Friday, March 27, 2015

Lee & Sara's European Adventure Part 3: Munich, Germany

After visiting Rome and Venice, we ventured over to Germany and spent a short time in Munich. Munich is in the state of Bavaria, and they are known for having great food. Rightfully so, because this was by far our favorite place to eat the whole trip. Unfortunately, the way our flights worked out, this was the city we got the least amount of time in.
The flight to Munich was both good and bad: it sucked because when we checked in for our flight,w e found out that baggage was not included in our ticket price, so we had to pay extra money to check our bags. The good news is, the flight did serve way better food than all the others, and Lee got a complimentary beer and snack. During this flight we also flew over a portion of the Alps, which was so beautiful. You can see them in the picture below. 

We arrived in Munich on the 28th, and this was the only real day we had to spend in Munich. When we got off the plane in Germany, the first thing we did after claiming our luggage was crab a German Bratwurst. The airport had this open area where they had a little festival set up of food and craft booths, so we figured this would be the prefect place to grab lunch.

Here is a picture of our first German Bratwurst outside the airport.

 When we left the airport, we took the subway to our hotel. We sat next to a German couple on the subway, and the man spoke really great English, and had spent a large amount of time in America! He was so friendly and helpful, and showed us where we should get on and off the train, and also gave us some helpful hints for touring Munich. At first we were a little creeped out because he was SO friendly, that it was almost creepy, but as it turns out, he really was just genuinely trying to help some clueless American tourists!

When we got off the subway, our hotel was super close to the stop, so we didn't have to do much walking with our luggage, which was really nice. We checked into our hotel room, dropped off our stuff, and set out to explore. We wanted to make the most of this afternoon/night since we knew it was the only real day we had to spend in Munich.

We knew for sure we wanted to eat supper at the Hofbrauhaus. This is a famous German beer hall, and several people suggested that if we come to Munich, that we visit this place. It is said that Hitler once held a few meetings there. This place was amazing and I'm so glad we went. The beer I had at this restaurant was by far the very best beer I've ever had...EVER. It was a little sweet, and crisp and refreshing. So refreshing, its crazy! Lee and I had heard several times that the Germans drink their beer warm, not cold like we do here in the US. We were kind of nervous about this, but as it turns out, that is not true at all. Don't get me wrong, the beer wasn't ice cold like it is when you order a Budweiser in an icy mug, but it was chilled, and very very good.

The strange thing about eating at a place like the Hofbrauhaus, is they don't have a hostess to seat you like most American restaurants do, and they don't have a lot of individual tables. If there is a table with 8 chairs, and a family of 6 is sitting there, it's not unusual for a random couple to sit down at the two empty seats. We weren't aware of this at first, so it took us a while to find a seat, but once we figured out how it worked, we scored a place to sit.

When we ordered our drinks, they came in HUGE 1 liter mugs. As much as I love a good beer, I knew there was no way I could drink a whole liter, so I asked the waiter if they had any smaller glasses. He said only in one type of beer, so that was my deciding factor on what to order.
Here is Lee at the Hofbrauhaus with his one liter beer. 
Here is me with my smaller beer. 

Whenever we ordered, Lee ordered a pig knuckle, and I ordered a German sausage with Au Gratin potatoes. When our food came out, mine looked amazing, but Lee's did not come out as a pig knuckle. He told the waiter, and the waiter took his plate back and brought him the right plate. We were both really glad he spoke up, because the pig knuckle was amazing, and totally worth the wait. 

This is a picture of my German Sausage, Au Gratin Potatoes, and the meal that Lee did not order. This sausage had such a good flavor, and the potatoes were one in a million. They were sliced tissue paper thin, and covered in a creamy cheese sauce. If I ever go back to Munich, I definitely plan on ordering this exact same meal again, because it was definitely worth repeating. 

here is a picture of the pig knuckle + potato that Lee got. It was heavenly. 

At the restaurant, there was an upstairs and a downstairs. The downstairs was pretty full, so we found a place to sit upstairs. We didn't get one here, but one of the things they were serving was Bavarian Pretzels. As you can see, the pretzels were HUGE.

After we finished our dinner, there was some musical entertainment. These men played music and did a performance using whips. It was interesting to say the least! 

Once we left the restaurant, we decided just to walk around the city and enjoy our evening. Since we were in Europe around Christmas time, we got to see some of the most beautiful Christmas decor. In the city square there was a HUGE Christmas Tree decorated. Below you can see a picture of it, and to emphasize how huge it was, you can see Lee standing next to the trunk. 

We also walked saw the famous Glockenspiel, and you can see that picture below. We walked in and out of a few shops and bakeries, and finally stumbled upon this hole in the wall pub. This was definitely not a tourist spot, but I think it was fate that we ended up there. We talked to the bar tender and a local musician who was sitting at the bar, and they were so friendly, although their English was minimal. A little while later, another couple walked in speaking English, and they ended up sitting down next to us. 

The rest of the night was so much fun. We ended up drinking and talking with this Australian couple all night, and had a ball!! We shared so many stories, opinions, frustrations about the USA & Australia. This couple was so fun, and I wish we would've been able to spend more time with them during our visit in Europe. They were an engaged couple taking a trip similar to  Lee and I, except they were going to be gone from home for about a month. 

Here is Lee & I with Ryan and Gabrielle, our friends from down under. 

We stayed out partying with Gabrielle & Ryan much later than we had planned, but it was worth it because we had a great time. Probably not the most cultural experience we could've had in Germany, but we were really happy we got to meet those two. If we ever visit Australia, we will definitely call them and try to meet up again.

The next morning we got up early and got on the bus for our castle tour. This was such an awesome day. We started at the Linderhof Castle, and then onto the Neuschwanstein Castle. The Neuschwanstein was breath-takingly beautiful. This is the castle that inspired the Disney castle design, so you can see why it is so amazing. It is up in the mountains, and there is quite a hill to walk to get there.
Here is a picture of Lee in front of a waterfall on our walk up to the Nueschwanstein Castle. 

This is a view looking out from a castle window. 

Here is a side view of the castle. 

Another side view

On our way home from the Castle tour, we stopped and had some free time in this cute, tiny little German town. We walked through a couple of shops and looked around, and then we ended up at this cute, warm little diner that had an AMAZING dessert list. We went with an Apple Strudel, and it was divine, 

After we got back from our tour that night, we grabbed some dinner, took one last walk through Munich, and then headed back to our room. The next day we hopped on a plane and headed to Berlin!