Thursday, June 28, 2018

Visiting the Beer Halls of Munich and Nuremburg

We finished our Germany trip the most German way we could think of, two days in Munich and a stop at the Nuremburg Volksfest. Here we pigged out on beer, wurst, and pretzels and I even got a dirndl! 

Two Days in Munich
We stayed at an Airbnb near the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. Although we would have loved to visit during Oktoberfest, we were also thankful to find an affordable place to stay with parking. The apartment complex had a garage with stacked parking, and we didn't move the car during our stay since driving in Munich rivals driving in NYC. Our Airbnb host advised taking the tram to downtown, but we opted to walk the 30-45 mins each time we went into town. 
We spent the first day exploring town. You can't miss the New Town Hall called the Rathaus with its incredible architecture and marionette show in the clock tower at noon. Just a few blocks over be sure to check out the market where you can find everything from bruschetta mix to Christmas ornaments and lebkuchen heart cookies. 

Of course, we hit a traditional beer hall our first evening in Munich. We chose the Hofbrauhaus for its authentic atmosphere and signature beers. It was well worth hunting for two open seats. Our experience was unforgettable: drinking a liter of beer while conversing with an older German man at our long bench table until our wurst and potatoes arrived. 

For our second day, we rented bikes to see the English Garden, a park that reminded us a bit of  Chapultepec Park in Mexico City. We had some trouble with the bike rental app since our phone service was spotty, but we were able to leave the bikes in the park for someone else to rent using the app. Then we headed to the Deutsches Museum where we spent four hours and didn't visit every exhibit. I would advise checking out the map and choosing which exhibits most interest you first so you don't get burned out too quickly. Our favorite was the renewable energy section. 

Before dinner, we hit one street full of dirndl and lederhosen shops. I was pleased to find an entire dirndl outfit (dress, blouse, and apron) for around $60. We had seen nicer drindls earlier in the day, but I didn't really want to spend $200 plus. 
We had our favorite dinner of the trip at the Ayinger Brewery. Both the food and beer may have been the best we had all trip. I was pleased to see menu offerings that weren't just meat and potatoes, and I thoroughly enjoyed my fish entree. It was a good thing too, because our next stop was a 100% German. 

Nuremburg Volksfest
Although we couldn't align our trip with Oktoberfest, we did visit during the Nuremburg Volksfest, a much smaller but similar style carnival. We were very excited about the festival and arrived early ready to party. Unfortunately the only activity going on at 11:00am is the pre festival race. We dodged runners and got some pictures of the stationary rides and peeked in the empty beer halls. 

We decided to hit the town of Nuremburg to find lunch and kill some time before the party started. Since we had already paid for parking and secured a space, we walked an hour into town. Nuremburg is much smaller than Munich, though it had one fort that overlooked the town. We also enjoyed the street vendors and picked up some snacks before heading back to the Volksfest. 
We arrived back around 4:00pm and we were amazed to see the transformation. The fair was happening with rides buzzing and people indulging in beer and sweets. I changed into my dirndl and told John it was the adult equivalent of wearing a princess dress to Disney World. Rides are pay as you go so we elected to choose one of the dozen. After surveying the options, we picked the ferris wheel to give us a view of the whole festival. The line took a few minutes and we enjoyed our time on the ride which went around several times. 

Then, we headed to the beer hall for our last authentic German experience. We went out with a bang, ordering a liter of beer and a plate of meat and potatoes. Although it's not exactly my type of cuisine, it was fun to experience a real German festival while wearing my dirndl, eating German food, and drinking German beer. 

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