As you may have already realized, a bit more break than usual between two posts means I am out of the town for a trip. This time we set off for a place cherishing the Christmas spirit at its very best. Let me give you some hints; beer, sausage and Oktoberfest… No need to hear one more I guess. You are perfectly right, Munich is the answer. Even though I have been to Germany before I had no chance to visit the capital of Bavaria. Most of the city dwellers consider Bavaria is a place different than Germany. For them Bavaria is Bavaria, not Germany. I guess they are right in some fashion.
The city is very close to Italy, affects of which can be felt in various aspects in social life. Munich is more like a half-breed child of a marriage between German discipline and Italian coziness. Every well-thought detail in city life imitates clockwork, but when it comes to savor the blessings of the world, a relaxed atmosphere is over there. Enjoying long running dinners with delicious dishes, sipping a huge glass of beer while chatting with friends, strolling in the English Garden and going Alps for skiing are just a few of the regular activities of city residents.
Our starting point was Marienplatz, the city centre from where you can simply walk to most of the city’s sightseeing places. In 19th century wheat market was set up at that point and also it was the place they used to hang criminals. Did I mention that I climbed more than three hundred steps of Peterplatz tower, the aisle of which one person can barely fit, just to take the picture above for your eye pleasure? No matter…
Marienplatz hosts a building you can never miss, the famous new town hall (Neues Rathaus). Even the name says new, it is an old Neo-gothic building with a big set of bells accompanied by some animated puppets on top to demonstrate different scenes from Munich history.
During this time of the year a Christmas market is opened in front Neues Rathaus where you can find various tree ornaments, sweets and a Munich classic, hot mulled wine called glühwein.
Mulled wines I tried up to now were quite different than the glühwein in Munich; they were more on the “spiced grape juice” side I may say. However, glühwein has some additional liqueur in it which makes it a stronger drink to combat the freezing -10 °C (14°F) weather outside. While drinking up a cup of this tasty liquid, I burst out ”Good idea!” since I suddenly started feeling my already frozen nose again in its place.
After a short break, we started walking again to discover other historical places around. Most of the famous buildings and churches are meticulously reconstructed after the Second World War when they were extensively damaged. This reconstruction was so successful that many of them gained almost the same look they were first built like Treatinerkirche and Royal Residenz.
Another Christmas market was there, in one of the Rezidenz’s ten yards. Residenz was the home of Wittelsbach family, a German dynasty, since the14th century with its 23.000 square meters of living space. That’s what I call a spacious house but setting aside their real estate, the family is of great importance since they developed Bavarian cuisine and refined it with some influences from Austrian and Czech cuisines. You know royal people, they like getting married with foreigners and generally they move in with their cooks and servants. What a life!
When the clock in our stomachs alarmed for the dinner time, we headed for the famous brewery, Augustiner, to try typical Bavarian dishes and fine beer. Bavarian style roasted duck and goose were our top choice, served with Kloesse, a sort of boiled potato dumplings made out of mashed potato, egg and flour mixture (bread crumbs are also used to replace potato). Bavarian style goose was really tasty with its crispy texture on the outside, so if you are fond of poultry take a note about it. Another typical side dish we had was Bavarian style red cabbage, basically containing onion, green apple, and vinegar besides red cabbage, served warm. No need to take a note, just forget it!
Beer is the indispensible part of almost all dining tables and it goes very well with their famous pretzels, a knotted loop of bread pastry. The strange thing is that you should count how many pretzels you ate during the meal so that you would not be dumbstruck like me when the waitress in traditional Bavarian costume asks the number of pretzels you ate to add their price on your bill.
Munich stories will be continued after I bake the New Year’s cookie and share its recipe with you in the next post. So stay tuned for more delicious details from Munich trip.