June 25 – 27
Having been to Munich so many times in the past and although it seems hard to believe from these last couple of posts that all we did while here was drink beer, in fact we’ve hit almost all the major tourist spots. These would be, in no particular order:
- Neues Rathaus: New Town Hall – It hosts the city government including the city council, offices of the mayors and a small portion of the administration. In 1874 the municipality had left the Old Town Hall for its new domicile. Famous for its clock chimes and mechanical display.
- Englischer Garten: English Garden – large (910 acre) public park in the center of Munich, stretching from the city center to the northeastern city limits. It was created in 1789 by Sir Benjamin.
- Marienplatz: St Mary’s, or Our Lady’s Square – the city’s main square since 1158.
- St Peter’s Church (the oldest recorded parish church in Munich).
- Deutsches Museum: German Museum (see below).
- Frauenkirche: Cathedral of Our Dear Lady – A landmark and considered a symbol of the city, it serves as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich.
- BMW Museum & Welt: See prior post.
- Olympiapark: See prior post.
- Allianz Arena: Fußball Arena Münche – 70,000 seat football stadium.
- Hofbräuhaus: The large beer hall, originally built in 1589 by Bavarian Duke Maximilian I as an extension of the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München brewery, which is owned by the Bavarian state government.
- Viktualienmarkt: Daily food market and square in the center of town, not far from the Marienplatz. It has been held daily since 1807, except on Sundays and public holidays.
- Dachau – First concentration camp built by Nazi Germany, opening on 22 March 1933.
- Peterskirche: St. Peter’s Church – Munich’s oldest parish church and stands on Petersberg, a small hill originally settled by monks.
In addition, an easy day trip out of town by car or train is Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau (the original summer family castle of Ludwig) Castles down in Fussen. We’ve been more than once to both. We’ve also been to the Deutsches Museum a couple of times as it is the world’s largest museum of science and technology, with about 28,000 exhibited objects from 50 fields of science and technology. And so, today we decided to take a slightly different day trip and head out to the Andechs Monastery.
This would be a simple and easy excursion, make even more appealing as I forgot to mention in earlier posts, that because of the gas crisis that hit western countries in June 2023, the City of Munich provided its citizens and visitors with a one month 9-Euro access pass to all of its forms of public transportation.
We simply walked to the Underground at Sendlinger Tor, hopped on the train there to the Hauptbahnhof where we picked up the S8 which took us to the end of the line at Hechendorf where I boarded the 928 bus that took me up to the Monastery. In the meantime, Joanna opted to walk the five miles from town, which took her just about an hour.
I walked up the steep hill to enter the monastery grounds and located the bier garden and best of all, a small café where I could grab a coffee and apple strudel. Knowing I had the time I sipped the coffee and read from my iPad; one of the best developments for traveling has been the Kindle reader, which allows one to bring along a library full of books in a format that can be read on the reader, the phone, or a laptop.
Soon enough I finished and wandered up to the top of the hill to take a peek at the monastery proper, including a look inside the Pilgrimage Church that is still in use today. Indeed, more than 130 pilgrimage groups and 30,000 organized pilgrims come here each year, the bulk of whom arrive during the main pilgrimage season around “Kreuzwoche”, the week of the Ascension (the celebration of Jesus ascent into heaven).
As I was descending, Joanna texted me to let me know she had arrived and after some back and forth, we were able to find each other and head to the Braustuberl (a tavern or pub next to a brewery) for a well-deserved beer and snack. The Monastery has a large biergarten (beer garden) but it was closed as it was a mid-week and so we landed on the patio next to the café where I had enjoyed the strudel.
We queued up in the small space where one purchases their beer a beer station and food from the deli like outlet. Joanna ordered a half liter of the Export Dunkel while I opted for the larger and significantly more refreshing liter of Helles, the German version of our familiar lager. Helles, which simply means “bright” in German, is indeed a bright, malty alternative that retains the crispness of a lager without the spicy hops found in a pilsner. Like all lagers, Helles is made with a unique yeast variety, so it’s distinguished from ales during the fermentation process.
For food, knowing we were going to eat a large meal later, we opted for a pretzel, a pepperoni like sausage stick and a ramekin of a mild cheese spread. We carried our servings outside and after finding a seat in the middle of a long row of picnic benches, dived into both food and drink. As we sat there on that warm, sunny afternoon, we struck up conversations with those around us, an Indian gentleman enjoying his time in Germany and an American couple, one of whom had opted to eat one of the large Pork Knuckle (Schweinshaxe) available for consumption.
As a bonus, a small oompah band played several selections during our stay. Whether they are regulars there or if it was an impromptu gathering of local musicians, we will never know but it certainly added to the ambience of our experience. And not unexpectedly, a few employees dressed in traditional Tyrolian attire danced along to the music and joined in singing a few of the songs. This tradition of singing along to tunes of the culture are strong here in Europe, witnessed as we did in Montpellier at the Titty Twister, or as one sees in pubs in Ireland, or beer halls here in Germany. It doesn’t seem to exist in America.
We finished our beers and reversing our path, made our way back to Munich and with the aid of a couple of last Augustiner’s relaxed in our room and began to prepare for our flight home the next morning. And then, reminiscent of our hunt for a schnitzel when in Galveston, we located Wirsthaus Rechthaler Hof, a restaurant specializing in the dish on the other side of the Hauptbahnof and set out there for our last dinner of the trip.
Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised to see a restaurant interior exactly how you would expect one to look in Germany, particularly in Bavaria, that is, wood paneled walls with artful painting above the panels, tables and booths surrounded by dark wood chairs so characteristic of a Bavarian style. Seated we ordered a beer apiece, an Ayinger Helles for me and their Weissbier for Joanna. Also, even knowing we likely wouldn’t finish all of our food that night, a bowl of Gulaschsuppe to start with.
Next up would be a Jager Schnitzel (hunter style) for me and a favorite we get whenever we can find them, Nurenberger sausages for Joanna. Followers of the blog will recognize our love of these small, thin and light in color beauties, which are produced with pork without tendons and rind. They often include bacon, are flavored with marjoram and because of their petite size, made with sheep casing instead of hog casing. The Nürnberger Rostbratwurst is protected throughout the European Union as a “protected geographical indication” (PGI). This means that products sold by that name within the EU can only be produced in the city of Nuremberg.
I almost always get the Jager Scnitzel, as I like the usual creamy mushroom sauce that accompanies it. The Wiener Schnitzel is perhaps the best known of the bunch, a thin breaded pan-fried filet of pork or veal that one squeezes a lemon onto. A lessor known but equally good option is the Ziguener Schnitzel (Gypsy) which is prepared with a sauce based on tomatoes and peppers, and vinegar or white wine.
We came close to finishing all of our food, a testimony to how good it was and how much we enjoy our occasional encounters with this type of cuisine. Settling our tab of 47.20-Euros ($49.90) which included one more beer, an Ayinger Dunkles, we found our way back to the Premier Inn to make final preparations for our journey home the next morning. We’ll cover that adventure home in our next post.
Andechs Monastery: https://www.andechs.de/en.html
Wirsthaus Rechthaler Hof: https://rechthaler-hof.de/