Also known as That One Time When We Planned Enough Time Into Our Trip To Spend An Entire Weekend Embracing The Bavarian Beer Garden Culture.
I love Munich. I used to wonder if I loved it because it was the first place I ever set foot on the European continent. But really I think I love it because it is a beautiful city.
I think that prior to our visit, Marcus was a little bit concerned about how batsy I was for it, but once he got set down properly in the middle of all of it, he came around very quickly.
We did not originally plan to see the Glockenspiel in action, but conveniently we happened to be at Marienplatz at 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning.
We were especially fortunate in that we got to stay with Marcus’ friend from college, Paul and his fiance, Laura. Staying with others is always interesting because you don’t want to be Too Intrusive (as if taking over someone’s entire living room for a weekend is discreet). But no sooner had Paul gotten home from work than we were off on our merry way for a whirlwind weekend in Bayern.
Like I said before, this weekend was largely dedicated to drinking beer. But while we were in Munich, we did dedicate a day to visiting Dachau. We did not take photos while we were there and as I had been there before, mostly I followed Marcus through the camp and prayed as he looked over the exhibits and the buildings. It is forbidden, sacred ground.
There’s really no good way to transition out of that right there, and there shouldn’t be. It was easily the most important part of our trip and in the same way that it was humbling to see so many people who were not Jewish waiting in line at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, it was humbling to see them remembering what happened at Dachau as well.
This was our first stop on our Munich adventure. We took the S-Bahn with Paul and Laura from their place to Giselestraβe where we walked to the garten.
If you are unfamiliar with Munich, the Englischer Garten is like a Central Park of sorts for the city (actually, it’s larger than Central Park). Within the garten itself, there are a few bier gartens – one at the Chinese Tower and the other (the Seehaus) by the lake within the park.
So we started out at the Chinese Tower. The fact that there is a giant tower in the park is a novelty, but what adds to the festivity and the traditional atmosphere is the polka band that plays from the tower.
I will never, ever forget the expression on Marcus’ when we sat down at our table with trays filled to brimming and half-liter mugs of freshly brewed beer. It was sort of like that of a child witnessing Christmas for the first time.
We had made it to the weekend.
From there we moved to the Seehaus, just in time to catch a glimpse of a lovely sunset and to grab another beer. Naturally.
We ended up here after our day at Dachau. I had visited with the family in 2006 and knew that we would want to return. Paul and Laura affirmed that this was The Right Decision and met us in the bier garten for a few more before we headed out for dinner.
Augustiner does have some extremely limited distribution outside of Germany, but locals will tell you that it really is The Business, so it is absolutely a Must Visit if you are in the city.
I preface this by saying that every meal we ate in Munich involved beer, and we ate pretzels at least once per day. It was So Great.
Fact: Hacker Pschorr is separated into separate restaurant/properties in Munich – Hackerhaus and Der Pschorr. We happened to end up at Der Pschorr because we were in hot pursuit of Weisswurst and Paul and Laura had tried on more than one occasion to source it there to no avail.
How could it be such a struggle to find weisswurst in the land of cured meats and pork products? It’s quite simple, actually – weisswurst as it is traditionally served is meant to be eaten before 11:00 AM. You’re also meant to drink a weisse bier with it.
Thank God I believe in Traditions.
One festive food I was introduced to while we were in Munich was this interesting cheese spread for our pretzels that was sort of a cross between whipped cream cheese and a port wine cheese ball. I think I may have to action it for Thanksgiving or Christmas because it is just So Good.
Ever since Dad’s return from Munich in 2006, we have actioned German Breakfast from time to time.
It’s hard to explain this to people who have not experienced it first-hand, because otherwise it’s really confusing as to why you would need to embrace the combination of prosecco, breads and jams, cured meats, and other miscellany before 10:00 AM.
But you really, really need to. Just throw everything on a tray, add three more things than you think you need and call it ready to go.
Paul and Laura swore up and down that we would just adore the wiener schnitzel at this place. They were absolutely right. That was show-stopping as was the cranberry relish.
As it turns out cranberry relish = not only for Thanksgiving.
There was also some other pork dish (what else is new…when in Rome!) that had especially memorable crispy skin.
And some sort of bread dumpling-nudel. It’s a gray line, people.