mitfahrzentrale.de). Open daily 8am-8pm. At the same location, Frauenmit-fahrzentrale arranges ride shares for women only. Open M-F 8am-8pm.
Hitchhiking: Let’s Go does not recommend hitchhiking as a safe mode of transportation. Those looking to share rides scan the bulletin boards in the Mensa, Leopoldstr. 13. Otherwise, hitchers try Autobahn on-ramps; those who stand behind the blue sign with the
white auto may be fined. Hitchhikers going to Salzburg take Ul or 2 to Karl-Preis-pl. Those heading to Nurnberg and Berlin take U6 to Studentenstadt and walk 500m to the Frankfurter Ring. Those heading to the Bodensee and Switzerland take U4 or 5 to Hei-meranpl. then bus #33 to Siegenburger Str.
Taxis: Taxi-Zentrale (216 11 or 194 10) has large stands in front of the train station and every 5-10 blocks in the city center. Women can request a female driver.
Bike Rental: Radius Bikes (59 61 13), at the far end of the Hauptbahnhof, behind the lockers opposite tracks 30-36. 3 per hr. 14 per day. Deposit 50, passport, or credit card. 10% student, Eurail, and Munich Welcome Card discount. Open July-Aug. M-F 10am-6pm, Sa-Su 9am-8pm; May-Oct. daily 10am-6pm. Aktiv-Rad, Hans-Sachs-Str. 7 (26 65 06). Ul or 2 to Frauenhofer Str. 12-20 per day. Open M-F lOam-lpm and 2-6:30pm, Sa lOam-lpm.