One can’t always plan your trip to Munich to coincide with Oktoberfest but that didn’t stop us from enjoying all that Munich has to offer when it comes to celebrating the town’s renowned enjoyment of beer. We love a weekend with a good theme so off we went to Munich to celebrate “Oktoberfest….Summer Style”.
We arrived in Munich via train with a Deutsch Bahn Bayern (Bavaria) Pass. This pass, good for 5 adults, was 27 euro for the day including Munich’s efficient public transportation system in town. Because of the theme for our visit, we were happy not to have to navigate the city in a car.
We checked in at the Renaissance, which was visible and easily accessible when we came up from the U-Bahn (subway). Then off we went to the Englischer Garden. The Garden served as our major stomping ground over the weekend. Our first stop was the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) which has been standing as a beautiful backdrop in the park since the late 1700s. It was also home to our first Biergarten of the day. I really couldn’t believe how big it was. It has over 7000 seats and speaking of big…. the pretzels were comparable in size to a steering wheel. They were at least as a big as my face. We shared the meal-sized pretzel and accompanying beer and headed into town. We walked south through the English Garden and the Hofgarten. This Italian Renaissance garden borders the palace. It was very beautiful with its formal gardens and Diana Pavilion. And like the Biergarten it was being enjoyed by many people on this beautiful summer day.
Exploring town worked up quite a thirst and appetite so the next stop on our “Oktoberfest….Summer Style” tour was the most famous Brauhaus in Munich, the Hofbrauhaus. There was a lot of energy in this beer hall that holds about a 1000 tourist and locals alike. We were able to find a seat with a great view of the Oompah band which entertained us as we ate our German fare including wurst and kasespaetzle, a German version of macaroni and cheese served with onions….yum. Prost to this Munich landmark which has welcomed thirsty travelers for over a hundred years.
Back to the center of town we went, arriving at the main square, the Marienplatz, for the 5 o’clock Glockenspiele show. Twice a day, life size figures come alive in the clock tower to reenact a wedding complete with dancers and jousters on their horses. Even today with all our modern technology, this charming display of yesterday was enjoyed by the crowd.
Every turn of a corner reminded me that Munich is a wonderful blend of old and new. After checking out the Viktualienmarkt, a 200 year of market with fresh fruits and cheeses, we stopped by the Apple Store to check out the latest high-tech sensations. Oh, but all of this walking and shopping made us thirsty again. We hopped back onto the U-Bahn and headed to Seehaus, our next Biergarten in the Englischer Garten.
“See” means lake in Germany so this garden or haus, you guessed it, sits on a lake in the English Garden. Paulaner, another one of the big Oktoberfest beers, is served in this idyllic garden that seats 2500. People in rental boats were paddling around in the water. One bachelorette party seemed to be especially enjoying themselves as the bride to be waved to the guest as she and her entourage paraded by in their boat. Chances are if you are out in a German city on a weekend you will see a bachelorette or bachelor party roaming about. They are often wearing matching shirts but the bride or groom “to be” always stands out. We once bought a scarf from a groom who was selling all the items left in his apartment by former girl friends. It is another example of tradition that holds fast in these modern times. Seehaus was a great Biergarten; it felt a little more local with less tourists. Like all of our stops, people were enjoying traditional meals with their beers.
The best of American and German breakfast items awaited us Sunday morning at the Renaissance and prepared us for another day in Munich. We began the day by taking advantage of the Sunday morning 1 Euro entrance fee special at the Alte Pinakothek. Old Masters graced this museum with works by Rembrandt, Rubens and German native son Durer. We loved being surrounded by such lovely art but alas it made us thirsty so we continued our tour by heading to the Augustiner Keller Biergarten.
This may have been a favorite for all of us. Although it is only a few blocks from the Bahnhof and in the middle of the city, it was a perfect garden. Huge century old chestnut trees make you think you’re back in the park. With seating for 5000, this is a wonderful green space retreat. Oompha band music filled the air as our waitress took our order. The beer menu was given to us “One Beer, One Size” keeping life simple. We enjoyed our last beer and pretzel before having to leave town; did I mention the pretzels are as big as my head?
Back on the train we all agreed that this was a great way to spend a weekend in the capital of Bavaria. Prost!!!!!!