Written by ch2001 on 08 Apr, 2012
Every blog, discussion board and book I read said all the restaurants and attractions were closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Munich. We nearly altered our plans because so many reviews said Munich was a ghost town these two days - I'm glad we…Read More
Every blog, discussion board and book I read said all the restaurants and attractions were closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Munich. We nearly altered our plans because so many reviews said Munich was a ghost town these two days - I'm glad we didn't.Christmas EveShopping on Christmas Eve is crazy. The good news is that shops are open till around 2 PM, so you will be able to get those last minute gifts or food for your hotel room. The bad news is that everyone is doing the exact same thing - stores are packed and lines are long. Around 3 PM all stores are closed and the city shuts down - the perfect time for an afternoon architecture stroll.As we know, Eurpoeans celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve, unlike those of us in the United States. The most difficulty we had was finding a place for dinner. Before we left home we called numerous restaurants to confirm hours and hotels asking for recommendations. Nearly every hotel was quick to suggest their own restaurant - the menus looked tasty, but with price tags between €75 and €150. The Novotel (where we stayed) offered a buffet for around €75 and featured 'American party shrimps'. We were unable to find any open restaurants other than the Hofbräuhaus. While I was apprehensive to visit the popular tourist spot, the meal was solid. The place was packed. If you make a reservation arrive very early as you will have to seek out a specific woman with the list. It took us nearly 25 minutes to find her and when we did she almost didn't seat us because we were late.Christmas DayWhile the blogs were right about Christmas Eve, they were wrong about Christmas Day - we found plenty to do.Restaurants were not open for breakfast, so take advantage of your hotel breakfast - the Novotel was quite tasty and only €25. A handful of restaurants are open for lunch in the old town, so you shouldn't have a problem satisfying your midday hunger. And your choices for dinner are even greater - some restaurants that are normally a la carte have prix fixe menus and may require a reservation. Even if a reservation is needed, you should still inquire - one such place was able to squeeze us in for dinner. Here is a list of restaurants that were open during our visit:Wirtshaus Kleine SchmausefalleMariahilfplatz 481541 MunichGermany+49 89 44218821http://www.kleineschmausefalle.de(Read my review)Wirtshaus in der AuLilienstraße 5181669 MunichGermanyhttp://www.wirtshausinderau.de/(Read my review)Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl Am DomFrauenplatz 980331 MunichGermany+49 89 2919450http://www.bratwurst-gloeckl.de/HofbräuhausPlatzl 980331 MunichGermanyhttp://www.hofbraeuhaus.de/(Read my review)Finding things to do on Christmas Day is a bit trickier. We woke up late and had a lengthy breakfast before heading out. There were a more people walking around the old city than I anticipated.Our first stop was the Frauenkirche. We wandered into all corners to take in the exquisite architectural detail. Even though there were many people in the church it was quiet and very peaceful.I had read online that the Glyptothek was open on Christmas Day, so even though we were a bit skeptical we walked over. To our delight it was open, and only cost €1. See more about this visit in my review.On our walk over to the Englischer Garten we passes the Haus der Kunst - modern art museum in one of the only Nazi built buildings in Munich still used for its original purpose. There was quite a few people inside, but it was such a nice day out we wanted to have more time outside. Entrance was around €10.Just east if the Haus der Kunst where a river enters the Englischer Park a natural series of waves are created and frequented my surfers. We read about this happening before coming but had no idea they would be surfing on December 25! About six guys clad in wet suits took turns riding the waves - some unsuccessfully, but most stayed upright for a while. If the bridge is too crowded move over to the west side of the river for an unobstructed view.There were more locals than tourists wandering around the park, which we liked. The Englisher Garten is enormous! We walked along the canals and then over to the Chinesischer turm, the park's famous beer garden. To our complete surprise and delight, there was a Christmas market! You cannot imagine the level I excitement I was feeling having sadly had what I thought was my last cup of Gluhwein the day before. Roughly half the stalls were closed. The remaining stalls were selling Gluhwein, crepes, waffles and, of course, sausages. I grabbed a waffle slathered in Nutella - a perfect afternoon snack. In the center of the beer garden was a carousel for kids and horse drawn carriage rides were departing every few minutes.With a couple hours till dinner we walked back to our hotel. I could not think of a better way to spend Christmas day in Munich!FrauenkircheFrauenplatz 1280331 Munichhttp://www.muenchner-dom.de/GlyptothekKonigsplatz 380333 Munichhttp://www.antike-am-koenigsplatz.mwn.de/glyptothek/Haus der KunstPrinzregentenstraße 180538 Munichhttp://www.hausderkunst.de/Englischer GartenChinesischer turmhttp://www.muenchen.de/sehenswuerdigkeiten/orte/120242.html Close
Written by flyingscot4 on 19 Aug, 2011
Munich is special, at least it is for me. I was stationed in Nürnberg, Germany during the early 60's and I spent many weekends in Munich. When I couldn't get an overnight pass, the city was still only a bit over an hour…Read More
Munich is special, at least it is for me. I was stationed in Nürnberg, Germany during the early 60's and I spent many weekends in Munich. When I couldn't get an overnight pass, the city was still only a bit over an hour away by train, so I could go for just the day. I had a number of friends that were German university students and we loved going to the Bavarian capital. I was introduced to the Hofbräuhaus on my first visit to the city and although it was a really fun place, through my German friends I grew to like the Löwenbrau Keller and most of the Augustiner Brauhaus's (over 30 and they're all good!) a little better. Personally, I like the Augustiner Keller and the Hirschgarten, but they are all good. However, when it's fun you want, the place to start is the Hofbräuhaus!Munich is one of few places that I feel qualified to do restaurant reviews and have done a few. However, that is not the purpose of this Tip/Story.Munich's history is long, sometimes gory, oft times funny, and always interesting. Bavaria is mostly Roman Catholic and Munich leans heavily toward the Church. Some of the most impressive churches and cathedrals are in Munich and all are worth a visit. Octoberfestis the biggest and best beer party in the world, but if you are lucky enough to visit during Octoberfest, you shouldn't be reading this in the first place. This writing is for us "poor folk." Prices go up twice a year: during Fasching (it's the equivalent of Mardi Gras) and Octoberfest. One tally said that in 2007 there were six million visitors during the three weeks of Octoberfest. Whew! How would you like to have Chicago pop in for a visit?I have done reviews and stories on Munich on this site (Please see Munich - A City For Everyone. They are just my opinions, but most folks have told me that they were well fore-warned.There is no bad time to visit Munich. As beautiful as the city is outdoors, much happens indoors as well. One can spend two days at the Deutsches Museum and not see it all. The Residence is worth an entire day (but that's for when you return to Munich). Nymphenburg Palace and the small palaces on the grounds can take a full day as well. The city has over 80 Christmas Markets (read my reviews), which go from small to humongous and pretty well indescribable. You can feel the Christmas Spirit. It is palpable. So, enjoy Munich and the time that you have to spend there. This is just your first trip, remember?But, I'm not done. There's more about your trip that may or may not work for you and I will just put it out there for you to think about. In this itinerary, you are in Europe for eleven nights including the night before you leave On a two week vacation, you will have a little time to recuperate, but if you have an extra couple of days and would like to relax, Munich is the most relaxing city I ca think of. There are a number of options. 1. Open jaw air itinerary - flying into one city and leaving from another.2. Additional nights in Europe with my suggestions at about $50 - $60 per day.3. Night travel.An Open Jaw air ticket would allow you to leave for home from Munich giving you one extra day in Munich or any other nearby city you choose, depending on the departure time of your flight. It is a little more expensive, but the cost of the rail ticket back to Warsaw is eliminated. For me it has always been worth it. This is where your travel agent is good to have. They are very good at routing and finding the best price.Additional nights are possible as well. If you have the time and money to stay extra time, I figure about $50-60 per day plus all travel costs, it is worth the amount of extra cost. My trips (now that I'm retired) are usually between 4 and 6 weeks. My Spring 2011 trip was 39 days and cost about $2200. That figure includes over two weeks in the old East Europe zone which is still a bargain but costs are rising each year. I was also able to find a flight for $418 RT Chicago to Warsaw. I am fairly adept at organizing my trips so that I travel on night trains, which are next.If you can sleep when on a train, there are lots of possibilities, but there are some warnings and things to watch out for. First, it is strongly recommended not to travel on night trains in the old East Europe. There are lots of thieves and worse. Females are advised that there have been reports of attempted sexual assaults in sleeping berth cars. Also, if you find yourself alone in a car at night, it is advisable to move to a car with other passengers. These problems are mostly in the East Europe zone and not frequent.There are plenty of thieves in the West zone as well, but these are usually pickpockets. When traveling at night, I keep my camera bag and netbook under the seat in front of me, chained and padlocked to the seat. My main backpack never carries valuables and the clothing is easily replaceable. I carry a small line of aircraft cable that can be padlocked for my pack in hostels (I actually never have had occasion to use it).If you are one who cannot sleep well in autos, you probably won't be able to sleep on trains either. Also, and this is important, if planning to sleep on a train, make sure that you don't have to make several transfers with significant waiting time at stations between trains. I do travel at night, but I have been doing it for so long, that I can sleep almost anywhere. My jacket is my pillow and I carry a small sound and vibrating alarm in my pocket for wake-ups when I need to change trains. I sleep well sitting in a compartment or a regular second class seat, but if you don't, travel during the day! This is a vacation, not a test of performance when sleep deprived. It is best to go slow, see less, and enjoy more. You'll be back.A few last tips. I do use a money belt for cash and keep only about $30 of cash in my wallet along with change and one debit card (I have three debit cards in case an ATM gets hungry). At home I use a money clip, but in Europe I carry currency and change in a wallet because it does not identify me as a possible target, and also, Europeans consider it rude to flash money around. Most crime committed against tourists in Europe is pickpocketing (and they are very good) so, if you can help it, take no valuables with you other than a camera and cell phone. Do not take valuable jewelry or your Rolex (buy a cheap Timex). Laptops are OK because they are hard to pickpocket. Pockets with Velcro are OK, but zippered pockets are better. Men, keep your wallets in your front pockets. I wear no white clothing when I travel. Mostly I wear polyester because it dries fast and gets me out of a laundry fairly quickly. Linen slacks dry pretty quickly too. I never travel in jeans because denim dries very slowly. I have the front creases of my slacks sewn in which makes it look as though they are freshly pressed. I try to dress appropriately for houses of worship. I usually travel in spring and fall months and my wardrobe, including my pack and what I'm wearing, consists of 3 pair of underwear (poly), 3 T's (poly), one turtle neck (poly), 1 sweatshirt or sweater (poly), 2 pr slacks, 1 khaki (poly), and one olive cargo (poly), 1 pr sleep shorts, and a medium weight jacket. My heaviest items are worn on my person when I fly. That's it!I hope that this information has been helpful. I have been doing it for many years and still repeat mistakes. I still make enough for both of us so you won't have to. I would like the satisfaction of knowing that I helped convince someone to try solo travel. It is so nice to do only the things you want to do. A poet I don't remember said, "Mostly, it's letting yourself come first for awhile." I like that. Remember to pack light and if you need lots of clothing changes with you, make them underwear. Hopefully, you'll thank me.Have a great first trip to Europe! Close
Written by flyingscot4 on 10 Aug, 2011
I love IgoUgo! It is the one travel site that does not restrict subjects that are common as long as the writing is reasonable and not terribly insulting to others. Those of us who write frequently are grateful. I know that I…Read More
I love IgoUgo! It is the one travel site that does not restrict subjects that are common as long as the writing is reasonable and not terribly insulting to others. Those of us who write frequently are grateful. I know that I am. I also know that my subject is at least somewhat controversial and if the editors choose not to publish this piece, I will understand. I won't be happy, but I will understand.I'm going to deviate for a bit anyway. I was just glancing through an article about travel that had a number of multiple choice questions that are part of a poll that the newspaper is conducting. As I went through the questions and answer choices, I was having a really difficult time finding the answer I would give from among the choices listed. One question was about what annoys me most about other air passengers? There were five answer choices among which were too much carry-on baggage, loud or rude behavior, foul smelling carry-on food, and a couple of others I don't remember.Before I go on, I should first say a little about me and my attitudes for those (most of the readers) who have never read any of my comments.I am a septuagenarian member (you may read "geezer" if you choose) of the backpacker/stay-in-hostels travelers and I have been traveling since the 1960's. I have learned to travel slowly for pleasure, relaxation, rejuvenation and because running is not something that I do well anymore. Where tours may spend four hours in a place, I may spend four days and go back again. I seldom have a real schedule. My only deadlines are arriving and leaving in and from Europe. Everything else is very negotiable (with myself).My favorite countries are Scotland and Germany, but Belgium is creeping up there. Travel in Germany and Belgium is much easier because of the wonderful public transportation system and I like German food better. But Scotland is the land of my ancestors, so... Anyway, I find Scottish history to be fascinating and because we got our collective butts kicked by the English (the bad guys, although they will deny it) for quite a few centuries, I am always looking for Scottish heroes to worship and Scottish songs that point out the few times we got the best of those bloodthirsty Brits (and wrote about a hundred songs about the battle).I am not a terribly adventurous person. I am afraid of heights and roller coasters; I won't climb 300+ steps just to be scared to death and nauseous, and I don't just simply love trying divine new foods. I will never be talked into bungee-jumping or sky-diving or eating snails or ox's testicles or haggis. I travel often and inexpensively, usually alone, and I always manage have a blast without spending US Treasury amounts on food or lodging! I am a very social person usually traveling alone, and if I want to have a conversation, it will be with a stranger. What better way is there to learn about another culture or city or just people in general?As I said, I will not bore readers with reviews of expensive restaurants or lodging accommodations because I have never been inside either except to take photographs. In truth, I have seldom stayed in expensive hostels, much less hotels. I am not trying to plead abject poverty and wear it modestly (or immodestly) on my sleeve, but European travel is very doable on a small or limited budget, and available to many who believe that it is not possible for them. And, I think that I can prove it. My only disclaimer is that I am talking about solo travel, for the most part. Things are very different with a spouse or significant other, or with children, but still, it can be done, and I have suggestions for that too - next chapter.Just for a quick example, I can spend four nights in a hostel for the price of one night in a medium priced hotel. I can save enough on one two-week trip to allow for another such trip for the same total cost as most tours. While I may not see as much in two weeks, a vacation is supposed to be relaxing and rejuvenating. How many people come back from a vacation just to need a vacation because they are so tired from their vacation? I have, and I don’t. When I get home, I can hardly wait until the next trip.Slow and inexpensive is my motto. Enjoyment too. Please come along. Careful though, I am opinionated, explicit, and unambiguous as will become obvious . Perhaps even a little undiplomatic and politically incorrect.So, back to the question about things that annoy me about other passengers. I am not trying to be insensitive to others, but this is a gripe that never appears in any kind of a poll about air travel. It is recent and on my mind, not because it happened, but because it happens so frequently to me and others. On a recent overnight flight to Munich from Chicago on a 747 jumbo, I was sitting in an aisle seat in the "Economy" section of the aircraft. A young woman was sitting in the window seat and we had introduced ourselves to each other when the occupant of the middle seat arrived. The person, who was well over 300 pounds, squeezed into the seat, put her purse on the floor under her seat, lifted both arm rests, and inflated herself into both seats on either side of her. I have done a pretty fair amount of flying in my life and this situation is fairly common. My presence of mind shattered, I grabbed the raised arm rest, and pulled it back down, saying, "Excuse me!" She then told me that "I always sit in the center seat so that I can be more comfortable." I said, "Ma'am, I'm sorry about the obesity in our country and your personal obesity and need for extra room, but I paid for all of this seat, and you are overlapping into well over one third of it with the arm rest down. I suggest that in the future that you purchase the entire row. I am not going to be responsible for your comfort or lack of it."Obviously, that got flight attendants involved and because it was an over-booked flight there was no place to put either of us other than where we were. The young woman in the window seat thought that this was hilarious even though she was pushed against the bulkhead. The woman complained that she was so uncomfortable that she unable to sleep. She wasn't alone. In our row, none of us slept. Other than that, the flight was semi-peaceful, but very uncomfortable for all of us. The flight attendants apologized to me as I was leaving. At least there was that., but they didn't refund my money either.Another major complaint of mine is that just when I'm attempting to fall asleep, the person next to me decides that we should have a lengthy conversation regarding something about which I know little and care less. I'll get into that little problem another time.more coming... Obviously, there won't be any photographs. Close
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 15 May, 2011
I have been to Europe six times and three of those times, I have been to Germany and the Munich area. The first time I went to Munich was in 1987, but it was only going to and from the airport to and from…Read More
I have been to Europe six times and three of those times, I have been to Germany and the Munich area. The first time I went to Munich was in 1987, but it was only going to and from the airport to and from Frankfurt on the was to Innsbruck, Austria, so as my Freiburg friend Johannes said, "it doesn't count."
The second time I was in Germany was in 2001. I was staying with a friend in Neuburg an der Donau and we were going to spend a day in the Bavarian capital when I got the flu. Instead of strolling along some of Munich's beautiful strassen (streets) and seeing the sights, I had a view of my friend's toilet for two of the days I was visiting her. UGH!
You what they say about the third time being the charm. This trip to Germany, I was not letting flu or other disasters prevent me from seeing Munich at least once in my lifetime. I was staying with my friend Helga and her family in Dachau, which is a suburb north of Munich and a short S-Bahn ride away from her home. Helga suggested we visit Munich on Thursday since Friday was Good Friday and most shops and other sites would be closed for the Easter Holidays starting that Friday. So that Thursday afternoon, Helga and I took her car to the S-Bahn station at Karlsfelf and jumped on the S-2 Bahn for a couple of hours strolling around Munich (that is Munchen to the locals).
If you are looking for a journal with all of the tourist traps and other sights that are seen from the window of a tour bus, this isn't the journal for you. Helga and I just did a whirlwind walking tour of this beautiful old city and saw some of the famous sites along with a couple of places that Helga likes about Munich. But first, I will give you a short history of Munich, the place that was founded because of salt.
Munich's history dates from the 12th century when Heinrich der Lowe (Henry the Lion), a wealthy salt trader, built his home on the Isar River near a monastery. The name Munich comes from the German word for monks, Munchen. After Heinrich died, Munich was taken over by the merchant family Wittelsbach in 1240 and Munich then became a major hub of trade and the seat of the Holy Roman Empire when Ludwig IV became Holy Roman Emperor. In the 15th Century, Munich got its fame and wealth from a new source, beer, when several breweries were built in the area. Residents of Munich who got rich on beer sales then started to build many of the buildings in Munich that are standing today including the Frauenkirche, the Residenz, and the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall). Munich was a Catholic city that stood its ground during Martin Luther's Reformation that swept Germany in the 16th Century.
In 1800, another invasion swept Munich. Napoleon's Grand Armee surrounded Munich and instead of fighting the French, the Wittelsbach family surrendered to Napoleon and offered Bavarian hospitality to Napoleon, who in return gave the family royal titles starting with crowning Max-Josef Wittelsbach King of Bavaria with the name of Maximillian I in 1806. Max only had to have his daughter marry Napoleon's step-son to make it a done deal. Maximillian ran Bavaria until his death in 1825. Then his son Ludwig I succeeded him almost running Bavaria's coffers into the ground spending money on his mistress, a dancer named Lola Montez, pissing off Muncheners and coining the phrase, "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets!" Ludwig I's successor wasn't any better, but Ludwig II's problem wasn't women, it was blowing the budget on fairytale castles in the Alps (can you say Neuschwanstein!?) and his obsession for Richard Wagner, the composer. Bavaria and Munich joined the German unification in 1871 and suffered greatly during WWI. Hitler used Munich to start his evil empire in the 1920's and the city suffered much damage during WWII due to Allied bombings. The Marshall Plan allowed Munich to rebuild after WWII and today Munich is restored to its former beauty and is home to several of Germany's and the worlds most-prominent industries including BMW and Siemen's. Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics and hopes to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, and I saw the signs all over town calling for Munich to once again host its first Winter Olympics since 1936.
Helga and I started our trip by getting off the S-Bahn in the Marienplatz, then looked around the beautiful platz that contains the Frauenkirche, Neues Rathaus, and the statue of St. Mary for whom this square is named after. After getting out of the Marienplatz, Helga and I walked to the Max-Josefplatz followed by a stroll looking but not buying at some of Munich's most expensive shops on the Maximillianstrasse and then into the famous Viktualenmarkt where one get sample some of Munich's best food and drink. We spent about two hours touring Munich and ended the day at one of Helga's favorite places, a huge fountain with beautiful statues of women and men enjoying the water. It was a nice trip that allowed me to finally visit this awesome town and tell my friends and family back home, "I was there!"
Written by ripplefan2 on 02 Oct, 2007
After the loud crack of the 16 fireworks, we headed straight off for the beer tents. Unfortunately, so did everyone else so we decided to go for a walk around the carnival area. On our way over to the party, we realized that the best…Read More
After the loud crack of the 16 fireworks, we headed straight off for the beer tents. Unfortunately, so did everyone else so we decided to go for a walk around the carnival area. On our way over to the party, we realized that the best course of action would be a quick bit to eat, walk around and then head over to the beer tents to see what the crowd was like. Instead of a large, heavy meal, we went for a snack and a soda, just to prime the stomach. Almost immediately, we found a food stand selling pomme frites (french fries with either ketchup or mayo).While we were waiting for our fries, there was actually a woman (an American from the south, by the sounds of it) who asked the woman behind the counter where you get beer at Oktoberfest! Not only did you have to go out of your way to find a sober area but it was almost impossible to not find beer anywhere within a 20 feet radius from wherever you are standing. The question broad sided the woman behind the counter and the lady asking started to become irate. She thought that the woman behind the counter was being rude when in actuality, the one asking the question had just asked a stupid question and it took all by surprise. After the debacle of the question and the waiting for the fries, our food was finally done so we decided to enjoy them in the shade and watch the idiots on the free fall ride where it brings you up something like 30 stories and then drops you. The fries, which were so hot it was crazy, were amazing, but they went fast, so off we went on our tour of the Oktoberfest carnival. One of the rides that we both wanted to do was the new version of the tea cup ride at Disney. You know the one where you spin around in a chair for two on a giant disc. The ride was 3 euros each, a bit steep but totally worth it. I thought that this ride would be a quick 1 minute or so, but I was quickly mistaken. The ride lasted almost 4 minutes, causing my pomme frites and soda to spin so much I thought I was going to lose it. After the possessed machine finally stopped, I was extremely dizzy and my insides were way off. Because of that blasted ride, we had to head home and take a nap to relax the insides for the evening’s festivities. I mean, it’s Oktoberfest! How can we not drink? So, we headed back to the hotel and the night would soon be on us and we needed to be ready. Close
After a night of partying with some people we had met at dinner, we were supposed to meet them at 9am at the Hofbrauhaus, but since our hangovers deterred us from that, we decided to watch the opening ceremony. The main strip of beer tents…Read More
After a night of partying with some people we had met at dinner, we were supposed to meet them at 9am at the Hofbrauhaus, but since our hangovers deterred us from that, we decided to watch the opening ceremony. The main strip of beer tents was roped off and hoards of people were eagerly awaiting the start of Oktoberfest. As the clock neared 12 noon, the police stopped people from walking around the roped off section and the party was about to begin. Then, off in the horizon, horse drawn carriages started to head down the street with scores of people dangling off the sides and back, waving and taking pictures of the crowd as tons of onlookers waved back and took their own pictures. We were lucky enough to situate ourselves very close to the intersection of the parade route, allowing the maximum amount of viewing. Unfortunately, there was this woman next to me who was edging through the crowds, causing my viewing area to shrink and making my camera bounce. Even when she finally rushed her way to the front, she was still unsatisfied because there was a police officer in her way.Anyway, as the carriages made their way into my view, I noticed that they were the specific brewery’s carriages. Meaning, there was a Hofbrauhaus carriage, a Spatan carriage, a Lowenbrau carriage, etc. The names of breweries were spelled out on old wooden beer barrels. It was really cool. All of the horses were decked out, and crapping everywhere, and the atmosphere was starting to get crazy. Then at 12 noon, the mayor of Munich came out, did his little wave to the crowd and tapped the first keg, officially starting the Oktoberfest festivities. Then, 16 fireworks were sent off into the air to signify the 16 days that the festival would be going on. But now, it was the universal time to start drinking and getting crazy. As we headed over to the tents, though, the crowds so long that drinking there meant waiting at least 4 hours for a spot, so we decided to head off to the carnival part and enjoy that. I mean, we had all night to get crazy, maybe the day should be spent doing the carnival and then head home for a siesta so we could be prepped and ready for the evening. And that’s just what we did. Close
After a quick siesta over at our hotel, we prepared ourselves for the mayhem that the evening was undoubtedly going to bring. Heading back over to Theresenwiese, we realized exactly what nighttime at Oktoberfest might mean; drunk milk maids and guys in lader housens screaming…Read More
After a quick siesta over at our hotel, we prepared ourselves for the mayhem that the evening was undoubtedly going to bring. Heading back over to Theresenwiese, we realized exactly what nighttime at Oktoberfest might mean; drunk milk maids and guys in lader housens screaming their heads off. But we were prepared. However, upon entering the park, and seeing that damned spinning ride we took earlier, our main concern was finding a beer tent that was open and available. Having heard about Oktoberfest and Munich for the last couple of years, the Hofbrauhaus has, of course, been my main draw about this place. Almost like my holy grail of beer halls. So as we fought our way through the crowds of drunks and onlookers staring at the death defying riders, we saw that the Hofbrauhaus line was longer than early that day. But, along our trail, we noticed a line for a beer tent that was rather short, so we scurried through the hoards of people; we finally arrived at the line. The Ochsenbraterei beer tent, or the Spatan beer tent, was line that we had fought to get to and when we got there, I felt as if I was transformed back to the 1970s in Manhattan. The line was something right out of Studio 54. People were screaming at the guards who were enjoying themselves on their own little power trip of who enters and who doesn’t. Every time a spot became free in the tent, they would look over the crowd and the people waiting went into a somewhat feeding frenzy, pushing, shoving, yelling, and screaming until they were noticed and allowed to enter. After about an hour and a half (I know!), just as we were getting ready to leave, the guard pointed our way and allowed us enter the world we had only been able to see through the doorway some thirty feet in front of us. Upon entering the cloud of smoke and raucous sounds, we were ushered to our table by our waiter, placed at a large picnic table with 5 Germans we didn’t know and prepared for our evening. The waiter said he would be right back with our beers and we started by introducing ourselves to our neighbors at our table. Luckily, for us, they were very nice and took us under their wings and explained the going ons. We entered the mayhem when the band was taking a break, so finding our seats and assessing our surrounding was rather easy. After our first sip, the band seemed to be aware that we were there and immediately got back on stage. Now, I don’t really know any German songs, but the one that I do know (99 Red Balloons) had just been played, so the band tore into a new set and ripped the roof off. We were immediately instructed to stand up and dance on our table and sing and scream, so we did. This place felt like a high school cafeteria that had an open bar and a food fight all at the same time. After a couple of songs and two 8 euros beers each, we were in desperate need of food, otherwise, the night would turn down an ugly path. Luckily, for us, there were people strolling by selling things and we went straight for the giant pretzel for 4 euros. The whole place was a bit pricey, but totally worth it.Our neighbors, who had been there since 9am (at this point it was 9pm) had told us that they were heading home and that the tents closed at 11pm and that we should leave a little early to avoid the heart of the crowd. As we said our good byes, a new group of people emerged and, low and behold, they were Americans. We immediately struck up a rapport with them and partied with them the rest of the evening. One kid had the best shirt on every; An awkward morning beats a boring night. So he became our new friend. After our third liter of beer, it was time to go. So we packed up our sh@t, said our good byes and headed off to the U-Bahn. The train was just like the beer tent, smoky, reeking of beer, and loud. It was such a show to see, that just seeing that was fun enough. For us, finding our way home was an adventure all in its own because of how strong Close
Written by ripplefan2 on 29 Sep, 2007
I have wanted to go to Oktoberfest for the last couple of years, and something has come up each year that has prevented me from attending. I have even been in Europe while it was happening the last two years and couldn’t hit it up.…Read More
I have wanted to go to Oktoberfest for the last couple of years, and something has come up each year that has prevented me from attending. I have even been in Europe while it was happening the last two years and couldn’t hit it up. Until now that is. After arriving in from Spain, my girlfriend and I set off immediately for the Theresienwiese stop on the U-Bahn to the festival grounds. The official festivities didn’t kick off until the next day, but we wanted to have a look around and see what that was.Upon entering the park, we noticed that everything was closed, even with the thousands aimlessly roaming around staring at the area that the following day will be transformed into the worlds largest pub crawl. I really wanted to get myself an Oktoberfest shirt and maybe some Oktoberfest mugs, but the woman at the souvenir stand informed us that it was illegal to sell anything until the next day at 12 noon, after the opening ceremonies. She said that I should try the shops near the Haufbanhof train station; but that they were usually of lesser quality and a little more expensive (I thought that this might be a selling technique but learned later that she was right). Now, I always imagined Oktoberfest to be a large scale party with people coming and going from one of the many different beer halls and that was all. But after noticing my surroundings, I realized that that was only part of it. There was a huge carnival that also accompanied the mayhem. A giant Ferris wheel was set off in the background with nothing but rides, roller coasters and game tents in between. It was totally not what I expected, but a nice addition. The first thing that we had to do was go over to the Hofbrauhaus beer hall. Hofbrauhaus is the name that most people equate with Munich and Oktoberfest, so it seemed like the logical step. Each beer tent was relatively empty, with the exception of the random onlookers trying to get a behind the scenes peek at the going ons of Oktoberfest. They were also not allowed to sell any beer until the next when the Mayor was going to tap the first keg at 12. Each of these beer tents is something like a football (American) field long with hundreds of picnic tables jammed in there and a couple dozen more scattered about outside. The ceilings in each place are decorated in a unique style that full represents that atmosphere that that specific beer hall has to offer. Some ceilings are covered in clouds and blue skies while others focus more on lighting and ambiance and like the crowd dictate what the atmosphere should be. It was a really cool sight to see. The most disturbing sight was the corner of the Hofbrauhaus with all of its clean glasses stacked floor to ceiling waiting to be filled with liter upon liter of beer as drunken crowds clink them and even try to liberate them. It actually hurt the liver to just see that.Realizing that we had really experienced all that Oktoberfest had to offer on the day before the actual party, we headed out of the park for a drink and some exploration of Munich. I mean, there has to be more to Munich than just Oktoberfest, right? Close
Written by LenR on 16 Mar, 2007
One of the great joys of Munich is finding places were the local food and drinks are cheap and delicious. There are many places where you can eat and drink for less than 10 euros but discovering them is the trick. You should start with…Read More
One of the great joys of Munich is finding places were the local food and drinks are cheap and delicious. There are many places where you can eat and drink for less than 10 euros but discovering them is the trick. You should start with the local butchers shop.In almost every Metzgerei (butcher's shop) you can get "Warmer Leberkas" to eat there. A 100 gram portion with mustard and a roll costs a few euros. Another good snack is a "Wurstsemmel" (sliced sausage meat on a roll) or a "Schinkensemmel" (sliced ham on a roll). Many butcher's shops have small stand-up tables where you can eat your Leberkas or other snacks.There are snack bars in most of the downtown S- and U-Bahn stations, in the large stores and in the central Pedestrian area; also in the streets around the Main Train Station and in the university districts. Very popular as well is the Viktualienmarkt. On a sunny day, nothing can compare to the outdoor snack shops and the beer garden here. In fact, the Viktualienmarkt is one of the most colorful spots in Munich. Try the Schweinswurstl, or the Weisswurst at one of the serving booths. Or have a bowl of hot soup at the Münchner Suppenküche. If you're in the mood for fish, get a "Fischsemmel" at the Nordseefischhalle. Or try "Apfelstrudel" or Schmalznudel - Bavaria's equivalent of the doughnut.Few things are as delightful as a Munich beer garden on a beautiful warm day. The beer gardens are generally open from late spring to the middle of autumn. It is very acceptable to bring your own food. Or you can get things to eat there: fish grilled on an open fire, chicken, spare-ribs. Draught beer ("vom Fass") is the cheapest and the freshest. Pils-type beers often come bottled and are more expensive. If you don't want beer try "Spezi" (half cola and half lemonade), or order "Apfelsaft" (apple juice).Don’t miss trying a Gaststätte. It is not only a restaurant but is also a place where people go to meet their friends in the evening, to drink beer, and play cards. It seems that every street has a Gaststätte. It is perfectly acceptable and normal to have just a beer here (outside lunch and dinner hours). The menu of every Gaststätte is posted in a little glass box outside the door with prices. Coffee lovers can appease their craving at several chains of stand-up coffee shops. Better still, stop at one of the street outdoor cafes and watch the passing crowds. This is not exactly cheap but you can stay for hours and enjoy the scene. Or visit a Café-Konditorei (café with pastry shop). They vary in class and style from the magnificent downtown cake-palaces to the simple neighborhood cafe. Try Prinzregententorte, a Munich specialty (thin alternate layers of cake and chocolate filling). Coffee is served by the cup and by the portion. A portion contains two cups. Close
Although Munich has several suburban stations, for international trains the Hauptbahnhof (central station) is the only stop. Munich’s railway station is massive, housing many shops, service facilities and even its own hotel. It is located on Bahnhofplatz in the heart of the city. From here…Read More
Although Munich has several suburban stations, for international trains the Hauptbahnhof (central station) is the only stop. Munich’s railway station is massive, housing many shops, service facilities and even its own hotel. It is located on Bahnhofplatz in the heart of the city. From here you can get connections to the city’s entire public transport network. The Munich Tourist Office is located in the Hauptbahnhof, and there is another one in the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) on Marienplatz.There are train connections from Munich airport and Munich’s main railway station can also be reached by frequent ICE high speed trains from all major German cities and also by many other European train connections. This is really the centre of everything and it is worth a visit just to be part of the action.The development of the station has occurred over a long period. The first railway station on the current site, which was then situated outside the city walls, was built in 1839, with the line from Munich to Lochhausen opening on September 1. This first station was short-lived, however, as it fell victim to a fire in 1847.The station was then rebuilt from 1847 to 1849 as the Centralbahnhof to plans by Friedrich Burklein. Further lines were soon added to the station and in order to cope with the new levels of traffic, the station saw a major rebuild from 1876 to 1884. In 1893, an outlying station was added to accommodate trains for the line to Starnberg.The station was renamed München Hauptbahnhof in 1904. It sustained heavy damage from Allied bombings in 1945 and the damaged train shed was torn down in 1949. From 1958 to 1960, the station was rebuilt, integrating parts of the old station. The new train shed was built in a contemporary 1960s style by Krupp.From 1967 on, the S-Bahn (suburban railway) tunnels and the München Hbf (tief) station which serves them, were built underneath the main station, and this opened just before the 1972 Olympic Games. The U-Bahn (underground) stations were opened in 1980 and 1984.Today the station is always busy. The eastern part of the main hall features shops and a small food hall. There are also several smaller kiosks in the station hall, selling snacks and newspapers. The access level to the U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations has a full-featured shopping mall and provides undercover access to nearby department stores. Close