If Vienna was Eat, Pray, Love, Munich was Drink, Celebrate, Shop. We only had two nights and one full day in Munich, so we decided to make the most of it. The first night, we hopped the subway to Marienplatz to fortify ourselves with gluhwein and bratwurst. We were in the middle of a huge Christmas market, but Muz had another tourist attraction on his mind: Hofbrauhaus.
Hofbrauhaus has a long and interesting history. Over 400 years ago, the Duke of Bavaria ordered his court to reduce the costs of importing beer from Einbeck. The solution? Build a local brewery called Hofbrauhaus. (A beer stimulus program, if you will.) Over the years, it has served everyone from Mozart to Mark Twain. It also has a darker history as the site of the National Socialist party’s 25 theses, which later became Nazi party doctrine. Muz wasn’t interested in the history, though. He was interested in the beer.
We ordered our pints, our sausages, and the biggest pretzel I’ve ever seen. A band played and people danced or sang along. Hofbrauhaus is known for its giant beers and tent at Octoberfest, but what I enjoyed most was the camaraderie. At large, family-style tables, we talked to Bavarians, a Japanese tourist, and this guy:
The next day, we toured the Christmas markets in Marienplatz and the English garden. The markets in Germany were the nicest we saw during the trip. In addition to food stands, there were handcrafted wooden toys, ornaments and other trinkets. There are no bargains at the Christmas market, though. If anything, you’re paying a little extra to shop in the festive atmosphere. But how many times can you say you bought your nutcracker under a glockenspiel? More importantly, how fast can you say that five times in a row?
Munich takes their bratwurst, their beer, and their Christmas seriously. It was our kind of city.