When people first think of Munich, many think of the world famous Oktoberfest, lederhosen, and beer… and I’m not going to lie, before heading there I had the same preconceptions too. However, after spending a week in the area, I’ve come to realize there’s more to Bavaria than just beer, beer, and well, more beer, despite the title of this blog post 😉
Our first beer on the trip introduced us to HOFBRÄU MÜNCHEN WEISSE, which we lovingly enjoyed in the Hofbräuhaus. This iconic landmark provided us with a great introduction to Bavarian beer, and culture. The large beerhall consists of high cellings and long tables, which encourages you to meet new people to share a pint with. Within a short time of being seated, a nice local couple sat next to us. It was quite clear that we weren’t from around the area and offered to take our photo. From there, we enjoyed the live music together and even though we couldn’t speak the same language, I’d like to think there was a small bond between us and them.
When we crossed the border to neighbouring Austria, our beer of choice was of course Stiegl. At this point in our trip, I had been living off head-sized pretzels and I was looking for something to round out my limited diet. Thankfully, Salzburg had just what I needed. The land of Mozart and Sound of Music supplied me with chicken schnitzel, salads, and bread with cheese and it was all glorious. Aside from the food, the town was quaint and conveniently located to where I really wanted to make a visit – Berchtesgaden.
I had heard about Berchtesgaden from a coworker who visited there when she spent a semester abroad in high school. This charming little town built on the edge of the Austrian alps is known for skiing, hiking, and history. When I say history, I refer to the Eagle’s Nest, a mountain top retreat gifted to Hitler on his 50th birthday. This majestic retreat is now a tourist attraction with thousands of visitors making the trek, dining at the mountain’s edge, with their selfie sticks at the ready. At the foot of the mountain is Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg, a powerful museum that takes you through the rise and fall of the Nazi party. I always thought that this was something that Germany wanted to forget, but this museum shows the importance of highlighting the past, to ensure that history does not attempt to repeat itself. As I mentioned, it’s a powerful museum and I’m forever grateful that I had the chance to walk through and learn of the history from the German’s perspective compared to what we learn growing up in Canada.
As I basked in the sun on the top of the mountain ridge, I enjoyed some more Hofbräu. It was my birthday afterall 😉 Before taking the golden lift to the top, we had lunch with some non-alcoholic brews (yes, they have non-alcoholic beer too!) produced by Weininger. It was light and refreshing and paired nicely with my veggie burger! I’m as surprised as you that not only did this restaurant have non-alcoholic beer, but they also had VEGGIE BURGERS! It truly was a win in my books!
The beer gardens of Munich are plentiful and populated. On our last day in Munich, after quite the eventful morning where I dropped my backpack into a bath of toilet water (it was honestly the worst morning of our trip), I needed one last beer garden brew. Again, it was Hofbräu but about the size of my head. It was a Tuesday and the small garden located along the river was less populated as it was near the banking district. As I got my second, and smaller beer, I decided that the mug from which I was drinking would make a good souvenir. Something to note, that I wish I had known earlier, is that every beer garden charges you a deposit on the mug. When you order your beer, you pay an extra two Euro or three, depending on the location. If you bring the mug back, you get your money. If not, the mug is yours. I only learned this on the last day in the beer garden when I asked if I could buy my mug. I could have gotten it for a Euro cheaper at another garden but oh well, lesson learned for next Beer Adventures of Bavaria!