Now we’re in Munich! It was a quick drive from Oxford to the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.
As you know, Terminal 5 is the newest addition to LHR—after the initial meltdown on opening day, today many think it’s a great arrival/departure point.
I’m here to check out the shopping.
Several British designers including Thomas Pink, Mulberry, and Ted Baker have opened boutiques. My beloved Boots pharmacy is there as well … time to stock up on their makeup (No.7 and their skin cream, Protect & Perfect). There’s a huge Harrods next to Paul Smith Globe (offering unique travel-related products) and then there’s my favorite noodle shop, Wagamama.
Unfortunately, there was no time for shopping or eating … a tale of caution to all who are dreaming of noodles.
Find out about Heathrow’s New Offerings & Airport Hotel Style.
Upon check-in at British Airways, I learned that my afternoon flight to Munich had been rescheduled by the travel agency to earlier that morning; no word to me on this, however. I had missed the plane!
Even though my itinerary confirmed the afternoon reservation, BA would not honor it. My only recourse was to buy a new ticket. A one-way ticket was outrageous at £478 (about $700), so I spent £358 for a round-trip and will not use the return leg. Once again, I must remember to confirm flights in advance (and to call the travel agent to make trouble when I get back to San Francisco).
Learn what to do When Things Go Wrong When Traveling.
The good news is that T5 is as efficient as it is gorgeous. British Airways’ counters were plentiful and there were no queues for check-in or purchase. The process was quick, smooth and painless (except for the damage to my Visa) and I zipped through security.
I have no idea how or why this happened to me, but if it happened to me, yeah, it could happen to you. Take time to study and reconfirm all tickets.
Once in Munich, I checked into the brand-new Louis Hotel, located right in the heart of the city’s old town next to the outdoor Viktualienmarkt farmers’ market. The hotel is contemporary in design and the well-heeled staff began pampering me immediately. Curious about the light scent in the corridor, I called guest services to inquire. About 10 minutes later, a small bundle was delivered to my room: it was an Airwick dispenser, lavender and chamomile. Hopefully, I can pick up refills at my local drugstore back in the USA.
I was exhausted after my airport misadventures, so I opted for dinner at Emiko, the Louis’ Japanese restaurant. I never expected to find great sushi in Germany! A group of very young and chic locals invited me to share their table and confirmed that Emiko has quickly become the top see-and-be-seen spot in Munich.
We drank, laughed and shared a wonderful meal of sushi, sashimi, grilled meats and veggies. By the time we finished the third round of sake, it was after midnight and I was feeling like a pumpkin. My new best friends staggered to the bar and I retired to my bed. Gute nacht.
After breakfast—again, at Emiko—I was off to Ingolstadt Village, the third and final stop on my quick tour of the Chic Shopping Outlets in Europe.
Ingolstadt is about an hour by car from the center of Munich, but there’s also train service from Hauptbahnhof Central Station to Ingolstadt main station where you can take a bus (# 20) to the outlets via Ingolstadt City Centre.
Ingolstaedter Airport Express runs from Munich Airport to the town of Ingolstadt, also connecting to the #20 bus.
Much to my surprise, I had saved the best shopping adventure for last. I loved this shopping village and found the best buys of my trip at Ingolstadt.
Weak dollar days? Not to worry. This is your place. It’s a bit smaller than the other Chic Outlet Villages, but has brands not available at any other outlet centers, including brands I shop in the U.S. but rarely find on streets of Europe. While Bavaria is well known for beer and fast cars (two things that should never be mixed), I now consider it a top shopping destination.
The German label Oska is a line of separates in a mixy-matchy Armani-Asian fusion of muted colors and soft natural fabrics. It’s great for travel and perfect for imperfect bodies like mine. It’s also very expensive.
When I discovered the Oska outlet shop at Ingolstadt, I waltzed right in and grabbed everything in sight. Brigitte, the store manager, helped me narrow my selection to a perfect olive/black trouser suit, a fuchsia wool jacket, a tiered denim skirt, and packable capris. Full retail price on my “haul” would have been €1,200+ (more than $1,700), but after applying the store discount of an additional 20 percent off the total (my purchases were over €200), final tab was €258. Best deal of the trip.
Ski wear is a specialty of the village (look for Bogner, Napapijri, Salomon, Helly Hansen and Falke) and German labels Strenesse, Aigner and Move all offered great bargains. I snatched up a pair of contemporary white ceramic vases at Rosenthal, and found perfect riding boots at Premium Shoes. I have no idea who made them, as all shoes and boots are label-free, but for €125 (about $185), these soft leather boots rival any I’ve seen at triple the price.
Even my Starbuck’s City Mug was a bargain at €8.90, much better than the €12 I paid for its twin in Madrid.
WINE AND DINE
With a couple of hours to kill before dinner with friends, I unloaded my bags at the Louis and headed out to continue my search for bargains. It was the last day of my shopping challenge and I still had space in my luggage. A quick walk led me to Riedel, the most famous name in wine glasses in the world. I love their new stemless wine glasses. It was hard to pass up a set of eight Chardonnay glasses for €50, but the box was too big to fit in the overhead bin.
Final stop: Dallmayr on Dienerstrasse, one of Europe’s best gourmet food markets, to pick up snacks for the plane. Strudel, anyone?
Mit big hugs,
By Sarah Lahey for PeterGreenberg.com. Join Suzy Gershman and Sarah Lahey on the road this spring on the “Born to Shop” trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from March 10-15, 2010, with an optional Bangkok extension. For more information, contact Sarah at srlahey @ gmail.com.
- Bargain Shopping Europe: Madrid, Spain
- Bargain Shopping Europe: Oxford, England
- Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from Hanoi, Vietnam
- Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from Santa Barbara, California
- Suzy & Sarah’s Roadtrip from San Antonio to San Francisco
- Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from Paris, France
- European Travel section