Europe 2014 – Fest 3 – Escape from Oktoberfest

Timeline: September 19th – 21st

We all arose the next morning, Sunday, none too worse for wear and with just a few rough edges showing. John Greely was to fly back to London later in the afternoon and so by late morning we all gathered to make our way back to central Munich for a bite to eat and a bit more sightseeing.

Just off the Marienplatz is a market square, the Viktualienmarkt that during the week is a favorite with locals for fresh produce and good service. A market like this could not pay real market value rents; so the city charges these old-time shops only a percentage of their gross income, enabling them to carry on (and keeping out fast-food chains). All of the normal stalls were closed, but a number of the bar/kiosks were open and we managed to order enough food, and beer, to make for a nice lunch.

Lunch with John

Lunch with John

We exited the Viktualienmarkt and on a whim all climbed to the top of the tower in the adjacent St Peter’s Church, Munich’s oldest. Built in the 12th century at the site of a pre-Merovingian church from the 8th century, it was rebuilt in 1368 after being destroyed in a fire. With over 300 steps to the top of the narrow tower, it was quite an adventure for the group, but the view afforded to all once there made the climb, and the descent, worthwhile.

New Town Hall

New Town Hall

Walking and climbing had built up a hunger and thirst that must be assuaged and knowing that young John Greely would need some sustenance to provide fuel for his flight to London, our logical destination was Augustiner am Dom, directly across from the Frauenkirche. We sat outside, but as rain was threatening again underneath an enclosure.

Frauenkirche

Frauenkirche

While Mr. Greely ordered food of substance, the rest of the group, guided by some local goddess of desert, ordered two Apfelkucherl’s and one Apfelstruedel to be washed down by more beer. A local street artist, a comedian, was performing his routine, much of it improvised and including passersby and patrons at the restaurant. We were seated too far away to catch the detail of much of the act, but those close up seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.

One Last Augustiner

One Last Augustiner

We finished our snack, bade farewell to John, and then walked over to the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) for a peek inside. Built in Gothic style in the late 1400s, it has been the city’s cathedral since 1821. We were all intrigued by a story told to us by our tour guide the day before regarding the Teufelstritt, or Devil’s Footstep, at the entrance. This black footprint like mark, according to legend, is where the devil made a deal with the builder to finance construction of the church on the condition that not have any windows.

The clever builder, however, tricked the devil by positioning columns so that the windows were not visible from the spot where the devil stood in the foyer. When the devil discovered that he had been tricked, he could not enter the already consecrated church; he could only stand in the foyer and stomp his foot furiously, which left the dark footprint that remains visible in the church’s entrance today.

The Devil's Footprint

The Devil’s Footprint

It being mid afternoon, we decided to head back over to the Hofbrauhaus for one more round of beers. When we entered it was crazy busy and we elected to head up a couple of flights of stairs to a quieter room, where we sat at a table near an open window, enjoying a cool breeze. The table next to us was full of folks well into a good time, and they kept singing the Ein Prosit song, but only those two words, filling in “nah, nah, nah, nah” for the lyrics they didn’t know. It was a nice way to cap our afternoon.

Hofbrauhaus

Hofbrauhaus

We made our way back to the Sheraton and settled in for a quiet evening, discussing plans for the coming days and around 7:00pm feeling hungry we set about to order a pizza. The hotel concierge gave us the name of a chain that delivered and instead of taking him up on his offer to help us place our order, we attempted to do so via the Internet, a decision that would lead to us not getting the pizza until close to 10:00pm.

Not the best pizza we’d ever consumed, but not the worst, it was truly better than a bug. After a long and weekend of fun, we were all ready for a good night’s sleep full of the anticipation of a week of traveling west through Switzerland ahead of us, with our first stop the next day to be King Ludwig’s magical castle Neuschwanstein. New adventures awaited and we were ready.

Old City Hall

Links

Viktualienmarkt: http://www.muenchen.de/int/en/shopping/markets/viktualienmarkt.html

St. Peter’s Church: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter’s_Church_(Munich)

Frauenkirche: http://www.muenchner-dom.de/startseite.html

Augustiner am Dom: http://www.augustineramdom.de/en.htm

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