After we were done at the Deutsches Museum, we decided to head over to the Munich Weihnachtsmarkt in Marienplatz. Being Saturday, in Munich, two weeks before Christmas, it was packed. Like, almost shoulder to shoulder packed. But, we were there and, gosh darnit, we (ok, I, Aaron wasn't all that interested), was going to experience the Munich Weihnachtsmarkt. So, that's exactly what we did.
But, before we headed to the market, there was, surprise!, another church we wanted to visit. Man, was this one BEAUTIFUL!! It's Munich's oldest church and after being built originally at the end of the 12th century, but it burned in 1327. It was rebuilt as the one standing today and was completed in 1368. I don't know how we missed it last time we were here, but I really think this one is prettier than the Frauenkirche Cathedral (the famous cathedral in Munich with the twin towers). Along each side are a number of small alcoves, some with tombs, some containing confessionals and one containing the relics of Saint Munditia (she is a martyr about whom not much is known, but her remains were transferred from Roman catacombs to Munich in 1675) and Saint Erasumus of Formiae (aka, Saint Elmo, the patron saint of sailors). They were all closed off to public access. St. Peter's has a tower that you can climb for a couple euros, but the line was ridiculously long. We had decided to wait until it was closer to dark, thinking that the line and photos from the top would be cool.
There were a few Christmas presents that I still needed to pick up, so we headed to the market. We ended up finding a couple of things that we liked ourselves to bring back. We also had the requisite Glühwein (each place is different so you have to try them all!, just kidding....kind of) and even tried the stollen (German fruitcake), which was tasty. So tasty in fact that we picked up a small loaf to bring home with us.
We then headed into the courtyard of the Rathaus (city office building), but before we made it, I noticed a bunch of people standing in front of an elevator, waiting. Further investigation informed me that the wait was to go up to the Rathaus tower (which, incidentally, is directly above the Glockenspiel by a few floors). It wasn't very expensive, and we had the time, so we did it. And it was worth it. The beautiful view from the top gave a fantastic impression of Munich and we could even see the Alps! Since we went up this tower (with only minimal steps to climb), we decided that we didn't need to climb the St. Peter's tower (which would have been over 300 stairs).
After a couple of hours, Aaron had had his fill of the Christmas market so we headed over the the world famous Hobrauhaus for dinner and some beer (hint, the Bavarian beer is better than the beer near Mannheim). Interesting fact, this is where Hitler held his first public rally and it used to be a popular meeting place among those in the Nazi party. It was our first time and it was only slightly less busy than the Hofbrau tent during Oktoberfest. No matter, we managed to find a seat at a table. A couple changes of tablemates later, we found ourselves with two Spanish, a Russian and German couple, and two Americans with us. Needless to say, it was a fun table! One of the best parts of traveling is meeting other people and talking to them and the German ''family style'' tables, where you sit with whoever happens to be there, make this possible
Now, here are some tips if you are planning on heading to the Hofbrauhaus yourself:
- Service is terrible. It took us nearly 15 minutes just to get a waiters attention to order beer. And then we had to wait for him to come back and actually take our order.
- Beer is typically served in a maß, or a liter at a time, just like at Oktoberfest.
- You pay each time you order. The servers don't keep a running tally of your bill. And in all honesty, this would be far too difficult becuase it's so busy.
- Depending on when you go, you will most likely have trouble finding a table, especially if you are part of a large group. Reservations are available in different areas of the restaurant, but you would miss out on the excitement that is the beer hall. If it is just a few of you, and you are dedicated to eating and/or drinking at the Hofbrauhaus, just keep wandering around until you find a table with enough room for your group. Ask if the spot is free, or if there is room, and if the answer is yes - congrats!
- Make sure you talk with your table mates. I will guarantee that you will walk away with some cool stories!
So that was the end of our first day in Munich. Our Sunday was pretty low key. Check back to see how we spent our Sunday!
- Meghan -